1. Respondents who are registered dealers under the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1953, had claimed deductions under section 9(1) and the proviso to section 8(b) of the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1953, in their return for the year 1955-56. On the 14th of October, 1961, the Sales Tax Officer called upon them to produce the declarations in the prescribed form or their duplicates in support of the claim. Being unable to do so, respondents produced consolidated declarations containing the various particulars mentioned in the prescribed form. The consolidated statement has been accepted in support of the claim made by the respondents.
2. The first of the two questions sought to be raised on this petition is whether the evidence produced by the respondents could be admitted in support of the deductions claimed by them. We see no substance in the point raised on behalf of the department. Section 8(b) of the Sales Tax Act, 1953, provides, briefly, that there shall be deducted from the turnover of a dealer, sales of goods to another dealer who furnishes to the selling dealer a certificate in the prescribed form. The form is prescribed under the Bombay Sales Tax (Registration, Licensing and Authorization) Rules, 1954, the relevant form for this purpose being Form J. It is undisputed that every bit of the information which Form J requires was furnished by the respondents to the Sales Tax Officer. The grievance of the department is that though all the information, which the dealer should have supplied, was in fact supplied, the information was written out in an exercise-book and, therefore, could not be said to have been supplied in the prescribed form. This contention, in our opinion, is wholly devoid of substance. The genuineness of the exercise-book not having been challenged or doubted, it makes no difference whether the information was supplied separately in regard to every sale or whether it was supplied in a consolidated form. It must be stated that the forms are not supplied by the Government but are prepared procured by the dealers independently. Looking at the substance of the matter, respondents must be held to have complied with the legal requirement.
3. The other question which the department wants to be referred to this court is whether the burden of proof in a case of the present nature lies on the assessee or on the department. This is an academic question, because though initially the Tribunal had held that the burden would lie on the department, it was subsequently held, under an order of rectification, that the burden must lie on the assessee to establish his claim for deduction and not on the department to prove that the assessee is not entitled to the deduction claimed by him.
4. We, therefore, dismiss the petition and discharge the rule with costs.
5. Petition dismissed.