Installment Supply (P.) Ltd. & ANR
Vs. The Union of India & Ors  INSC 207 (2 May 1961)
SINHA, BHUVNESHWAR P.(CJ) DAS, S.K.
AYYANGAR, N. RAJAGOPALA MUDHOLKAR, J.R.
CITATION: 1962 AIR 53 1962 SCR (2) 644
CITATOR INFO :
R 1964 SC 318 (9) R 1974 SC1105 (1,5,8,9,11)
Sales Tax-Hire-purchase agreement-Transaction
on such agreement, if liable to tax-Bengal Finance (Sales Tax) Act, 1941, as
extended to Delhi State, S. 2(g).
Section 2(g) of the Bengal Finance (Sales
Tax) Act, 1941, as extended to Delhi State, provided as follows,- "'Sale'
means any transfer of property in goods for cash or deferred payment or other
valuable consideration, including a transfer of property in goods involved in
the execution of a contract, but does not include a mortgage, hypothecation,
charge or pledge.
Explanation I....A transfer of goods on
hire-purchase or other installment system of payment shall, notwithstanding
that the seller retains a title to any goods as security for payment of the
price, be deemed to be a sale." The hire-purchase agreement entered into
by the petitioner company provided that after all the monthly installments had
been paid, "the hiring shall come to an end and the vehicle shall, at the
option of the hirer, become his absolute property; but until such payments as
aforesaid have been made, the vehicle shall remain the property of the owners.
The hirer shall also have the option of
purchasing the vehicle at any time during the currency of this agreement by
paying in one lump sum the balance of all the hire hereinbefore mentioned and
any other expenses incurred by the owners relating to the transaction."
The question for determination was whether the agreement was a transaction of mere
hiring or one of hire-purchase within the meaning of Explanation 1 to s. 2(g)
of the Act.
645 Held, that the language of Explanation 1
to S. 2(g) of the Act was wide enough to include a mere transfer of goods
without the transfer of the title thereto, if such transfer took place in the
course of an agreement of hire-purchase or any other installment system of
As the Act did not define the term
'hire-purchase', it had to be construed in its ordinary Common Law sense, i.e.,
that it partook of the nature of a contract of bailment with an element of sale
added to it.
Lee v. Butler,  z Q. B. 318 and Helby
v. Matthews,  A. C. 471, referred to.
The non obstacle clause in Explanation 1 to
S. 2(g) of the Act did not govern the main clause of the said Explanation and
its sole purpose was to emphasise the categorical statement of the law
Contained therein. Since the agreement in the instant case contained not merely
a contract of bailment simpliciter but also an element of sale, the transaction
had rightly been subjected to sales tax.
There could be no force in the contention
that the Act in so far as it sought to extend the concept of sale to what in
law was not a real sale, was unconstitutional.
Mithan Lal v. State of Delhi,  S.C.R.
445, referred to.
Nor was there any substance in the contention
that the extended definition of the word 'sale' in the Act infringed Art. 14 of
It is well settled that in matters of
taxation there can be no question of res judicata.
Society of Medical Officers of Health v. Hope
(Valuation Officer),  A. C. 551 and Broken Hill Proprietary Company Ltd.
v. Municipal Council of Broken Hill,  A.
C. 94, referred to.
Installment Supply Ltd., New Delhi v. State
of Delhi, A.I.R.
1956 Punj. 177, considered.
ORIGINAL JURISDICTION: Petition No. 146 of
Petition under Art. 32 of the Constitution of
India for enforcement of Fundamental Rights.
Veda Vyasa, S. K. Kapur and Ganpat Rai, for
C. K. Daphtary, Solicitor-General of India,
R. Gopala- krishnan and D. Gupta, for the respondents.
1961. May 2. The Judgment of the Court was
delivered by SINHA, C. J.-The petitioners have moved this sin Court under Art.
32 of the Constitution for a writ 646 or order in the nature of mandamus and/or
prohibition and/or other suitable writ, order or direction to the respondents
not to levy, charge or collect any sales tax on transactions of what the
petitioners characterised as hire-purchase agreements, a typical example of
which is contained in Annexure 'A' to the petition, to be hereinafter examined
The first petitioner is a private limited
company incorporated under the Companies Act, with its registered office at
Janpath, New Delhi. The second petitioner is the Managing Director and
shareholder of that company and is directly interested in the result of this
application, because it is claimed that his rights and property are directly
involved. The company has been carrying on in Delhi the business of financing
the purchase of new as well as second-hand motor cars and other kinds of motor
The system adopted by the Company for
financing a purchase such as aforesaid is as follows. A person desiring to
purchase a motor vehicle fixes a bargain with the owner and the petitioner
Company would then advance the necessary finance on the terms and conditions
appearing in a printed copy of the agreement, marked Annexure 'A' to the
According to that agreement, the Company
charges the 'Hirer' an initial deposit by way of premium as a consideration for
granting the lease of the vehicle, which deposit becomes the absolute property
of the Company; the premium charged as aforesaid is a substantial amount, being
usually 25% of the price in respect of new vehicles. The 'Hirer' undertakes to
pay installments and when all the installments are paid, the vehicle becomes
the property of the 'Hirer' at his option, on payment of rupee one to the
Company, as a consideration for the option; until all the stipulated
installments have been paid and the option exercised as aforesaid, the vehicle
remains the property of the Company as owners. The 'Hirer' is delivered
possession of the vehicle and he remains responsible to the Company for damage
or destruction or loss. The 'Hirer' has to pay interest at the rate of one per
cent. per mensem on all sums overdue. Until the option of 647 purchase is
exercised by the 'Hirer', he is at liberty to return the vehicle and to put an
end to tile Hiring Agreement, on certain terms. Thus, under the agreement, the
'Hirer' has the use of the vehicle, which is entrusted to him as the property
of the Company, and it is open to the 'Hirer' to become the purchaser of the
vehicle as aforesaid, but he is not bound to do so. The hire-money received by
the Company, it is contended, is not a part of the price of the goods sold and
is thus not liable to be taxed as sale price. The Bengal Finance (Sales Tax)
Act, 1941 (Bengal Act VI of 1941) was extended to the State of Delhi, which is
now the Union Territory of Delhi. In pursuance of the provisions of that Act,
the Sales Tax authorities started demanding and levying sales tax on all
transactions of the nature aforesaid on the ground that the installments paid
by the hirers to the Company were sales-price and, therefore, liable to Sales
Tax. The Company challenged the right of the Sales Tax authorities to levy any
such tax on the ground that the law was beyond the competence of the
Ultimately, the Company moved the Punjab High
Court (Circuit Bench at Delhi) under Arts. 226 and 227 of the Constitution.
In the Writ Petition, which was registered as
Civil Writ Application No. 289-D of 1954, the Company prayed for a writ in the
nature of prohibition and/or mandamus restraining the respondent from realising
or levying any sales tax under the provisions of the Bengal Act, extended to
Delhi. There was also a prayer for a writ of certiorari quashing certain orders
passed by the Sales Tax authorities in 1953-54. The said application was heard
by a, Division Bench, which allowed the petition and issued a mandamus to the
State to forbear from enforcing its notice for the realisation of the Sales
Tax. It was held by the High Court that the State Legislature had not the power
to enlarge the meaning of the words "Sale of Goods" by going beyond
the meaning attached to it by the Sale of Goods Act. After tile judgment
aforesaid of the High Court of Punjab, it is further alleged, a settlement was
arrived at between the companies carrying on hire-purchase 648 business in
Delhi and the Commissioner of Sales Tax, who issued a circular, being Circular
No. 10 of 1956, containing the following decisions of the Department:
"(i) Companies which are exclusively
engaged in the hire purchase business will not be treated as dealers and their
certificate of registration will be cancelled.
(ii) Companies which are partially engaged in
the business of hire purchase will continue to be dealers as hitherto fore and
their hire purchase transactions will be appropriately examined in the light of
the judgment of the Punjab High Court, and will be liable to Sales Tax at one
(iii) As a result of (i) above, sales made to
the above Companies by the dealers in vehicles would be liable to Sales Tax at
the hands of the latter.
(iv) In respect of vehicles, and machineries,
etc., for which tax has been paid, at the time of purchases thereon from the
market, no Sales Tax would be payable in respect of hire monies collected on
them by the hire purchase companies or on their resale or rehire following repossession
or on the exercise of the option of purchases by the hirer.
(v) In respect of second hand vehicles
purchased by the companies from private individuals for purposes of hire
purchase, the companies will not be liable to any sales tax either at the time
of purchase or in respect of subsequent transaction thereon. The Companies will
be as other nonregistered dealers, in view of (i), their Registration
Certificates in respect of Hire purchase business having been cancelled.
(vi) The assessment which are already made
will not be reopened except in the case of M/s. Installment Supply Co. Ltd. for
which there are specified orders of the High Court.
(vii) In their up-to-date assessment, the
hire purchase Companies should take upon themselves the responsibility to pay
tax which they have save by making tax free purchases either from dealers or
from non-registered dealers. The assessment will, however, be made accordingly
as before in the normal way." 649 Thereafter in the case of Mithan Lal v.
State of Delhi (1) this Court examined the vires of the Bengal Finance (Sales
Tax) Act, 1941, as extended to Delhi, and came to the, conclusion that the law
had been validly promulgated.
According to that decision, the definition of
'sale' could be legally extended so as to make it permissible to tax sale of
goods involving the supply of materials in pursuance of building contracts. As
a result of the decision aforesaid of this Court, a press note was issued by
the Commissioner of Sales Tax, Delhi, to the effect that provision regarding
levy of tax on hire-purchase transactions was valid and that all hire-purchase
dealers as come within the purview of ss.
4 and 7 of the Bengal Finance (Sales Tax)
Act, 1941, as extended to Delhi, are liable to pay sales tax and to get themselves
registered under the Act; that all such hire- purchase dealers as were formerly
registered with the Sales Tax Department shall be deemed to be registered with
effect from the first of April, 1958 for the purpose of the Act and that all
hire-purchase dealers who had not got themselves registered so far should
immediately have themselves so registered in order to avoid being penalised for
contravention of the provisions of the Act. In pursuance of the aforesaid
circular of the Department, the petitioner company was also called upon to
comply with the requirements of the Act. The Company made representation to the
Commis- sioner of Sales Tax that the Company and other such companies which
deal in hire-purchase were not liable to pay sales tax, but the Commissioner of
Sales Tax refused to accept the Company's contention and answered to the
following effect:- "1. The incidence of Sales Tax on such transactions is
to be governed by the provisions of Sections 3 and 4 of the Central Sales Tax
Act, 1956. If however, the vehicles are purchased by a Company having its place
of business in Delhi from a dealer outside Delhi on payment of Sales Tax of
that State and the vehicle is hire-purchased to the party in that very State,
neither Delhi Sales Tax (1)  S. C.R. 445.
650 nor Central Sales Tax will be leviable on
the Delhi firm irrespective of the fact that the Hire-purchase Agreement is
entered into at Delhi.
If, however, vehicle is purchased in State
'A' but is hire-purchased to a party in State 'B', Central Sales Tax will be
leviable in the State according to the rules in force in that State.
2. The hire-purchase transactions of
secondhand vehicles, where the owner approaches the Hire Purchase Co. for
finances against the vehicles, will be leviable to Sales Tax, because according
to the Hire purchase Agreement the property in the vehicle vests in the Hire
Purchase Co. and this property is to be transferred to the so-called owner by
virtue of the Hire-purchase transactions.
Secondhand vehicles purchased outside Delhi
and hire-purchased to the parties outside Delhi or hire purchase transactions
conducted outside Delhi in which owner approaches the Hire-purchase Co. for
finance will be governed by the clarification given in 1 above.
3. In the case of vehicles purchased by the
Hire purchase Companies from the local registered dealers, they will not be
required to pay any Sales Tax because all Hire-purchase companies will be
registered and will be entitled to make tax free purchases of such vehicles. It
is, therefore, regretted that it is not possible to accede to the request made
in this behalf.
4. Sales Tax will be payable on total amounts
charged by the Hire-purchase Co. from the hirer and it is not possible to waive
Sales Tax on the so called incidental charges.
5. It is regretted that it is not possible to
alter the date of liability of the Hire- purchase Co. which has already been
fixed with effect from 1st of April, 1958, in pursuance of the Supreme Court
Judgment. It is true that the Press Note was issued in the month of June and so
Hire-purchase Companies have been making purchases of vehicles on payment of
sales tax. The Hire-purchase companies are advised to approach the dealers for
651 refund of the Sales Tax paid by them on such purchases.
If, however, it is not possible for any Hire
Purchase Co. to obtain refund of the Sales Tax so paid by them, the amounts so
paid may be adjusted towards their liability on the hire purchase
transactions." On receipt of the answer of the Department, as set out in
the previous paragraphs, the petitioners moved this Court under Art. 32 of the
Constitution on the ground that the "threatened action of the respondents
is illegal and unconstitutional as the petitioner company is not liable to pay
sales tax on the transactions" described above.
In support of the petition, the learned
counsel for the petitioners has raised the following contentions: (1) that the
transactions in respect of which the petitioners are sought to be taxed are not
covered by the explanation to s.
2(g) of the Bengal Finance (Sales Tax) Act,
as extended to Delhi; (2) alternatively, that is to say, if it is held that the
explanation covers the transactions of the nature aforesaid, then the
explanation, extending the concept of 'sale' is unconstitutional; (3) That in
any case it is unconstitutional as it infringes Art. 14 of the Constitution in
so far as the State of Delhi has been selected for hostile discrimination; (4)
that the judgment of the Punjab High Court in Installment Supply Ltd., New
Delhi v. State of Delhi (1) is final and conclusive as between the parties to
that judgment; (5) that if it is held that the judgment of the Punjab High
Court, referred to above, has been superseded by the judgment of this Court in
Mithan Lal's case (2), that judgment cannot be given retrospective operation;
and (6) lastly, that the settlement between the Department and the Companies
transacting business in "Hire- purchase" is binding until the
decision of this Court in Mithan Lal's case (3), aforesaid. We shall examine
these arguments in the order in which they have been stated.
The most important question in this case is:
What (1) A.I.R. 1956 Puaj. 177.
(2)  S.C.R- 445.
652 is the true nature and character of the
transaction which is the subject matter of the present controversy? Do the
terms and conditions of the agreement typified by Annexure 'A' to the petition,
as described above, constitute a mere agreement of hiring, as contended on
behalf of the petitioners, or do they constitute a contract of hire- purchase,
within the meaning of explanation (1) to the definition of 'sale' contained in
the statute in question, as contended on behalf of the respondents? There is no
doubt that the concept of 'sale', as it appears from the following words of the
definition, along with explanation (1), is rather extended. In the definition
of the term 'sale' for the purposes of the Act, the words are as follows:-
" 'Sale' means any transfer of property in goods for cash or deferred
payment or other valuable consideration, including a transfer of property in
goods involved in the execution of a contract, but does not include a mortgage,
hypothecation, charge or pledge.
Explanation I.-A transfer of goods on hire-
purchase or other installment system of payment shall, notwithstanding that the
seller retains a title to any goods as security for payment of the price, be
deemed to be a sale." It is clear from the definition that it includes not
only what may be compendiously described as a sale under the Sale of Goods Act,
but also transactions, which, strictly speaking, are not sales, not even
'contracts of sale' but only contain an element of sale, that is the option to
purchase, and that is the reason why the explanation ends with the words
"be deemed to be a sale", thereby indicating that a legal fiction has
been introduced into the concept of sale' as ordinarily understood. The explanation
has included within its amplitude a mere transfer of goods without the transfer
of title to the goods, if it is in the course of an agreement of the nature of
"hire-purchase", or other installment system of payment. A contract
of hiring, under the Common Law, is one of the species of a contract of
bailment and has, during the last 60-70 653 years, undergone a series of
refinements as a result of modern industrial and commercial developments. The
term 'hire-purchase' has not been defined in the Act. We have, therefore, to
construe the expression in its ordinary Common Law sense, which may best be
expressed in terms of the Dictionary of English Law by Earl Jowitt at pages
913-914, which runs as follows:
"Hire-purchase a system whereby the
owner of goods lets them on hire for periodic payments by the hirer upon an
agreement that when a certain number of payments have been completed, the
absolute property in the goods will pass to the hirer, but so that the hirer
may return the goods at any time without any obligation to pay any balance of
rent accruing after return; until the conditions have been fulfilled, the
property remains in the owner.
The instrument by which the hire-purchase is
effected does not ordinarily require registration as a bill of sale (Exp.
Crawcour (1878) 9 Ch. D. 419); the hirer is 'reputed owner' within the
Bankruptcy Act, 1914 (Exp.
Brooks (1883) 23 Ch. D. 261); but the hirer
does not 'agree to buy' within the Factors Act or the Sale of Goods Act, 1893,
so as to be able to sell or pledge the goods as if he were a mercantile agent
(Helby v. Matthews (1895) A. C. 471; Brooks v. Bernstein (1909) 1 K.B. 98).
Such agreements are to be distinguished from agreements such as in Lee v.
Butler (1893) 2 Q.B. 318, which are in fact a sale, the price being paid in
installments with the condition that the property passes when all the
installments have been paid; here there is a binding agreement for the party to
purchase, where in a true hire-purchase agreement there is not." In
Halsbury's Laws of England, Third Edition, Volume 19, paragraph 823, at pages
510-511, the nature of a hire-purchase transaction is thus expressed:
"The contract of hire purchase is one of
the variations of the contract of bailment, but it is a modern development of
commercial life, and the rules with regard to bailments, which were laid down
before 83 654 any contract of hire purchase was contemplated, cannot be applied
simpliciter, because such a contract has in it not only the element of bailment
but also the element of sale. At common law the term 'hire purchase' properly
applies only to contracts of hire conferring an option to purchase, but it is
often used to describe contracts which are in reality agreements to purchase
chattels by instalments, subject to a condition that the property in them is
not to pass until all installments have been paid. The distinction between
these two types of hire purchase contracts is, however, a most important one,
because under the latter type of contract there is a binding obligation on the
hirer to buy and the hirer can therefore pass a good title to a purchaser or
pledge dealing with him in good faith and without notice of the rights of the
true owner, whereas in the case of a contract which merely confers an option to
purchase there is no binding obligation on the hirer to buy, and a purchaser or
pledge can obtain no better title than the hirer had, except in the case of a
sale in market overt, the contract not being an agreement to buy within the
Factors Act, 1889, or the Sale of Goods Act, 1893." The observations
quoted above are based mostly on two leading cases which have come to be
regarded as the locus classics upon the subject, namely, Lee v. Butler (1) in
which the transaction was described by Lord Esher, M.R., as "Hire and
Purchase Agreements" and Helby v. Matthews (2) in which the House of Lords
distinguished the former case on the ground that in that case there was a
binding contract to buy and not merely an option to buy, without any obligation
to buy. Both these cases were decided in terms of Factors Act of 1889 (52 &
53 Vict. c. 45, s. 9). Both the kinds of agreements exemplified by the two
leading cases aforesaid would now be included in the definition of
'hire-purchase' as contained in s. 21 of the Hire Purchase Act, 1938 (1 & 2
Geo., 6, c. 53):- "'Hire-purchase agreement' means an agreement for the
bailment of goods under which the bailer (1)  2 Q.B. 318.
(2)  A.C. 471.
655 may buy the goods or under which the
property in the goods will or may pass to the bailee, and where by virtue of
two or more agreements, none of which' by itself constitutes a hire- purchase
agreement, there is a bailment of goods and either the bailee may buy the
goods, or the property therein will or may pass to the bailee, the agreements shall
be treated for the purposes of this Act as a single agreement made at the time
when the last of the agreements was made." It is clear that under the Law,
as it now stands, which has now been crystallised into the section of the Hire
Purchase Act, quoted above, the transaction partakes of the nature of a
contract or bailment with an element of sale, as aforesaid, added to it. In
such an agreement, the hirer may not be bound to purchase the thing hired; he
may or may not be. But in either case, if there is an obligation to buy, or an
option to buy, the goods delivered to the hirer by the owner on the terms that
the hirer, on payment of a premium as also of a number of installments, shall
enjoy the use of the goods, which ultimately may become his property, the
transaction amounts to one of hire-purchase, even though the title to the goods
has remained with the owner and shall not pass to the hirer until a certain
event has happened, namely, that all the stipulated installments have been
paid, or that the hirer has exercised his option to finalise the purchase on
payment of a sum, nominal or otherwise.
But it has been contended on behalf of the
petitioners that there is no binding agreement to purchase the goods and that
title is retained by the owner not as a security for payment of the price but
absolutely. According to third term of the agreement, on the hirer duly
performing and observing the terms of the agreement, with particular reference
to the payment of the monthly instalments, "the hiring shall come to an
end and the vehicle shall, at the option of the hirer, become his absolute
property; but until such payments as aforesaid have been made, the vehicle
shall remain the property of the owners. The hirer shall also have the option
of purchasing the vehicle at any 656 time during the currency of this
Agreement, by paying in one lump sum the balance of all the hire hereinbefore
mentioned and any other expenses incurred by the owners relating to the
transaction." It is clear, therefore, that in addition to the contract of
hiring an option has been given to the hirer to purchase or not to purchase.
The more serious question on this part of the petitioners' contention is
whether the non obstante clause in the explanation "notwithstanding that
the seller retains a title to any goods as security for payment of the
price" governs the main clause of the explanation. In our opinion, it does
not. The non obstante clause has been added only to emphasise the categorical
statement of the law contained in the main clause to the effect that a transfer
of goods on hire-purchase, etc., shall be deemed to be a sale' even though
there may be a stipulation to the effect that in spite of the transfer of goods
to the hirer, the owner retains title to those goods until the happening of the
ultimate event, namely, completion of title at the option of the hirer.
There is, thus, no doubt that the agreement
in question does contain not only a contract of bailment simplicities but also
an element of sale, which element has been seized upon by the legislature for
the purpose of subjecting a transaction like that to the Sales Tax.
This leads us to the second ground of attack
raised by the petitioners, namely, that the explanation, if it has the effect
of extending the concept of 'sale' to what, in law, is not a real sale, but
only an incipient or inchoate sale, then in so far as the law has extended the
definition of sale' it is unconstitutional. This contention has lost all its
force, if ever it had any, in view of the decision of this Court in Mithan
Lal's case (1).
But then it is argued that Mithan Lal's case
(1) requires reconsideration and that, in any view of the matter, this Court
did not consider the further attack based on Art. 14 of the Constitution. It is
true that in Mithan Lal's case (1) the contention that the enactment in
question had infringed Art. 14 of the (1)  S.C.R. 445.
657 Constitution had not been raised. This
Court, therefore, had no occasion to pronounce on that aspect of the
controversy We have, therefore, to consider the contention under head (3),
namely, that though the Parliament may have had the power to tax something
which was not strictly speaking a 'sale', the law is open to the attack that it
discriminates against traders in Delhi inasmuch as, it is further contended,
such a law has not been made applicable to the whole of India. In our opinion,
there is no substance in this contention because no proper foundation was laid
in the pleadings for supporting such a contention.
It has not been averred that other Part II
States have not been similarly treated. On the other hand, it does appear that
under the Central Sales Tax Act (LXXIV of 1956), the definition of 'Sale'
contains the extended definition, without the non obstante clause, discussed
above. Section 2(g) of the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956, has the following
"'Sale' with its grammatical variations
and cognate expressions, means any transfer of property in goods by one person
to another for cash or for deferred payment or for any other valuable
consideration, and includes a transfer of goods on the hire purchase or other
system of payment by instalments, but does not include a mortgage or
hypothecation of or a charge or pledge on goods." It would, thus appear
'that hire-purchase transactions have been included within the definition of
sale' for the purpose of Central Sales Tax, and this definition has become
applicable throughout India, and it cannot, therefore, be said that the State
of Delhi, and now the Union Territory of Delhi, has been selected for hostile
discrimination. In our opinion, therefore, there is no substance in the
contention that the extended definition of ',sale' in the main statute
infringes Art. 14 of the Constitution.
Now, the remaining contentions raised on
behalf of the petitioners may be disposed of by observing that what the Sales
Tax Department does, or does not do, cannot change the law. The Department
issued its 658 instructions to the Sales Tax Officers, in conformity with the
law as laid down in the judgment of the Punjab High Court in installment Supply
Ltd., New Delhi v. State of Delhi (1). This Court later laid down the law more
authoritatively in Mithan Lal's s case (2) and the Department was bound to take
notice of what this Court had laid down. It cannot, therefore, be argued that
the Department had, in any sense estopped itself by issuing those instructions,
or that this Court, by laying down the law in Mithan Lal's case (2) had laid down
a new rule of law which has no application to pending proceedings for levy,
assessment and realisation of sales tax, either in Delhi or elsewhere.
There is another answer to the point of res
judicata raised on behalf of the petitioners, relying upon the decision of the
Punjab High Court in installment Supply Ltd., New Delhi v. State of Delhi (1).
It is well settled that in matters of taxation there is no question of res
judicata because each year's assessment is final only for that year and does
not govern later years, because it determines only the tax for a particular
period. (See the decision in the House of Lords in Society of Medical Officers
of Health v. Hope (Valuation Officer) (3) approving and following the decision
of the Privy Council in Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited v. Municipal
Council of Broken Hill (4).
As all the contentions raised on behalf of
the petitioners fail, this petition is dismissed with costs.
(1) A I.R. 1956 Punj I77.
(2)  S.C.R. 445.
(3)  A.C. 551.
(4)  A.C. 94.