Deb Kumar Chakraborti, Technical Member -
(1.) BY this application filed under Section 8 of the West Bengal Taxation Tribunal Act, 1987, the petitioner has challenged the order dated January 29, 2009 passed by the Deputy Commissioner, Commercial Taxes, Jalpaiguri Circle, disallowing the claim of input -tax credit in respect of four quarters ending on March 31, 2006.
(2.) MR . Debanjan Gangopadhyay, Advocate appearing along with Mr. D. Chakraborty, learned Advocate, has submitted that the petitioner, Sri Prabir Ranjan Roy, is a registered dealer under the West Bengal Value Added Tax Act, 2003 and deals in timber. The petitioner purchases timber from the West Bengal Forest Development Corporation Ltd. (in short, "the WBFDC Ltd."), a State Government undertaking under the Forest Department. Assessment for four quarters ending on March 31, 2006 was completed ex parte by the Commercial Tax Officer, Jalpaiguri Charge (in short, "the CTO, JP"), respondent No. 1 on September 15, 2008 and no credit of input tax was allowed. Being aggrieved the petitioner filed appeal petition. The Deputy Commissioner, Commercial Taxes, Jalpaiguri Circle (in short, "the DCCT, JP"), respondent No. 2, also did not allow input -tax credit in view of Rule 19(8) of the West Bengal Value Added Tax Rules, 2005. The learned Advocate has claimed that the WBFDC Ltd., does not accept account payee cheque or account payee draft from the purchasing dealers. The system is that the purchasers have to pay cash in the local bank account of the said Corporation and on verification of bank receipt the Corporation issues money receipt against the sale of timber. The learned Advocate has pointed out that according to proviso to Rule 19(8) of the said Rules, if no banking facility is available in the area, the purchasers can pay by cash even exceeding Rs. 20,000 which means that payment by cheque above Rs. 20,000 is not mandatory, but it is directory. The submission of the learned Advocate is that the intention of the Legislature to make this rule is to check false claim of input -tax credit. It is argued that since the WBFDC Ltd., is a Government undertaking, there is no scope for raising false claim of input -tax credit. The learned Advocate has prayed for consideration of the facts and direction to allow the claim of input -tax credit of the petitioner. Mr. B. Majumdar, learned State Representative, has opposed the contention of the learned Advocate of the petitioner and has relied on the order of the DCCT, JP Circle dated January 29, 2009. It is argued that the revisional authority has rightly rejected the claim for input -tax credit since no tax invoices were produced before him. Moreover, the petitioner also violated Rule 19(8) of the West Bengal VAT Rules, 2005.
(3.) WE have heard the rival contentions of both the parties. Respondent No. 2, the DCCT, JP Circle, rejected the claim for input -tax credit on two grounds: Firstly, the petitioner has failed to produce tax invoice and secondly, the petitioner did not pay the purchase price by account payee cheque or account payee draft as per provision prescribed under Rule 19(8) of the West Bengal VAT Rules, 2005.;