VENKATARAMA AND CO Vs. ADDITIONAL COMMERCIAL TAX OFFICER KRISHNA
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
VENKATARAMA AND CO
ADDITIONAL COMMERCIAL TAX OFFICER KRISHNA
Click here to view full judgement.
GOPAL RAO EKBOTE,C.J. -
(1.) ALL these writ petitions raise a common question of law. They can be, therefore, disposed of by a common order.
In order to appreciate the point raised, it is perhaps enough to refer to the facts as they appear in W. P. No. 514 of 1972. In that case, a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ is sought directing the respondents to refund the tax collected by them as sales tax on the petitioner's turnover of account books, note-books and exercise books, which are not exigible according to the petitioner to tax during the years 1964-65 to 1969-70. The petitioner by way of amendment has now also asked for the issue of a writ of certiorari to quash the relevant assessment orders.
(2.) THE facts in outline are that the petitioner deals in exercise books, account books, etc. It claims exemption on the turnover of the notebooks, account books, exercise books, etc. The assessing authority as well as the Tribunal held that the term "all books" appearing in G. O. Ms. No. 133 dated 19th January, 1964, does not take in the exercise books, account books etc. Exemption therefore on the turnover was not granted and the petitioner was assessed to tax on that turnover also. It is alleged in the petition that the petitioner was advised that this is the view which the assessing authorities as well as the Tribunal have been taking and, therefore, it might pay the tax accordingly. The petitioner, therefore, depending upon this advice paid the tax.
It has now, however, turned out that in a decision of this court in Govindaswamy Binding Works v. State of A. P. ( 29 S. T. C. 219), a Bench of this Court took the view that the term "all books" appearing in the abovesaid G. O. would include day-books, account books, ledgers, journals and even blank sheets fastened together and that they need not necessarily be literary works. In view of this understanding of the said G. O. , the Tribunal or the assessing authorities must be deemed to have collected sales tax on account books, exercise books, etc. , under a mistake of law. The petitioner therefore is entitled to get that portion of the assessment orders quashed and also get a direction for refund of the tax so collected under a mistake.
An attempt was made on the part of the learned Government Pleader to argue that the abovesaid Bench decision requires reconsideration. After carefully going through the judgment, however, we are satisfied that there is no valid reason to take a different view. No provision of law or authority was brought to our notice which would persuade us to take a different view. We are also not aware of any such provision or authority. That decision therefore would continue to occupy the field. According to that decision, sales tax could not have been collected on the turnover of exercise books, account books, etc. Since that seems to have been done under the assessment orders in question, we have no hesitation in quashing that portion of the assessment orders which impose tax on such turnovers and to that extent direct refund of the tax so collected from the petitioner by the department.
(3.) THE same facts are almost repeated in all other writ petitions. The abovesaid decision would govern those cases also. For the reasons stated above, we would allow the writ petitions and quash the portions of the assessment orders in all these writ petitions which relate to the exemption of tax on the turnover of exercise books, account books, etc. , and direct the department to refund the tax they have collected on the basis of such assessment orders. We leave the parties to bear their own costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 50 in each case.
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.