At, High Court of Judicature at Allahabad
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE ASHWANI KUMAR MISHRA
For the Appellant: Vishwjit, Advocate. For the Respondent: C.S.C.
1. Heard Sri Vishwjit, learned counsel for the revisionist and learned Standing Counsel for the State.
2. This revision is directed against an order passed by the Tribunal dated 18.3.2017. The Tribunal has affirmed the order of seizure and has directed release of goods upon deposit of cash security to the extent of 40% of the estimated value of the goods.
3. Learned counsel comes up with the submission that all supporting documents in respect of goods being transported including bill/ bilty and TDF etc. have been produced but the Tribunal has affirmed the seizure of goods, misinterpreting the ratio of law laid down by this Court in The Commissioner, Commercial Tax U.P. Lucknow v. . S/s Bihar Carrying Corporation. It is submitted that law has subsequently been clarified by this Court in Sales/ Trade Tax Revision No. 120 of 2017 ( The Great Punjab Transport Company Delhi v. Commissioner of Commercial Tax, U.P. Lucknow) decided on 30.3.2017 but the same has not been taken into consideration. Paras 26 and 27 of the judgment The Great Punjab Transport Company Delhi reads as Under:-
"26.What is permissible to enquire is that the required declaration exists in terms of circular issued under Section 52 and disclosures therein are correct or not? If the declaration made in TDF is correct with reference to the goods transported, and matches with the bill/bilty etc., required as per circular, the authorities would not be justified in proceeding any further or to probe identity of consignor and consignee etc.
27. When goods for transportation are booked through transporter, it would proceed on the basis of information furnished by the consignor, and while transporting goods, it is not expected to investigate identity of consignor or consignee beyond what is disclosed to it. The only safeguard expected of transporter would be to check that the consignment is booked with bill/bilty/invoice and are correctly filled in the TDF. The circular also specifies particulars to be possessed with the vehicle and the transporter can be expected to verify such details. The vehicle carrying goods from outside the State to a location beyond the State would, therefore, ordinarily not be detained, merely due to alleged error in specifying details of consignor or consignee, if TDF is otherwise possessed along with documents required as per circular. It is only when details mentioned in TDF with reference to goods transported, route specification or time etc. are found incorrect or documents required to be possessed are either not available or bogus/wrong that the authorities may incidentally examine particulars of consignor and consignee to form an opinion that goods were intended to be sold within the State of U.P. The circular issued by the State otherwise takes notice of transport of goods by an unregistered dealer also. Clause 9 of circular requires particulars of consignor and consignee along with its tin number, for three transactions of highest value, and in case consignee is unregistered then in place of tin number, he has to fill 09 followed with nine zeros.
In view of the discussions made, I am of the considered opinion that details of consignor and consignee need not be investigated, at the first instance, if the description of goods mentioned in TDF as well as other details are found correct, nor the authorities would not be justified in detaining or seizing goods merely for the reason that consignor and consignee details are allegedly incorrect. However, where declaration/documents supporting transport of goods are found bogus/fraudulent etc., the authorities may examine details of consignor and consignee with an intent to ascertain whether goods are intended to pass through State or not".
4. Learned Standing Counsel, on the other hand, submits that the details of consignor and consignee, in the facts and circumstances of the case, was relevant and the authorities were justified in passing the order.
5. Having considering the submissions advanced, it transpires that the Tribunal has laid much emphasis is laid upon the fact that the consignor and consignee were not identified relying upon the observations made by this Court in Bihar Carrying Corporation. The judgment in Bihar Carrying Corporation had been examined at length in the subsequent judgment in The Great Punjab Transport Company Delhi (Supra) and it has been clearly held that the existence of consignor and consignee could be examined in case there are other materials to suspect the claim of the revisionist about the goods being transported from out side the State to beyond the State, but where transaction is otherwise explained and declaration/ documents in term
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of section 52 are available, the issue of consignor and consignee ought not be given unnecessary primacy. 6. In the opinion of the Court, the Tribunal would be well advised to have a re-look at the facts and circumstances pleaded in the present case in light of the law laid down by this Court in The Great Punjab Transport Company Delhi. 7. The matter, therefore, stands remitted to the Tribunal for a fresh consideration in light of the observation made. The revision stands disposed off accordingly.