The State of Orissa Vs. Dabaki Devi
& Ors  INSC 212 (24 October 1963)
24/10/1963 SARKAR, A.K.
GUPTA, K.C. DAS AYYANGAR, N. RAJAGOPALA
CITATION: 1964 AIR 1413 1964 SCR (5) 253
R 1968 SC 843 (7) F 1976 SC1115 (8,9,10,11)
Sales Tax-Revision against order of
assessment-Time limitOrissa Sales Tax Act, 1947 (Orissa 14 of 1947), ss. 12,
The respondents were assessed to sales tax
under the provisions of the Orissa Sales Tax Act, 1947, by the Sales Tax Officer,
who rejected their claim to certain deductions from their taxable turnover,
but, on appeal, the Assistant Collector allowed the claim. The Collector of
Sales Tax, however, acting under s. 23(3) of the Act revised the orders of the
Assistant Collector by raising the taxable turnover allowed by him to be
deducted. The respondents moved the High Court of Orissa under Art. 226 of the
Constitution of India to quash the orders of the Collector on the ground that
they were illegal under the Act as they had been made more than thirty six
months after the expiry of the quarters in respect of which the assessments had
originally been made. The High Court took the view that the orders in revision
were really reassessments under sub-s. (7) of s. 12 of the Act of turnover
which had escaped assessment or been under assessed and as such they were
barred by limitation.
254 Held:(i) The view taken by the High Court
that the impugned orders were really reassessments under s. 12(7) of the Orissa
Sales Tax Act, 1947, was erroneous.
(ii) (per Das Gupta and Rajagopala Ayyangar,
JJ., Sarkar, J. dissenting). Orders of assessment made by the revising
authority must be considered to be orders passed under s. 12 as well as under
s. 23 of the Act and, therefore, the period of limitation prescribed in the
second proviso to s. 12 (6) became applicable.
Gajo Ram v. State of Bihar, (1955) 7 S.T.C.
per Sarkar, J.-(i) The time-limit of
thirty-six months prescribed in s. 12(7) was only for calling for a return and
not for making the order of reassessment in respect of escaped or under
(ii)An order made in revision under s. 23(3)
was not an order of assessment and the period of limitation in the second
proviso to s. 12(6) was not applicable.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Civil Appeals
Nos. 454 to 465 of 1962.
Appeals by special leave from the judgment
and order dated July 8, 1958 of the Orissa High Court in O.J.S. Nos. 289, 296
and 300 of 1956.
K.N. Rajagopal Sastri and R.N. Sachthey, for
the appellant (In all the Appeals).
Santosh Chatterjee and B. Kishore, for
respondent No. 2 (In C. A. Nos. 454 to 460 of 1962) and the Respondents (In
C.A. Nos. 461 to 465 of 1962.) The Judgment of K.C. Das Gupta and N. Rajagopala
Ayyangar JJ., was delivered by Das Gupta J. A.K. Sarkar J. delivered a
SARKAR J.-These appeals raise the question
whether the Orissa Sales Tax Act, 1947, sets a time limit for making an order
under s. 23(3) of the Act revising an order of assessment. The question depends
on the interpretation of some of the provisions of the Act to which reference
will be made in due course.
The facts are these. The respondents had been
assessed to sales tax under the Act in respect of various quarters by a Sales
Tax Officer. They appealed to the Assistant Collector of Sales Tax against the
255 assessments contending that the Sales Tax Officer bad wrongly rejected
their claim to certain deductions from their taxable turnover. The appeals were
Subsequently the Orissa High Court delivered
a judgment in another case from which it appeared that the Assistant Collector
was wrong in allowing the deductions. Thereupon the Collector of Sales Tax
acting under s. 23(3) of the Act which provided that "the Collector may,
upon application or of his own motion, revise any order passed under this
Act...by a person appointed under s. 3 to assist him" revised the orders
of the Assistant Collector by raising the taxable turnover allowed by him to be
The respondents moved the High Court of
Orissa under Art.
226 of the Constitution to quash the orders
of the Collector in revision on the ground that they were illegal under the Act
as they had been made more than thirty-six months after the expiry of the
quarters in respect of which the assessments bad originally been made. This
contention was accepted by the High Court. Hence these appeals.
The High Court held that the orders in
revision were illegal as they were really reassessments of turnover which had
escaped assessment or been under-assessed and under sub-sec.
(7) of s. 12 of the Act, such reassessment
could not be made in respect of any quarter after thirty-six months from its
expiry. It is not in dispute that many of the orders in revision bad been made
after the expiry of the said period of thirty six months. It seems to me that
the High Court was clearly in error in basing itself on sub-sec. (7) of s. 12.
The material part of the sub-section is in
these terms: "If the turnover. of a dealer for any period. has escaped
assessment or has been under-assessed, the Collector may at any time within
thirty-six months of the end of that period call for a return........ and may
proceed to assess The time-limit of thirty-six months prescribed here is only
for calling for a return. The sub-section prescribes no time limit for making
the 256 order of reassessment in respect of escaped or under assessed turnover.
Consequently this provision does not make the orders with which these appeals
are concerned, in any way illegal.
We were then referred to the second proviso
in sub-sec. (6) of s. 12 of the Act as specifying a time limit of thirty-six
months for these orders. The sub-section is in these terms:
"Any assessment made under this section
shall be without prejudice to any prosecution instituted for an offence under
Provided that when the Collector has imposed
a penalty in addition to the amount assessed under this section, no further
proceedings either revenue or criminal shall be taken against the dealer.
Provided further that no order assessing the
amount of tax due from a dealer in respect of any period shall be passed later
than thirty-six months from the expiry of such period." The sub-section
would no doubt apply if the orders made in this case were orders "assessing
the amount of tax due" contemplated by it. The question therefore is what
do the words "order assessing the amount of the tax due" in the
proviso mean. Of course, the whole of s. 12 has to be considered for deciding
the meaning of these words and I will presently do so. In the meantime however
I may observe that though s. 12 talks of assessment by a Collector it includes
assessment by other officers appointed under the Act to assist the Collector
for under s. 17 the Collector can delegate his powers to such officers, who are
subordinate to him.
I now turn to s. 12. It has seven
sub-sections each of which except sub-sec. (6) deals with assessment in a
specified case. Each of' them expressly provides for an order of assessment
being made. The first sub-section deals with a case where the assessing officer
is satisfied without hearing the dealer or taking evidence that the return is
correct. The 257 second sub-section covers a case where he is not so satisfied
and provides for the assessment being made after hearing evidence. The third
sub-section concerns a case where the dealer fails to attend or produce
evidence when called upon to do so under the preceding sub-section. Subsection
(4) provides for a case when a dealer does not furnish returns which he is
required by the Act to do. The fifth sub-section relates to a case where a
dealer wrongfully fails to apply for registration. The sixth subsection has
earlier been set out. The last and seventh subsection as already seen, deals
with assessment of turnover which had escaped assessment or was under-assessed.
Now it does not seem to me that an order made
under s. 23(3) can properly be called an order "assessing the amount of
tax due" as contemplated by the Act at all first observe that the only
section which expressly provides for assessment of tax is s. 12. No other
section refers to an order of assessment. It would follow that an order is not
an order of assessment of tax due unless it is made under this section. Then I
find that an order made under s. 23(3) is not described as an order of
assessment. Indeed that subsection deals with an order revising an order passed
under the Act and, therefore, revising an order of assessment made under s. 12.
This also supports the view that the Act does not consider such an order as an
order of assessment. Again the same conclusion is also suggested by sub-sec.
(2) of s. 23 which says that, "The appellate authority in disposing of any
appeal.................. may(a) confirm reduce, enhance or annual the
assessment." Obviously it is not considered that an appellate authority
makes an assessment when it confirms, enhances or reduces an assessment. If an
appellate order enhancing the assessment is not considered as an assessment
order, neither can a similar order passed in revision be so considered. In my
view. the Act does not contemplate an order which is not made under s. 12 as an
order assessing the amount of tax due.
258 Then again I think it is clear from what
I have set out above that sub-secs.(1) to (5) and (7) of s. 12 deal with
original orders of assessment as distinguished from orders made in appeals from
or by way of revision of such original orders or by way of review of them. Now
the first part of sub-sec. (6) and the first proviso to it deal expressly with
orders made under the section. Therefore they do not apply to appellate or
revisional orders. The second proviso with which this case is concerned no
doubt contains no express reference to assessment under the section but it
would be strange if that proviso was intended to apply to orders of assessment
made in appeals or by way of revision, assuming that such orders could properly
be called orders of assessment. If it was intended to provide a period of
limitation for an order in appeal or by way of revision then the provision
containing it would not have been put in s. 12 nor would the order have been
described as an "order assessing the amount of tax due." It may be
that the time limit specified in the second proviso does not apply to an order
of assessment under sub-sec. (7). That would not however affect the question. A
recent amendment to s. 12 has expressly provided that the time limit in the
second proviso does not apply to an order under sub-sec. (7).
Lastly, it seems to me that if the second
proviso in s. 12(6) fixes a period of thirty-six months from the end of a
period within which an order can be made under s. 23(3) revising an order of
assessment in respect of that period, the consequence would be so disastrous
for the tax-payer that it could not have been intended. It would then be open
to the Collector to make the application for revision preferred by a dealer
against an assessment order made on him or against an appellate order,
infructuous by the simple expedient of allowing the thirty-six months' time to
It is important to observe that there is no
provision anywhere in the Act requiring the revising authority to dispose of an
application in 259 revision filed before him within any particular period of
time and the original order of assessment can be made at any time within the
period of thirty-six months. Further a dealer has no remedy against any delay
in making an assessment so long as it is made within the period of thirty-six
months. Therefore it is not unlikely that in many cases there may not be much
time left between the filing of an application in revision by a dealer and the
expiry of the period of thirty-six months. If the time limit specified in. the
second proviso applied to an order under s. 23(3), it would be open to the authorities
to deprive a taxpayer of his right to apply under s. 23(3). An interpretation
leading to such a result cannot be accepted.
This aspect of the matter is made clearer by
s. 23(1) which gives a dealer the right to file an appeal within thirty days of
the receipt of the order of assessment. Obviously, if an order in revision can
be an assessment order, so can an appellate order be. The appellate order would
then have to be made within the period of thirty six months. Now suppose the
period of thirty-six months expires within the thirty days mentioned in s.
23(1), as it well may since the order of assessment can be made at any time
within the thirty-six months. In such a case on the interpretation for which
the respondent dealers contend, the right to file the appeal within the thirty
days mentioned in s. 23(1) would vanish; there would be a conflict between s.
23(1) and the second proviso to s. 12(6). An interpretation leading to such a
result cannot be correct. The position would be the same in the case of an
application for revision for the Act provides no time-,limit for making such an
application and therefore contemplates the making of it at any time. An
interpretation of a provision in the Act which imposes, not expressly but
practically, a time limit on the right to apply ID revision given by another
provision must be of doubtful validity. I am not prepared to accept that
interpretation as it is neither the only interpretation nor an interpretation
which is clearly supported by the language used.
260 It is true that if an order in appeal or
revision can be made at any time, the case may be kept hanging over the head of
the dealer for a very long time at the option of the authority concerned. This
consideration however does not lead me to accept the view advanced by the
respondents. The calamity and the anomaly resulting from it to which I have
earlier referred, seems to me to be much more serious than the inconvenience
that it avoids. Further the inconvenience imagined seems to me to be more
fanciful than real. It is not likely that the authorities would deliberately
keep an appeal or a revision application pending for no reason at all as that
would not give them any advantage whatever.
I would for these reasons allow the appeals.
DAS GUPTA J.-These twelve appeals by the
State of Orissa are in respect of twelve separate orders of assessment of sales
tax that were made by the Collector of Sales Tax, Orissa, in exercise of his
powers of revision under s. 23 of the Orissa Sales Tax Act. The several dealers
who are the respondents in the appeals moved the Orissa High Court under Art.
226 of the Constitution for the issue of appropriate writes directing the State
of Orissa not to collect the amounts which were said to have been illegally
assessed. These several petitions have been allowed by the High Court and the
orders of assessment made by the Collector have been quashed. The State of
Orissa has filed the present appeals 'against the High Court's orders on
special leave granted by this Court.
All the orders made by the Collector were
passed later than 36 months from the expiry of the period in respect of which
the assessment was made. The common question of law which arises in these
appeals is whether the High Court was right in holding that these orders are
bad in law on the ground that they contravene the provisions of the second
proviso to sub-s. 6 of s. 12 of the Orissa Sales Tax Act.
Section 4 of the Act is the charging section
and. declares the incidence of taxation on sales. Section 5 deals with the rate
of tax. It is unnecessary for 261 our present purpose to examine the provisions
of ss. 6 to 10 which deal with the power of State Government to declare certain
goods as tax free goods, to exempt certain dealers from tax, the power of the
State Government to prescribe points at which the goods may be taxed, the
registration of dealers, the publication of the list of registered dealers and
the matters of collection of tax by dealers. Section 11 lays down that such
dealer as may be required to do so by the Collector by notice served in the
prescribed manner and every registered dealer shall furnish such returns by
such dates and to such authority as may be prescribed. Section 12 of the Act,
with which we are primarily concerned. deals with the question of assessment of
tax. In the first five subsections of this section the legislature has laid
down the different modes in which assessment of tax may be made.
Under the first sub-section the Collector
shall assess the amount on the basis of the return furnished if he is
satisfied. without requiring the presence of a registered dealer or the
production by him of any evidence that they are correct and complete. The
second and third sub-sections deal with the case where he is not so satisfied.
In such cases the Collector shall assess the amount after hearing such evidence
as the dealer may produce in support of the returns after the issue of a notice
and such other evidence as the Collector may require on specified points
if the registered dealer fails to comply with
the terms of the notice issued the Collector shall assess the amount of tax to
the best of his judgment (sub-s.3). Sub-section 4 deals with the case where the
registered dealer does not furnish returns by the prescribed date. In such a
case also the Collector shall also assess the tax to the best of his judgment
after giving the registered dealer a reasonable opportunity of being heard.
Sub-section 5 provides for assessment by the Collector of taxes due from a
dealer about whom he is satisfied that he has been liable to pay tax under the
Act in respect of any period and has nevertheless failed to apply for
registration Then comes sub-section 6 which runs thus 262 "(6) Any
assessment made under this section shall be without prejudice to any
prosecution instituted for an offence under this Act:
Provided that when the Collector has imposed
a penalty in addition to the amount assessed under this section, no further
proceedings either revenue or criminal shall be taken against the order:
Provided further that no order assessing the
amount of tax due from a dealer in respect of any period shall be passed later
than thirty six months from the expiry of such period".
Sub-section 7 provides that if for any reason
the turnover of a dealer has escaped assessment or has been under assessed the
Collector may call for a return within 36 months of the end of the period in
question and may proceed to assess the amount of tax in the manner laid down in
After the assessment order has been made
under s. 12 a dealer may appeal to the prescribed authority against such order.
This is provided by s. 23, sub-s. (1). Then follows provisions dealing with the
orders which an appellate authority might pass and with revisions which we
shall set out:
"Subject to such rules or procedure as
may be prescribed, the appellate authority, in disposing of any appeal under
sub-section (1), may(a)..confirm, reduce, enhance or annul the assessment or
penalty, if any, or both or (b)..set aside the assessment or penalty, if any or
both and direct the assessing authority to pass a fresh order after such
further inquiry as may be directed.
(3)Subject to such rules as may be prescribed
and for reasons to be recorded in writing, the Collector may upon application,
or of his own 263 motion, revise any order passed under this Act or the rules
there under by a person appointed under s. 3 to assist him, and, subject as
aforesaid, the Revenue Commissioner may, in like manner, revise any order
passed by the Collector." While nothing as regards the period within which
such revisional powers may be exercised is stated in. the Act itself, the power
is in terms made subject "to such rules as may be prescribed". Rule
54 of the Rules made by the State Government under s. 29 of the Act lays down
that the Collector may of his own motion exercise such powers of revision
within one year from the date of the passing of the order made while the
Revenue Commissioner may exercise his powers of revision within one year from
the date of the passing of any order by the Collector.
Though in all these cases the impugned orders
were made by the Collector of Sales Tax in purported exercise of powers of
revision under s. 23(3), the petitioners in the several petitions claim that
the orders were in substance made under s. 12(7) of the Act. The High Court was
of opinion that s. 12(7) includes also the order of assessment made by the
revising authority under s. 23(3) and in that view held that the orders of
assessment passed beyond thirty-six months from the end of the period in
question were barred by limitation.
The first contention urged on behalf of the
State of Orissa is that the High Court is wrong in holding that an order of
assessment of revising authority is necessarily one made under s. 12(7). The
power of revision granted by s. 23(3) is clearly a distinct and separate power
from the power to assess after calling for a return in case of underassessment
or escaped assessment. The mere fact that in a particular case the revising
authority has by a fresh order of assessment made the dealer liable for tax in
respect of which he can be said to have been under-assessed or to have escaped
assessment does not make the two powers one and the same. We therefore find it
264 difficult to agree with the High Court that s. 12(7) includes also the
re-assessment made by the revising authority under s. 23(3).
The question however still remains whether
accepting the position that the orders made by the Collector in the present
case were not orders under s. 12(7) they were still orders of assessment to
which limitation prescribed by the second proviso to s. 12 (6) applied. On
behalf of the appellant it is urged that the limitation prescribed in this
proviso applies only to orders of assessment made under s.
12 and that the impugned orders were made not
under s. 12 but under s. 23 and so the limitation prescribed in this proviso
does not apply to the impugned orders. It is worth noticing first of all that
what appears as the second 'proviso' in s. 12 (6) has no connection with the
legislative provision in the first part of the sub-section.
That provision which has already been set out
is that assessment made under s. 12 shall be without prejudice to any
prosecution instituted for an offence under the Act.
The first proviso is undoubtedly connected
with the main provision. The second proviso however contains nothing by way of
saving or exception to that main provision. It has nothing to do with the
question of any prosecution. If we look at the substance of the matter, as we
must, it appears clear that the provision of a period of limitation of 36
months for the passing of an order of assessment of tax is really an
independent legislative provision of the Act and though it has been inserted by
the draftsmen in the form of 'a proviso' in s. 12(6), it is in substance not a
real 'proviso' to the main provision. That independent legislative provision
lays down that no order "assessing the amount of tax shall be passed after
the lapse of 36 months from the expiry of the period" for which the
assessment is made. The provision is not in terms limited only to orders of
assessment made under s. 12 but on its language applies to and governs any
order assessing the amount of tax which would manifestly include an assessment
under any provision of the 265 Act besides s. 12. The consequence is that even
if an order of assessment made in exercise of powers of revision under section
23 be held to be not an order Made under s. 12 this limitation of 36 months
from the expiry of the period for which the assessment is made will still be
Mr. Sastri however submitted that as the
provision under consideration actually appears as a 'proviso' in s. 12(6) the
intention of the legislature was to make it applicable to only those orders of
assessment to which the main provision which uses the words "Any
assessment made under this section" related. As the main provision
expressly relates only to orders of assessment under s. 12 it was argued that
the period of limitation in the second proviso was intended to govern only
orders of assessment made under s. 12.
We have already set out the reasons for which
we think that this provision of limitation though it appears as a proviso in s.
12(6) is in reality an independent legislative provision, as its subject-matter
has nothing whatever to do with the main provision in s. 12(6), or the proviso
to subs. 6 which precedes it. If therefore it is in truth an independent
provision, unrelated to s. 12(6) we do not see any logic or reason for importing
into it the construction that its operation must be confined to an assessment
under s. 12, for read by itself on any, reasonable construction it would appear
to be a limitation imposed on any order of assessment made under the Act. i.e.,
under any provision of the Act. Assuming, however, for argument's sake that it
applies only to orders of assessment under s. 12, that construction is of no
help to the appellant unless it can be said that the impugned orders of
assessment were not made under s. 12. We find it difficult to see how that can
be said. It is true, no doubt, that the orders were made by virtue of powers
conferred by s. 23. But s. 23 itself does not clothe the appellate or revising
authority with any independent powers of assessing the tax due under the Act,
independent of the powers under s. 12.
266 A close examination of the terms of s. 23
would make this position clear. Let us first take the case of the powers of the
appellate authority under s. 23(2). Among the orders he might pass in disposing
of an appeal are "(b) set aside the assessment............... and direct
the assessing authority to pass a fresh order after such further enquiry as may
be directed." Mr. Sastri did not dispute the position that if the
appellate authority exercised the power underlined the "assessing
authority" can proceed to carry out the fresh assessment only under s. 12
and that in that event, his right to proceed further in the way of assessment
would be subject to the limitation of 3 years prescribed by the second proviso
to s. 12(6). The result would thus be that the appellate authority could pass
an order setting aside the assessment at any time but the assessing authority
cannot give effect to the order to make a fresh assessment if by that date
three year period is past. This would virtually mean that if on the date the
appeal was disposed of the 3 year period was over or nearly over, the powers
which the appellate authority could exercise would be restricted to those set
out in cl. (a) of s. 23(2), a result which would never have been contemplated.
in other words, if the construction suggested by the appellant were accepted,
we would have the anomalous situation that if the appellate authority set aside
the assessment and remanded it for fresh orders, no fresh assessment can be
done, but that if' instead of so doing, he himself effected the same reassessment,
there would be no bar of limitation. On such a construction therefore it would
be at the option of the appellate authority, depending on the precise order he
passed to decide, whether the period of limitation which the statute had
prescribed should be attracted to an assessment or not. That should be
sufficient to reject the appellant's argument that s. 23(2) was itself the
source of power to effect an assessment. We need hardly add that what applies
to an appeal under s. 23(2) applies to a revision under s. 23(3), as the powers
of the revising authority and the orders it might pass are not conceived of as
differing in any manner from those of the appellate authority.
We have, therefore, no hesitation in holding
that even when an appellate or revisional authority is effecting a fresh
assessment by enhancing it is exercising the power which is conferred by s. 12,
and so to speak, doing the duty which.
an assessing authority would or ought to have
Any order of assessment made by the appellate
authority or as in the present appeals by the revising authority must therefore
be held to be orders passed under s. 12 as well as under s. 23. Consequently,
the period of limitation prescribed in the second Proviso in S. 12(6) will in
terms become applicable.
But, says Mr. Sastri, look at the anomalous
position that will arise if this period of limitation of 36 months be held to
apply to appellate or revisional orders of assessment.
In many cases, he rightly points out, it may
happen that the original order of assessment will be made either on the last
date of the 36 months' period or only shortly before that.
In all such cases no appellate order or revisional
order of assessment can possibly be made within this period of 36 months . Mr.
Sastri has tried to persuade us that such a result could not have been intended
by the legislature. So, he says, the legislature should be held to have
intended that this period of limitation applies only to the original orders of
assessment. The obvious answer to this argument is that if that was the
intention of the legislature nothing could have been easier than to say so. It
is pertinent also to point out in this connection that except for this
provision in the second proviso to s. 12(6) the Act itself contains no
provision as regards limitation for orders of assessment. If Mr. Sastri is
right, the position in law would be that once an original order of assessment
has been made within this period of 36 months the appellate authority or the
revising authority may make his order of assessment after any amount of delay.
We find it difficult to believe that the legislature while prescribing a period
of limitation about original orders of assessment would refrain from
prescribing any such period of limitation in respect of appellate or revisional
orders of assessment. It is true that the rule-making authority has itself
prescribed in Rule 54 the period of one year from the date of the passing of
the order as the time within which the Collector or the Revenue Commissioner
may of his own motion revise the order. But this prescription of a period
within which the power may be exercised might not have been made at all or may at
any time be deleted. Even the rulemaking authority has not prescribed any
period of limitation within which an appellate order of assessment can be made
or the time within which the Collector or the revising authority when
exercising revisional jurisdiction on an application by the dealer must pass
the order. The important point is that so far as the legislature is concerned
no special rule for limitation as regards any revisional order or appellate
order had been made. The fact that no period of limitation has been prescribed
by the legislature itself for the passing of any order of assessment by the
appellate authority or the revising authority is a further reason for thinking
that the legislature intended that the period of limitation prescribed in s.
12(6) should apply to all orders of assessment irrespective of whether they
were original orders, or appellate orders or revisional orders.
The difficulty pointed out by Mr. Sastri may
really arise in certain cases. It is reasonable to expect that in the large
majority of cases such a difficulty will not arise if the original order of
assessment is made expeditiously so that it will be possible for the appellate
authority or the revising authority to act within this period of 36 months.
If in certain cases the difficulty does arise
that is not, in our opinion, a sufficient reason, in view of the several
considerations mentioned above, to think that the legislature intended, without
saying so, that the period of limitation prescribed applied only to original
orders of assessment.
269 Mr. Sastri drew our attention to a
decision of the Patna High Court in Gajo Ram v. State of Bihar' " where
construing a somewhat similar 'proviso in s. 10(6) of the Bihar Sales Tax Act,
1944 that Court held that the 24 months' period of limitation prescribed there
applied only to original orders of assessment. The learned Judges appear to
have been impressed by the argument that absurdity will result if the period of
limitation for the original orders of assessment and orders of assessment made
by the appellate or revisional authority be the same. For the reasons we have
already mentioned, that argument does not appear to us to be convincing.
We have therefore reached the conclusion that
the impugned orders of assessment were barred by limitation, having been made
more than 36 months after the expiry of the period for which the tax was
assessed. We-hold therefore that the High Court was right in quashing the
several orders of assessment.
The appeals are dismissed with costs. There
will be one set of hearing fee for all the appeals.
ORDER In accordance with the opinion of the
majority, the appeals are dismissed with costs. One set of hearing fee for all