Satish Chandra, C.J.
1. A partnership firm by the name of Radhey Shyam Lal Bahadur got itself registered under the Sales Tax Act somewhere in 1969. In due course, it won an excise shop at an auction. The firm appears to have carried on the business of selling liquor in that shop. In due course, the Sales Tax Officer commenced proceedings for the assessment year 1969-70 and ultimately passed an assessment order levying a sales tax amounting to Rs. 55,840 on the firm Radhey Shyam Lal Bahadur. The assessed amount of tax not having been paid, recovery proceedings were initiated against the parties. A notice thereof was served on the petitioner Shanker Lal. He made an application to the Sales Tax Officer that he was not connected at all with the firm Radhey Shyam Lal Bahadur. He was never a partner in that firm. His name has been wrongly introduced. The recovery proceedings should hence be dropped against him. Finding no satisfactory response, the petitioner came to this Court and filed the present writ petition.
2. The sole submission made by the learned counsel for the petitioner was that the petitioner had no connection with the firm. He was never its proprietor or its partner. He never carried on any business of that firm. He was an employee of some other firm Pati Ram Narain Datta in Nepal on a fixed salary.
3. In the counter-affidavit it has been stated that in the application for registration of the firm the petitioner's name and address was mentioned. The Sales Tax Officer, on coming to know that the petitioner-firm was carrying on an excise shop, enquired from the excise authorities the names of the partners of the firm. The reply received from the excise office confirmed the fact that the petitioner was also one of the partners in the business which was being carried on in the shop. The Sales Tax Officer had sufficient information in his possession on the basis of which he could proceed to assess the firm on the basis that the petitioner was also one of its partners.
4. The Sales Tax Officer made four attempts to serve the firm as well as its partners. It sent notices by registered post twice on the address of the firm. He also tried to serve notices on some of the partners, but with no response and no one appeared before the Sales Tax Officer. Eventually he passed an assessment order. Even after coming to know of the existence of the assessment order, none of the partners, not even the petitioner, filed an appeal before the Assistant Commissioner.
5. The petitioner has not, in the present writ petition, adduced any material or evidence to sustain his allegation that he had no connection with or that he was never a partner in the aforesaid firm. A mere bald allegation is not sufficient to record a finding that the petitioner was, in fact, not a partner in the firm. This is especially so when we find that the Sales Tax Officer did make serious enquiries and honestly came to the conclusion that the petitioner was one of the partners of the firm on the basis of credible evidence in his possession. We are hence unable to record a clear finding that the petitioner was not a partner in the firm and hence not liable for the sales tax dues assessed against the firm.
6. It was then submitted that it was incumbent upon the Sales Tax Officer to have served the notice of the assessment proceedings on the petitioner. Rule 77 of the U.P. Sales Tax Rules provides the mode of effecting service. In 1969 when the sales tax proceedings were being conducted, Rule 77 did not provide that notice of assessment proceedings should be served on each partner of a firm. It merely provided service of notice by registered post on the firm at its address. This provision was duly complied with by the Sales Tax Officer in sending notices by registered post twice on the address of the firm. There was hence no flaw in the procedure adopted by the Sales Tax Officer in conducting the assessment proceedings. We are hence not satisfied that there is any merit in the writ petition which is accordingly dismissed. We make no order as to costs.