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Every Act lay down certain period of limitation as regard filing of appeals. applications etc. Also in most of the cases the Act empower the appropriate authority to accept such applications, appeals etc. even after the expiry of such period of limitation if the petitioner makes out reasonable and sufficient cause. But certainly in a case where the Act does not so empower any such authority, resort can be made to section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963 in appropriate cases.

In the case of Shivam Riceland Vs. State of Haryana (123STC23) the Sales Tax Tribunal II, Haryana, Chandigarh, dismissed the appeal filed by the assessee after the statutory period on the ground that it had no power under the provisions of the Act to condone the delay. The revenue argued that in view of the provisions of section 39 of the Haryana General Sales Tax Act, 1973 the Sales Tax Tribunal has no power to condone the delay.

Terming as incorrect the decision of the Tribunal the Allahabad High Court held that section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963 in this regard provide a remedy which shall apply to proceedings under the Sales Tax Act. Under section 5 of such Act any appeal or any application, other than an application under any of the provisions of Order XXI of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908,(5 of 1908), may be admitted after the prescribed period if the appellant or the applicant satisfies the court that he had sufficient cause for not preferring the appeal or making the application within such period.

In this case the assessee claimed that the delay had occurred due to the mistake of his advocate who having taken the certified copy of the order of the first appellate authority had not communicated to the petitioner as a result of which the appeal could not be filed. The total delay was of 40 days in this case.

To justify its bonafide claim the assessee had placed a certificate of an Advocate, who was representing the petitioner before the Joint Excise and Taxation Commissioner. From the perusal of such certificate the Court held that it is clear from this certificate that the delay in the filing of the appeal was attributable to the counsel for which the assessee could not be blamed.

Thus Section 5 of the Limitation Act would have application in every case where any Act does not specifically so provide for a power to a specified authority for condonation of delay or unless such Act specifically exclude application of such section. The section assumes significance in lodging claims for refund after the period of limitation prescribed either under the Act or by the Circulars of the Board.

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