1. This is a revision on behalf of the accused against the judgment of the First Class Magistrate, Narasaraopet, convicting the accused under section 15(a) of the Madras General Sales Tax Act and sentencing him to pay a fine of Rs. 25 in default to undergo simple imprisonment for 15 days. The accused before me was a person who was doing business in rice and food-grains and a dealer under the Sales Tax Act. The charge against him is that he did not submit the returns with regard to this business turnover as required by the provisions of the Act and the Rules made thereunder.
2. The relevant rule in this regard is rule 11 of the Madras General Sales Tax (Turnover and Assessment) Rules, 1939. That rule says that every dealer who is liable to submit a return under rule 6 shall, on or before the 1st day of May in every year, submit to the assessing authority a return showing the actual gross and net turnover for the preceding year and the amounts collected by way of tax during that year. This rule as would appear speaks of the liability of the dealer to submit a return under rule 6. Rule 6 says that every dealer who commenced business after 1st October, 1939, whose estimated income for the first twelve months of his business is not less than Rs. 10, 000 shall, within 30 days of commencing his business, submit to the assessing authority a return in Form A giving particulars mentioned therein. Rule 6, therefore, envisages that the dealer must be one whose estimated turnover for the first 12 months is not less than Rs. 10, 000. So far as this question is concerned there is no evidence on behalf of the prosecution. The condition precedent to the submitting of the return under rule 6 is the extent of the estimated business being more than Rs. 10, 000. That is not established in this case. Rule 11(1) would only come into operation, if the prosecution can satisfy that the dealer in this case was one liable to submit a return under rule 6.The Magistrate has convicted the accused evidently being influenced by the fact that he set up a plea that he submitted a return and in his evidence he stated that he submitted his return within time which was mislaid and later on he submitted a second return. He disbelieved the story and held that the plea set up by the accused was not established. In a criminal matter it would not matter if the accused is not able to establish his plea. The onus is on the prosecution to bring home the guilt of the accused. In my opinion in this case the prosecution has not satisfied by its evidence that the accused was one who was liable to submit a return within the meaning of rule 6(1) of the Assessment Rules. I, therefore, allow this revision, and set aside the conviction. If the fine has been recovered from the accused, it be refunded to him.