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Kishori Lal Rakesh Kumar Vs. Commissioner, Sales Tax - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.T.R. No. 427 of 1981
Judge
Reported in[1985]59STC323(All)
AppellantKishori Lal Rakesh Kumar
RespondentCommissioner, Sales Tax
Appellant AdvocateR.C. Sharma, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateStanding Counsel
DispositionApplication dismissed
Excerpt:
- - on appeal by the revenue the tribunal simply observed that pursuant to a show cause notice, the assessee failed to appear before the assessing authority and that explanation was offered for the first time before the a. 5. in the case of ram lakhan ved prakash [1982] 51 stc 347 one learned judge clearly held in para 7 on page 285 (page 350 of stc) that mens rea was excluded from clause (g) of section 15-a(1). on the other hand, in the cases of sadhu singh (printed at page 335 infra) 1981 uptc 887 and goyal bandhu (printed at page 335 infra) 1982 uptc 596 two other learned single judges held the view that mens rea was necessary for levying the penalty under section 15-a(1)(g). so the conflict was there between these two sets of decisions. 6. the argument of sri sharma is twofold.....om prakash, j. 1. the applicant, hereinafter referred to as the assessee, admittedly, carried on business as an unregistered dealer in the assessment year 1973-74. the sales tax officer, therefore, imposed a penalty on the assessee of rs. 4,800 for default, as envisaged by section 15-a(1)(g) of the u. p. sales tax act, 1948 (for short the act, 1948). on appeal, the assistant commissioner (judicial) [for short the a. c. (j)] having relied on a decision of the supreme court in the case of hindustan steel ltd. v. state of orissa : [1972]83itr26(sc) , cancelled the penalty. he was of the view that no penalty could be imposed unless there was mens rea. he also held that no penalty could be imposed for not seeking renewal of registration under clause (g) of section 15-a(1). before the a. c......
Judgment:

Om Prakash, J.

1. The applicant, hereinafter referred to as the assessee, admittedly, carried on business as an unregistered dealer in the assessment year 1973-74. The Sales Tax Officer, therefore, imposed a penalty on the assessee of Rs. 4,800 for default, as envisaged by Section 15-A(1)(g) of the U. P. Sales Tax Act, 1948 (for short the Act, 1948). On appeal, the Assistant Commissioner (Judicial) [for short the A. C. (J)] having relied on a decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Hindustan Steel Ltd. v. State of Orissa : [1972]83ITR26(SC) , cancelled the penalty. He was of the view that no penalty could be imposed unless there was mens rea. He also held that no penalty could be imposed for not seeking renewal of registration under Clause (g) of Section 15-A(1). Before the A. C. (J), the assessee for the first time contended that registration certificate was given for renewal to its Munim, who forgot to get the registration renewed and that his expenses were also debited in the books. Such explanation, though was stated by the A. C. (J), in his order, was not considered by him. This is how the penalty was cancelled by him. On appeal by the Revenue the Tribunal simply observed that pursuant to a show cause notice, the assessee failed to appear before the assessing authority and that explanation was offered for the first time before the A. C. (J). Also the Tribunal held that the requirement of mens rea was 'impliedly ruled out as an ingredient of the offence and the penalty becomes leviable irrespective of the intention'. So the order of the A. C. (J) was reversed by the Tribunal and the order of the S. T. O. imposing the penalty was restored.

2. Aggrieved by the order of the Tribunal, the assessee filed a revision before this Court, which came up for hearing before a learned single Judge of this Court, who noticed conflicting decisions of this Court in the cases of Commissioner of Sales Tax v. Sadhu Singh (printed at page 335 infra) 1981 UPTC 887 and Commissioner of Sales Tax v. Goyal Bandhu (printed at page 335 infra) 1982 UPTC 596 relied on by the counsel for the assessee and Ram Lakhan Ved Prakash v. Commissioner of Sales Tax, 1981 UPTC 280 relied on by the Standing Counsel. Concluding his order the learned single Judge observed :

As there are conflicting decisions on the question whether mens rea is an essential ingredient of Section 15-A(1)(g) of the U. P. Sales Tax Act, I direct that the papers of this case should be laid before the Honourable the Chief Justice to constitute a larger Bench.

3. It is in this back drop that the revisions has come up for decision before this Division Bench.

4. We have heard Sri R. C. Sharma, learned Counsel for the assessee and Sri Upadhya, learned Standing Counsel at considerable length.

5. In the case of Ram Lakhan Ved Prakash [1982] 51 STC 347 one learned Judge clearly held in para 7 on page 285 (page 350 of STC) that mens rea was excluded from Clause (g) of Section 15-A(1). On the other hand, in the cases of Sadhu Singh (printed at page 335 infra) 1981 UPTC 887 and Goyal Bandhu (printed at page 335 infra) 1982 UPTC 596 two other learned single Judges held the view that mens rea was necessary for levying the penalty under Section 15-A(1)(g). So the conflict was there between these two sets of decisions.

6. The argument of Sri Sharma is twofold : Firstly, that no penalty can be levied under Clause (g) of Section 15-A(1) for failure of obtaining renewal of registration ; and secondly, that no penalty could be levied in this case, as there was no mens rea on the part of the assessee. First, we take up the contention of Shri Sharma, whether penalty can be imposed under Clause (g) of Section 15-A(1) for failure of obtaining renewal of registration. In this connection, Sri Upadhya relied on Mool Chand & Brothers v. Commissioner of Sales Tax. U.P. 1981 UPTC 1064. In the said case exactly the same question came up for consideration before a learned single Judge and he having reproduced Section 8-A and relevant clauses of Section 15-A(1) and having considered Rule 55 and Rule 58 of the U. P. Sales Tax Rules observed as under :

The various provisions quoted above have placed registration and renewal at par except for purposes of making the application and amount of fees. In the case of original registration the fee is more than the fee required for renewal. The concession is available only if the assessee makes an application before the registration expires. If no application is made within the currency of registration, the registration ends and the registration will have to be a fresh registration. The question of renewal of stricto sensu will hardly arise, as it will then not be a case of continuance of registration but of fresh registration.

7. We fully agree with the view taken in the said authority that Clause (g) of Section 15-A(1) of the Act, 1948 refers to renewal of registration as well. Sri Sharma contended, whereas Section 8-A(1)(d) refers to registration, Clause (b) to Sub-section (1-A) of Section 8 refers to renewal of registration. Then he drew our attention to Rule 55 and Rule 58 of the U. P. Sales Tax Rules, 1948. According to him, whereas Rule 55 refers to grant of registration certificate, Rule 58 refers to renewal of certificate. Different provisions having been made for grant of registration and renewal of registration, the contention of Sri Sharma is that the two concepts are different and if the Legislature had intended to include the concept of renewal of registration also in Clause (g), when it would have made its intention clear by including the word 'renewal' in Clause (g). He submitted that the scheme of the Act is clear enough that grant of registration is different from renewal of registration and the omission of the word 'renewal' in Clause (g) has afforded sufficient clue that Clause (g) does not refer to renewal of registration. The question is why different provisions have been made for grant of initial registration and for the registration that would be operative in the succeeding years. The registration once granted would be operative in the succeeding years only when the registration certificate issued in the initial year, is got renewed for the succeeding years by a dealer. As the certificate of registration, granted in the initial years, cannot be automatically availed in the succeeding years and as a dealer has to follow certain procedure for making the certificate of registration, initially granted, operative in the succeeding years, different Rule has been made therefor and from the mere fact that different rules have been made for grant of registration and renewal of registration, it cannot be successfully argued by Sri Sharma that the concept of registration is different from that of renewal of registration. Once the certificate of registration initially granted is renewed for the succeeding year, it relegates to the position of registration for that year. As the certificate of registration initially granted will operate as registration in subsequent years after renewal, the Legislature has used the word 'registration' only in Clause (g). In our considered view, Clause (g) has to be so construed as to include renewal of registration. We, therefore, hold that the Assistant Commissioner (Judicial) was not right in holding that no penalty could be levied for the failure of obtaining renewal of registration under Clause (g) of Section 15-A(1).

8. Then we take up the second submission of Sri Sharma that mens rea is a necessary ingredient in Clause (g) of Section 15-A(1). The sheet-anchor of such argument of Sri Sharma is a decision of the Supreme Court reported in the case of Hindustan Steel Ltd. v. State of Orissa [1970] 25 STC 211 (SC). The submission of Sri Sharma is that for the assessment year 1971-72, registration was granted by the Sales Tax Officer to the assessee and the same was got renewed for the assessment year 1972-73. Admittedly, no steps were taken for renewal of registration for the assessment year 1973-74. He also submits that the assessee filed returns and paid tax on the assessed turnover. On these facts his submission is that no penalty could be imposed, as omission to obtain renewal of registration was merely a technical or venial breach and that it could not be said that there was any mens rea on the part of the assessee. On the other hand, Sri Upadhya drew our attention to the language of several clauses of Sub-section (1) of Section 15-A of the Act, 1948 and argued that there was a marked difference in the language of the said clauses. In short, his submission is: whereas in Clauses (a) and (e), the Legislature has used the expression 'without reasonable cause' and in clauses (b) and (d) the word 'false' and in Clause (c), the words 'concealed' or 'deliberately' have been used by the Legislature, Clause (g) has been worded altogether differently. For better appreciation we reproduce clauses (a) to (e) and (g) below ;

(a) has, without reasonable cause, failed to furnish the return of his turnover or to furnish it within the time allowed and in the manner prescribed, or to deposit the tax due under this Act before furnishing the return or along with the return, as required under the provisions of this Act ; or

(b) has submitted a false return of turnover under this Act; or

(c) has concealed the particulars of his turnover or has deliberately furnished inaccurate particulars of such turnover ; or

(d) has maintained or produced false accounts, registers or documents ; or

(e) has without reasonable cause, failed to pay, within the time allowed the tax assessed on him ; or

(g) being liable for registration under this Act, carries on or continues to carry on business without obtaining registration or without furnishing the security demanded under Section 8-C.

9. His submission, therefore, was that the legislative intent is clear from the difference of the language .being employed for drafting various clauses of Section 16-A(1). He argued, wherever the Legislature contemplated to retain mens rea as ingredient of the default it specifically used the words, such as 'false, concealed, deliberately' arid the like. The argument is that Clause (g) having been worded without any word showing mens rea, the Legislature clearly intended to impose a penalty in the event of failure of a dealer in obtaining registration or renewal of registration in absolute terms without requiring mens rea. He continued to argue, if there were any intention to make mens rea as ingredient of the default, envisaged by Clause (g), then the Legislature would have made it clear by using appropriate words as have been used in other clauses. The omission of any word indicating mens rea in Clause (g), Sri Upadhya said, was significant. In our opinion there is great force in these submissions of Sri Upadhya. We see no possible reason as to what inhibited the Legislature from using the words 'knowingly', 'deliberately', 'intentionally' or the like, in Clause (g), if the intention was to import mens rea in Clause (g), except the one that the Legislature did not intend to make mens rea as ingredient of the default contemplated by Clause (g). Clear omission of an appropriate word giving a clue of mens rea in Clause (g) has constrained us to hold that mens rea is not necessary for making default envisaged by Clause (g) punishable. Taking the semantic view of Clause (g) we unhesitatingly find that mens rea is not necessary for imposing a penalty for the default, covered by Clause (g). In Commissioner of Sales Tax v. Parson Tools and Plants, : [1975]3SCR743 the Supreme Court observed as follows :

Where the Legislature clearly declares its intent in the scheme and language of a statute, it is the duty of the Court to give full effect to the same without scanning its wisdom or policy, and without engrafting, adding or implying anything which is not congenial to or consistent with such expressed intent of the law-giver ; more so if the statute is a taxing statute.

10. This authority fully supports the construction that we have put on Clause (g).

11. The argument of Sri Sharma proceeds on the principle 'no mens rea--no penalty'. In the case of Additional Commissioner of Income-tax v. Durga Pandarinath Tuljayya & Co. 1977 Tax LR 258, a Full Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court has observed :

The doctrine of mens rea is of common law origin developed by judge-made law. It has no place in the legislator's law where offences are defined with sufficient accuracy.

12. In para 11 of the said authority, the High Court observed as under :

Mens rea is an essential ingredient of an offence. However, it is a rule of construction. If there is a conflict between the common law and the statute law, it has always been held that it is a sound rule to construe a statute in conformity with the common law. But it cannot be postulated that a statute cannot alter the course of the common law. The Parliament, in exercise of its constitutional powers makes statutes and in exercise of that power it can affirm, alter or take away the common law altogether. Therefore, if it is plain from the statute that it intends to alter the course of the common law, then the plain meaning should be accepted. The existence of mens rea as an essential ingredient of an offence has to be made out by the construction of the statute.

13. In the same authority on page 265, the Andhra Pradesh High Court reproduced what was said by Wright, J., in Sherras v. De Rutzen [1895] 1 QB 918 on the subject. The observations of Wright, J., so far as material, are as follows :

There is a presumption that mens rea, an evil intention, or a knowledge of the wrongfulness of the act, is an essential ingredient in every offence ; but that presumption is liable to be displaced either by the words of the statute creating the offence or by the subject-matter with which it deals, and both must be considered..In order to find out whether mens rea, i. e., a guilty mind is an ingredient or not, reference has to be made to the language of the enactment, the object and subject-matter of the statute and the nature and character of the act sought to be punished.

14. From the aforesaid materials, it is amply clear that to find out whether mens rea is a necessary ingredient of Clause (g), the language of the enactment has to be considered and it is not to be presumed as an ingredient of the default, envisaged by Clause (g), simply because that constitutes a penalty provision, which is regarded as a quasi-criminal proceeding. Though mens rea is an essential ingredient of an offence under the common law, but it can be excluded by a statute. The language of Clause (g) of Section 16-A(1) which has absolutely different pattern from the language of the preceding clauses of the said section clearly shows that mens rea was not made an ingredient of Clause (g) by the Act of 1948. To reach a correct conclusion, Clause (g) has to be read in the setting of the whole Section 15-A(1). No plausible reply has been given by Sri Sharma as to why the words indicating mens rea, existing in other clauses of Section 15-A(1) are conspicuously absent in Clause (g). The only legitimate inference that can be drawn from such omission is that mens rea was not a sine quo non for punishing a default covered by Clause (g).

15. The Supreme Court in R. S. Joshi, Sales Tax Officer v. Ajit Mills Ltd., 1979 UPTC 171 observed on page 181:

The classical view that 'no mens rea--no crime' has long ago been eroded and several laws in India and abroad, especially regarding economic crimes and departmental penalties, have created severe punishments even where the offences have been defined to exclude mens rea.

16. From the authorities aforesaid a clear principle of law that emerges is that though mens rea is a necessary ingredient of an offence but the Legislature can free any provision relating to an offence in a statute from this fetter. Clause (g), in our view, is free from the bondage of mens rea. The argument of Sri Sharma that 'no mens rea--no penalty', therefore, does not hold good.

17. Then we come to the authorities relied on by Sri Sharma. As already pointed out, Sri Sharma has drawn main support from the decision of the Supreme Court: Hindustan Steel Ltd. : [1972]83ITR26(SC) . The observations of the Supreme Court on which reliance has been placed, are on page 214 and they are reproduced below:

Under the Act penalty may be imposed for failure to register as a dealer : Section 9(1) read with Section 25(1)(a) of the Act. But the liability to pay penalty does not arise merely upon proof of default in registering as a dealer. An order imposing penalty for failure to carry out a statutory obligation is the result of a quasi-criminal proceeding, and penalty will not ordinarily be imposed unless the party obliged either acted deliberately in defiance of law or was guilty of conduct contumacious or dishonest, or acted in conscious disregard of its obligation. Penalty will not also be imposed merely because it is lawful to do so. Whether penalty should be imposed for failure to perform a statutory obligation is a matter of discretion of the authority to be exercised judicially and on a consideration of all the relevant circumstances. Even if a minimum penalty is prescribed, the authority competent to impose the penalty will be justified in refusing to impose penalty, when there is a technical or venial breach of the provisions of the Act or where the breach flows from a bona fide belief that the offender is not liable to act in the manner prescribed by the statute.

18. Section 9(1) of the Orissa Sales Tax Act, 1947 (for short the Act of 1947) reads :

No dealer shall, while being liable under Section 4 to pay tax under this Act, carry on business as a dealer unless he has been registered under this Act and possesses a registration certificates.

19. Section 25(1)(a) of the Act, 1947 bearing the heading 'Offences and penalties' can be completely read thus :

Whoever carries on business as a dealer in contravention of Sub-section (1) of Section 9 shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description which may extend to six months or with fine not exceeding Rs. 1,000 or with both, and when the offence is a continuing one, with a daily fine not exceeding Rs. 60 during the period of the continuance of the offence.

20. From the observations of the Supreme Court, as reproduced above, it is manifest that they relate to Section 25(1)(a), read with Section 9(1), which creates an offence governed by the Criminal Procedure Code, to be tried by a Magistrate of the First Class within the meaning of Sub-section (2) of Section 25. The observations of the Supreme Court made in regard to an offence cannot be applied to a default envisaged by Clause (g) of Section 15-A(1), which is not an offence and which is punishable by the assessing authority.

21. In Commissioner of Income-tax v. Gangaram Chapolia : [1976]103ITR613(Orissa) , a Full Bench of the Orissa High Court while considering a question whether mens rea is a necessary ingredient of Section 271(1) (a) of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (for short the Act, 1961) considered the true import of the decision in the case of Hindustan Steel Ltd. : [1972]83ITR26(SC) and observed as under :

This decision is no authority for the proposition that under Section 12(5) of the Orissa Sales Tax Act the expression 'without sufficient cause' carries an import of mens rea or that the burden of proof is on the Revenue to establish absence of sufficient cause.

22. At this stage we would like to make it clear as to how Section 12(5) of the Orissa Sales Tax Act, 1947 (for short the Act, 1947) has been mentioned by the Orissa High Court, when it does not find place in the observations of the Supreme Court in Hindustan Steel Ltd.'s case : [1972]83ITR26(SC) . The question referred to by the Tribunal for the opinion of the High Court, that ultimately reached the Supreme Court for decision in the case of Hindustan Steel Ltd. : [1972]83ITR26(SC) was as follows;

Whether the Tribunal is right in holding that penalties under Section 12(5) of the Act had been rightly levied and whether in view of the serious dispute of liability it cannot be said that there was sufficient cause for not applying for registration

23. Section 12(5) of the Act, 1947 was reproduced by the Orissa High Court on page 621 thus:

If upon information which has come into his possession, the Commissioner is satisfied that any dealer has been liable to pay tax under this Act in respect of any period and has nevertheless without sufficient cause failed to apply for registration, the Commissioner shall, after giving the dealer a reasonable opportunity of being heard, assess, to the best of his judgment, the amount of tax, if any, due from the dealer in respect of such period and all subsequent periods and the Commissioner may direct that the dealer shall pay, by way of penalty, in addition to the amount so assessed, a sum not exceeding one and a half times that amount.

24. As a reference was made in regard to Section 12(5) which related to penalty, the Orissa High Court alluded to that section in its conclusion that the decision of the Supreme Court in Hindustan Steel Ltd.'s case : [1972]83ITR26(SC) is no authority fur the proposition that the expression 'without sufficient cause' occurring in Clause 12(5) of the Act, 1947 carried an import of 'mens rea'.

25. Sri Upadhya relied on a decision of the Madras High Court in the case of Rajam Textiles v. State of Tamil Nadu [1977] 39 STC 124, the ratio of which is that mens rea is not an ingredient for every penalty provision. The Madras High Court considered the scope of Sections 12(3) and 16(2), both relating to penalty, of the Tamil Nadu Genera] Sales Tax Act of 1959 (for short the Act, 1959). Sub-section (2) of Section 16 provides for imposition of penalty if the assessing authority is satisfied that escape from assessment is due to wilful non-disclosure of assessable turnover by the dealer. Section 12(3), however, did not possess the expression 'wilful non-disclosure' or the like. It simpliciter made a provision to impose penalty on the turnover not disclosed by the dealer in his return. Referring to the case of Hindustan Steel Ltd. : [1972]83ITR26(SC) , the Madras High Court observed on page 130 that reference to Section 25(1)(a) by the Supreme Court appeared to be 'clerical error' for Section 12(5). On the question whether mens rea is necessary for every penalty provision or for Section 12(3) as stood in the Act of 1959, the Madras High Court held :

It is open to the Legislature to impose penalties even in cases where the contravention was not deliberate or wilful. The decision of the Supreme Court is, therefore, of no assistance to the learned Counsel. We are, therefore, of the view that wilful non-disclosure is not essential for invoking the powers under Section 12(3) of the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act.

26. We rely on the above reproduced observations of the Madras High Court and hold that mens rea is not necessary everywhere for imposition of penalty. Similar view was taken by a Full Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in the case of Additional Commissioner of Income-tax, A. P. v. Durga Pandarinath Tuljayya & Co. 1977 Tax LR 258, wherein it was held that mens rea was not necessary for imposition of penalty under . Section 271(1)(a) of the Act, 1961.

27. Then Sri Sharma argued that the rule laid down by the Supreme Court in Hindustan Steel Ltd.'s case : [1972]83ITR26(SC) that penalty will not ordinarily be imposed unless the party obliged either acted deliberately in defiance of law or was guilty of conduct contumacious or dishonest, or acted in conscious disregard of its obligation, was followed by the Supreme Court in the case of Cement Marketing Company of India Ltd. v. Assistant Commissioner of Sales Tax 1980 45 UPTC 85 (SC) and the significance of the said decision could not be belittled. The authority : Cement Marketing Company of India Ltd. v. Assistant Commissioner of Sales Tax, 1980 UPTC 85, in our view, is clearly distinguishable. The Supreme Court considered in the said authority a penalty provision, i. e., Section 43 of the Madhya Pradesh General Sales Tax Act, 1958 (for short the Act, 1958). What Section 43 of the Act, 1958 requires is that the assessee should have filed a 'false return'. Interpreting such a provision, the Supreme Court took the view that a return cannot be said to be false unless there is an element of deliberateness in it. When Section 43 itself referred to a false return, import of mens rea in Section 15-A(1)(g) of the Act 1948 are not in pari meteria as in the former the word 'false' has been used but in the latter no word has been used indicating mens rea. Section 43 of the Act, 1958 is absolutely comparable to Section 25(1)(a) of the Act, 1947 which relates to an offence, and therefore, the authority of the Supreme Court relating to an offence described in Section 25(1)(a) is squarely applicable to Section 43 of the Act, 1958.

28. The observations of the Supreme Court made in the Hindustan Steel Ltd.'s case : [1972]83ITR26(SC) can have no universal application but they will apply only to the provisions which are analogous to the provisions of Section 25(1)(a), read with Section 9(1) of the Act, 1947. In taking this view, we are fortified by a decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Rawed and Co. v. K. G. Ramachandran : [1974]2SCR629 . On page 430 of the said authority, referring to its two earlier decisions, the Supreme Court, observed :

We are not called upon in this case to consider whether those two cases were correctly decided. But we must point out that the general observations therein should be confined to the facts of those cases. Any general observation cannot apply in interpreting the provisions of an Act unless this Court has applied its mind to and analysed the provisions of that particular Act.

29. Applying the rule laid down by the Supreme Court in the said authority we hold that the decision in the case of Hindustan Steel Ltd. : [1972]83ITR26(SC) will not cover with the penal provisions made in diverse statutes, but they will be confined to the provisions which are in pari materia with Section 25(1)(a), read with Section 9(1) of the Act, 1947. We, therefore, reject the contention of Sri Sharma that mens rea is sine qua non for imposing penalty under Clause (g) of Section 15-A(1).

30. Then it was argued by Sri Sharma that the construction of Clause (g) of Section 15-A(1) as sought to be put by Sri Upadhya, would amount to a rule of automatic penalty. He submits that Clause (g) cannot be read to mean that as and when a dealer fails to obtain registration or renewal of registration, he becomes liable for penalty. We straightaway agree with Sri Sharma that there is no automatic penalty under Section 15-A(1)(g) of the Act, 1948. Section 15-A says that if the assessing authority is satisfied that any dealer or other person has committed any default covered by Clauses (a) to (r) it may, after such inquiry, if any, as it may deem necessary direct that such dealer or person shall pay, by way of penalty, in addition to the tax, if any, payable by him. Our stress is on the word 'may' occurring in Section 15-A(1) after Clause (r). It clearly indicates that penalty under Section 15-A(1) is not automatic and would be levied only when a dealer fails to show any satisfactory circumstance justifying failure of obtaining registration or renewal of registration.

31. Then the question is: whether any circumstance justifying failure of renewal of registration was shown by the assessee in this case. Sri Sharma harped throughout the arguments on the presence of mens rea in Clause (g) of Section 15-A(1) in addition to the argument that Clause (g) does not cover a default, namely, failure to obtain renewal of registration and he made no whisper that the assessee was prevented by a good cause in obtaining renewal of registration. No such case has been urged before us, much less, established, and therefore, we are not required to record a finding, whether the assessee failed to obtain renewal of registration under any bonafide belief.

32. We, therefore, agree with the view that has been taken in the case of Ram Lakhan Ved Prakash v. Commissioner of Sales Tax, U. P., Lucknow, 1981 UPTC 280 and hold that the Tribunal rightly sustained the penalty imposed by the assessing authority.

33. In the result, the revision fails and is dismissed. In the circumstances of the case, we do not order for costs.


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