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2016 (4) TMI 680 - GUJARAT HIGH COURT

2016 (4) TMI 680 - GUJARAT HIGH COURT - TMI - Period of limitation - Notice of revision - Cancellation of composition permission orders previously ordered - Held that:- it is a settled legal position of law that in a taxing statute one has to go by the clear language of the statute and equity has no role to play while interpreting a taxing statute. One can only look fairly at the language used. To try to stretch the law to meet hard cases is not merely to make bad law but to run the risk of subv .....

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uty Commissioner of Sales Tax, is inconsistent with the language of section 67(1)(a) of the Act, which clearly and unambiguously provides for a period of limitation of three years from the date of the order, for invoking revisional jurisdiction. The Tribunal, therefore, was not justified in holding that the notice for revision was not time barred as the period of limitation would commence from the knowledge of purported mischief of Government record. - Decided in favour of appellant - TAX APPEAL .....

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sion application and confirmed the order passed by the Deputy Commissioner of Sales Tax. 2. The appellant is a company registered under the Companies Act, 1956. During the relevant year, the appellant had carried out two works contracts with BPCL and L & T Limited for which it had applied for composition under section 55(A) of the Gujarat Sales Tax Act, 1969, (hereinafter referred to as the Act ) and also obtained permission for composition in Form 35(B). The appellant submitted all the mont .....

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ground of limitation. The revisional authority, however, passed an order cancelling the composition permission granted to the appellant. 3. The appellant carried the matter in appeal before the Tribunal, which by the impugned order dismissed the revision application of the appellant holding that the exercise of revisional powers was not time barred as the period of limitation would start when any purported mischief is noticed by the Commissioner. 4. Being aggrieved, the appellant has preferred t .....

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d not exceeded its jurisdiction in giving findings on the aspects, which were beyond the scope of the appeal and without there being any material on record or investigation thereto? 6. Mr. Tanvish Bhatt, learned advocate, for the appellant invited the attention of the court to the facts of the case to submit that the order permitting composition was passed on 19.12.2000, whereas the same was taken in revision by issuance of notice dated 2.2.2005 which is clearly beyond the period of limitation p .....

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nd the period of limitation prescribed therefor. It was submitted that the Tribunal was, therefore, not justified in holding that the period of limitation would be the date of knowledge of the Deputy Commissioner of Sales Tax and if that is considered then the revision application is well within three years and therefore, it cannot be treated being barred by limitation. 6.1 As regards the second question, it was submitted that the Tribunal while considering the matter on merits had exceeded its .....

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rder by reiterating the reasoning adopted by the Tribunal. Referring to the findings recorded by the Tribunal, it was submitted that had there been fairness and bona fide on the part of the appellant, the appellant could have made an application stating that there was a delay in submission of application for composition permission and the delay may be condoned in which case the matter would have been different if that procedure was adopted. It was submitted that the procedure adopted by the appe .....

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vernment Pleader further pointed out that the Tribunal has thought it fit that it would not be just, legal and equitable to encourage dishonesty by giving technical benefit to the appellant on the issue of limitation, more so, when the appellant was not entitled to any technical benefit as such. It was submitted that in the light of these facts the Tribunal was justified in holding that the date of knowledge of the Deputy Commissioner of Sales Tax is required to be considered for the purpose of .....

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ibunal was right in holding that the notice for revision was not time barred as the period of limitation would commence from the knowledge of the purported mischief of the Government record. In the present case, the revisional authority has exercised powers under section 67 of the Act for taking the composition order in revision and setting the same aside. It would, therefore, be germane to refer to the provisions of section 67 of the Act, which provides for revision . Clause (a) of sub-section .....

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within twelve months from the date of service of notice for revision. 10. From the language employed in the section 67 of the Act, it is amply clear that the period of limitation of three years commences from the date any order has been passed by any officer appointed under section 27 to assist the Commissioner. In the present case, such order is the composition order dated 19.12.2000. In the light of the clear language of clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 67 of the Act, the period of thr .....

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he impugned order has proceeded on the basis that having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, it would be equitable to consider that the date of knowledge of the Deputy Commissioner of Sales Tax is the starting point of limitation. In this regard it may be germane to refer to the following extract from the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Vodafone International Holdings BV v. Union of India, (2012) 6 SCC 613: 401. Viscount Simon quoted with approval a passage from Rowla .....

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ip; It may seem hard that a cunningly advised taxpayer should be able to avoid what appears to be his equitable share of the general fiscal burden and cast it on the shoulders of his fellow citizens. But for the Courts to try to stretch the law to meet hard cases (whether the hardship appears to bear on the individual taxpayer or on the general body of taxpayers as represented by the Inland Revenue) is not merely to make bad law but to run the risk of subverting the rule of law itself. (emphasis .....

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