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Kangra Valley Slate Company Limited Vs. the Punjab State and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
Subject Sales Tax
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case Number General Sales Tax Case No. 2 of 1958
Judge
Reported in[1961]12STC362(P& H)
AppellantKangra Valley Slate Company Limited
RespondentThe Punjab State and anr.
Appellant Advocate M.L. Sethi and; D.S. Mehra, Advs.
Respondent Advocate H.S. Doabia, Additional Adv.-General
Disposition Petition dismissed
Cases ReferredKrishna v. M. P. Government A.I.R.
Excerpt:
.....be a sound exercise of discretionary powers to decline to entertain the revision on account of the delay of 58 days in some cases but it may not be so in some other cases. in some cases the delay may be explained and the revising authority may be satisfied that the person making the petition for revision was not to blame for delay and his petition may be entertained on that short ground. in the circumstances of that particular case the full bench of the napur high court did not give effect to the said objection and held that a petition under article 226 of the constitution was not necessary and invariably liable to be rejected in limine on the ground that it was filed beyond 45 days, and that it will be decided on the facts and circumstances of each case whether the delay caused in..........by messrs kangra valley slate company limited, kaniara, district kangra, seeking to require the financial commissioner, punjab, to state the case and refer to the high court questions of law arising out of his order dated the 26th may, 1957, passed in revision petition no. 36 of 1955-56.2. the facts giving rise to this petition briefly are as under:-the petitioners are carrying on the business of quarrying slates from certain mines in the kangra valley. in the year 1951-52 they returned their taxable sales at a figure of rs. 1,93,709-0-6 and claimed a deduction of rs. 31,155 out of the same. the assessing authority did not rely on the accounts of the petitioners and added an amount of rs. 2,49,966-10-0 to the returned taxable turnover, and completed assessment on that basis on the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

K.L. Gosain, J.

1. This petition under Sub-section (2) of Section 22 of the East Punjab General Sales Tax Act has been filed in this Court by Messrs Kangra Valley Slate Company Limited, Kaniara, District Kangra, seeking to require the Financial Commissioner, Punjab, to state the case and refer to the High Court questions of law arising out of his order dated the 26th May, 1957, passed in Revision Petition No. 36 of 1955-56.

2. The facts giving rise to this petition briefly are as under:-

The petitioners are carrying on the business of quarrying slates from certain mines in the Kangra Valley. In the year 1951-52 they returned their taxable sales at a figure of Rs. 1,93,709-0-6 and claimed a deduction of Rs. 31,155 out of the same. The assessing authority did not rely on the accounts of the petitioners and added an amount of Rs. 2,49,966-10-0 to the returned taxable turnover, and completed assessment on that basis on the 18th February, 1953. The petitioners went up in appeal to the Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner, who dismissed the same on the 7th October, 1953. A revision was then taken by them to the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Punjab, who ultimately dismissed the same on the 30th March, 1955. The petitioners then went up in revision to the Financial Commissioner, Punjab, but they filed the said petition after 152 days of the order of the Excise and Taxation Commissioner. The Financial Commissioner dismissed the petition for revision on the ground that the remedy by way of revision was a discretionary one and there being no reasonable explanation for the inordinate delay in filing the said petition he did not consider the case to be a fit one where he should exercise his discretion in entertaining the same. An application was then made to him under Sub-section (1) of Section 22 of the Act requiring him to refer to the High Court the question of law as mentioned in the said application. The Financial Commissioner by his order dated the 25th January, 1958, came to the conclusion that no question of law arose out of the order dismissing the petition for revision inasmuch as the Financial Commissioner had dismissed the same on the only ground that it was not a fit case for the exercise of discretion in entertaining the same. In the present petition to this Court the petitioners have mentioned some ten law points in paragraph 7 of their petition which they say arise out of the order of the Financial Commissioner dated the 26th May, 1957, dismissing the petition for revision and it is vehemently urged that the Financial Commissioner should be asked to state the case and to refer these ten questions of law to this Court.

3. The petition is opposed on behalf of the Financial Commissioner, and it is urged that no question of law at all arises out of the order dismissing the petition for revision. After hearing the learned counsel at great length and giving our careful consideration to the entire matter we feel that there is no merit at all in the present petition. There can be no doubt that the remedy by way .of revision is in the discretion of the revising authority and there is equally no doubt that the said discretion has to be exercised according to the rules of reason and justice, according to law and not humour, it is not to be an arbitrary, yague and fanciful one but legal and regular; it has to be exercised not capriciously but on judicial grounds and for substantial reasons. It has, however, been repeatedly held that the dismissal of a petition for revision on the ground of inordinate and unexplained delay is a proper and judicial exercise of discretion, and in a large number of cases petitions for revision have been dismissed by this Court and all other High Courts on the ground of inordinate and unreasonable delay. In the petition for revision before the Financial Commissioner no reason at all was given for explaining the delay which admittedly was of at least 148 days even if requisite days for copy, which were only four in this case, were allowed.

4. At the hearing Mr. M. L. Sethi suggested that the following question of law arose in the matter :-

Is it a sound exercise of the discretionary power of the Financial Commissioner to decline to entertain the petition for revision on account of the alleged delay of 58 days ?

5. He calculated the delay of 58 days after excluding the usual period of 90 days in which such petitions are generally expected to be filed. We cannot require the Financial Commissioner to refer this question for the simple reason that the reply to the question can be 'yes' as well as 'no'. It will be a sound exercise of discretionary powers to decline to entertain the revision on account of the delay of 58 days in some cases but it may not be so in some other cases. On the facts and circumstances of each case it will have to be found whether or not the discretion should be exercised to dismiss the petition for revision on the ground of inordinate delay. In some cases the delay may be explained and the revising authority may be satisfied that the person making the petition for revision was not to blame for delay and his petition may be entertained on that short ground. In other cases where the delay is not satisfactorily explained, the revising authority may refuse to exercise its discretionary power of revision in favour of a person who files the belated petition. It is true that no particular period is prescribed in the Limitation Act within which a petition for revision must be filed, but the revising authorities are vested with discretion in the matter of entertaining such petitions and in suitable cases they are in their discretion entitled to refuse to entertain those which are filed after unreasonable delay. In support of his contention that there being no prescribed period of limitation for revisions under Section 21 of the East Punjab General Sales Tax Act, 1948, the petitions for revision must be entertained at whatever point of time they are filed, he relied upon three rulings which are-K. S. Nazar Ali Mills Ltd. v. Commissioner of Sales Tax, Indore (1958) A.I.R. 1958 M.P. 282, State of Madras v. Asher Textiles Ltd. A.I.R. 1960 Mad. 180 and Krishna v. M. P. Government (1954) A.I.R. 1954 Nag. 151 F.B. None of these cases, however, supports his contention. In the Madhya Pradesh case1, the third proviso to Section 12(2) of the Madhya Bharat Sales Tax Act, 1950, required that no application shall be entertained for revision unless it was accompanied by a satisfactory proof of the payment of full tax determined in respect of which the revision had been preferred. This proviso had been added at a date after the commencement of assessment proceedings in that case. The only point that arose for decision in the case was whether such a proviso took away the right of revision. The two Judges of that Court took different views on the matter and Dixit, J., to whom the case was then referred, found that the imposition of the condition of the payment of entire assessed tax as a condition precedent to the entertainability of a revision petition cannot affect the dealer's right of revision from an order in assessment proceedings which commenced prior to the insertion of the third proviso to Section 12(2) which right was free from any such restrictions under the section as it stood at the time of the commencement of assessment proceedings. In State of Madras v. Asher Textiles Ltd. [1959] 10 S.T.C. 584, Section 12-B(4) was added to the Madras General Sales Tax Act and this gave a wider jurisdiction in the matter of entertainment of revisions. The question that arose for decision in that case was whether the petitioner could take advantage of the amended law which was not in force at the time of the commencement of the assessment proceedings and a Division Bench of the Madras High Court said that he could. Krishna v. M. P. Government A.I.R. 1954 Nag. 151, was a case under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. A preliminary objection had been taken there that the petition had been filed after a long delay. In the circumstances of that particular case the Full Bench of the Napur High Court did not give effect to the said objection and held that a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution was not necessary and invariably liable to be rejected in limine on the ground that it was filed beyond 45 days, and that it will be decided on the facts and circumstances of each case whether the delay caused in making the petition was or was not a good ground for refusing to grant the prerogative writs to the applicant in that case.

6. It would appear from the above observations that none of these rulings has any bearing at all to the facts of the present case. In the circumstances we see no reason at all to require the Financial Commissioner to state the case and refer to this Court the questions of law mentioned in the petitioners' application, or the one formulated by Mr. Sethi during the course of his arguments. The petition, therefore, fails and is dismissed with costs. Counsel's fee Rs. 100.

Mehar Singh, J.

7. I agree.


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