Decided on February 12,1992



S.C.PRATAP, J. - (1.)PETITIONERS are questioning the validity of the Government Order No. 1106, Revenue (C. T.-II) Department, dated December 7, 1991, by which order the State Government amended its earlier order G. O. Ms. No. 376, Revenue (C. T.-II) Department, dated May 2, 1991 by deleting from this latter Government Order retrospective operation sought to be given thereto with effect from July 8, 1983.
(2.)PETITIONERS have been paying sales tax on liquor as also on bottles containing the same. This the petitioners are paying without any protest or objection from 1983 onwards. As mentioned in paragraph 2 of the petition, their assessments were also completed since 1983-84 onwards uptodate. On May 2, 1991, the State Government issued G. O. Ms. No. 376, inter alia to the effect that the rate of tax payable under the Andhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act, 1957, on the sales of cartons and bottles involved in the sales of liquor shall be at the rate specified in entry 199 and entry 123, respectively of the First Schedule to the said Act. It was further mentioned that this Government Order :
" shall be deemed to have come into force with effect on and from July 8, 1983". Retrospective operation came in for severe criticism in the State Legislature, as such retrospective operation involved, inter alia, refund of very large sum of money running into a couple of crores. Consequently, on December 7, 1991, the State Government issued G. O. Ms. No. 1106 modifying the earlier G. O. Ms. No. 376 insofar as it was sought to be made retrospective from July 8, 1983 and by the modification, G. O. Ms. No. 376 was given effect from May 2, 1991 only, being the date of the G. O. itself. Thus, retrospective operation was deleted and instead prospective operation was provided.

We fail to appreciate challenge to this second Government Order giving operation to the first Government Order from the date of the first Government Order. In fact, one would have been surprised if such modification had not been made. Sales tax having been recovered by businessmen and traders and having, in due course, been paid to the State Government in accordance with law, they are surely not entitled to refund thereof in the year 1991 onwards right from the year 1983. There was no justification made out in G. O. Ms. No. 376 for giving retrospective operation thereto. The State Government was fully justified in amending the said Government order and giving it only prospective operation. It was completely within its right in doing so.

(3.)HOWEVER , the petitioners' learned counsel submitted that G. O. Ms. No. 376 giving retrospective operation was already acted upon by the petitioners but when asked in what manner it was acted upon, he submitted that in accordance therewith, the petitioners had made applications for refund. There is no dispute that no refund was granted. We see no substance in the contention relating to acting upon.

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