R.N. Misra, J.
1. This is an application for a writ of certiorari to quash an order made by the Commissioner of Sales Tax, Orissa, in a miscellaneous proceeding before him rejecting the claim of relief under Rule 6-A of the Orissa Sales Tax Rules, 1947.
2. The petitioner is a registered dealer of Ganjam-I Circle and has been assigned Registration Number GAI 2760. He works as area stockist of Messrs. Geep Flashlight Industries of Allahabad for the districts of Sundergarh, Sambalpur, Bolangir, Kalahandi, Ganjam, Phulbani and Koraput. As area stockist, the petitioner is to make sales and supplies to different dealers and sellers in those districts. The petitioner applied to the Commissioner that in respect of all his business, he may be permitted to carry on his business in all those districts on the basis of the certificate of registration assigned to him in Ganjam-I Circle. The Commissioner has refused his prayer by saying:
It appears that for the aforesaid seven districts the petitioner is the sole distributor of the articles mentioned in his petition. The volume of the business is likely to be substantial. The nature of the business is not seasonal. Under these circumstances, it will not be possible for the Sales Tax Officer, Ganjam-I Circle, to exercise necessary check in respect of all the transactions. I do not, therefore, consider it expedient to allow the petitioner the facilities envisaged in Rule 6-A of the Rules....
3. Rule 6-A of the Orissa Sales Tax Rules (hereinafter referred to as the 'Rules') reads as follows:
Where a dealer has no fixed place of business in the State of Orissa but sells or supplies or purchases goods either direct or through travelling agents or salesmen, or having one or more places of business in the State of Orissa, sells or supplies or purchases goods in circles other than those in which such places of business are situate, the Commissioner may notwithstanding anything contained in these rules by general or special order, in writing direct that such dealer shall be registered in a circle constituted by the State Government and specified by him in such order.
Chapter IV of the Rules deals with registration of dealers. Rules 6, 7, 7-A, 9 and 10 deal with the different aspects of registration. The scheme under the Rules is that a dealer having liability under the Act to be registered would require registration in every circle where he carries on business and every additional place of business in the same circle has also to be shown in the certificate of registration as provided for under Rule 10 of the Rules. Rule 6-A is an exception to these requirements.
4. Rule 6-A deals with two contingencies: Firstly, in respect of a dealer who has no fixed place of business in the State of Orissa and, secondly, for a dealer having one or more places of business in the State, who sells or supplies or purchases goods in circles other than those in which such places of business are situate. The petitioner's case is covered by the second aspect.
5. Learned standing counsel took the stand that the claim of the petitioner under Rule 6-A was not at all maintainable because he had already registered himself in one circle. According to him, Rule 6-A is applicable at a stage where the dealer has no registration at all and applies for registration for the first time invoking Rule 6-A of the Rules. We find no warrant in the language of the rule to adopt such a view. On the other hand, as the rule stands, it certainly contemplates of a situation as envisaged in the application of the petitioner.
6. The next question is as to whether the impugned order is liable to be quashed. Mr. Mohanty for the petitioner contends that the reasons which have weighed with the Commissioner for rejecting the relief are indeed circumstances which justify making of an order under Rule 6-A of the Rules. The impugned order has indeed given only one reason, namely, that the volume of business is likely to be substantial and the nature of business being not seasonal, it will be difficult for the Sales Tax Officer, Ganjam-I Circle, to have effective check on the petitioner if he is allowed to carry on business at different places in the seven districts on the basis of a single registration in the Ganjam-I Circle. The rule confers discretion on the Commissioner as to whether he would allow the benefit of Rule 6-A or not in respect of a particular dealer. Undoubtedly, the discretionary power has to be exercised in a fair way. The reasoning which has been advanced by the Commissioner seems to be very legitimate and germane. From the administrative point of view, it will be difficult for the Sales Tax Officer, Ganjam-I Circle, to effectively control and exercise check in respect of the petitioner's business carried on beyond his jurisdiction. If the turnover was small or the business was purely seasonal, the difficulty that arises in the case of a dealer with heavy turnover would not be found.
7. Since, in our opinion, good reasons have been given by the Commissioner for withholding exercise of his discretion in favour of the petitioner, we are not in a position to quash his order and direct him to give the relief under Rule 6-A of the Rules to the petitioner. The writ petition fails and is dismissed. We, however, make no order as to costs.
B.K. Ray, J.
8. I agree.