Decided on March 30,2009

Howrah Tax Payers Association Appellant
Government Of West Bengal And Anr. Respondents


Pradipta Ray, J. (Chairman) - (1.) IN these three separate applications separate petitioners have questioned the constitutionality and legality of the amendment of Sub -section (2) of Section 32 of the West Bengal Value Added Tax Act, 2003 (in short, "the VAT Act"). Subject -matter of legal challenge being same, all those three applications were heard together and are being disposed of by this common judgment.
(2.) MAJOR provisions of the VAT Act have been brought into effect from April 1, 2005. Section 32 of the VAT Act deals with submission of returns by dealers. Sub -section (2) of Section 32 was amended by W.B. Act 3 of 2007 with effect from April 1, 2007 by inserting a provision for payment of penalty in case a dealer liable to file return failed to submit such return within the prescribed period of time. The manner and time for filing quarterly returns have been prescribed by rules 34 and 35 of the West Bengal Value Added Tax Rules, 2005 (hereinafter referred to as, "the VAT Rules"). Insertion of the provisions for payment of penalty in Sub -section (2) of Section 34 was questioned by some dealers in R.N. 406 of 2007 before this Tribunal. During pendency of R.N. 406 of 2007, Sub -section (2) of Section 32 was again amended by the West Bengal Finance Act, 2008 by deleting the provision for penalty and introducing payment of late fee at prescribed rate for delayed filing of return. As the provision for payment of penalty -was substituted by the provision for payment of late fee by a new Amendment Act R.N. 406 of 2007 was disposed of by this Tribunal with the following order: Under the amended provision, late fee is imposable instead of penalty. In view of such amendment at present there is no provision for imposition of penalty from April 1, 2007. Accordingly, the question raised in this application has become academic and is not required to be decided.
(3.) IN all these three applications the petitioners have questioned the legality of the imposition of late fee for submitting returns beyond the prescribed date or period.;

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