Decided on March 25,2009

Magna Projects (P) Ltd. Appellant
Commercial Tax Officer, Rajakatra Charge And Ors. Respondents


R.K. Datta Chaudhuri, J. - (1.) THIS application under Section 8(1) of the West Bengal Taxation Tax Act, 1987 filed on February 12, 2009 is directed against the order dated December 16, 2008 passed by Shri P. Mondol, Additional Commissioner, Commercial Taxes, West Bengal in the Revision Case No. REV/317/2008 -09/94 registered on the application under Section 81(2) of the West Bengal Sales Tax Act, 1994 filed by the Petitioner against the ex parte appellate order passed on January 28, 2008 by the Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, Borobazar circle in respect of the period four quarter ending March 31, 2005. The revisional authority dismissed the revisional application on refusal to admit additional evidence on the ground of failure to show cause for non -production of the books of account at earlier stage.
(2.) ADMITTEDLY the CTO/RJ charge under ex parte order dated June 11, 2007 assessed tax under Section 45(1) of the WBST Act, 1994 of the Petitioner being a registered dealer ex parte to the best of his judgment for nonappearance of the Petitioner on June 8, 2007 which was the seventh adjourned date of hearing. In this order he determined the GT of sales at Rs. 9,00,00,000 and TSPP Rs. 1,50,000 to the best of his judgment. From this order the Petitioner preferred appeal which was registered as A/BB/RJ 25/07 -08 on the grounds, viz. (i) No. reasonable opportunity was allowed to produce books of accounts, and (ii) estimation GT and TSPP was bad in law. The appellate authority Sri P. Haldar, Assistant Commissioner, Borobazar circle, by his order dated January 28, 2008 confirmed the aforesaid assessment order with observation, "considered all the grounds of appeal and checked the records. On scrutiny of records it transpires that the dealer was given as many as 6 (six) adjournments to produce books of account in the appellate stage, but the dealer did not turn up. It seems that the dealer was given a reasonable opportunity of being heard, though he failed to avail of the opportunity. It appears that the dealer was not interested to complete the appeal hearing." On being aggrieved with this appellate order, the Petitioner filed revisional application under Section 81 of the WBST Act, 1994, on the grounds: (i) that he was denied effective opportunity of being heard by the appellate authority; (ii) that No. basis was disclosed for estimation of GT and TSPP and (iii) the principle of natural justice was violated in passing the order to his best judgment.
(3.) RULE 180 of the WBST Rules, 1995 provides, "in the event of default by a dealer to comply with the requirement of the notice referred to in Sub -rule (1), Sub -rule (2A) of Rule 178, the appropriate assessing authority may make to the best of his judgment an ex parte assessment of tax payable by such dealer in respect of a year comprising period or periods or part thereof, or in respect of any return period or periods, as the case may be, and pass an order of assessment, in writing, after recording reasons therein." The proviso to Rule 242 of the WBST Rules, 1995 says, "provided that where an Appellant fails to appear before the appellate authority on the date specified in the notice referred to in Sub -rule (1) or such other date as may be allowed by such appellate authority, and to produce accounts, document or evidence, the appellate authority shall dispose of the appeal ex parte to the best of his judgment".;

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