Decided on November 28,1963



- (1.) The question which essentially requires to be answered in this enquiry is whether it is necessary for a dealer to deposit the amount of penalty under sub-section (6) of section 21 of the Andhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act No. (VI of 1957), hereinafter called 'the Act', in order to make the appeal entertainable. Section 21 as far as it is relevant for the present purpose is in the following terms :- "21 (1). Any dealer objecting to an order passed or proceeding recorded- (a) by any prescribed authority on appeal under section 19, or (A) by a Deputy Commissioner suo motu under sub-section (2) of section 20, may appeal to the Appellate Tribunal within sixty days from the date on which the order or proceeding was served on him. (b) No appeal shall be entertained under sub-section (1) unless it is accompanied by a satisfactory proof of the payment of the tax as determined in any appeal under section 19, or in revision under section 20, or of such instalments thereof as have become payable."
(2.) In order to appreciate the contention raised in these writ petitions, it is necessary to look into the antecedents of sub-section (6) of section 21. Previous to the Amending Act XXVI of 1959, sub-section (6) stood as follows :- "No appeal shall be entertained under sub-section (1) unless it is accompanied by satisfactory proof of the payment of the tax and the penalty if any." "The words " and the penalty, if any " were deleted by the said Amending Act XXVI of 1959. In spite of this deletion, the Tribunal is insisting on the satisfactory proof of the payment of the amount of penalty in an appeal against the order directing the levy of penalty. The contention in support of such a view is that, the word ' tax' appearing in sub-section (6) of section 21 of the Act includes penalty inasmuch as penalty is in the nature of an additional tax. I do not think that that view is correct. In order to know as to why the words " and the penalty, if any " were omitted, it is, I suppose, permissible to look into the statement of objects and reasons published in the Andhra Pradesh Gazette Extraordinary, Part IV-A, dated 12th February, 1959. Referring to section 19 (1) (b) and section 21 (6) of the Act, the following reasons are assigned for the deletion of those words : "2. Sections 19 (1) (b) and 21 (6) of the Act provide for the payment by the dealer of both the tax assessed and the penalty, if any, levied, before an appeal is entertained. While it is essential that dealers should be required to pay the tax assessed before an appeal is entertained, the insistence on payment of penalty also, is likely to cause great hardship to them. It is, therefore, proposed to amend the above sections so as to omit reference to the penalty, if any, levied under the Act."
(3.) It is thus clear that the inconvenience which the existence of that provision used to cause before it was deleted was thought of by the Legislature as causing a good deal of harassment and therefore it must be omitted. When the deletion is caused with that explicit intention, it would be making the amendment nugatory, if the mischief which it tried to remove, is allowed to be perpetuated. Although this Court is not at liberty to construe an act of Legislature by the motive which influenced the Legislature, yet when the history of a provision of law tells the Court what the object of the Legislature was in changing the provision, the Court has to see whether the terms of the section are such as would fairly carry out that object and no other, and to read the section with a view to finding out what it means, and not with a view to extending it to something that was expressly intended not to apply. The golden rule in such cases to follow is to first find out what was the provision before the section was amended ; secondly, what was the defect in the previous section ; thirdly, what remedy the Legislature adopted to cure the defect and lastly to find out the true reason of the remedy now adopted by the Legislature. If the Court views the section as amended from the abovesaid perspective, there would be no difficulty in so construing the section which would suppress the mischief and advance the remedy. Incidentally, it shall suppress subtle inventions and evasions for continuance of the mischief and would add force and life to the cure and remedy according to the true intent of the Legislature.;

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