A.M. Trading Company vs Sales Tax Officer And Ors. on 9 April, 2001

Delhi High Court
A.M. Trading Company vs Sales Tax Officer And Ors. on 9 April, 2001
Equivalent citations: 2003 131 STC 264 Delhi
Author: A Pasayat
Bench: A Pasayat, D Jain


JUDGMENT

Arrijit Pasayat, C.J.

1. This is an application questioning correctness of the orders passed by the Additional Commissioner of Sales Tax (in short “the Additional Commissioner”) and the Appellate Tribunal, Sales Tax (in short “the Tribunal”).

2. The dispute relates to demands raised under the provisions of the Delhi Sales Tax Act, 1975 (in short “the Act”) for the assessment year 1992-93 for the petitioner’s failure to produce declaration forms in respect of claim of sales to registered dealers. A total demand of Rs. 6,35,292 was raised. The petitioner filed an appeal before the Additional Commissioner, who by order dated May 9, 1997 directed deposit of the entire extra demand as a pre-condition for entertaining the appeal. The petitioner filed an appeal before the Tribunal against the said order, which was dismissed by its order dated September 18, 1997. However, the appellant was directed to comply with the order by October 16, 1997 and to appear on October 17, 1997 for hearing of the appeal after complying with the directions given for deposit of the entire extra demand. As the petitioner failed to comply with the order, the appeal itself was not entertained and dismissed in limingby the Additional Commissioner. Again an appeal was filed before the Tribunal questioning the correctness of the order of dismissal. By the impugned order dated October 3, 2000, the appeal was dismissed on the ground that there was non-compliance with the earlier order passed by the Tribunal.

3. In support of the application, learned counsel for the petitioner stated that due to prolonged illness which is evident from various certificates issued by the hospital authorities of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, the petitioner was not in a position to deposit the extra demand and/or comply with the directions given for deposit. In any event, the declaration forms, for the non-production of which extra demand was raised, have been obtained and are available to be produced before the appellate authority. Learned counsel for the revenue, on the other hand submitted that there was a long period of inaction even if for the sake of argument it is accepted that the petitioner was ailing for some time. In fact for these periods there is no explanation as to why no action was taken by the petitioner to assail the order which was available to be assailed in 1997. It is further submitted that the collection of the declaration forms at the belated stage does not automatically entitle the petitioner to get the benefit of deduction.

4. It is apparent that the petitioner has not taken any action for some periods. Additional Commissioner was justified in dismissing the appeal for non-compliance with the directions given for deposit of the extra demand by the Tribunal in 1997. However considering the fact that most of the declaration forms as stated are in the possession of the petitioner for production before the authorities, we direct that in case a sum of Rs. 3.5 lakhs is deposited by the petitioner by the end of May, 2001, realisation of the balance shall be stayed till the disposal of the first appeal. The petitioner shall, without any further notice, appear before the Additional Commissioner with proof of payment on June 5, 2001, so that the appeal can be taken for disposal on merits if it is otherwise free from defects. We make it clear that by directing stay of recovery of part of the payment of the disputed demand, in view of availability of declaration forms, it shall not be construed as if we have expressed any opinion about the acceptability of the declaration forms, stated to be in the possession of the petitioner, and which the petitioner states shall be produced before the appellate authority.

Petition is disposed of accordingly.

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