P.K. Goswami, C.J.
1. This application under Article 226 of the Constitution is directed against an appellate order of the Assam Board of Revenue under Section 31A of the Assam Sales Tax Act, 1947, of 8th June, 1967.
2. Respondent No. 1 (briefly 'respondent') is a registered dealer under the Assam Sales Tax Act and deals in galvanised corrugated iron (g.c.i.) sheets. They sell these sheets on permits issued and at price fixed by the Deputy Commissioner in favour of various purchasers. The period in question is that ending on 31st March, 1964. The Superintendent of Taxes assessed the respondent as liable to tax on the g. c. i. sheets at the rate of 4 per cent as applicable to 'other goods', under item 4 of Schedule II to the Assam Sales Tax Act as against the rate of 2 per cent charged prior to 1st January, 1964. There was an unsuccessful appeal against the assessment order to the Assistant Commissioner of Taxes. The Assistant Commissioner held 'that the item g. c. i. sheets was, prior to 1st January, 1964, taxable under the Assam Finance (Sales Tax) Act, 1956 and classified as 'declared goods' as defined Under Section 14 of the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956'. According to him, g. c. i. sheets became taxable from 1st January, 1964, under the provisions of the Assam Sales Tax Act, 1947, as 'other goods'. The appellant's (respondent herein) contention, that he was not aware of the liability to pay enhanced rate of tax and thus could not realise the tax at the correct rate from his customers, was not accepted by the Assistant Commissioner. The respondent took an appeal to the Assam Board of Revenue, which upheld the plea holding as follows:
Their contention that they were not aware of the revised rates cannot in our opinion be lightly brushed aside. If the sales tax department had intimated all the dealers the revised procedure there should have been no difficulty on the latter's part to realise the sales tax at the enhanced rates since the tax was to be realised from the customers only. We are unable to accept the contention of the department that it was not their responsibility to inform the individual assessees.In fairness to all concerned it was desirable that a notice was issued to the firms dealing in g. c. i. sheets about the change in the definition as also of the rate of sales tax. For the failure of the department, be it the sales tax department or the Director of Consumer Goods, it is not desirable to punish the individual dealers.
The Board, therefore, held that the respondent may be assessed at the previous rate for the period ending 31st March, 1964. This has led to the writ application at the instance of the Assistant. Commissioner of Taxes, Assam, Shillong and on the common prayer of the learned Advocate-General, Meghalaya and the learned Senior Government Advocate, Assam, the State of Meghalaya was added as a petitioner.
3. We have heard the learned Advocate-General, Meghalaya, on behalf of the petitioners and also Mr. J.P. Bhattacharjee for the respondent.
4. Mr. J.P. Bhattacharjee frankly conceded that he was unable to support the reasons given by the Board in arriving at the conclusion in favour of the respondent. He, however, submits that he can support the conclusion of the Board on other grounds. Since these grounds are not relied upon by the Boardd, we are not inclined, in this case, to entertain new grounds on the writ side of this court, if the grounds given by the Board are extraneous and irrelevant for the purpose of deciding the matter raised before it. Whether the department could assess at a higher rate will have to be decided on the basis of the law in that behalf. Liability to pay tax is under the charging section subject to the other provisions of the relevant Act and to the rate of tax payable under the law. That should have been the correct approach of the Board in deciding the appeal.
5. The Board, we find, went at a tangent and wrongly cast a duty on the sales tax department to intimate all the dealers and individual assessees of the change in the definition and of the rates of tax. Mr. Bhattacharjee could not show any provision of law which requires the sales tax department to do so. The only ground given by the Board is thus irrelevant and extraneous to the real point at issue and any order passed by it on extraneous and irrelevant consideration is liable to inter ference in exercise of our powers under Article 226 of the Constitution as the order in that case becomes perverse in the absence of reasons known to law. It follows, therefore, that the Board has failed to dispose of the appeal in accordance with law which it had jurisdiction as well as duty to do.
6. The impugned order of the Board is, therefore, set aside. The application is allowed. The appeal before the Board is restored to its file and the same shall be disposed of in accordance with law and in the light of the observations made hereinabove. We will, however, make no order as to costs.
R.S. Bindra, J.
7. I agree.