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Velaga Narayana Rao and ors. Vs. the Deputy Commercial Tax Officer - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberW.P. Nos. 1084, 1085 of 1957 and 379 to 382 of 1958
Judge
Reported in[1960]11STC145(AP)
AppellantVelaga Narayana Rao and ors.
RespondentThe Deputy Commercial Tax Officer
Appellant AdvocateP. Somasundaram, ;P. Suryanarayana and ;S. Ramamurthy, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateThe Third Government Pleader
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....with law and that the assessments are perfectly valid. it is perfectly clear that neither the constitution nor the act makes any exception in favour of persons; in the ease of persons who live so very close to the state and who almost daily move into and out of the state-apart from the fact that some of them actually live within the state although they may be carrying on some business outside it-while some transactions may really be in the course of import or export, some others may well not be......and in the second the validity of a final assessment to sales tax made against him under the andhra pradesh general sales tax act, 1957, by the deputy commercial tax officer, kakinada-ii. the provisional assessment was for the year ending 31st march, 1958, while the final assessment was for the year ending 31st march, 1957 and both were made on the same day and by the same order. the petitioners in the other petitions challenge the final assessments made against them, some relating to the year 1956-57 and others to the year 1957-58. it is unnecessary to mention in detail the facts relating to each of these cases. it is sufficient to state that all the petitioners claim that they are permanent residents of yanam, which is being administered by the union government under an agreement.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Bhimasankaram, J.

1. The petitioner in W.P. Nos. 1084 and 1085 of 1957 is the same. In the first of these petitions, he challenges the validity of a provisional and in the second the validity of a final assessment to sales tax made against him under the Andhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act, 1957, by the Deputy Commercial Tax Officer, Kakinada-II. The provisional assessment was for the year ending 31st March, 1958, while the final assessment was for the year ending 31st March, 1957 and both were made on the same day and by the same order. The petitioners in the other petitions challenge the final assessments made against them, some relating to the year 1956-57 and others to the year 1957-58. It is unnecessary to mention in detail the facts relating to each of these cases. It is sufficient to state that all the petitioners claim that they are permanent residents of Yanam, which is being administered by the Union Government under an agreement with the Government of France dated 30th October, 1954 and claim absolute immunity from liability to sales tax as citizens of a foreign country; they also say that the sales and purchases which they carried on within the territory of the State of Andhra Pradesh are sales and purchases in the course of the import of the goods into or export of the goods out of India and as such protected by Sub-clause (b) of Clause (1) of Article 286 of the Constitution and Clause (ii) of Section 38 of the Act itself.

2. It may be stated at once that Yanam where the petitioners claim to reside and carry on business is part of the State of Pondicherry which has not yet been transferred to India de jure and is to be treated as foreign territory for the present purpose. This position is not disputed on behalf of the State Government.

3. The fact however may be noted that the respondent-officer denies that the petitioners, excepting the petitioner in W.P. No. 1084 of 1957 (who is also the petitioner in W.P. No. 1085 of 1957) are permanent residents of Yanam. He asserts that they reside permanently within the territory of Andhra Pradesh. But apart from that, it is urged on behalf of the department that whether they are citizens of India or of a foreign territory, all the transactions of sale or purchase which they carry on within the territory of Andhra Pradesh are liable to the tax imposed by the Andhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act, 1957, unless such transactions are transactions in the course of import into or export outside India. Acting on that view, the appropriate officer of the department duly served notices on all the petitioners to produce their books of account for examination in order that he may ascertain which of the transactions carried on by them are transactions within the ambit of the protection provided by the Constitution and the Act. While some of the petitioners applied for time to produce their accounts, all ultimately failed to produce them with the result that the officer was compelled to proceed to make the best judgment assessments. The department contends that, in the circumstances, it has acted in accordance with law and that the assessments are perfectly valid. It also urges that remedies by way of appeals etc. were available to the petitioners under the Act and they should have pursued them instead of approaching this Court for relief under Article 286. I am inclined to accept these contentions. It is perfectly clear that neither the Constitution nor the Act makes any exception in favour of persons; the exception is only in favour of transactions of a particular nature. Where transactions are admitted or proved to have been carried on within the territory of the State, it is open to the department to ask those who carry on such transactions that they should satisfy it that these transactions are in the course of international trade. Or if it is their case that they carried on no transactions at all within the territory, then too, they must prove it.

4. The actual scope of the exemption is defined by the Supreme Court in The State of Travancore-Cochin v. Bombay Co. Ltd. [1952] S.C.R. 1112 and The State of Travancore-Cochin v. S.V.C. Factory and Ors. [1953] 4 S.T.C. 205. If the goods for instance were sold and delivery was effected to the buyers within the State, the mere fact that subsequently the buyer took these goods to a foreign territory does not affect the liability of the goods to sales tax. The sale or purchase must be in the course of export or import. In the ease of persons who live so very close to the State and who almost daily move into and out of the State-apart from the fact that some of them actually live within the State although they may be carrying on some business outside it-while some transactions may really be in the course of import or export, some others may well not be. It is therefore incumbent on the parties concerned to place before the taxing authorities materials which would enable them to distinguish between transactions which are immune from tax and which are not. Where no assistance is rendered to them to determine the necessary questions of fact, the authorities have no option but to resort to those provisions of the Act which enable them to take action where the parties abstain altogether from co-operation. The petitioners can only succeed now on the view that all transactions of whatever nature carried on by them within the territory of Andhra Pradesh should be exempt-a contention which is obviously unsustainable. The question with respect to every transaction is a question of fact which must be established in the usual course to the satisfaction of the assessing authorities. The general contention therefore urged on their behalf that irrespective of the nature of the transactions all their transactions should be declared immune from tax cannot be upheld.

5. In the result, I dismiss all these petitions with costs. In each case, Advocate's fee Rs. 50.


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