(1.)THESE five appeals are from the judgment and order of Durga Das Basu, J. , dated the 2nd May, 1969 (Reported at (1969) 24 S. T. C. 25 ). In that judgment, the learned Judge found that a consolidated assessment order in respect of several return periods is ultra vires and, accordingly, all subsequent proceedings for demand and recovery by the Government founded on such ultra vires assessment orders are invalid. The learned Judge, therefore, quashed the impugned orders and made the rules absolute.
(2.)THE learned Judge dealt with in his judgment all the five rules, namely, from Civil Rules Nos. 3045 (W) to 3048 (W) of 1966 and Civil Rule No. 828 (W) of 1965. The sole question that he determined in that judgment is whether it is competent for the assessing authority under the Bengal Finance (Sales Tax) Act, 1941, to consolidate the demands for several quarters in one assessment proceeding. He gave the judgment with reference to the materials in Civil Rule No. 3045 (W) of 1966.
The petitioner-company, the respondent before us, is a registered dealer under the Bengal Finance (Sales Tax) Act, 1941. The return period had been fixed by the assessing authority as each quarter of the "akshoytritia year", according to the Bengali calendar. The respondent was, according to the registration certificate, liable to furnish returns within 30 days from the expiry of each such quarter, that is, 4th August, 15th November, 28th January, and 25th April. The respondent failed to furnish returns within the aforesaid dates in the year 1951-52. The Commercial Tax Officer issued a single notice dated the 25th October, 1952, under section 11 (1) of the Act in respect of all the four quarters ending with the 13th Baisakh, 1359 B. S. In pursuance of that notice, the respondent filed a consolidated return for the four quarters on 15th November, 1955, which was revised on 7th December, 1955 Under such return, the Commercial Tax Officer made his consolidated assessment order dated 29th February, 1956, amounting to over Rs. 9 lakhs of which Rs. 8,35,846-3-3 was found to be due after deducting payments made by the respondent. This sum was demanded from the respondent by the single notice of demand dated 1st March, 1956.
(3.)AS against the aforesaid orders, the respondent preferred an appeal to the Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, which has been rejected by the order dated 5th September, 1966, on the technical grounds that the appellant failed to file the certified copies of the impugned assessment orders within the period of limitation and that the full amount of the admitted tax was not put in with the appeal. In C. R. 828 (W) of 1965, the appeal has been disposed of by a subsequent order dated 21st June, 1968, by which the appellate authority has directed the assessing authority to make a fresh assessment order after setting aside the existing one, but the plea of the respondent that one single assessment order could not be made in respect of more than one quarter was rejected.