Dwarka Prasad, J.
1. Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the respondent had no authority to seize and detain the vehicle of the petitioner as special road tax under the amended provisions of the Motor Vehicles Taxation Act, 1951 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') has not been assessed and has, therefore, not become due. Learned counsel relied upon the provisions of Section 8-A of the aforesaid Act and Rule 8 of the Rajasthan Motor Vehicles Taxation Rules, 1951 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Rules').
2. In my view, the contention advanced by the learned counsel cannot be upheld as special road tax has been levied under Section 4-B, in addition to tax and surcharge levied under Sections 4 and 4-A respectively, and special road tax is payable to the State Government on all transport vehicles at the rates fixed by the State Government by a notification published in the official Gazette, though not exceeding the maximum rates specified in Schedule 'A'. Under Rule 4, the tax under Section 4-B in respect of all stage carriages, other than those plied exclusively within the municipal or city limits, month by month after the end of the month, but on or before the 7th of the next following month. Thus, special road tax becomes due at the end of every month and it is payable on or before the 7th day of the next following month, as provided in Rule 4(b) of the Rules. Theprovisions contained in Section 8 for filing a declaration and in Section 8-A read with Rule 8 for determination of tax are made only for the purpose of quantification of the amount of tax due. If the amount of tax due has been determined and if it is found that any amount of special road tax payable by the owner of the vehicle for the period for which the return was filed has not been paid, a notice of demand shall be issued to the owner of the vehicle
3. It is settled law that liability to pay tax is a present liability, although it may be quantified later in accordance with the ascertainable data. The liability to pay special road tax at the end of each month has been fastened by Section 4-B read with Rule 4(b) and if within 7 days of the next following month, the amount of tax due for the earlier month is not deposited by the owner of the stage carriage vehicle, then the provisions of Section 17 can be resorted to. Under Sub-section (1) of Section 17, a police officer in uniform or an officer of the Transport Department, not below the rank of Sub-Inspector, or an officer of the Commercial Taxes Department not below the rank of Inspector, may require the driver of the vehicle at any public place to stop the vehicle and the said vehicle may be required to remain stationery so long as it may reasonably be necessary to do so for the purpose of satisfying that the amount of tax, in accordance with the aforesaid provisions, has been paid. However, if the amount of tax due in respect of the vehicle has not been paid, then Sub-section (2) of Section 17 authorises an officer referred to in Sub-section (2) to seize and detain such a vehicle and keep the vehicle in safe custody, until it is produced before the taxation officer of the concerned area within a reasonable time or the tax due in respect of the vehicle is paid. If after the seizure and detention of the vehicle, the owner of the vehicle makes payment of the tax due in respect thereof, then the vehicle has to be released and custody thereof has to be handed over to the owner of the vehicle. However, if the tax paid is not paid by the owner, then the officer proceeding to seize and detain the vehicle is required to produce the same before the taxation officer of the concerned area.
4. It may be pointed out that in the present case, the seizure memo of vehicle No. RJY 3857 dated Feb. 20, 1984 shows that special road tax has not been paid since July 1983 by the owner of the vehicle. It may be observedthat the non-filing of the return has nothing to do with the seizure of vehicle, as Section 17 does not allow the concerned officer to seize or detain the vehicle for non-filing of the return, but such seizure may be made and detention may be caused under Section 17(2) if the tax due in respect of the vehicle has not been paid by the owner thereof. As in this case, it is not disputed that the special road tax has not been paid by the owner of the vehicle since July 1983, although the amount of special road tax becomes due at the end of each month and was payable within the next following 7 days of the succeeding month. In this view of the matter, the provisions of Section 17(2) were rightly attracted and the order of seizure of the vehicle could have been passed by the District Transport Officer.
5. Learned counsel for the petitioner further submits that the petitioner has already deposited a sum of Rs. 15,000/- and has also furnished solvent security to the satisfaction of the assessing authority for the remaining amount, in accordance with the direction of this Court dated Mar. 6, 1984, and that the remaining amount of special road tax due in respect of the vehicle No. RJY 3857 for the period from July 1983 to July 1984 shall be deposited within 15 days. In case the petitioner deposits the remaining amount due, if any, within a period of 15 days, the respondent No. 2 should not proceed to take the vehicle No. RJY 3857 into custody, as far as relating to payment of special road tax for the aforesaid period, until the special road tax is assessed and quantified.
6. Subject to the observations made above, the writ petition fails and is dismisssed.