1. Heard Sri Praveen Kumar, learned counsel for the applicant-assessee and Sri B.K. Pandey, learned counsel for the respondent-revenue.
2. Present revision has been filed by the assessee against the order passed by the Trade Tax Tribunal, Kanpur dated 6.8.2007 by which the said Tribunal has partly rejected the assessee's appeal for A.Y. 2002-03.
3. This revision has been pressed on questions No. B and C framed in the memo of revision which are quoted below:
"B. Whether the trade tax tribunal as well as the 1st Appellate Authority were illegally justified in holding that no time needs to be granted to the revisionist for making necessary rectifications in the declaration forms issued to it?
C. Whether the Trade Tax Tribunal as well as the Ist Appellate Authority were legally justified in over looking the provisions of Rule 8-A (4) of the Central Sales Tax (U.P.) Rules 1957?"
4. The grievance of the applicant-assessee is with respect to non acceptance of four statutory declaration forms of which there were Form 'C' with respect to transactions of sales performed with registered dealers outside the state of U.P. and one was Form 'F' with respect to transaction of stock transfer of goods outside the state of U.P. Admittedly, it had remained from the assessee to produce or file the statutory declaration forms 'C' and 'F' under the Central Sales Tax Act 1956 (hereinafter referred to as the Act), during the original assessment proceedings for A.Y. 2002-03.
5. However, in the course of the first appeal proceedings arising from assessing order dated 31.3.2005, the assessee filed an application under Section 12 B of the U.P. Trade Tax Act 1948 to bring on record the four statutory declaration forms by way of additional evidence to cover the three transactions of inter state sales tax and one transaction of stock transfer. As far the other transactions that were also subject matter of dispute before the first appellate authority, at present there is no issue between the parties.
6. It is also on record that the application to lead additional evidence was allowed after a remand report had been called from the assessing officer which remand report dated 12.04.2006 was submitted in the first appellate proceedings. While the additional evidence was, thus, taken on record, the first appellate authority did not grant benefit to the assessee against three Forms 'C' bearing nos.2379947, 12932119 and 8986892 and Form 'F' bearing No. 170117. The reason given by the first appellate authority to deny such benefit, was that the effective date of registration (of the issuing dealer) was not mentioned on Form 'C' Nos. 2379947 and 1293219. It was observed that the issuing dealer's registration number was also not mentioned on Form 'C' No.12932119. As for the third Form 'C' No.8986892, it was observed that the assessee had not filed the first copy of Form 'C' but he had only placed on record the second copy of the statutory declaration form. With respect to Form 'F' No.170117, its benefit was denied on the reasoning that though the original copy of such form had been submitted, the registration number under the Central Act and its effective date were not found mentioned on such forms.
7. The assessee preferred a second appeal before the Tribunal. However, with respect to the aforesaid statutory declaration forms, the Tribunal did not accept its case. The Tribunal accepted the explanation furnished by the assessee with respect to Form 'C' No. 2379947 wherein mention of the effective date was found lacking. However, with respect to the other three forms 'C', the claim made by the assessee was rejected. It also did not accept the explanation of the assessee with respect to Form 'F'.
8. Learned counsel for the applicant-assessee in the first place submits, once the statutory declaration form had been taken on record by the first appellate authority in exercise of its power to accept additional evidence, the said authority had the same power as were vested with the assessing authority. Second, relying on Rule 8-A (4) of the Central Sales Tax (U.P.) Rules 1957 (hereinafter referred to as Rules), it has been submitted that the authority before whom such declaration form had been submitted, ought to have allowed correction of minor omissions and mistakes by returning such forms to the applicant-assessee to make such correction and to allow for resubmission of the corrected forms. Merely because the registration number or the effective date may have remained from being filled, it could not have been the reason to reject such form in entirety in absence of any other fact or circumstance or evidence as may suggest that the assessee was not entitled to the benefit of such forms. In fact, no enquiry had been made by the respondent-revenue to disbelieve the claim made by the assessee with respect to the transactions.
9. Learned Standing Counsel on the other hand, submits that it was the responsibility of the assessee to have filed the necessary statutory forms in support of his claim for concession at the stage of assessment itself. In the instant case, in the first place, the assessee failed to avail that opportunity and did not file the necessary statutory forms. In any case, at the stage of first appeal, the assessee's application under Section 12-B of the Act was allowed. At that stage the assessee ought to have brought on record such evidence as would clearly establish his claim. The deficiencies noted by the first appellate authority in the statutory declaration forms filed before that authority, are not minor omissions or mistakes but are such as clearly establish the inadequacy or incompleteness of the claim made by the assessee. Therefore, the first appeal authority had rightly rejected the claim made by the assessee on the strength of four declaration forms. In any case, the Tribunal had granted sufficient relief with respect to one such form where the registration number of the issuing dealer was found mentioned. Therefore, in his submission, the present revision lacks merit.
10. Having heard learned counsel for the parties and perused the record, in the first place, once the application under Section 12-B of the Act has been allowed by the first appellate authority in the context of the power of that authority which is co-extensive with that of the the assessing officer, the applicability of Rule 8-A (4) of the Rules could not have been restricted so as to not allow for any minor omission or mistake to be corrected in the record during the first appeal proceedings. The language of the said Rule is plain and clear. It would be useful to quote the same:
"Rule 8-A (4) of the Rules: If any minor omission or mistakes is found in a declaration or certificate furnished under Sub-Rule (1), it shall be returned to the dealer who shall be given an opportunity of removing omission or mistake rectified by the dealer or the department concerned of the Government from who they had received the declaration or certificate and of resubmitting the same within such period, not exceeding 90 days, as the assessing authority may allow, provided that no action under this sub Rule shall be taken if the limitation or passing the assessment is going to expire within the said period."
11. Therefore, the first appellate authority had to consider whether the correction being sought to be made by the assessee was such as may be treated as minor omission or mistake. In the facts of the present case, perusal of the orders passed by the authority as also the appellate authority, do not in any way, suggest that the claim made by the assessee on the strength of the forms (wherein corrections have been sought), was in any way in doubt. No query appears to have been made by the assessing officer at any stage of the proceedings either in the original assessing or remand being called from him as may suggest that there was any doubt as to the genuineness or truthfulness or completeness of the claim made by the assessee. Therefore, it has to be assumed that the description of the transaction given in the books of accounts and the statutory declaration forms produced by the assessee, was not in doubt. In view of the fact that the transaction and its true nature were not in doubt, it would have been wholly in accordance with the Rule 8- A (4) of the Rules, if the first appellate authority had allowed such omissions and corrections to be made to include the details of the registration number and its effective date. To do that would not obstruct any enquiry that would have followed. In fact, since that correction would have been made subsequent to the submission of the remand report, the first appellate authority could thereafter call for a second remand report from the Assessing Officer with respect to the correction that may have been made by the assessee on statutory declaration forms 'C' and 'F'.
12. In so far as the issue of submission of second copy of the statutory form 'C' No.8986892 is concerned, again neither there is any enquiry to doubt the genuineness or true nature of the transaction nor there is any satisfaction contained in any of the orders that the second copy of the statutory declaration form 'C' in question was not genuine under the scheme of the Act and the Rules framed therein Form 'C' issued in triplicate. While the counterfoil copy is retained by the issuing dealer, the original and the duplicate copies are issued to the selling dealer. It is expected that the original copy would be submitted by the selling dealer to the Assessing Officer while the duplicate copy would be retained by the selling dealer. However, it remains undisputed that under Rule 12 of the Central Sales Tax (U.P.) (Registration and turnover) Rules 1957, all three copies, namely, the original, duplicate and the counter foil copies of Form 'C' are filled simultaneously by the purchasing dealer. Thus, the same always remains open to verification at all times. The fact that the assessee claimed to have furnished the duplicate copy in place of the original along with his application filed under Section 12-B of the Act owing to certain misunderstandings or mistake by his counsel and he was willing to produce the original copy, the mistake committed by the assessee would not have been fatal keeping in mind Rule 8-A (4) of the Rules noted above.
13. For the reasons noted above, even those mistake would remain a minor mistake or omission which could be allowed to be rectified within reasonable time. A
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lso, as noted above, even if the assessee were to make such rectification, the same would remain open to verification upon a proper remand. In so far as the assessee had placed on record the original forms or the duplicate copy of the form and not a photocopy or other unreliable evidence, a pragmatic approach ought to have been taken keeping in mind his powers contained under Section 12-B read with Rule 8-A (4) of the Rules. 14. In view of the above, the answer of questions no. B and C is in the affirmative i.e. in favour of applicant-assessee and against the respondent-revenue. The revision is allowed. The order dated 6.8.2007 passed by the Trade Tax Tribunal, Kanpur is set aside. The matter is remitted to the first appellate authority to allow the applicant-assessee one opportunity to make necessary corrections in statutory declaration forms 'C' bearing nos.2379947, 12932119 and 8986892 and to file the original copy of Form 'F' bearing No. 170117. If the applicant-assessee makes such correction within time thus granted, the appellate authority may call for a remand report with respect to such correction and thereafter, pass appropriate order on the appeal.