Govinda Bhat, J.
1. The petitioner is an assessee under the Mysore Sales Tax Act, 1957. Some of the account books, documents and loose papers of the assessee for the periods 1961-62 to 1965-66 were seized by the Commercial Tax Officer, Intelligence, Bangalore, in the year 1967 and then they were forwarded to the Commercial Tax Officer, Tumkur, who is the assessing authority. The petitioner filed returns for the three years ended on 31st March, 1965, 31st March, 1966, and 31st March, 1967. The assessing authority called upon the petitioner to produce his account books in support of his returns. The petitioner submitted to the assessing authority that unless the account books and other papers seized from him by the Commercial Tax Officer, Intelligence, Bangalore, were returned he was not in a position to produce his account books in support of the returns. After protracted correspondence on this matter, the assessing authority issued a proposition notice to the assessee who was asked to show cause why the turnovers as proposed should not be determined as the turnovers for the three years. The petitioner again replied to the assessing authority stating that despite repeated requests and in spite of the direction by the Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, Bangalore, the assessing authority had not returned the books of account, etc., seized by the Commercial Tax Officer, Intelligence, Bangalore, and without the assistance of the said books, he was not in a position to submit his explanation against the proposed assessment. The Assessing authority informed the assessee that he may inspect the account books, etc., in the office of the Commercial Tax Officer if he so desired but he refused to return the account books and other papers. Thereafter, the assessing authority made three assessment orders on 30th June, 1969, making assessments on the best judgment basis. The assessee not having paid the demands, the Commercial Tax Officer filed three applications before the First Class Magistrate, Tumkur, under section 13(3)(b) of the Act, they being C. Misc. Nos. 19, 20 and 21 of 1970, for recovery of the tax amount as if it were a fine. When the magistrate issued notices to the petitioner, he preferred the above writ petitions in which he has contended that the assessment orders have been made in violation of the rules of natural justice and therefore they are liable to be quashed. From the facts stated, it is clear that the respondent has denied the opportunity to the petitioner to urge his objections to the proposed assessments. The with-holding of the account books, documents and other papers relating to the three assessment years and at the same time asking the petitioner to show cause against the proposed assessments, in our opinion, amounted to denial of reasonable opportunity. The withholding of the account books, etc., was wholly unjustified.
2. In the result, these writ petitions succeed and the impugned assessment orders dated 30th June, 1969, and the proceedings ate hereby quashed. The petitioner is entitled to his costs in these writ petitions. Advocate's fee Rs. 100.
3. The respondent is at liberty to make fresh assessment orders after returning the account books and other documents.
4. Petitions allowed.