Skip to content


Board of Revenue, U.P., Allahabad Vs. Saraya Sugar Factory, Gorakhpur - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberReference No. 194 of 1967
Judge
Reported inAIR1971All70
ActsStamp Act, 1899 - Sections 33, 56(1), 56(2), 57(1) and 58
AppellantBoard of Revenue, U.P., Allahabad
RespondentSaraya Sugar Factory, Gorakhpur
Advocates:Satendra Nath Verma, Adv.
Excerpt:
civil - power of the high court - case referred by the chief revenue authority to the high court - to decide on the question mentioned in the reference made to him - jurisdiction of high court is not limited to the question raised in the reference. - cantonments act[c.a. no. 41/2006]. section 346 & cantonment fund (servants rules, 1937, rules 13, 14 & 15: [h.l. gokhale, ag. cj, p.v. hardas, naresh h. patil, r.m. borde & r.m. savant, jj] jurisdiction of school tribunal constituted under maharashtra employees of private schools (conditions of service) regulations act, (3 of 1978) held, school run by the cantonment board is a primary school and it is not a school recognised by any such board comparable to the divisional board or the state board. the school tribunal constituted under..........the jurisdiction contemplated by sub-section (1) or sub-section (2), the case may proceed to a higher jurisdiction. section 57(1) reads:'57(1). the chief controlling revenue-authority may state any case referred to it under section 56, sub-section (2), or otherwise coming to its notice, and refer such case, with its own opinion thereon,-- (a) if it arises in a state, to the high court for that state: ........' therefore, not only can a case referred by the collector under section 56(2) to the chief controlling revenue authority be referred by the latter to the high court, but also cases 'otherwise coming to its notice' may also be referred. cases 'otherwise coming to its notice' would include a case which comes to the notice of the chief controlling revenue-authority under section.....
Judgment:

Pathak, J.

1. On October 29, 1957, the Saraya Sugar Factory, a partnership firm, executed a sale deed in favour of the Saraya Sugar Mills (P) Ltd., a private limited company, for an apparent consideration of Rs 17,35.601 and paid stamp duty accordingly. The deed was duly registered.

2. An Inspector of Stamp and Registration obtained a copy of the registered deed and referred the matter to the Chief Inspector of Stamps stating as his opinion that the real consideration was Rs. 1,07,04,832/-, having regard to Article 23 read with Section 24 of the Stamp Act and that, therefore, a heavier duty should have been paid. The Collector of Gorakhpur accepted the opinion and made an order dated March 9, 1960, for payment of the deficit duty.

3. The Company applied under Sections 56 and 57 of the Act to the Board of Revenue, U.P., as the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority, praying that the Board should set aside the order of the Collector or refer the case to this Court for the decision of the three questions of law. One question arose on the plea of the Company that the Collector had no jurisdiction to take proceedings under Section 23 of the Stamps Act because the document was not 'produced' before him within the meaning of that provision. Another question related to the true consideration covered by the sale deed and the duty payable in respect of the instrument. The Board rejected the revision application by its order dated September 15, 1960. It held that the Collector had jurisdiction to summon the document from the Company for the purpose of examining it and deciding whether it had been properly stamped. It also upheld the view taken by the Collector that a further duty was due on the deed.

4. The Company filed a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution praying that the order of the Board rejecting the revision application be quashed and the Board be directed to make a reference to this court under Section 57. On December 2, 1965, this Court allowed the petition and issued the direction prayed for. The Board has now submitted a statement of the case. After set-tins out the facts it has framed the following two points of law for the opinion of this Court:

'1. Whether the document is a sale deed for a consideration of Rs. 17,35,601/-as contended by the executants?

2. Whether in view of the provisions of Section 24 of the Stamp Act the sale consideration under the deed shall be deemed to Rs. 1,07,04,832 being the amount shown in the document plus the amount of liabilities disclosed from the balance sheet referred to therein which the vendee undertook to pay and duty liable to be paid thereon as held by the Board?'

5. Learned counsel for the Company contends that the question whether the Collector had jurisdiction to make an order under Section 33 should also have been framed by the Board for the opinion of this Court, and urges that either this Court should frame the question of law itself, or, alternatively, direct the Board to frame it and to submit a supplementary statement of the case. There has been serious debate before us on the question whether this Court has jurisdiction to frame a question of law apart from those already framed by the Board in the statement of the case. The question calls for serious consideration, specially as it does not appear to be covered by authority so far. Section 56 provides:

'56(1). The powers exercisable by a Collector under Chapter IV and Chapter V and under Clause (a) of the first proviso to Section 26 shall in all cases be subject to the control of the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority.

(2) If any collector, acting under Section 31, Section 40 or Section 41, feels doubt as to the amount of duty which any instrument is chargeable, he may draw up a statement of the case, and refer it, with his own opinion thereon, for the decision of the Chief Controlling Revenue-Authority.

(3) Such authority shall consider the case and send a copy of its decision to the Collector, who shall proceed to assess and charge the duty (if any) in confromity with such decision.'

Under Section 56 the Chief Controlling Revenue-Authority may take cognizance of a case in either one of two ways. By virtue of Sub-section (1) it may, either of its own motion or on application made, control the exercise of powers by a Collector under Chapters IV and V and Clause (a) of the first proviso to Section 26. In essence, it exercises revisional jurisdiction over the powers of the Collector. By virtue of Sub-section (2) it may entertain a reference made by the Collector who acting under Sections 31 40 or 41 feels doubt as to the amount of duty with which any instrument is chargeable. The case so referred will be considered by the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority and its decision communicated to the Collector who will proceed to assess and charge the duty in conformity with such decision. The statute then provides that in either event, whether the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority is called upon to exercise the jurisdiction contemplated by Sub-section (1) or Sub-section (2), the case may proceed to a higher jurisdiction. Section 57(1) reads:

'57(1). The Chief Controlling Revenue-Authority may state any case referred to it under Section 56, Sub-section (2), or otherwise coming to its notice, and refer such case, with its own opinion thereon,--

(a) if it arises in a State, to the High Court for that State:

........'

Therefore, not only can a case referred by the Collector under Section 56(2) to the Chief Controlling Revenue authority be referred by the latter to the High Court, but also cases 'otherwise coming to its notice' may also be referred. Cases 'otherwise coming to its notice' would include a case which comes to the notice of the Chief Controlling Revenue-Authority under Section 56(1). Section 57(2) provides that every such case, namely a case referred by the Chief Controlling Authority to the High Court shall be decided by not less than three Judges of the High Court to which it is referred. Section 58 provides:

'58. If the High Court * * * * is not satisfied that the statements contained in the case are sufficient to enable it to determine the questions raised thereby, the Court may refer the case back to the Revenue-Authority by which it was stated, to make such additions thereto or alterations therein as the Court may direct in that behalf.'

And Section 59 provides:

'59(1). The High Court * * * *, upon the hearing of any such case, shall decide the questions raised thereby, and shall deliver its judgment thereon containing the grounds on which such decision is founded.

(2) The Court shall send to the Revenue-Authority by which the case was stated, a copy of such judgment under the seal of the Court and the signature of the Registrar; and the Revenue-Authority shall, on receiving such copy, dispose of the case conformably to such judgment.'

Now, upon a consideration of the several provisions from Section 56 to Section 59, it seems clear that the case referred by the Chief Controlling Revenue-Authority to the High Court under Section 57(1) is the entire case referred to it under Section 56(2) or the entire case coming to its notice under Section 56(1). The case which comes to the notice of the Chief Controlling Revenue authority under Section 56(1) is the case comprised in a revision application made to it or a case which it considered suo motu. There is nothing in Section 57(1) to justify the conclusion that it is not the entire case, but a part of it, whose reference to the High Court is contemplated. The statute does not speak of a case limited to any questions or points of law formulated by the Board when making the reference to the High Court. No such position can be spelled out from Section 57. In contrast Section 66(1) of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 and Section 256(1) of the Income-tax Act, 1961 speak of the reference of questions of law to the High Court and not comprehensively of a case to that Court. The position obtaining under Section 57 of the Indian Stamp Act does not compare with that under the Income-tax Act. There is, for example the distinguishing feature that while under the Income-tax Acts a reference by the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal to the High Court lies only at the instance of the assessee or the Commissioner of Income-tax, the jurisdiction of the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority under Section 57 of the Stamp Act extends to making a reference to its own motion. Then, there is no provision under the Stamp Act equivalent to Section 66(2) of the Indian Income-tax Act. 1922 or Section 256(2) of the Income-tax Act, 1961 enabling a party to apply to the High Court for a direction, that, apart from the questions referred, other questions of law should also be referred. The Supreme Court in Kamlapat Motilal v. Commr. of Income-tax : [1962]45ITR266(SC) held that Section 66(2) of the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922 was the proper provision to resort to in such a case and the Court had no jurisdiction in that behalf under Section 66(4). The earlier view of this court to the contrary in Mahabir Prasad Niranjan Lal v. Commr. of Income-tax : [1951]20ITR472(All) and Juggilal Kamlapat v. Commr. of Income-tax : [1961]41ITR257(All) was superseded.

6. The entire case, which was before the Chief Controlling Revenue-Authority under Section 56(1) being now before the High Court upon the reference of the case under Section 57(1), it is that case which falls to be decided by the High Court under Section 57(2). As the entire case is the subject of the reference, the jurisdiction of the High Court extends to deciding all the questions raised by the case, and where the case arises upon a revision application under Section 56(1) they are all the questions raised in the revision application. The jurisdiction of the High Court is not confined to those questions which have been suggested by the Chief Controlling Revenue-Authority in the Statement of the case. If the High Court is confined to those questions only, it may well be that an important question vitally affecting the outcome of the case may not be formulated by the Revenue Authority and would, therefore, not be the subject-matter of consideration by the High Court. Sections 56 to 59 embody a complete code and I have no difficulty in holding that the framers of the legislation intended that all questions of jurisdiction and law should fall within the advisory jurisdiction of the High Court. To hold otherwise would be to accept in the Chief Controlling Revenue-Authority a discretionary power enabling it to confine the case to some questions of law while omitting others, I do not think it was ever intended that the jurisdiction of the High Court over a case should be determined by what questions the Chief Controlling Revenue-Authority would refer or would not refer in its discretion. A perusal of Section 58 makes it clear that the High Court is entitled to consider what are the questions raised in the case and then to determine whether the statements submitted by the Board are sufficient to enable it to determine those questions. The expression 'the questions raised thereby' in Section 58 refers to the questions raised by the case and not to the questions formulated in the statement of the case. The statute contemplates the submission of a full and complete case to the High Court and the Statement should be sufficient to enable the High Court to decide all the questions raised by the case. If the statement is insufficient, the High Court, can refer the case back to the Revenue Authority for making such additions or alterations as may be directed by the Court. It is contended on behalf of the State that the additions and alterations are contemplated in the Statement of the case, and, therefore, the word 'case' must be confined to the controversy limited in the statement of the case. I cannot, agree. Such a construction, I think, would unjustifiably limit the scope of that expression in Section 57(1) which, as I have pointed out, intends reference to the entire case. Section 59(1) provides that the High Court, hearing such case, shall decide the questions raised thereby. Pursuant to Section 59(2), a copy of its judgment is sent to the Revenue Authority by which the case was stated, and the Revenue Authority then disposes of the case conformably to such judgment. The case disposed of by the Revenue Authority is apparently the case which was before it when it made the reference to the High Court, and that would imply the entire case.

7. At this stage, it seems to me desirable to note that what is ordinarily contemplated for the decision of the High Court are questions of law and jurisdiction and not questions of fact. Under Section 56(1), the powers exercisable by a Collector are subject to the control of the Chief Controlling Revenue-Authority. That, it seems to me points to questions of jurisdiction and of law. So also, under Section 56(2) a reference made by the Collector feeling doubt as to the amount of duty with which an instrument is chargeable is a reference on a question of law, namely what should be the duty chargeable in law having regard to the contents of the instrument.

8. As regards the question whether this Court can, under Section 58, require the Board to frame a further question of law. I am of opinion that the observations of the Supreme Court in Kamlapat Motilal : [1962]45ITR266(SC) (supra) preclude us from taking that view. The language of the section also does not lend itself to that construction. The language of Section 58 makes a distinction between 'the statements contained in the case' and the 'questions raised thereby'. It is when the statements are not sufficient to enable the Court to determine the questions that the occasion for exercising jurisdiction under Section 58 arises and the Board may be required to add, or modify, the statements submitted by it.

9. On behalf of the Board reliance was placed on Puranchand v. Emperor, AIR 1942 Lah 257. In that case, Skemp. J. observed that the expression 'such case' in Section 57(1) refers to the question propounded by the Chief Controlling Revenue-Authority of which he felt doubt and discountenanced the plea that the whole of the case was before the High Court. Upon the considerations which have appealed to me, I find myself, with respect, unable to agree with that learned Judge. We were also referred to Sonbarsa Kuer : AIR1950All319 ; Board of Revenue v. Vidyawati : AIR1962SC1217 and Banarsi Dass v. Chief Controlling Revenue Authority : [1968]1SCR685 . I have perused those judgments with care, but I am unable to find anything therein to support the contention of the State that it is not the entire case but only specific questions of law that are referred by the Chief Controlling Revenue-Authority to the High Court.

10. It was strenuously urged on behalf of the State that a reference to the High Court under Section 57 must be confined to determining the quantum of the stamp duty payable upon an instrument and no other question can be raised before the Court. I am unable to accept the contention.

11. As I have already pointed out, a reference lies to the High Court under Section 57(1) from a proceeding under Section 56(1). Section 56(1) enables the Chief Controlling Revenue-Authority to control the powers exercisable by a Controller under Chapters IV and V and under Clause (a) of the first proviso to Section 26. I consider it beyond doubt that in exercising that jurisdiction the Chief Controlling Revenue-Authority can examine not only the decision of the Collector on its merits but also whether he had jurisdiction in the matter. The Collector exercising powers under Section 33 is empowered to examine the document produced before him, or which comes before him, in the performance of his functions and to determine whether the instrument is not duly stamped and, if so, to impound the same. Proceeding thereafter under Section 40(1)(b) he will require the payment of proper duty or the amount required to make up the same together with a penalty. Now, before this procedure can be set in motion all the conditions necessary for the exercise of jurisdiction under Section 33 must be present. The instrument must be produced before the authority mentioned in Section 33(1) or must come before it in the performance of its functions.

It seems to me difficult to hold that Section 31 contemplates for example a case where an authority proceeds to the residence of a person and seizes an instrument there even though that person does not intend to use the instrument until he has obtained the opinion of the Collector under Section 31 on whether it is properly stamped. The Supreme Court in Government of Uttar Pradesh v. Mohd. Amir : [1962]1SCR97 held that when a person is merely seeking the opinion of the Collector as to the proper duty in regard to the instrument and approaches him for that purpose under Section 31 no jurisdiction under Section 33 can be exercised in respect of such instrument. This illustration amply demonstrates that a person against whom a proceeding is taken under Section 33 can apply to the Chief Controlling Revenue-Authority under Section 56(1) and complain of the action of the Collector, in impounding the instrument and demanding deficit duty, on the ground that the conditions for the exercise of the jurisdiction under Section 33 never existed. I may also refer to the difference in language between Section 56(1) and Section 56(2). Section 56(2) is specifically confined to a case where there is a doubt as to the proper amount of duty payable on an instrument. Such words of limitation are absent altogether from Section 56(1). The Chief Controlling Revenue-Authority has the widest jurisdiction for the purpose of controlling the powers exercisable by the Collector, and this jurisdiction extends to determining whether the conditions requisite for invoking the powers of the Collector are present.

12. It Is also urged on behalf of the State that the order of the Collector impounding the instrument under Section 33 is a procedural step only and is intended with the ultimate object of levying stamp duty, and, therefore, it is the quantum of the duty alone which can be determined in the reference. In the present case, a demand for payment of the deficit duty has been made by the Collector, and upon what I have observed above the jurisdiction of the Collector in initiating the proceeding under Section 33 does arise for consideration.

13. In my opinion, the question whether the Collector had jurisdiction to act under Section 33 in respect of the sale deed dated October 29, 1957 is a question which can be decided in a reference made to this Court under Section 57(1). I am also of opinion that it is within the jurisdiction of this Court to raise that question even if it has not been specifically formulated by the Board when submitting the Statement of the case.

14. Learned counsel for the parties are agreed that the question should be framed in the following terms, and I frame it accordingly:

'Was the sale deed dated October 29, 1957 produced, or did it come, before the Collector within the meaning of Section 33 of the Stamp Act so as to give him jurisdiction to impound the document and levy additional duty?'

15. I have examined the statement of the case already submitted by the Board for the purpose of determining whether the further question now framed can be decided on the basis of that Statement. It seems to me that the facts stated there are inadequate for the purpose of answering that question. In my judgment, this is a case in which, exercising the jurisdiction under Section 58, we should refer the case back to the Board to make such additions and alterations as are necessary for the purpose of enabling this Court to decide the further question framed by us.

16. Accordingly, the case is referred back to the Board of Revenue, U.P. for making appropriate additions and alterations for the purpose of enabling the Court to decide the further question framed above. The Board is directed to submit the amended statement of the case within three months of the receipt by it of a copy of this order.

Parekh, J.

17. I agree

Gulati, J.

18. I agree that a supplementary statement of the case should be called from the Board, I would, however, like to add the following.

19. Under Section 57(1) of the Stamp Act the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority makes a reference to the High Court suo motu as also on an application made in that behalf of the party concerned, as has been recently held by the Supreme Court in : [1968]1SCR685 .

20. It can be argued that when the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority (hereinafter referred to as the 'authority') makes a reference on its own motion, it will do so only with respect to the question upon which it feels any doubt or difficulty. It need not refer all the questions that arise in a case. The reference to the 'statement of the case' and to the 'case' in Sections 58 and 59, therefore, can well be said to relate to the statement of the case relevant to the questions of law upon which the authority seeks the opinion of the High Court. It is possible, therefore, to take the view that when the suo motu jurisdiction is exercised under Section 57(1) by the Authority, it need not refer all the questions that arise in a case and the expression 'the questions raised thereby' occurring in Section 58 would be referable to the questions referred by the Authority to the High Court for its opinion. After all, the provision for a suo motu reference has been made for the benefit of the authority and it would be illogical to insist that it should make a reference in respect of all the questions arising out of the case even though the authority needs opinion of the High Court only on some of the questions.

21. The position, however, is different when the reference is made at the instance of a party. In such a case the authority shall have to refer all such questions as arising out of a case upon which the party seeks a reference. In such a case there is no option with the authority to select only some of the questions for reference and to withhold reference on other questions. But the question arises that when the authority adopts such a course what is the remedy open to the aggrieved party. There is no provision in the Stamp Act like Section 66(2) of the Income-tax Act, 1922 or Section 256(2) of the Income-tax Act, 1961, and therefore it may not be open to the aggrieved party to apply to the High Court for a direction to the authority to refer the questions which it has omitted to refer, even though asked for by the party. In such a situation the only course open to the party would be to invite the attention of the High Court to the omission of the authority to refer all the questions when the reference comes up before the High Court-Under Section 58 when the High Court is not satisfied that the statements contained in the case are sufficient to enable it to determine the questions raised thereby, the Court may refer the case back to the Revenue Authority by which it was stated, to make such additions thereto or alterations therein as the Court may direct in that behalf.'

22. Section 66(4) of the Income-tax Act, 1922 employs the same phraseology as is contained in Section 58. While interpreting this provision, this Court in : [1961]41ITR257(All) held that the power under Section 66(4) conferred on the High Court to direct the Tribunal to make additions to or alterations in a statement of the case includes within it the power to ask the Tribunal to frame questions of law not included within the statement of the case, and that the language of Section 66(4) envisages that the High Court shall exercise the power of calling for a further statement of the case in respect of questions not included in the statement of the case by the Tribunal where a statement of the case is, in fact, already submitted by the Tribunal to the High Court. It was held in that case that where an assessee makes an application under Section 66(1) of the Income-tax Act to the Tribunal to refer more than one question of law arising out of the appellate order of the Tribunal and the Tribunal only draws up a statement of the case in respect of some of the questions of law and refers it to the High Court and refuses to frame other questions of law or to draw up a statement of the case in respect of them, the appropriate provision of law under which the aggrieved assessee can move the High Court is Section 66(4) of the Income-tax Act.

23. This view, of course, has been overruled by the Supreme Court in : [1962]45ITR266(SC) because of the existence of Section 66(2) which is a specific provision for a situation like that But, there being no provision corresponding to Section 66(2) in the Stamp Act, the interpretation placed by this Court upon Section 66(4) of the Income-tax Act would apply to the interpretation of Section 58 of the Stamp Act.

24. In the instant case the authority omitted to refer one of the questions relating to the jurisdiction of the Collector under Section 33 of the Stamp Act, even though such a reference had been asked for by the party. It is, therefore, open to the High Court to frame that question itself and to refer the case back to the authority for submitting a supplementary statement of the case to enable this Court to answer the additional question. The High Court can indicate the question, but it cannot proceed to answer the same unless the necessary statement of the case is furnished by the authority. It therefore, becomes necessary for the High Court to refer the case back to the authority for submission of the additional statement of the case.

25. In this view of the matter I would prefer not to express any opinion on the larger question as to whether the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority is bound to refer the entire case to the High Court even though the reference is made suo motu. Accordingly, it is not necessary, in my opinion to record our dissent with the case of AIR 1942 Lah 257 which was a case of suo motu reference.

26. The case is referred back to the Board of Revenue, U.P., for making appropriate additions and alterations for the purpose of enabling the Court to decide the further question:

'Was the sale deed dated October 29, 1957 produced, or did it come, before the Collector within the meaning of Section 33 of the Stamp Act so as to give him jurisdiction to impound the document and levy additional duty?'

27. The Board is directed to submit the amended statement of the case within three months of the receipt by it of a copy of this order.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //