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Pirthi Raj Vs. the State - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectOther Taxes;Criminal
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revn. No. 1439 of 1956
Judge
Reported inAIR1958P& H396; 1958CriLJ1343
ActsCantonments Act, 1924 - Sections 103(1) and 103(2)
AppellantPirthi Raj
RespondentThe State
Appellant Advocate B.D. Mehra, Adv.
Respondent Advocate Har Pershad, Adv.
DispositionRevision dismissed
Excerpt:
.....sub-section (1) to furnish information neglects to furnish it or furnishes information which is not true to the best of his knowledge or belief, he shall be punishable with fine which may extend to one hundred rupees. the latter offence is not alleged against him, since clearly he merely evaded furnishing the information by refusing to furnish a detailed list of the goods imported by him during the period in question under the pretext that the information was available in the octroi records of the cantonment board. it certainly cannot mean that a person on whom a notice has been served can only be prosecuted if he fails to send any reply at all and that any sort of reply to the notice, however inadequate or 'evasive, is sufficient to avert the prosecution for failure to comply with..........8-12-1955 calling upon him to furnish detailed information within ten days about the value of the goods imported by his firm from the 1st of april to the 30th of september, 1955. a reminder was issued to him on the 22nd of december and the accused then sent the letter (ex. p. b) dated the 24th of december in which he said that octroi duty had been paid on whatever goods he had imported into the cantonment area, and that the record must be in the cantonment board office. he was again told by a notice dated the 29th of december that he must furnish the required information or else would be prosecuted, and he again wrote the letter (ex. p. d) dated 11-1-1956 saying that the information was not available and could be collected from the records of the octroi department and he protested that.....
Judgment:

D. Falshaw, J.

1. This is a revision petition filed by Prithi Raj who has been convicted by a Magistrate at Jullundur under Section 103(2) of the. Cantonments Act and sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 75/- or in default two months' simple imprisonment, his appeal being dismissed by the Sessions Judge.

2. The facts of the case are that the accused who keeps a shop in Raman Mandi, Jullundur Cantonment, under the title of Raman and Company, was served with a notice under Section 103(1) of the Cantonments Act by the Executive Officer, Jullundur Cantonment Board, on 8-12-1955 calling upon him to furnish detailed information within ten days about the value of the goods imported by his firm from the 1st of April to the 30th of September, 1955. A reminder was issued to him on the 22nd of December and the accused then sent the letter (Ex. P. B) dated the 24th of December in which he said that octroi duty had been paid on whatever goods he had imported into the Cantonment area, and that the record must be in the Cantonment Board office. He was again told by a notice dated the 29th of December that he must furnish the required information or else would be prosecuted, and he again wrote the letter (Ex. P. D) dated 11-1-1956 saying that the information was not available and could be collected from the records of the octroi department and he protested that the notice issued under Section 103(1) was illegal.

3. The provisions of Section 103 of the Act are as follows :

'(1) The Executive Officer may, by written notice, call upon any inhabitant of the cantonment to furnish such information as may be necessary for the purpose of ascertaining --

(a) whether such inhabitant is liable to pay any tax imposed under this Act;

(b) at what amount he should be assessed; or

(c) the annual value of the building or land which he occupies and the name and address of the owner or lessee thereof.

(2) If any person, when called upon under Sub-section (1) to furnish information neglects to furnish it or furnishes information which is not true to the best of his knowledge or belief, he shall be punishable with fine which may extend to one hundred rupees.'

4. It was contended on behalf of the petitioner that since the levy of octroi terminal tax and toll is dealt with fully in Sections 81 to 83 of the Act, including the question of punishment for evasion, the taxes referred to in Section 103 cannot include octroi duty, but I cannot accept this proposition since the words used in Section 103(1)(a) are 'any tax imposed under this Act.' It, therefore, seems to me that it it open to the authorities to use this section for the purpose of ascertaining whether there, has been any evasion or attempt to evade the payment of octroi duty by calling on shopkeepers to furnish details of goods imported by them, and the section itself contains provisions for punishment for the offence of either withholding the required information or giving false information.

5. The question, therefore, remains whether the petitioner could be said to have either neglected to furnish the required information or to have furnished false information. The latter offence is not alleged against him, since clearly he merely evaded furnishing the information by refusing to furnish a detailed list of the goods imported by him during the period in question under the pretext that the information was available in the octroi records of the Cantonment Board. On the whole I am of the opinion that the word 'neglect' in this context is wide enough to cover evasion of the kind indulged in by the petitioner. It certainly cannot mean that a person on whom a notice has been served can only be prosecuted if he fails to send any reply at all and that any sort of reply to the notice, however inadequate or 'evasive, is sufficient to avert the prosecution for failure to comply with the terms of the notice. I thus consider that the petitioner has rightly been convicted and dismiss the revision petition.


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