Narayana Pai, J.
1. The petitioner, who is a dealer in cloth of different varieties, some of which are entitled to exemption from sales tax, made a return in respect of his turnover for the financial year 1958-59 showing gross turnover of Rs. 1,25,456, out of which a turnover of Rs. 32,695 alone was shown as liable to tax. The Commercial Tax Officer, after looking into the accounts and examining the return, accepted the net turnover liable to tax to be Rs. 32,695.47 and imposed tax as follows :-
'Tax at 6 per cent. on Rs. 29,128.19 (Mill) will be Rs. 1,747.68Tax at 3 per cent. on Rs. 1,967.05 will be Rs. 59.01Tax at 9 per cent. on Rs. 1,600.23 will be Rs. 144.00-------------Total Rs. 1,950.69'.-------------
2. The petitioner preferred an appeal to the Deputy Commissioner of Commercial Taxes and pleaded that the turnover of Rs. 29,128 taxed at six per cent. as shown above was turnover which was entitled to exemption under entry 8A of the Fifth Schedule and that it was by mistake that he had shown it as part of the turnover liable to tax. The Deputy Commissioner refused to entertain this plea for no reason except that the petitioner had not brought this mistake to the notice of the assessing authority and stating it as a proposition of law that it was not open to the assessee to raise this point for exemption on an item on which no claim had been made by him before the assessing authority.
3. The petitioner then appealed to the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal. The said Tribunal, after giving a long extract from the order of the Deputy Commissioner, disposed of the matter very briefly as follows :-
'The only prayer of the appellant is that the unauthorised and illegal levy be set aside and the tax paid ordered to be refunded. In the circumstances of this case, where, apart from mere assertion, no evidence whatsoever has been placed before us in support of the contention raised, we have got to confirm the orders of the learned first appellate authority.'
4. Hence this revision petition.
5. We have no doubt, whatever, that the manner in which the taxing authorities have dealt with the matter is neither correct nor according to law. We find from the order of the original authority that upon inspection of the books, he found that the bulk of the turnover of the petitioner was not liable to tax and that the turnover taxable was only in the neighbourhood of Rs. 1,600. It is also clear that as the Fifth Schedule stood at the relevant period, textiles of all varieties were exempt from sales tax.
6. When the facts are not disputed and the law is so clear, we fail to understand how the assessing authorities could at all impose tax. We are clearly of the opinion that the duty of the assessing officers is not merely to impose tax that is lawfully exigible but also to give to the assessees the benefit of any reduction or exemption that may become due to them upon facts actually found to be true by the assessing authorities, whether or not the assessees, out of ignorance or by mistake, make a claim thereto. When the mistake is so obvious and the matter is taken up on appeal, we are of the opinion that it is the duty of the appellate authorities to correct the mistake.
7. When such is the position, we do not think that the Appellate Tribunal is right in disposing of the matter as if it was a question of fact requiring the production of further evidence for investigation.
8. The revision petition is therefore allowed and the orders of the Tribunal and of the first appellate authority are set aside. The assessment order of the original authority is also set aside to the extent it imposed tax on the turnover of Rs. 29,128.19, and the tax relatable thereto shall be refunded to the petitioner.
9. The petitioner will have costs of this revision petition. Advocate's fee Rs. 100.
10. Petition allowed.