KHATEMA FIBRES LIMITED Vs. CHAIRMAN, CESS APPELLATE COMMITTEE
HIGH COURT OF UTTARAKHAND
M/s. Khatema Fibres Limited
Chairman, Cess Appellate Committee
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(1.) The petitioner is a company registered under the Companies Act and is engaged in the manufacture of craft paper and paper board. The provision of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977 is applicable since the petitioner's industry is an industry specified in Schedule (1) of the said Act. The petitioner is aggrieved by the assessment order dated 25.01.1994 as well as the appellate order dated 01.06.1996 passed under the aforesaid Act for the period 01.12.1992 to 31.12.1993 by which an assessment of Rs. 1,33,061.18 was levied as water cess. According to the petitioner, before passing the assessment order, it was necessary for the Assessing Authority to make an inquiry and further grant an opportunity of hearing as provided u/s. 6 before passing the order. The learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that no inquiry was made nor an opportunity of hearing was given and, consequently, the assessment order as confirmed by the appellate order, being violative of principle of natural justice and being violative of the provision of Section 6 of the Act, was liable to be quashed.
(2.) In this regard, the Court has heard Sri Gopal Narain, the learned counsel for the petitioner and Sri Sudhir Kumar, the learned counsel for the respondents.
(3.) In order to appreciate the submission of the learned counsel for the petitioner, it would be essential to peruse the provision of Section 5 and 6 of the Act, 1977. For facility, the said provision is extracted hereunder:-
5. Furnishing of returns. - [(1)] Every person carrying on any specified industry and every local authority, liable to pay the cess under Section 3, shall furnish such returns, in such form, at such intervals and containing such particulars to such officer or authority, as may be prescribed.
[(2)] If a person carrying on any specified industry or a local authority, liable to pay the cess under section 3, fails to furnish any return under subsection (1), the officer or the authority shall give a notice requiring such person or local authority to furnish such return before such date as may be specified in the notice.
6. Assessment of cess. - (1) The officer or authority to whom or which the return has been furnished under section 5 shall, after making or causing to be made such inquiry as he or it thinks fit and after satisfying himself or itself that the particulars stated in the return are correct, by order, assess the amount of cess payable by the concerned person carrying on any specified industry or local authority, as the case may be.
[(1A) If the return has not been furnished to the officer or authority under sub-section (2) of Section 5, he or it shall, after making or causing to be made such inquiry as he or it thinks fit, by order, assess the amount of cess payable by the concerned person carrying on any specified industry or local authority, as the case may be.]
(2) An order of assessment made under sub-section (1) [or sub-section (1A)] shall specify the date within which the cess shall be paid to the State Government.
(3) A copy of each of the order of assessment made under sub-section (1) [or sub-section (1A)] shall be sent to the person or, as the case may be, to the local authority concerned and to the State Government.
(4) The State Government shall, through such of its officers or authorities as may be specified by it in this behalf by notification in the Official Gazette, collect the cess from the person or local authority liable to pay the same and pay the amount so collected to the Central Government in such manner and within such time as may be prescribed.;
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