Decided on February 14,1992



A.Gopal Rao, J. - (1.)These writ petitions can be disposed of by a common judgment as the question involved in all these matters is one and the same, viz., whether the petitioner-club in each of these cases is a 'dealer' under the Andhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act, and whether it is liable to pay sales tax.
(2.)The averments in the three writ petitions are substantially the same and, it will suffice if the averments in Writ Petition No.12920 of 1988 are stated, to understand the controversy in these matters. The petitioner claims that the petitioner-club is a 'society', registered under the Andhra Pradesh Societies Registration Act and its objects are to promote social, cultural, sports, recreational, charitable and educational activities etc., and to do acts incidental thereto. It is a non-profit organisation and it is not at all the object of the petitioner to carry on business. The souree of finance of the petitioner is subscriptions paid by members and also by donations. The catering activity of the centre is not in the course of business and the centre, therefore, does not fall under the definition of 'dealer' under Section 2(e) of the Andhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act (hereinafter called 'the Act') and, therefore, the provisions of the Act are not attracted. It is further alleged that the supply of goods by the petitioner to its members does not constitute 'transfer of property' and not exigible to sales-tax. Therefore, the petitioner-association was not required to get itself registered as a 'dealer' under the Act. While so, on 6.8.1988, the respondent-Commercial Tax Officer, Khairatabad, seized certain account books relating to the supplies of foodstuffs and drinks by the petitioner-centre to its members and got recorded a statement of the Manager (Accounts) of the petitioner under coercion to his dictation to the effect that the canteen business is being carried on from 1-7-1987 and the Bar from February, 1988 and that it will make an application for registration as a dealer under the Act and shall file monthly A-2 returns by 8-8-1988. On 18-8-1988, the Manager (Accounts) wrote to the respondent explaining the circumstances in which the statement was obtained from him and making it clear that the provisions of the Act have no application to the petitioner-club. While so, the petitioner received a show-cause notice on 17.8.1988 from the respondent, proposing to levy tax on the petitioner-centre, treating it as a club doing business of supplying of goods and drinks, taxable under Section 5-C of the Act. It is also stated that though the petitioner could challenge the assessment order as and when passed by filing an appeal, as it is not an effective remedy, the petitioner has filed this writ petition for issuance of a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ or order declaring that the petitioner is not a 'Dealer' under the Act and the catering facilities made available by the petitioner to its members are not taxable under the Act and to quash the impugned notice O.R.No.14/1988-89, dated 17-8-1988 issued by the respondent and also for a direction to the respondent to return the general ledger for the year 1987-88 and three bill books seized by him on 6-8-1988. As stated earlier, the averments in the other two writ petitions and the prayer therein are substantially the same!
(3.)The respondents, however, claimed that the petitioner-clubs would come under the definition of 'dealer' under section (2) (e) (i) of the Act, and their activity falls under the definition of the word 'business' under the Act.

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