1. The petitioner in this case was assessed for the assessment year 1968-69 under the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act, 1959, in respect of sales of petroleum products dealt with by him. Before the assessment order was passed, the petitioner was called upon to file his objections, but he did not file his objections and requested for further time for filing the same. The assessing authority proceeded to make the assessment to the best of his judgment on 11th April, 1972, without giving the petitioner further time for filing his objections. The assessment order as well as the demand notice based on the same was sent by registered post on 22nd April, 1972, to the petitioner. But the same was returned unserved by the postal authorities on 2nd May, 1972, with the endorsement 'not found'. Thereafter service was effected by affixture in the place of business of the petitioner. Then steps were taken to recover the amount due as per the assessment order and the demand notice by attachment of the amounts due to the petitioner from the various creditors, who have been cited as respondents 2 and 3 herein,
2. It is at this stage the petitioner has filed this writ petition to quash the recovery proceedings contending that the assessment order and the demand notice have not been duly served on him in accordance with law and, therefpre, there cannot be a valid enforcement of the said assessment order. According to the learned counsel for the petitioner, the service by affixture can be resorted to only if the modes referred to in Rule 52(a), (b) and (c) of the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Rules, 1959, are exhausted and that as in this case, service by affixture has been effected immediately after the service by registered post was found to be ineffective, the same is not in accordance with the said provision. We are of the view that the said contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner cannot be accepted. Rule 52 provides various modes of service of notices. Clause (a) of that rule provides for giving or tendering the notice to a dealer or his manager or agent. Clause (b) provides that if the dealer, manager or the agent is not found, notice may be given or tendered to any adult member of the dealer's family. Clause (c) enables service of notice by registered post. The modes of service referred to in Clauses (a) to (c) are only alternative and not cumulative and, therefore, it cannot be said that all the above three modes have to be exhausted before the service by affixture can be effected under Clause (d). It is not in dispute that one of the modes of service contemplated under Clause (c) is service of notice by registered post and such service has been found to be ineffective in this case. Therefore, the assessing authority was justified in proceeding to serve the assessment order by affixing it in the petitioner's place of business under Rule 52(d). We are, therefore, not inclined to hold that the service by affixture made in this case is in any way invalid.
3. The learned counsel for the petitioner, however, contends that the service having been effected by affixture, he is not aware of the nature of the assessment order; nor is he able to file an appeal in the absence of personal service of the assessment Order. It is also pointed out that even when a request was made for a copy of the assessment order, that was rejected by the assessing authority on the ground that the service had already been effected as per law. If the petitioner has not got a copy of the order, as he was not personally served with the same, he is entitled to have a certified copy of the order from the assessing authority, even though the same has been served by affixture. The assessing authority may not be justified in refusing to supply a certified copy of the order to the petitioner, when demanded. We, therefore, direct the assessing authority to supply to the petitioner a certified copy of the assessment order dated 11th April, 1972.
4. Subject to the above direction, the writ petition is dismissed.