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2023 (3) TMI 688 - SC - CST, VAT & Sales Tax
Lifting of attachment on properties - right to service of assessment orders - revenue averred that the allegation of not furnishing of copies of assessment orders passed, was an after-thought, to thwart the proceeding initiated by the respondent for recovery of tax dues - HELD THAT:- The High Court’s reasoning is based entirely on the effect of Rule 64 of the rules. There can be no doubt that when any statutory or administrative order, visits a citizen or entity with adverse consequences, such an order has to be served upon the concerned person; especially so, when that order is appealable or subject to revision by higher authorities. That is the substance of the requirement under Rule 64. The High Court, in the present case, drew a distinction between two periods; for AY 2005-06 to 2008-09 it was held that the assessments could not be called in question. So far as AY 2009-10 and 2010-11 were concerned, the court held that the attachment orders were invalid, since the assessment orders were not served.
The findings of the High Court, on the facts would not normally have required a second look by this court; however, the peculiar circumstances of this case compel scrutiny. After the disposal of the writ petition filed by the assessee (on 15.04.2010) concededly, it made no attempt to file objections or even deposit the amounts the court had required it to. As a regular dealer, it had filed returns not only for AY 2005-06 to 2008-09 but also later periods (i.e., AY 2009-10 and 2010-11) - The revenue however, pointed out to the High Court, that the representations never alleged that assessment orders were not served and that the attachments were therefore not compliant with provision of law.
In the present case, arguendo if the assessee was unaware, in the first instance regarding the issuance of assessment orders against it, at least when the revenue filed a writ petition complaining about Canara Bank’s proposal to auction the assessee’s properties, it had impleaded the assessee too - The High Court, with due respect, fell into error, in holding that since the subject matter of the revenue’s writ petition (W.P. No. 25943/2011) was different, the assessee could not be faulted for highlighting that it had not received a copy of the assessment order. In fact, the entire premise of that writ petition was that the assessee owed tax dues, to the extent of ₹5,59,58,758/- and that the bank could not sell the assessee’s properties.
The revenue’s appeal has to succeed - Appeal allowed.