Judicial AnalysisMeaning of Expression ” Entertain” An Appeal

April 27, 20160
Predeposit to entertain is a pre requisite condition existing in several statutes while providing for entertaining of statutory appeals, like The Income-Tax Act, 1961, The Central Excise Act, 1944, The Consumer Protection Act, 1986, The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, etc.
The meaning of expression  ” Entertain”  an Appeal can be understood from the following ratio as laid down by Supreme Court of India .
in Lakshmi Rattan Enginerring Works Limited v. Assistant Commissioner Sales Tax, Kanpur and Another3 , had the occasion to consider the meaning of the expression ‘entertain’ in the context of a similar provision in the Uttar Pradesh Sales Tax Act,1948 where it was held that in such context, the expression has the meaning of “admitting to consideration”. The relevant discussion is available at paragraphs – 9 and 10:
“9. The word ‘entertain’ is explained by a Divisional Bench of the Allahabad High Court as denoting the point of time at which an application to set aside the sale is heard by the court. The expression ‘entertain’, it is stated, does not mean the same thing as the filing of the application or admission of the application by the court. A similar view was again taken in Dhoom Chand Jain v. Chamanlal Gupta & Anr. AIR 1962 All. 543, in which the learned Chief Justice Desai and Mr. Justice Dwivedi gave the same meaning to the expression ‘entertain’. It is observed by Dwivedi J. that the word ‘entertain’ in its application bears the meaning ‘admitting to consideration’. and therefore when the court cannot refuse to take an application which is backed by deposit or security, it cannot refuse judicially to consider it. In a single bench decision of the same court reported in Bawan Ram & Anr. v. Kuni Beharilal A.I.R. 1961 All. 42, one of us (Bhargava, J.) had to consider the same rule. There the deposit had not been made within the period of limitation and the question had arisen whether the court could entertain the application or not. It was decided that the application could not be entertained because proviso (b) debarred the court from entertaining an objection unless the requirement of depositing the amount or furnishing security was complied with within the time prescribed. In that case of the word ‘entertain’ is not interpreted but it is held that the court cannot proceed to consider the application in the absence of deposit made within the time allowed by law. This case turned on the fact that the deposit was made out of time. In yet another case of the Allahabad High Court reported in Haji Rahim Bux & Sons and Ors. v. Firm Samiullah & Sons A.I.R. 1963 All. 326, a division bench consisting of Chief Justice Desai and Mr. Justice S. D. Singh interpreted the words of O. 21, r. 90, by saying that the word ‘entertain’ meant not ‘receive’ or ‘accept’ but proceed to consider on merits’ or ‘adjudicate upon’.
10. In our opinion these cases have taken a correct view of the word ‘entertain’ which according to dictionary also means ‘admit to consideration’. It would therefore appear that the direction to the court in the proviso to s. 9 is that the court shall not proceed to admit to consideration an appeal which is not accompanied by satisfactory proof of the payment of the admitted tax. This will be when the case is taken up by the court for the first time. In the decision on which the Assistant Commissioner relied, the learned Chief Justice (Desai C.J.) holds that the words ‘accompanied by’ showed that something tangible had to accompany the memorandum of appeal. If the memorandum of appeal had to be accompanied by satisfactory proof, it had to be in the shape of something tangible, because no intangible thing can accompany a document like the memorandum of appeal. In our opinion,making ‘an appeal’ the equivalent of the memorandum of appeal is not sound. Even under O. 41 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the expression “appeal” and “memorandum of appeal” are used to distinct two distinct things. In Wharton’s Law Lexicon, the word “appeal” is defined as the judicial examination of the decision by a higher Court of the decision of an inferior court. The appeal is the judicial examination; the memorandum of appeal contains the grounds on which the judicial examination is invited. For purposes of limitation and for purposes of the rules of the Court it is required that a written memorandum of appeal shall be filed. When the proviso speaks of the entertainment of the appeal, it means that the appeal such as was filed will not be admitted to consideration unless there is satisfactory proof available of the making of the deposit of admitted tax.” 


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