HIGH COURT OF KERALA
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(1.)The petitioner was assessed to sales tax under S.8 of the Central Sales Tax Act (74 of 1956), in respect of his inter State trade in cocoanut oil for the year 1959-60, and out of a total turnover of Rs. 2,30,990.57, tax was imposed at the rate of 1 per cent on Rs. 1,93,346 and at 7 per cent on the balance, namely, Rs. 37,645, on the ground that the relevant declarations in Form C were not filed before the prescribed authority - the Sales Tax Officer, before 16th February 1961. These were filed before the Sales Tax Officer only on 8th March 1961 but before the assessment was made, the delay being explained as due to late receipt of the same from the purchaser in Madras. Ext. P 2 is copy of the order of assessment. The petitioner preferred an appeal to the Appellate Assistant Commissioner and a revision petition before the Deputy Commissioner of Agricultural Income Tax and Sales Tax, but these were unsuccessful. Exts. P 3 and P4 respectively are the orders in appeal and revision. He has moved this Court for quashing the orders, Exts. P 2, P 3 and P 4, under Art.226 of the Constitution. The first" respondent is the Sales Tax Officer, Ponkunnam, and the second respondent, the Deputy Commissioner of Agricultural Income Tax and Sales Tax, Ernakulam. The petition was ordered to be placed before a Full Bench in view of the apparent conflict between two decisions of this Court.
(2.)The point pressed before the sale's tax authorities and considered by them was whether the delay in filing the C Forms could be condoned on sufficient cause being shown. Relying on the decision of this court in Deputy Commissioner of Agricultural Income Tax and Sales Tax v. Abdul Wasigh and Bros. 13 STC 296 it was held that the delay could not be condoned. The point advanced before us was slightly different, i. e., that the benefit or concession conferred by S.8(1) can be taken away under S.8(4) only if the dealer failed to furnish C Forms to the prescribed authority in the prescribed manner and that the dealer cannot be deprived of the benefit by enacting a rule fixing a date for furnishing the C Forms, as the expression "the manner prescribed" in sub-s.(4) of the section does not take in the time element. In other words, the argument was that the prescribed authority was bound to consider the C Forms, provided the same were furnished before the order of assessment was made.
(3.)It is useful to extract the relevant provisions of S.8 and R.6 of the Central Sales Tax (Kerala) Rules, 1957, as it stood on the date of the assessment.
"8. (1) Every dealer, who in the course of inter state trade or commerce-
(a) sells to the Government any goods; or
(b) sells to a registered dealer other than the Government goods of the description referred to in sub-s.(3); shall be liable to pay tax under this Act, which shall be one percent of his turnover.
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(4) The provisions of sub-s.(1) shall not apply to any sale in the course of interstate trade or commerce unless the dealer selling the goods furnishes to the prescribed authority in the prescribed manner--
(a) A declaration duly filled and signed by the registered dealer to whom the goods are sold containing the prescribed particular in a prescribed form obtained from the prescribed authority; or
(b) if the goods are sold to the Government, not being a registered dealer, a certificate in the prescribed form duly filled and signed by a duly authorised officer of the Government.
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"6 (1) Every dealer registered under S.7 of the Act and every dealer liable to pay under the Act shall submit a return of all his transactions including those in the course of export of the goods out of the territory of India in Form II together with connected declaration form so as to reach the assessing authority on or before the 20th of each month showing the turnover for the preceding month and the amount or amounts collected by way of tax together with proof for the payment of tax due thereon under the Act:
Provided that in cases of delayed receipt of declaration forms, the dealer may submit the declaration form at any time before the assessment is made:
Provided further that the delay in submitting the declaration forms shall not exceed three months from the date of sale in question:
Provided also that all declaration forms pending submission by dealers on 2-5-1960 shall be submitted not latter than 16-2-1961.
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The first proviso was added by notification dated 3-1-1958, the second by notification dated 26-4-1960 and the third by notification dated 16-1-1961. The respondents rely on the last proviso according to which declarations in Form C had to be furnished before 16-2-1961.
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