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Prem Chand Vs. State of Rajasthan - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax/VAT
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.B. Civil Second Appeal No. 163 of 1974
Judge
Reported in1986(1)WLN646
AppellantPrem Chand
RespondentState of Rajasthan
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
.....and sale of goods' of p is wholly unjustified;when there was no assessment order against prem chand and further no assessment order has been produced even against narendra singh or other persons, the assessing authorities or the departmental authorities should not have embarked upon the coercive process of attachment and sale of the property, more so when it was resisted by the plaintiff on the ground that neither there was any assessment, nor there is any order of attachment or realisation against him. obviously the order of realisation was against some one else, althogh it was on the address of prem chand.;i am of opinion that coercive process of attachment and sale of the goods of prem chand by the department was wholly unjustified both on facts and law.;(c) rajasthan..........a proposition which cannot be believed.15. obviously when there was no assessment order against prem chand and further no assessment order has been produced even against narendra singh or other persons, the assessing authorities or the departmental authorities should not have embarked upon the coercive process of attachment and sale of the property, more so when it was resisted by the plaintiff on the ground that neither there was any assessment, nor there is any order of attachment realising against him. obviously the order of realisation was against some one else, although it was on the address of prem chand.16. the mere fact that the vehicle was transferred in the name of prem chand may mean that the liability of the old tax may or may not be transferred, a proposition on which i.....
Judgment:

Guman Mal Lodha, J.

1. This is a plaintiff's appeal, the suit of whom has been dismissed by the first appellate court. The plaintiff carried on business of cloth at Bundi in the name of M/s Dhanna Lal Chand. The defendant respondent No. 3 issued a warrant of attachment against Narendra Singh son of Bahadur Singh for the recovery of Passengers and Goods Tax due against him and directed the warrant for execution to respondent No. 2 (defendent bio. 2). Under the warrant of attachment, which was issued on February 23, 1967. the liability to pay tax was that of Narendra Singh and that the defendant No. 2 (respondent) No. 2), in execution of the warrant against Narendra Singh, intentionally and maliciously in order to cause harassment to the plaintiff-appellant, attached 1007-1/2 meters of cloth worth Rs. 1479/- from the shop of the plaintiff on March 7, 1967 inspite of plaintiff's protest. This as alleged by the plaintiff, the defendant did in order to defame the plaintiff. Aggrieved by the action of defendant No. 2, the plaintiff filed objection with defendant No. 3 but with no result.

2. It has also been alleged by the plaintiff that he was never issued or served with any notices for the asessment cover by the warrant of attachment nor any demand notice was served to the plaintiff.

3. The plaintiff has averred that the attachment was illegal due to which damages worth Rs. 1479/-were caused to him. The prestige of the plaintiff was lowered down due to the wrongful attachment and for that the plaintiff claimed Rs. 1,000/-as general damages. The plaintiff served the defendants with notices under Section 80 CPC.

4. The plaintiff has also claimed Rs. 207/- as interest at the fate of 12% per annum as he has been deprived of the profit on Rs. 1479/-. The total claim preferred by the plaintiff amount to Rs. 2686/-. The plaintiff, therefore, prayed for a decree of declaration to the effect that the attachment was illegal causing wrongful loss to the plaintiff to the extent of Rs. 2686/- and for a decree for the aforesaid amount.

5. The defendents filed the written statement on March 26, 1969 and averred that the truck No. RJG 46 belonged to Narendra 'Singh. Narendra Singh transferred this truck to the plaintiff (appellant). The passenger goods tax for the truck RJG 46 from 1959-60 upto July 30, 1969 was alleged to be due which amounted to Rs. 1406.17p. as such the defendants were authorised to recover the tax both from Narendra Singh and the plaintiff (appellant). Since the plaintiff was the registered owner of truck RJG 46, he was liable to pay the arrears of tax and his goods were attached legally. It has also been averred that assessment notices were served on the plaintiff. As regards notice under Section 80 CPC, the defendants contended that they were contrary to law. The defendants further alleged that the court of Munsif Bundi had no jurisdiction to hear the suit as per Section 19 of the Rajasthan Passengers and Goods Taxation Act, 1959.

6. On the basis of the above pleadings of the parties, the trial court framed seven issues and recorded evidence of the parties.

7. After hearing both the parties, the trial court dismissed the plaintiff's suit vide his judgment dated September 29, 1972.

8. Feeling dis-satisfied with the above judgment and decree of the Munsif, Bundi, dated September 29, 1972, the plaintiff-appellant preferred an appeal in the Court of Additional District and Sessions Judge, Bundi, who also dismissed his appeal vide his judgment dated 15th November, 1973, and upheld the judgment and decree of the Munsif, Bundi, dated September 29, 1972.

9. The principal point canvassed by Mr. Agrawal on behalf of the plaintiff-appellant is that both the lower courts have committed serious error of jurisdiction in refusing to entertain civil suit solely on the ground that other remedies are available under the Rajasthan Passengers and Goods Taxation Act, 1959 and Section 19 is a complete bar.

10. Section 19 of the Rajasthan Passengers and Goods Taxation Act, 1959 reads as under:

19. Exclusion of jurisdiction of Civil Courts.--No Civil Court shall have jurisdiction in any matter, which the State Government or any prescribed authority is empowered by this Act or the rules made thereunder to dispose of or take cognizance of, and regarding the manner in which the State Government or any prescribed authority exercise any powers vested in it or him by or under this Act or the rules made thererunder.

11. Undoubtedly in the instant case the attachment and sale of the property of the plaintiff was made without there being any assessment order against him. The substance of the matter is that the documents produced by the Department in the form of Ex. A/1, Ex. A/2, Ex. A/4 and Ex. A/4 out of which Ex. A/2 and Ex. A/3 are in the name of the plaintiff are notices of appearance in form RPGT 9. The language used in it is 'to show cause why in addition to the tax to be assessed on you, a penalty not exceeding 1-1/2 times of the amount of tax should not imposed upon you.'

12. In this notice it is mentioned that he should produce or cause to be produced documents etc. and to show cause.

13. Obviously, therefore, there was no assessment order against the plaintiff and the notice for appearance to show cause cannot take the place of assessment order. It does not require any more amplification or clarification or elucidation that there is a vast distance to be covered from the show cause notice to the stage of assessment order and this distance is to be covered by legal, tenable, valid orders of the Assessing Authorities under the law.

14. Mr. Mathur wants to take both a long and a high jump by making this Court to believe that these notices are assessment orders, a proposition which cannot be believed.

15. Obviously when there was no assessment order against Prem Chand and further no assessment order has been produced even against Narendra Singh or other persons, the assessing authorities or the departmental authorities should not have embarked upon the coercive process of attachment and sale of the property, more so when it was resisted by the plaintiff on the ground that neither there was any assessment, nor there is any order of attachment realising against him. Obviously the order of realisation was against some one else, although it was on the address of Prem Chand.

16. The mere fact that the vehicle was transferred in the name of Prem Chand may mean that the liability of the old tax may or may not be transferred, a proposition on which I would not decide, but even so an assessment will have to be required or legal formality will have to be required to be completed for making Prem Chand liable for by realisation by coercive process.

17. In veiw of the above, I am of opinion that coercive process of attachment and sale of the goods of Prem Chand by the department was wholly unjustified both on facts and law.

18. So for as the question of damages is concerned, I am of the opinion that since the vehicle was transferred in the name of Prem Chand and the address was of Prem Chand, the departmental authorities acted bonafide and there was no malice.

19. Now coming to the question of jurisdiction, it must be mentioned that when Prem Chand was not party to the assessment order, nor any assessment order was passed against him, nor any order for realisation by coercive process was passed against him, he was certainly a stranger and he could not have been forced to file a revision or appeal even if the same is permissible under the law.

20. I have, therefore, got no hesitation in holding that so far as Prem Chand is concerned, since there was no order against him, he cannot be ousted from the jurisdiction of Civil Court under Section 19 of the Rajasthan Passengers and Goods Taxation Act, 1959.

21. The result of the above discussion is that the judgments of both the lower Courts are set aside. The suit of the plaintiff is decreed only to the limited extent of Rs. 1479/-. So far as the claim of damages and interest is concerned, the same cannot be entertained and is dismissed with proportionate costs. The appeal is accepted.


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