Prahlad Singh & ANR.
Vs. State of U.P & Ors.  INSC 912 (6 May 2009)
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL
APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3325 of 2009 (Arising out of SLP (C)
No.216 of 2007) Prahlad Singh & Anr. ....Appellants Versus State of U.P.
& Ors. ....Respondents With CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3330 of 2009 (Arising out of
SLP(C ) No. 12499 of 2007) With CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3331-3332 of 2009 (Arising out
of SLP(C ) No. 19086-87 of 2007) With CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3329 of 2009 (Arising
out of SLP(C ) No. 2916 of 2007) With CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3328 of 2009 (Arising
out of SLP(C ) No. 2919 of 2007) With CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3327 of 2009 (Arising
out of SLP(C ) No. 2922 of 2007) With CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3326 of 2009 (Arising
out of SLP(C ) No. 347 of 2007) With W.P. (C ) NO. 39 OF 2007 With W.P. (C )
NO. 40 OF 2007
Dr. ARIJTI PASAYAT, J.
1. Leave granted.
2. Challenge in these
appeals is to the judgment of a Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court.
Several Petitions were disposed of by a common judgment and the writ petitions
were dismissed. The writ petitioners had questioned the vires of Article II of
Part D of the First Schedule of the Uttar Pradesh Motor Vehicles Taxation Act,
1997 (hereinafter referred to as the `Taxation Act'). Order dated 30.10.2000
passed by the Transport Commissioner, U.P., Lucknow was also questioned. The
High Court noted that in the meeting held on 20.4.1999 decision was taken by
the Transport Commissioner not to realize the Additional Tax at the rate of
Rs.45/- per metric ton as provided under Article II of Part D of the First
Schedule of the Taxation Act. By order dated 30.10.2000 the Transport
Commissioner 2 had informed all his subordinate authorities that the decision
had since been revoked and tax in accordance with law was to be realised.
3. According to the writ
petitioners they were Stage Carriage Operators, they have own buses and operate
them on the strength of permanent Stage Carriage Permit granted in their favour
by the Regional Transport Authority. Prior to the commencement of the Taxation
Act, taxes were realised from the transport operators under the provisions of
different enactments enacted i.e. United Provinces Motor Vehicle Taxation Act,
1935, Motor Gadi (Yatri Kar) Adhiniyam, 1962 and U.P. Motor Gadi (Maal Kar)
4. The Taxation Act
replaced the aforesaid three acts and it became operative from 9.11.1998. The
writ petitioner contented that they had paid road tax under Section 4 of Uttar
Pradesh Motor Vehicle Taxation Act, 1935 (in short the 1935 Act') which was
replaced by Section 4 of the Taxation Act. They had paid a tax at the rate of
Rs.2015/- per quarter inclusive of Rs.45 for the luggage of passengers in
respect of 55 seater vehicle. With the coming into force of the Taxation Act
the Authorities started demanding additional tax at the rate of Rs.45/- for
every metric ton on the gross vehicles weight of the vehicle or part 3 thereof
in terms of Article II of Part D of the First Schedule of the Act.
On protest being raised by the
transport operators, a decision was taken by the Transport Commissioner on
20.4.1999 and direction was issued to the subordinate authorities to obtain
affidavit from the Stage Carriage operator to the effect that they do not carry
goods in their vehicle except the personal luggage of the passengers and on
filing of such affidavit the tax demanded under the new provision shall not be
realised from them.
5. The High Court held
that in a vehicle which is covered by the Stage Carriage Permit, luggage of the
passengers as also the goods are permitted to be carried. The only restriction
is that the weight of goods and passengers luggage and that of the passenger
including the weight of unladen vehicle should not exceed the gross vehicle's
6. The High Court after
referring to various provisions observed that Article II is attracted when
passengers' goods whether it is personal luggage of the passenger or not is
transported in the vehicle. Thus the State Carriage Permit holder were liable
to pay tax under Article II of Part D of the First Schedule of the Act.
Therefore, the Writ Petitions were dismissed. It was the stand of learned
counsel for the appellants 4 that since goods have not been defined under the
Taxation Act, in view of the specific provisions of the Taxation Act i.e.
Section 2(o) recourse to the definition given in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988
(in short the `Act') has to be taken.
7. It was submitted that
there is no scope for carrying any goods of the passengers and in fact they had
not carried any such goods in the Stage Carriage, except the personal luggage
and, therefore, they were not liable to pay any tax under the aforesaid
8. Learned counsel for
the respondent-State on the other hand supported the judgment of the High
9. Some of the relevant
provisions of the Taxation Act read as follow:
"U.P. MOTOR VEHICLES TAXATION
2.Definitions. In this Act, a)
"additional tax" means a tax imposed under Section 5 or Section 6 in
addition to the tax imposed under Section 4.
d) "goods carriage" means
motor vehicle constructed or adapted wholly or partly for use for the carriage
of goods, or any motor vehicles not so constructed or adapted when used for the
carriage of goods either solely or in addition to passenger, and includes a
trailer but does not include a motor cab, or a maxi cab or a contract carriage
or stage carriage where such contract carriage or stage carriage is authorised
to carry a limited quantity of load;
e) "limited quantity of
load" means such quantity of load, not exceeding the limits determined by
the Transport- Commissioner, Uttar Pradesh, as the Registering Authority may
specify in the registration certificate in respect of a vehicle.
.... .... ...
(1) "tax" means any tax
levied under section 4;
(o) words and expressions used but not
defined in this Act and defined in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, shall have the
respect meaning assigned to them in that Act,"
4. Imposition of Tax - (1) Save as
otherwise provided in this Act or the rules made thereunder, no motor vehicle
other than a transport vehicle, shall be used in any public place in Uttar
Pradesh unless a one-time tax at the rate applicable in respect of such motor
vehicle, specified in Part `B' of the First Schedule has been paid in respect
Provided that in respect of an old
motor vehicle, instead of a one-time tax, annual tax at the rate applicable to
such motor vehicle as specified in Part `C' of the First Schedule may be-paid.
(2) Save as otherwise provided by or
under this Act no transport vehicle shall be used in any public place in Uttar
Pradesh unless a tax at the rate applicable to such motor vehicle, as specified
in Part `D' of the First Schedule has been paid in respect thereof.
(3) Where any motor vehicle other than
a transport vehicle, in respect whereof one-time tax has been paid, is operated
as a transport vehicle, the tax payable under this Act on such transport
vehicle shall be payable."
Sub-Section (2) of Section 4 further
provides that tax is to paid at the rate specified in Part D of First Schedule.
Under Part D Petitioners are required to pay in Article I Item 7 as they have
been carrying more than 35 passenger. The said item No.7 for ready reference
reads as follows:
1. 2 3
______________________________________________________ "7 With seating
capacity for more than exclusive of the driver;
a) if intended for use on
"A-Class" route Rs. 1115.00+ Rs. 45.00 for Every seat in excess of
thirty five seats.
b) if intended for use on
"B-Class route Rs. 900.00 + Rs. 35.00 for every seat in excess of thirty
Explanation:- For the purpose of this
Article, fifty percent of the sanctioned standing capacity, if any, shall
reckoned as additional seating capacity.
Vehicles plying for the conveyance of
Limited number of passengers and the trans Port of a limited quantity of
passengers' Goods, the tax payable under Article I in Respect of the authorized
number of Passenger seats in addition to tax for Every metric ton of the
registered laden Weight of the vehicle, or part thereof," 45.00 III
_________________ IV _________________ Explanation: Where any motor vehicle is
used for various purposes or in such a manner as to cause it to be taxable more
than one Article of this Schedule, the tax payable shall be at the highest
10. The only question
that needs to be adjudicated is whether Article II has application. It is the
stand of the appellants that under Part D, the appellants are required to pay
in Article I item VII as they have been carrying more than 35 passengers.
11. It needs to be noted
that in Writ Petition No. 6266 (M/B) of 2000, it has been observed by the High
Court as follows:
8 "it is
therefore, clarified that if the vehicle of the petitioners is covered under
more than one Articles of Part D of the Ist Schedule of the Act, then the
highest rate mentioned under either of the Article would be payable. To give an
illustration, if a vehicle falls under Article I and also under Article II of
part D of the Ist Schedule, then the amount of tax payable under both the
Articles have to be calculated and the amount which is higher shall be payable.
The amount payable by a vehicle owner, if his vehicle under Article II, would
be higher than the amount payable under Article I as under Article II the
amount which is payable is in addition to the amount payable under Article I
and not limited to only Rs.45/- per ton."
12. In our opinion
because of the explanation the view expressed; as noted above indicates the
correct view, Article II operates when goods are carried and it does apply to
13. The appeals and writ
petitions are accordingly disposed of. There shall be no orders as to costs.
(Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)
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