DEB KUMAR CHAKRABORTI,MEMBER (T) -
(1.) BY this application filed under Section 8 of the West Bengal Taxation Tribunal Act, 1987, the Petitioner has challenged the order of cancellation of registration certificate by the Sales Tax Officer, Bowbazar Charge on December 2, 2008. The Petitioner, Sri Sridhari Sharma, is the proprietor of M/s. Shreya Industries having its office at 3, Khetra Das Lane, 3rd floor, Kolkata 700 012. The Petitioner is a reseller and distributor of metal sheets, TMT bar, rod and allied metal products and is registered under the State and Central Sales Tax Acts. The registration certificates of the Petitioner under the State and Central Sales Tax Acts were cancelled by the Sales Tax Officer, Bow -bazar on December 2, 2008. Being aggrieved the Petitioner has filed this application before this Tribunal.
(2.) MR . B.P. Chakraborty, learned advocate of the Petitioner, has alleged that the registration certificate under the State Act was cancelled without proper hearing and not in accordance with law. No reasonable opportunities were allowed before passing the order of cancellation of the registration certificate. It is alleged that the Petitioner along with his representative met the Sales Tax Officer, Bowbazar Charge, Respondent No. 1 on December 2, 2008 for some official purpose and at the request of Respondent No. 1. filed an early hearing petition of the show -cause notice issued under memo. No. 5324 dated November 17, 2008 fixing the date of hearing on December 10, 2008. Accordingly the Petitioner was heard on December 2, 2008 and subsequently the Petitioner received the intimation of cancellation of the registration certificate by post sent under memo. No. 6895 dated December 2, 2008. It is further alleged that though the intimation was sent by post, but no copy of the cancellation order dated December 2, 2008 was sent to the Petitioner and as a result the right to appeal to the next higher authority has been denied to the Petitioner. Mr. Chakraborty has argued that perhaps the registration certificate was cancelled for alleged non -existence of the Petitioner at the declared place of business, but the Petitioner always received all the letters sent to his business address which means the allegation of the officer concerned has no basis. In support of this contention the Petitioner has enclosed Xerox copy of the envelops received by him. It is further submitted by the learned advocate that the Petitioner filed all the quarterly returns due up to the time of filing this application. Mr. Chakraborty has further submitted that he came to know that while passing the order of cancellation, Respondent No. 1 relied on the reports of the Assistant Sales Tax Officers, but copies of such reports were not given to the Petitioner to rebut the contents of the same. To buttress his contention the learned advocate has cited the decision of the honourable High Court of Calcutta in the case of Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, West Bengal v. Krishna Kumar Mantri,  142 STC 251, the decision of the honourable Orissa High Court in the case of Meridian Steels v. Commissioner of Commercial Taxes,  133 STC 486 and the decision of this Tribunal in the case of Sri Sambhu Kumar Chowdhury v. Assistant Commissioner, Commercial Taxes, Dharmatalla Circle,  43 STA 25 and in the case of Bullion Traders v. CTO, Rajakatra Charge,  43 STA 29 (WBTT).
(3.) MR . A.K. Nath, learned State Representative, has asserted that it was at the request of the Petitioner for early hearing of the show -cause notice the Petitioner was heard on December 2, 2008. The learned State Representative has produced the case records before us and pointed out that one Sri Ranjit Kumar, authorised representative, appeared before Respondent No. 1 on December 2, 2008 and admitted that the Petitioner did not exist at the declared place of business due to dispute with the landlord. As such, it is argued by the learned State Representative that when there is an admission of non -existence at the declared place of business, the registration certificate of the Petitioner was rightly cancelled under Section 29(1)(a) of the West Bengal VAT Act, 2003. We have perused the permanent case records of the Petitioner produced by the learned State Representative. It appears that the Sales Tax Officer, Bowbazar Charge, Respondent No. 1 relied on the reports dated November 10, 2008 and November 24, 2008 submitted by the Assistant Sales Tax Officer, Bowbazar Charge, while cancelling the registration certificate on December 2, 2008. Admittedly, the copies of such inspection reports were not delivered to the Petitioner to rebut the findings of the Assistant Sales Tax Officer, Bowbazar Charge. As such, there is no doubt that natural justice was violated for not supplying copies of reports. This Tribunal in the case of Bullion Traders v. CTO, Rajakatra Charge,  43 STA 29 passed an order to supply the copy of the investigation report of the Bureau of Investigation to the Petitioner -firm to rebut the findings in the interest of natural justice. The case of Sri Sambhu Kumar Chowdhury v. Assistant Commissioner, Commercial Taxes, Dharmatalla Circle  43 STA 25 (WBTT) is different. The question in that case was whether the authority concerned was right to reject the application for registration without considering the documents filed by the Petitioner. The decision of this case is not relevant in the context of the present case.;