M.R.SHAH, J. -
(1.) BY way of this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, petitioner has prayed for an appropriate writ, direction and order
to quash and set aside the impugned orders passed by the respondents
directing the petitioner to pay the motor vehicles tax on the payloaders
in question for the period between January 1987 to June 2000 along
with the interest and the penalty which have been confirmed by the
Revisional Authority by impugned judgment and order passed in
Revision Application No.5/2007.
(2.) FACTS leading to the present petition in nutshell are as under:
2.1] That the respective payloaders were owned by Iffco Ltd, Kandla Unit, Gujarat. It appears that the petitioner purchased the aforesaid three payloaders from the aforesaid Iffco Ltd. as scrap material through Metal Scrap Trade Corporation Ltd., Government of India enterprises, and took the delivery of the aforesaid three payloaders on 27.11.1999. That the aforesaid three payloaders were loaded in three different trucks from Iffco Ltd., Kandla Unit and the same were being taken to the place of the petitioner at Mumbai. That the aforesaid trucks were intercepted by the respondent Nos.1 and 2 on 29.11.1999 at Bhilad Check Post and seized all the three trucks with the documents like gate passes and delivery slips of Iffco Ltd. That the payloaders in question and the scrap material also came to be seized by the respondent Nos.1 and 2 and three different memos were issued alleging that (1) motor vehicle bearing unregistered Hindustan2021 payloader serial No.20210284, Model No.2021, was purchased in the year 1987 from Iffco Ltd., Kandla; (2) as per letter of Indian Hiring, Kurla, Bombay dated 27.11.1999 and delivery order No.0209 dated 26.9.1999 of MSTC Ltd. they have purchased from Iffco Ltd., Kandla; (3) driver has not produced Gujarat State Tax proof on demand and also registration book on demand, and (4) driver was asked to produce bill of purchase of Hindustan payloaders, R.C. Book, Gujarat State Tax proof, entry of Gujarat State of loaders and (5) driver was asked to comply. Similarly, in respect of other two payloaders also, same allegations have been made and the respondents have seized the trucks along with scrap material of the payloaders. That the petitioner produced the certificate issued by the Iffco Ltd. stating that the earthmoving equipments payloaders were used inside a plant premises of Iffco Ltd. and therefore, no registration was taken for the aforesaid payloaders as per the prevailing practice in the industrial unit. Therefore, it was submitted that there was no necessity of registration of the aforesaid payloaders which have now become scrap materials and, therefore, the authorities have wrongly detained all the three trucks. That the petitioner requested to the respondent authorities under section 207(2) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 to release the vehicles after verification of the documents of the vehicles, but the respondents did not release the vehicles of the petitioner. Therefore, the petitioner preferred Special Criminal Application No.1098/1999 before this Court and by order dated 27.12.1999, the learned Single Judge directed the respondents to release the three trucks except the payloaders. That in the meantime the respondent authorities passed the order dated 04.07.2005 directing the petitioner to pay tax from (1) January 1987 to June 2000 tax Rs.1,10,704/ + penalty of Rs.27,676/ + Rs.61,995/ interest @ 2% per month, totaling Rs.2,00,375/; (2) January 1988 to June 2000 tax Rs.1,02,534/ + penalty of Rs.25,633/ + Rs.57,420/ interest @ 2% per month, totaling Rs.1,85,587/; and (3) January 1987 to June 2000 tax Rs.1,10,704/ + penalty of Rs.27,676/ + Rs.61,995/ interest @ 2% per month, totaling Rs.2,00,375/. That against the aforesaid demand notice, the petitioner preferred revision application before the State Government and by impugned judgment and order the Revisional Authority dismissed the revision application and has confirmed the aforesaid demand of tax penalty and interest.
2.2] Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned order passed by the revisional authority and against the aforesaid demand notices and the demand of motor vehicle tax, the petitioner has preferred the present special civil application under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.
Shri D.K. Nakrani, learned advocate appearing on behalf of the petitioner has vehemently submitted that the impugned demand of
motor vehicle tax w.e.f. January 1987 to June 2000 is absolutely illegal
and most arbitrary and even beyond the scope and ambit of section 8 of
the Bombay Motor Vehicles Act, 1958 hereinafter referred to as "Act"].
It is submitted that as such the petitioner purchased payloaders as scrap
from Iffco Ltd. in the year 1999. It is submitted that as such there was no
adjudication with respect to the liability of the erstwhile owner of Iffco
Ltd. to pay the motor vehicle tax on the payloaders in question from
January 1987. It is submitted that therefore without any adjudication
order against Iffco Ltd. erstwhile owner, the petitioner could not have
been directed to pay the motor vehicle tax on the payloaders in question
w.e.f. 1987. It is submitted that as such even the petitioner produced the
certificate issued by the Iffco Ltd. stating that the earthmoving
equipments payloaders were used inside a plant premises of Iffco Ltd.
and therefore, no registration was required and consequently no
registration was taken. It is submitted that therefore and more
particularly when in the year 1999 the petitioner purchased the three
payloaders in question as scrap from a government enterprise through
Metal Scrap Trade Corporation Ltd., the impugned demand of motor
vehicle tax from the petitioner on the aforesaid three payloaders that too
w.e.f. 1987 is absolutely illegal and most arbitrary, which deserves to be
quashed and set aside.
(3.) ON the other hand, Shri Gandhi, learned AGP has submitted that as such it is disputed that the payloaders were infact scrap. However, so
far as the liability of the petitioner to pay motor vehicle tax w.e.f. 1987
to 2000 is concerned, Shri Gandhi, learned AGP has heavily relied upon
section 8 of the Act. Relying upon section 8 of the Act, it is submitted
that the motor vehicle tax due and payable on the aforesaid payloaders
can be recovered even from the subsequent purchaser. It is submitted
that therefore the impugned notice of motor vehicle tax from the
petitioner from 1987 onwards is just and proper in accordance with the
provisions of the law more particularly section 8 of the Act.
Making above submissions, it is requested to dismiss the present