Krishnaswamy Reddy, J.
1. This reference by the District Magistrate, of course, raises an interesting question. What happened in this case is this : There were certain amounts in the deposit of the court to the credit of C.C. No. 1739 of 1965. One Chandrasekaran applied for the refund of that amount claiming that amount as due to him before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate. When the application of Chandrasekaran was pending, the Deputy Commercial Tax Officer, Arcot, sent a notice to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Cheyyar, in form No. B-6, with a copy to Chandrasekaran (which is disputed now) requesting the Sub-Divisional Magistrate to withhold the money due to Chandrasekaran and pay the same to the Deputy Commercial Tax Officer. It also appears that subsequently after the notice was sent, the Deputy Commercial Tax Officer also preferred a petition to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate claiming the amount towards Government dues. The petition filed by the Deputy Commercial Tax Officer was dismissed. The Sub-Divisional Magistrate directed the refund of the amount to Chandrasekaran.
2. On the order of dismissal of the application, the Deputy Commercial Tax Officer filed a revision petition before the District Magistrate, North Arcot. The District Magistrate, after having heard the arguments on both sides, has submitted this reference stating that the opinion of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate that no notice can be issued to the court by a Commercial Tax Officer was erroneous.
3. I have gone through the order of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate. He has given several reasons for dismissing the application filed by the Deputy Commercial Tax Officer and allowing the petition filed by Chandrasekaran and directing refund of the amount. The reasons given by him, excepting the one which requires consideration in this reference, are all frivolous. The main reason which appears to have weighed with the Sub-Divisional Magistrate was that no officer of the Commercial Tax Department can issue a notice in form No. B-6 to a court, according to his conception of the word 'person' mentioned in Section 26 of the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act. The relevant portion of Section 26(1) of the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act is this:
The assessing authority may at any time or from time to time, by notice in writing (a copy of which shall be forwarded to the dealer at his last address known to the assessing authority) require any person from whom money is due or may become due to the dealer or any person who holds or may subsequently hold money for or on account of the dealer to pay to the assessing authority....
5. The word 'person' is used in a wider sense. It cannot be said that the court is excluded from the category of 'person'. The court also is undoubtedly a 'person' just as a company is a 'person'. Since the person to whom the notice is issued happened to be a court, the court cannot claim any exemption for the receipt of notice issued by the authorities concerned, if such authorities have got jurisdiction to issue such notices. It is clear to my mind that 'person' includes court also. The sales tax authority has got every right to issue the notice under Section 26(1) of the said Act to any person including a court, if money is held on behalf of or belonging to an assessee against whom such notice is issued.
6. The learned counsel appearing for Chandrasekaran, the respondent, drew my attention to Clauses (4) and (6) of Section 26 and submitted that the language in those two clauses would indicate that the courts are excluded. There is no substance in it. It is true that when the notice issued by the authorities are not complied with, under Clause (4), the person, who disobeys is personally made liable and it is also true that under Clause (6), there will be a charge on the properties of the said person and may be recovered as if it is an arrear of land revenue. I am of the view that as soon as the notice is issued to the court under Section 26 in form B-6, it is the duty of the court to comply with the notice issued by the officer having jurisdiction. If the court fails to comply with the notice, it will be for the authorities concerned to invoke the provisions of Section 26, such as hiving a charge on the properties of the court and recovering the amount unpaid as if it were an arrear of land revenue.
7. In the result, the reference by the District Magistrate is answered in the affirmative. The respondent, Chandrasekaran will certainly have his remedies before the appropriate authority that the tax levied by the authorities was not due by him. If there are any infirmities in the assessment, it is for him to agitate the matter before the appropriate authority.
8. In view of the orders passed in this reference, no orders are necessary on Crl.M.P. No. 2874 of 1970. Hence this petition is dismissed.