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Khurjawala Buckles Manufacturing Co. Vs. Commissioner, Sales Tax and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ No. 1636 of 1964
Judge
Reported inAIR1965All517
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Sections 141 - Order 2, Rules 3, 8 and 9; Uttar Pradesh Sales Tax Act; Central Sales Tax Act; Court Fees Act - Sections 17
AppellantKhurjawala Buckles Manufacturing Co.
RespondentCommissioner, Sales Tax and anr.
Appellant AdvocateHari Swarup, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateStanding Counsel
DispositionQuestion answered
Excerpt:
sales tax - writ - article 226 of constitution of india and section 141 of code of civil procedure,1908 - petition for quashing orders passed by assistant sales tax officer for - two more orders under central tax act has been passed by the same officer - question arouse whether petition in which two different act involved can be maintainable or not - held, when two cause of action joined in one suit and the court founds that it is not possible to tried or disposed of both together court orders for separate trials - article 226 of constitution is not governed by code of civil procedure,1908 - petition can not be entertained. - - we are not prepared to lay down that the practice of uniting in one petition stveral causes of action against the same opposite party is reasonable merely..........code in regard to suits is to be followed, so far as it can be, in all proceedings in any court of civil jurisdiction. a high court when exercising jurisdiction under article 226 of the constitution cannot be said to be a court of civil jurisdiction.there is considerable conflict about the nature of the jurisdiction conferred upon a high court under article 226; some high courts take the view that it is civil jurisdiction, some take it to be civil or criminal according to the nature of the jurisdiction exercised by the inferior court or tribunal or authority passing the impugned order and others take tbe view that it is neither civil ncr criminal. it has been heid by the supreme court that it is not ordinary jurisdiction and is extraordinary juris-diction; this observation may mean that.....
Judgment:

Desai, C.J.

1. This is a petition for certiorari for the quashing of two assessment orders passed by an Assistant Sales Tax Officer, Aligarh, under the U. P. Sales Tax Act, one for the assessment year 1960-61 and the other for the assessment year 1961-62 and two more assessment orders passed by the same officer but under the Central Sales Tax Act, one for the assessment year 1960-61 and the other for the assessment year 1961-62, and mandamus directing the Sales Tax Officer and the Commissioner of Sales Tax, U. P. not to recover from the petitioner the amountsof the sales tax imposed under the impugned assess-ment orders. The petition came up for hearing before our brother Manchanda, before whom there arose the question whether one petition for certiorari for the quashing of distinct assessment orders passed for two years and distinct assessment orders passtd under two Acts was maintainable or not. It may be mentioned that the court-fee payable on a petition for certiorari is Rs. 50/- and that the court-fee paid on the petition by the petitioner is Rs. 50/-; it has not paid court-fee of Rs. 200/- as it would have paid if it had filed separate petitions tor certiorari for the quashing of each of the assessment orders.

Our learned brother considering the matter to be of importance has referred the following question to a Bench for its decision:--

'Whether more than one assessment order can be challenged by means of a single writ petition under Article 228 of the Constitution; and in the circumstances of this case whether in respect of tbe Sales Tax assessments for the year 1960-61 and 1901-62 a single writ petition can be tiled in respect of the assessments both under the U. P. Sales Tax and under the Central Sales Tax Act where the points of challenge are the same?'

2. When certiorari is sought for the quashing of two or more assessment orders the following are the possible combinations.--(1) the assessment orders may relate to the same assesses and the same taxing statute but relate to different assessment years (2) they relate to the same taxing statute and the same assessment year but relate to two or more assessees (3) they relate to the same assessee and the same assessment year but relate to two or more taxing statutes, (4) they relate to tbe same assessee, the same taxing statute and the same assessment year but are passed by different authorities, for example an assessing authority, an appellate authority and a revisional authority and (5) a combination of any two or more of the above. The question framed by our learned brother is wide enough to cover any of the abovementioned combinations but we must answer it only with regard to the facts of this petition. We, therefore, proceed to decide whether one petition can be filed for the quashing of two assess. ment orders passed against an assessee under one taxing statute by one authority but in respect of two assessment years and two assessment orders passed against the same assessee and by the same authority and in respect of the same two assessment years but under another taxing statute. We are not concerned with any other combination in this case.

3. This Court has framed rules to govern the proceeding in a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution, vide Chapter XXII of Rules of Court, 1952, but they do not contain any rule regarding filing of one petition against two or more orders. Sri Hari Swamp contended that the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure apply to a proceeding under Article 228 of the Constitution and that Order II Rule 3 of the Code permits the joinder of reliefs such as in the present petition. In the alternative he contended tbat even if the Cede is not applicable the analogy of Order II Rule 3 ot it should be applied by this Court in its discretion and it should entertain the petition.

4. Order II Rule 3 is to tbe effect that a plain-tiff may unite in the same suit several causes of action against the same defendant or the same defendants jointly and that where causes of action are united the jurisdiction of the Court as regards the suit shall depend on the amount or value of the aggregate subject-matters. There is Rule 6 in Order II laying down that when it appears to the Court that any causes of action joined in one suit cannotbe conveniently tried or disposed of together, it may order separate trials. The first question is whether the Code of Civil Procedure governs a proceeding under Article 226 of the Constitution or not and our answer is 'no.' No statutory authority other than Section 141 or the Code of Civil Procedure was cited in support of the contention that the Code applies. What is laid down in Section 141 is that the procedure laid down in the Code in regard to suits is to be followed, so far as it can be, in all proceedings in any Court of civil jurisdiction. A High Court when exercising jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution cannot be said to be a Court of civil jurisdiction.

There is considerable conflict about the nature of the jurisdiction conferred upon a High Court under Article 226; some High Courts take the view that it is Civil jurisdiction, some take it to be civil or criminal according to the nature of the jurisdiction exercised by the inferior Court or tribunal or authority passing the impugned order and others take tbe view that it is neither civil ncr criminal. It has been heid by the Supreme Court that it is not ordinary jurisdiction and is extraordinary juris-diction; this observation may mean that it is neither civil nor criminal. Ordinary jurisdiction is capable of being divided into civil and criminal jutisdiction but not extraordinary jurisdiction.

5. Under article 133 of the Constitution an appeal lies from a judgment or order passed by a High Court in a 'civil proceeding' on a certain certificate given by it. High Courts have given certificates in respect ot orders passed by them on petitions under Article 226 of the Constitution and such appeals have been entertained by the Supreme Court. This may mean that the High Courts which granted the certificates have held that the proceedings under Article 228 are civil proceedings but it cannot be said that the Supreme Court has held so merely because it has entertained the appeals on the certificates granted by them. The question whether such a proceeding is a civil proceeding or not has not been raised before the Supreme Court in any such appeal, merely by entertaining and allowing the appeals it cannot be ssid to have declared that it is a civil proceeding. A High Court may be said to be a Court of civil jurisdiction when trying a suit in exercise of original jurisdiction or hearing an appeal or revision under the piovisions of the Code but we do not think that it can be said to be a Court of civil jurisdiction when exercising jurisdiction under Article 228 of the Constitution.

One of us has said in State of U. P. v. Mukhtar Singh (S) A. I. R. 1957 All. 505 that a proceeding under Article 226 is not a civil proceeding and he is not persuaded that the view taken by him is incorrect. Further it appears to us that the intention behind section 141 was to apply in proceedings other than those in suits the provisions applicable in suits. Certain previsions in the Code are applicable only in suits pending in Courts of civil jurisdiction and Section 141 was enacted to make them applicable in other proceedings aiso pending in Courts of civil jurisdiction so far as they can be applicable. The object was not to make its provisions applicable in Courts other than those governed by the Code, for this there exist provisions in the special and local Act, There is no provision in the Code making its provisions applicable to a High Court exercising jurisdiction under Article 226. Not only is there no division of a proceeding under Article 226 into suits and other proceedings but also no provision of the Code applies to any proceeding under Article 226. Therefore, it cannot be argued that by virtue of Section 141 the provisions in the Code relating to suitswill apply in proceedings under Article 226.

6. This Court when making rules governing the procedure in petitions under Article 228 has refrained from making the provisions of the Code appli-cable. Certain rules made by it such as Rules 8 and 9 of the Chapter XXII show that the provisions of the Code were not intended to be applicable; otherwise they would not have been made at all. It is true that this Court has made very few rules and has not made rules governing so many situations that are likely to arise when exercising jurisdiction under Article 226 but it does not follow that the provisions of the Code were intended to be applicable. The Court has notmade rules governing all situations because it has left the matter at the discretion of the Judges. It was pointed out to us that the provisions of the Code have been applied by this Court in matters concerning substitution and review but that is not on the ground that these matters are governed by the provisions in tha Cade. This Court has applied the analogy or the principle of the provisions relating to substitution and review contained in the Code in exercise of its discretion.

In Uma Shankar v. Divisional Superintendent, Northern Railway, Lucknow AIR 1960 All 368, V. D. Bharagava and R. A. Misra, JJ. held that Order I of the Code does not apply to a proceeding under Article 226. Rajagopala Ayyangar, J. laid down in Muhammad Ibrahim v. Deputy Commercial Tax Officer, Pudukottai, AIR 1956 Mad 628 that neither the provisions of Order I nor the principle behind them can be applied in a petition for a writ. In State of U. P. v. Dr. Vijay Anand Maharaj, 1962 A L J 819: (AIR 1963 S C 946) the Supreme Court declined to go into the question whether an order made under Article 226 can be reviewed under Order 47, C. P. C. or not.

7. There are a number of decisions laying downthat one petition impugning several orders is not maintainable; vide AIR 1960 All 368 (supra), Revenue Patwaris Union v. State of Punjab, AIR 1982 Punj 55, Inder Singh v. State of Rajisthan, AIR 1954 Raj 185 and AIR 1956 Mad 626 (supra). In Calcutta Discount Co. Ltd. v. Income Tax Officer, AIR 1981 S C 372, one petition was Sled to impugn three notices issued under Section 34 of the Income-Tax Act in respect of three years' assessment orders and was entertained. It was granted by a single Judge but rejected by a Bench. The Supreme Court on appeal restored the order of single Judge issuing prohibition but without deciding that a single petition was main-tainable. It was not argued before it that one petition was not maintainable aud so it did not decide this matter. The Division Bench of the High Court had dismissed the petition but not on the ground that it was not maintainable. It has not been argued before it also that it was not. Hence this decision of the Supreme Court does not help the petitioner. In Chandra Bhan v. State of Orissa, Civil Mis. Petn. No. 1398 of 1962 decided by the Supreme Court on 5-4-1963 (SC) the Supreme Court did not decide whether one petition impugning two or more assessment orders could validly be filed or not; all that it decided was that when one petition was bled one appeal arose out of the order and not two or more appeals.

8. Not only is Rule 3 of Order II C. P. C. not applicable in a proceeding under Article 229 but its analogy or principle also should not be applied in it. A fixed court fee of Rs. 50/- is payable on a peti-tion regardless of the number of the orders to be quashed and regardless of the number of the petitioners and the opposite parties. If in this case separate petitions were insisted upon, the State would have recovered in the form of court-fee Rs. 200/-whereas the petitioner has paid only Rs. 50/-. Allowing one petition to be filed for impugning several distinct orders (e. g. orders passed against differentassessees or in respect oE different assessment years or (under different taxing statutes) would result in a loss of revenue to the State and there is no reason why we should permit this. We may go even further and say that we have not been given the power to permit loss to the State revenue and if this is correct, it follows that we have not the power to permit one petition for impugning several distinct orders. The number of suits in which benefit can be taken of the provisions of Order II Rule 3 is vary small but the number of petitions under Article 226 in which its benefit can be taken will be very large.

In a petition under Article 226 the opposite party generally is the State Government and if a petitioner or petitioners were allowed the benefit of Order II Rule 3 all kinds of different orders under different Acts having no connection whatever with one another would be liable to be joined in one petition causing confusion and embarrassment and this cannot ba permitted. Then the principle that one proceeding may be instituted combining a number of cases in which common questions of law or fact arise is not of universal application. Nobody yet has thought of filing one appeal against several orders or of filing one revision application against several appellate orders, on the ground that common questions of fact or law arise. If there are two proceedings and, therefore, two orders Courts have always insisted upon two appeals and two revision applications regardless of whether they are by the same app3llant or applicant or against the same respondent or opposite party or not. There is no reason why one writ petition should be entertained simply on the ground that common questions of law or fact arise or that they are by or against the same person.

We are not prepared to lay down that the practice of uniting in one petition stveral causes of action against the same opposite party is reasonable merely : because it is permitted by Order II Rule 3 and, there-fore, must be permitted as a rule of justice, equity and good conscience in a proceeding under Article 226. One safeguard against the abuse of the practice namely that contained in Section 17 of the Court-Fees Act is not available in a petition under Article 226 and that itself is a sufficient reason for not allowing it.

9. Our answer to the question is that one writ petition for the quashing of two assessment orders pertaining to two assessment years or one petition for the quashing of two assessment orders under two different taxing statutes, even though the assessee is the same and the assessing authority is the same, cannot be entertained. List the case before the learned Judge with this answer.


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