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The State of Punjab and ors. Vs. Dunlop India Limited - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberLetters Patent Appeal No. 414 of 1972
Judge
Reported in[1974]33STC168(P& H)
AppellantThe State of Punjab and ors.
RespondentDunlop India Limited
Appellant Advocate L.K. Sood, Adv.-General
Respondent AdvocateN.L. Dhingra; and B.S. Shant, Advs.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
- sections 80 (2) & 89 & punjab motor vehicles rules, 1989, rules 85 & 80: [t.s. thakur, cj, jasbir singh & surya kant, jj] appeal against orders of state or regional transport authority imitation held, a stipulation regarding the period of limitation available for invoking the remedy shall have to be strictly construed. that is because any provision by way of limitation is in the nature of a restraint on the remedy provided under the act. so viewed two inferences are clear viz., (1) sections 80 and 89 of the act read with rule 85 of the rules make it obligatory for the authorities making the order to communicate it to the applicant concerned and (2) the period of limitation for any appeal against the order is reckonable from the date of such communication of the reasons would imply..........single judge felt that the matter was covered by a decision of the supreme court reported as check post officer, coimbatore, and ors. v.k.p. abdulla and brothers [1971] 27 s.t.c. 1 (s.c.). in that case sub-section (3) of section 42 of the madras general sales tax act, 1959, was under consideration, and that sub-section was in the following terms:the officer-in-charge of the check post or barrier...shall have power to seize and confiscate any goods which are under transport by any vehicle or boat and are not covered by, (i) a bill of sale or delivery note, (ii) a goods vehicle record...and (iii) such other documents as may be prescribed....provided further that the officer ordering the confiscation shall give the person affected option to pay in lieu of confiscation -- (a) in cases where.....
Judgment:

Harbans Singh, C.J.

1. Facts necessary for the decision of this appeal under Clause 10 of the Letters Patent against the order of the learned single Judge in Civil Writ No. 3289 of 1971 may be stated as follows:

2. A consignment of tyres and tubes was sent by M/s. Dunlop India Limited (hereinafter referred to as the company) from West Bengal to their sub-depot at Jullundur through Messrs. Central Goods Transport Corporation, Calcutta, on 29th June, 1970. At the Shamboo barrier in Patiala District on the vehicle being checked by the Taxation Inspector on duty on 6th July, 1970, there was found some discrepancy between the value of the goods as given in form ST XXIV, which was Rs. 50,000, and the invoices and other documents, which showed the value as Rs. 1,15,518.25. For this discrepancy, the goods were seized and were released only on payment of Rs. 7,000. This was done under Section 14B of the Punjab General Sales Tax Act, 1948 (hereinafter referred to as the Act).

3.Sub-section (8) of Section 14B of the Act is to the following effect:

Where the declaration made under Sub-section (3) is false in respect of any particulars mentioned therein, the officer-in-charge of the check post or barrier or any other officer not below the rank of an Assistant Excise and Taxation Officer shall have the power to seize the goods in respect of which the declaration is false:

Provided that an officer acting under Sub-section (6) or Sub-section (8) may, before or after such seizure, give to the person affected an option to pay, in lieu of seizure and in addition to the tax recoverable, a sum of money not exceeding one thousand rupees or double the amount of tax recoverable, whichever is greater....

4. The writ petition, aforementioned, was filed by the company challenging the act of the department in seizing the goods and charging Rs. 7,000 before releasing the same. The learned single Judge felt that the matter was covered by a decision of the Supreme Court reported as Check Post Officer, Coimbatore, and Ors. v.K.P. Abdulla and Brothers [1971] 27 S.T.C. 1 (S.C.). In that case Sub-section (3) of Section 42 of the Madras General Sales Tax Act, 1959, was under consideration, and that sub-section was in the following terms:

The officer-in-charge of the check post or barrier...shall have power to seize and confiscate any goods which are under transport by any vehicle or boat and are not covered by, (i) a bill of sale or delivery note, (ii) a goods vehicle record...and (iii) such other documents as may be prescribed....

Provided further that the officer ordering the confiscation shall give the person affected option to pay in lieu of confiscation --

(a) in cases where the goods are taxable under this Act, in addition to the tax recoverable, a sum of money not exceeding one thousand rupees or double the amount of tax recoverable, whichever is greater....

5. From the above it is clear that the two provisions were pari materia. Their Lordships of the Supreme Court after considering entry 54, List II, of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution, came to the conclusion that such a seizure is not permissible and is beyond the jurisdiction of the State Legislature. This is what was observed:

But, in our judgment, the power to confiscate goods carried in a vehicle cannot be said to be fairly and reasonably comprehended in the power to legislate in respect of taxes on sale or purchase of goods...Sub-section (3) assumes that all goods carried in a vehicle near a check post are goods which have been sold within the State of Madras and in respect of which liability to pay sales tax has arisen, and authorises the Check Post Officer, unless the specified documents are produced at the check post or the barrier, to seize and confiscate the goods and to give an option to the person affected to pay penalty in lieu of confiscation. A provision so enacted on the assumption that goods carried in a vehicle from one State to another must be presumed to be transported after sale within the State is unwarranted. In any event, power conferred by Sub-section (3) to seize and confiscate and to levy penalty in respect of all goods which are carried in a vehicle whether the goods are sold or not is not incidental or ancillary to the power to levy sales tax.

6. This provision was, consequently, quashed.

7. A distinction was sought to be made that in the Madras Act the words were 'seize and confiscate' whereas in the Punjab Act the power given is only to 'seize the goods'. We have to see the real effect rather than the mere wording. In Punjab also the department seizes the goods and releases them only on payment of penalty. So this distinction is without any effect.

8. The learned single Judge made certain further observations that in the present case 'the goods were being transported from one of its offices in West Bengal to its sub-depot in Jullundur and were not being carried as a result of sale'. In view of the fact, that the provisions of Sub-section (8) of Section 14B of the Act had been struck down because of the decision of the Supreme Court, it was hardly necessary, as urged by the learned counsel for the appellant, to make any further observations.

9. For the aforesaid reasons, we do not find any force in this appeal and dismiss the same. However, any observations made with regard to the nature of the transaction under which the goods were being transported, would not be taken into consideration in any further proceedings that may arise. There will be no order as to costs.


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