R.S. Pathak, J.
1. In the assessment proceedings for the assessment year 1957-58 under the U.P. Sales Tax Act against the respondent, M/s Hind Vastra Bhandar, the Sales Tax Officer issued a notice to Raja Ram and Hazoor Singh treating them as partners of the respondent. An assessment order was made determining the turnover of the respondent at Rs. 1,75,000. Two appeals were filed against the assessment order, one by Raja Ram and the other by Hazoor Singh. In the appeal filed by Hazoor Singh it was contended that he was not a partner of the respondent and therefore not liable for any tax liability of the respondent. The Judge (Appeals) Sales Tax found upon a consideration of the material on the record that Hazoor Singh had nothing to do with the respondent. He remanded the case on the consideration that 'the assessing authority did not care to obtain material so as to make Hazoor Singh liable for the assessee-firm in the eye of law' and that 'the assessing authority rushed up to draw a conclusion without making adequate enquiries in the matter'. Against the order remanding the case Hazoor Singh applied in revision. The Judge (Revisions) Sales Tax has found that there was no good ground for remanding the case and consequently set aside the remand order. He held that Hazoor Singh had no concern with the respondent. At the instance of the Commissioner of Sales Tax this reference has been made for the opinion of this Court on the following question :
Whether in sales tax appeals, the Judge (Appeals) Sales Tax, can pass a remand order for further scrutiny although the evidence on record is sufficient to dispose of the controversy one way or the other?
2. As the question has been framed, it appears to be an abstract question of law unrelated to the facts and circumstances of the case and, therefore, we would be justified in refusing to answer it. But as we have heard learned counsel on this reference in relation to the facts and circumstances of the case we consider it appropriate to dispose of the reference after reframing the question as follows :-
Whether the Judge (Revisions) Sales Tax was right in law in setting aside the remand order made in appeal by the Judge (Appeals) Sales Tax on the ground that there was no material at all to indicate that Hazoor Singh was a partner of the respondent
3. It is clear from the orders before us that the circumstances considered by the Judge (Appeals) all pointed to Raja Ram alone being proprietor of the business. Raja Ram had declared himself as the sole proprietor in the application made by him for registration under the U.P. Sales Tax Act. When applying for registration under the Central Sales Tax Act Raja Ram similarly declared himself to be the sole proprietor. Copies of Form C were also, therefore, issued to Raja Ram alone. The provisional assessment order made for the first and second quarters was also made against Raja Ram as proprietor of the business. There was no material at all before the Judge (Appeals) to suggest that Hazoor Singh was a partner in the business. Indeed, the Judge (Appeals) observed that the material on the record justified the conclusion that Hazoor Singh was not a partner. He proceeded to remand the case entirely on the consideration that the Sales Tax Officer had not applied his mind to securing material for making Hazoor Singh liable for the tax liability. The power to remand a case has been conferred upon the Judge (Appeals) by Section 9(3)(b) of the U.P. Sales Tax Act which empowers the appellate authority to 'set aside the assessment and direct the assessing authority to pass a fresh order after such further enquiry as may be directed'. The statute does not lay down the grounds upon which the appellate authority may remand the case. No limitations have been prescribed restricting the power. The appellate authority exercises quasi-judicial functions, and there can be no dispute that the power to remand must be exercised by it, not according to whim or humour, but in accordance with sound judicial principles. And it is a power which must be used with circumspection. The appellate authority functions as an impartial authority adjudicating upon rights and liabilities between the dealer and the revenue. That adjudication must be effected through a procedure informed by the interests of justice. It is to do justice in accordance with law that the appellate authority exists. It departs from its function when it permits the influence of partisan considerations.
4. When the circumstances of the instant case point to the conclusion, as the Judge (Appeals) has found, that Hazoor Singh was not a partner in the business and there is no material whatever to suggest that he was such a partner, it is difficult to appreciate how the remand can be justified. The remand was made because there was nothing on the record to fasten the tax liability upon Hazoor Singh and to afford to the Sales Tax Officer another innings for an attempt to collect material against Hazoor Singh. Clearly, the interests of justice did not prompt the remand. The interests of the revenue prevailed.
5. The order of the Judge (Appeals) remanding the case was plainly perverse and wholly unjustified. In our judgment, the Judge (Revisions) acted rightly in law in quashing the order of remand.
6. We answer the question, as reframed by us, in the affirmative.
7. The respondent is entitled to his costs which we assess at Rs. 200. Counsel's fee is also assessed in the same figure.