OVERSEA MICA EXPORTS Vs. SECRETARY SALES TAX APPELLATE TRIBUNAL
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
OVERSEA MICA EXPORTS
SECRETARY SALES TAX APPELLATE TRIBUNAL
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(1.)THE only question that arises for consideration in this petition for the issue of a writ of certiorari is whether the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal has jurisdiction to dismiss an appeal filed before it under Section 31 of the Andhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act) for default.
(2.)THE petitioner herein was assessed to sales tax for the year 1956-57 by the Deputy Commercial Tax Officer, Gudur, on a turnover of Rs. 63,205. 21. After an unsuccessful appeal to the Assistant Commissioner for Commercial Taxes, Guntur, he preferred a further appeal to the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal on 6th March, 1968, under Section 21 of the Sales Tax Act. On 29th June, 1968, when the appeal was posted for hearing, as the appellant and his counsel were absent, the Tribunal dismissed the appeal for default. The petition for restoration of this appeal was also dismissed on 17th April, 1969. It is not necessary to deal with the several other contentions in this writ petition in the view we are taking on the main contention raised by the learned counsel for the petitioner.
(3.)ANY dealer objecting to an order passed or proceeding recorded by any prescribed authority under Section 19 of the Act or by a Deputy Commissioner suo motu under Sub-section (4-C) of Section 14 or under Sub-section (2) of Section 20, may prefer an appeal to the Tribunal under Section 21 of the Act. The appeal has to be filed within sixty days from the date on which the order or proceeding is served on the dealer. The Appellate Tribunal is, however, given power to condone the delay in preferring the appeal on sufficient cause being shown. The memorandum of appeal is required to be in the prescribed form and accompanied by a fee not exceeding Rs. 100. The petitioner preferred an appeal in compliance with the provisions of Sub-sections (1), (3) and (6) of Section 21 of the Act. Sub-sections (4) and (5) of Section 21 lay down as to how the Tribunal should dispose of the appeal and also as to what the powers of the Appellate Tribunal are Sub-sections (4) and (5) of Section 21 read as follows :
Section 21. (4) (a) The Appellate Tribunal may, after giving both parties to the appeal, a reasonable opportunity of being heard (i) confirm, reduce, enhance or annul the assessment or the penalty or both; or (ii) set aside the assessment or the penalty, or both, and direct the assessing authority to pass a fresh order after such further inquiry as may be directed; or (iii) pass such other orders as it may think fit: Provided that if the appeal involves a question of law, a decision on which is pending in any proceeding before the High Court or the Supreme Court, the Appellate Tribunal may defer the hearing of the appeal before it, till such proceeding is disposed of.
21. (5) Before passing any order under Sub-section (4), the Appellate Tribunal may make such inquiry as it deems fit or remand the case to the appellate authority against whose order the appeal was preferred or to the assessing authority concerned, for an inquiry and report on any specified point or points,
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