Sec 52 of the UP VAT Act cannot be used for Tax Evasion, or to Perpetuate Fraud, says Allahabad HC [Read Judgment]

Pre-GST Cases - Allahabad High Court- GST -taxscan

In the recent decision, the Allahabad High Court found that the transaction alleged to have been effected by the respondent-assessee was not genuine and the invoices accompanying the goods, the TIN numbers used etc. were found to be fake.

Justice Surya Prakash Kesarwani also found that the alleged consignors are non-existent, the goods were to be unloaded/ delivered at Deoria(U.P.) and identity of real owners of the goods have been concealed by the respondents with the only motive to evade tax under the Act or to help undisclosed persons/ non-bonafide dealers to evade tax.

In the opinion of the bench, it was a clear case of fraud, misrepresentation and suppression of facts by the respondents.

“This court cannot act to protect perpetuation of legal fraud. The courts are obliged to do justice. Fraud and justice never dwell together (FransEt Jus Nunquam Cohabitant). This maxim has never lost its temper over all the centuries. The courts are not meant to permit dishonesty even on technical pleas. Dishonesty cannot be permitted to bear the fruit and benefit to the persons who played fraud or misrepresented or suppressed facts and in such circumstances, the court should not allow perpetuation of fraud by entertaining the technical pleas. The very foundation of the case of the respondent is based on falsehood and fraud. The respondents have suppressed material facts and did not disclose it despite being repeatedly asked by the Mobile Squad Authority. Even they abstained to answer the queries made by the court as afore-noted. They have not disclosed the real person/ owner of the goods in question. Wrong has been clearly committed and, therefore, the respondents cannot be allowed to take advantage of their own wrong on the basis of technical pleas so as to frustrate the law”.

“Once a transportation of goods under the cover of Section 52 of the UP VAT Act is shown to be fraudulent, sham, bogus, circuitous or a device designed to evade tax under the Act, the statutory authorities under the Act and the court can always examine the substance of the transaction because the legislature never intends to guard fraud. No authority or court may recognise such transportation or transaction on the basis of the provisions of Section 52 of the Act. Law is manifestation of principles of justice, equity and good conscience. Hence section 52 of the Act cannot be interpreted and understood in a manner so as to encourage tax evaders and to discourage those who abide by law. It is the obligation of every citizen to pay the taxes honestly without resorting to subterfuges. No doubt, when a person transports goods from outside the State of U.P. to outside the State of U.P. in terms of Section 52 of the Act and Rule 58 of the Rules, the authorities under the Act have no power to seize the goods and demand security for release thereof but where, as in the present case, the transaction is sham, not genuine and make-believe and originated from a place within the State of U.P. or intended to be sold within the State of U.P. with intent to evade tax then it would be a case falling under Section 48 of the UP VAT Act. Provisions of Sections 48 & 52 of the Act, have to be considered in a manner so as to hold that it serves to seek a reasonable result. Protection of Section 52 of the Act cannot be extended for evasion of tax under the Act, to perpetuate fraud or to do something indirectly which cannot be done directly.”

Read the full text of the Judgment below.