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The General Electric Company of India Ltd. Vs. the Sales Tax Officer - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ No. 2288 of 1972
Judge
Reported in[1974]33STC108(All)
AppellantThe General Electric Company of India Ltd.
RespondentThe Sales Tax Officer
Appellant AdvocateR.R. Agarwal ;and R.N. Bhalla, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateStanding Counsel
DispositionPetition allowed
Excerpt:
- .....after several hearings the sales tax officer framed a supplementary assessment estimating the escaped turnover at rs. 6 lacs and levying an additional tax of rs. 51,000. this assessment order has been challenged in this petition under article 226 of the constitution.2. from a perusal of the impugned assessment order it is manifest that the sales tax officer did not seem to have a precise idea of the scope and ambit of section 21. that provision comes into play only if the assessing authority has reason to believe that the whole or a part of the turnover of a dealer has, for any reason, escaped assessment to tax for any year. if an assessment for any year has already been completed, it can be reopened only if there is material before the sales tax officer which points towards the.....
Judgment:

R.L. Gulati, J.

1. The petitioner is a limited company carrying on the business of manufacture and sale of electrical goods. It has branches all over India with its head office at Calcutta. It has a zonal office at Kanpur and a factory at Naini in Allahabad. Its turnover of Kanpur and Naini was assessed to tax under the U.P. Sales Tax Act by the Sales Tax Officer, Sector IV, Kanpur. For the assessment year 1966-67, the petitioner's turnover of these two places was assessed at Rs. 4,09,82,067.40 by an assessment order dated 21st February, 1970. Thereafter, the petitioner received a notice dated 22nd March, 1971, under Section 21 of the Act for the aforesaid assessment year. After several hearings the Sales Tax Officer framed a supplementary assessment estimating the escaped turnover at Rs. 6 lacs and levying an additional tax of Rs. 51,000. This assessment order has been challenged in this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution.

2. From a perusal of the impugned assessment order it is manifest that the Sales Tax Officer did not seem to have a precise idea of the scope and ambit of Section 21. That provision comes into play only if the assessing authority has reason to believe that the whole or a part of the turnover of a dealer has, for any reason, escaped assessment to tax for any year. If an assessment for any year has already been completed, it can be reopened only if there is material before the Sales Tax Officer which points towards the escapement of the turnover. The impugned assessment order shows that the assessment was reopened merely because some information was received by the Sales Tax Officer after the completion of the assessment and which the Sales Tax Officer wanted to verify with reference to the assessee's account books. Section 21 is not certainly meant for that purpose.

3. Another reason for taking action under Section 21, as disclosed by the assessment order, is that the consumption of electricity by the assessee in the production of goods at its factory at Naini had not been verified at the time of original assessment. This again is no material for reopening a completed assessment. If the consumption of electricity by an assessee engaged in the manufacture of goods is more than the normal, it might induce a reasonable belief in the mind of the Sales Tax Officer that a part of the turnover has been suppressed and a notice may be issued under Section 21. But that circumstance by itself is not enough to support a supplementary assessment under Section 21. This proposition has been laid down by this court in Laxmi Oil Mills, Varanasi v. Commissioner of Sales Tax 1972 U.P.T.C. 363,

4. That apart an assessment under Section 21 must be based upon some material and cannot be arbitrary or capricious depending upon the ipse dixit of the Sales Tax Officer. The estimate of the escaped turnover at Rs. 6,00,000.00 appears to be based upon no material at all. It is a sheer guess and, as such, the assessment order cannot be sustained.

5. The petition is allowed. The impugned assessment order dated 24th February, 1972 (annexure 3 to the writ petition), and the notice of demand issued in pursuance thereof are quashed. The petitioner is entitled to the costs of this petition.


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