Decided on February 08,1972



- (1.) THIS is an application for the issue of a writ of certiorari questioning the order of the 2nd respondent, the Assistant Commissioner of Sales Tax. The only point raised in this writ petition is whether the petitioner is liable to pay interest under section 16 (3) of the Andhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act. With respect of the year 1967-68, the petitioner submitted his return on 7th December, 1967, in form A-1. On the basis of this return, the Commercial Tax Officer issued notice in B-1 form dated 12th December, 1967, and time for payment was fixed as 11th January, 1968. As the petitioner failed to pay the amount within the due date, he was directed to pay interest thereon from 11th January, 1968, till 22nd February, 1969, when the amount was paid. The power of the authorities for levying interest is based on section 16 (3) of the Act, which specifically provides that if the tax assessed under the Act or any instalment thereof is not paid by the dealer within the time specified therefor in the notice of assessment or in the order permitting payment in instalments, the dealer shall pay, in addition to the amount of such tax or instalment, interest at the rate of half per cent of such amount. The contention raised by the petitioner is that the provision for payment of interest arises only in the case of a final assessment and not provisional assessment. In other words, it is suggested that when the section does not speak of provisional or final assessment, it has to be interpreted only as a final assessment. On the other hand, the learned Government Pleader contends that while the section is silent as to whether the assessment is provisional or final, the word "assessment" should cover either provisional assessment or final assessment. I am inclined to agree with the contention of the learned Government Pleader and hold that the language of the section is wide enough to include a case where the assessee is directed to pay the amount within a given time even on the basis of his own voluntary return. It is argued on behalf of the petitioner that unless the amount is finalised, the claim for interest does not arise even under general law. But this is not a case of tax which was unascertained. The petitioner submitted his return and, even according to him, the amount payable was known to him. The authorities merely directed him to pay the said amount within a given time.
(2.) THERE is, therefore, no uncertainty as regards the amount payable. There was a demand for payment of the amount and hence the provisions of section 16 (3) are attracted. Even in the notice issued to the petitioner in B-1 form, it is specifically stated that interest is payable. This itself is a clear indication that the Legislature contemplated levy of interest even in the case of such an assessment. The learned counsel for the petitioner invited my attention to some decisions as to what is the meaning of notice of assessment. But I do not find any assistance from the said decisions. The writ petition is accordingly dismissed, but there will be no order as to costs. G. P. fee Rs. 100. Petition dismissed.;

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