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The Chairman, Kurigala Sangopaneya Mattu Unneya Udyogika Sahakari Sangha Vs. the State of Karnataka - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSales Tax Revision Petition Nos. 50 to 53 of 1975
Judge
ActsKarnataka Sales Tax Act, 1957 - Sections 20, 21, 21(2), 21(3), 21(4), 22A and 23
AppellantThe Chairman, Kurigala Sangopaneya Mattu Unneya Udyogika Sahakari Sangha
RespondentThe State of Karnataka
Appellant AdvocateB.V. Katageri, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateM.P. Chandrakantaraj Urs, High Court Government Pleader
Excerpt:
- code of civil procedure, 1908.[c.a. no. 5/1908]. section 9: [v.g. sabhahit, j] jurisdiction of civil courts suit for declaration held, entry made by the revenue authorities is always subject to the declaration that may be granted by the civil court. .....and, following the said decision, rectified the orders of assessment and refunded the tax. the deputy commissioner of commercial taxes, however, found that the order of rectification was improper and illegal and he, accordingly, in exercise of his revisional power conferred under section 21, issued notice calling upon the assessee to show cause why he should not revise those rectification orders. in response to the said notice, the only objection raised by the assessee related to the jurisdiction of the deputy commissioner to initiate proceedings under section 21(2) of the act. it was contended that he could not exercise his revisional power in respect of the orders in question. the deputy commissioner while rejecting that objection, set aside all the rectification orders and.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Jagannatha Shetty, J.

1. The common petitioner in these revision petitions under section 23 of the Karnataka Sales Tax Act, 1957, (called shortly 'the Act') is a society. For the years 1962-63, 1963-64, 1964-65 and 1965-66, the Commercial Tax Officer levied tax on the purchase of wool made by the society. But later the assessee filed application under rule 38 of the Rules framed under the Act for rectification of assessment orders and for refund of the tax levied and collected. The assessee contended in its application that since the purchase of wool was made entirely from its members, the turnover relating to the said purchase was not taxable under the Act in view of the decision of the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal in Supervisor, Wool Industry Development Co-operative Association Limited, Ranebennur. The Commercial Tax Officer acceded to that request and, following the said decision, rectified the orders of assessment and refunded the tax. The Deputy Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, however, found that the order of rectification was improper and illegal and he, accordingly, in exercise of his revisional power conferred under section 21, issued notice calling upon the assessee to show cause why he should not revise those rectification orders. In response to the said notice, the only objection raised by the assessee related to the jurisdiction of the Deputy Commissioner to initiate proceedings under section 21(2) of the Act. It was contended that he could not exercise his revisional power in respect of the orders in question. The Deputy Commissioner while rejecting that objection, set aside all the rectification orders and restored the original assessment orders. He was of the opinion that there was no mistake calling for rectification of the assessment orders by the Commercial Tax Officer since the assessee itself filed returns declaring the turnover relating to purchase of wool liable to tax. The assessee took up the matter in appeals before the Karnataka Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal, Bangalore, with the same contention regarding the jurisdiction of the Deputy Commissioner to revise the rectification order made under rule 38. It was urged that an order made under rule 38 could be revised only by the Commissioner under section 22A and not by the Deputy Commissioner under section 21(2). But the Tribunal did not agree with that contention and, accordingly, it rejected the appeals.

Hence these revision petitions raising the same question of law.

2. In order to determine the question, we may set out below for immediate reference the relevant portions of section 21 and section 22A :

'21. Revisional powers of Assistant Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners. - (1) ...

(2) The Deputy Commissioner may of his own motion call for and examine the record of any order passed or proceeding recorded under the provisions of this Act by a Commercial Tax Officer subordinate to him and against which no appeal has been preferred under section 20 for the purpose of satisfying himself as to the legality or propriety of such order or as to the regularity of such proceeding and pass such order with respect thereto as he thinks fit.

(3) In relation to an order of assessment passed under this Act, the power under sub-sections (1) and (2) shall be exercisable only within a period of four years from the date on which the order was passed.

(4) No order shall be passed under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) enhancing any assessment, unless an opportunity has been given to the assessee to show cause against the proposed enhancement.'

'22A. Revision by the Commissioner of orders prejudicial to revenue. - (1) The Commissioner may call for and examine the record of any proceeding under this Act, and if he considers that any order passed therein by any officer subordinate to him is erroneous in so far as it is prejudicial to the interests of the revenue, he may after giving the assessee an opportunity of being heard and after making or causing to be made such inquiry as he deems necessary, pass such order thereon as the circumstances of the case justify, including and order enhancing or modifying the assessment, or cancelling the assessment and directing a fresh assessment.

(2) The power under sub-section (1) shall be exercisable only within a period of four years from the date of the order sought to be revised was passed.

Explanation. - In computing the period of limitation for the purposes of sub-section (2), any period during which any proceeding under this section is stayed by an order or injunction of any court shall be excluded.'

To make the picture complete, we may also set out hereunder rule 38, as it then stood :

'38. Rectification of mistake. - (1) An assessing, appellate or revising authority or the Appellate Tribunal may, at any time within five years from the date of any order passed by it, rectify any mistake apparent on the record :

Provided that no such rectification which has the effect of enhancing the assessment shall be made unless the assessing, appellate or revising authority or the Appellate Tribunal has given notice to the dealer of its intention to do so and has allowed him a reasonable opportunity of being heard.

(2) Where such rectification has the effect of reducing the assessment, the assessing authority shall make any refund which may be due to the dealer.

(3) Where any such rectification has the effect of enhancing the assessment, the assessment authority shall serve on the dealer a revised notice in form 6 and thereupon the provisions of the Act and these rules shall apply as if such notice had been served in the first instance.'

The scheme provided by the above provisions is like this : The Deputy Commissioner under section 21(2) may suo motu call for and examine the record of any order passed or proceeding recorded under the Act by a Commercial Tax Officer subordinate to him and against which no appeal has been preferred, for the purpose of satisfying himself as to the legality or propriety of the order or as to the regularity of the proceeding and pass such order as he deems fit. Section 21(3) provides a period of limitation for revising such order. It states that he could revise such order within a period of four years from the date on which the order was passed. Section 21(4) provides the procedure to be followed in case the Deputy commissioner wants to enhance the tax liability.

But the revisional power of the Commissioner under section 22A is very much limited. He may call for and examine the record of any proceeding under the Act and if he considers that any order passed therein is prejudicial to the interests of the revenue, he may, after giving the assessee an opportunity of being heard, pass such order thereon as the circumstances of the case justify, including an order enhancing or modifying the assessment or canceling the assessment and directing a fresh assessment. The time-limit provided to exercise that revisional power is four years from the date of the order sought to be revised.

3. Relying upon these provisions, Mr. Katageri, the learned counsel for the petitioner, urged that if the rectification order is prejudicial to the interests of the revenue, the Commissioner alone could revise that order under section 22A and no concurrent revisional power is with the Deputy Commissioner to revise such order.

There is hardly any substance in the contention. The Deputy Commissioner, in our opinion, is not precluded from revising an order which is also prejudicial to the interests of the revenue. Section 21(2), if one peruses, does not lend itself to the construction suggested by the learned counsel.

4. In was next urged that the Deputy Commissioner under section 21(2) could revise only an order of assessment which was not appealed and not every order made under the Act. Support to this contention was drawn from the provisions of section 21(3), which provides a period of four years for revising an order of assessment. The contention, in other words, was, that having regard to section 21(3), the meaning of 'any order' passed or 'proceeding' recorded, found in section 21(2) must be limited to an order of assessment only, and not to any other order made under the Act.

5. In our opinion, it is not necessary to examine in these petitions, whether 'any order' contemplated under section 21(2) is wide enough to cover every order made under the Act, or should it be limited only to an order of assessment. It is also unnecessary to decide whether an order of assessment includes an order of rectification. Section 21(3) covers all orders made 'in relation to an order of assessment'. It is, therefore, sufficient if we hold that the order revised by the Deputy Commissioner related to the order of assessment, since it is not in dispute that the Deputy Commissioner has revisional power in respect of such order.

6. The order revised by the Deputy Commissioner was a rectification order made under rule 38, as it then stood. By that order, the original order of assessment has undergone a change and the tax liability of the assessee has been reduced and, consequently, refund was ordered. It was, therefore, evidently an order in relation to the order of assessment and falls squarely within the revisional power under section 21(2).

7. In the result, these petitions fail and are dismissed. But, in the circumstances, we make no order as to costs.

8. Petitions dismissed.


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