R.L. Gulati, J.
1. Under Section 11(4) of the U.P. Sales Tax Act, the Additional Judge (Revisions), Agra, has submitted a statement of the case and has referred the following question of law for our opinion :
Whether on the facts and circumstances of the case the survey made on 10th March, 1967, could form the sole basis for rejecting the assessee's books of account for the previous year, namely, 1965-66
2. The assessee, Babu Ram Vishnoi, is a dealer in ghee. An assessment under the U.P. Sales Tax Act was made against him for the assessment year 1965-66. It was a best judgment assessment because his account books were not accepted. The assessee filed an appeal and then went up in revision. His main contention was that his books of account were properly maintained and should not have been rejected.
3. It appears that there was a complaint with the sales tax authorities that the ghee dealers were despatching ghee in fictitious names through certain transport agencies. Accordingly on 10th March, 1967, a survey was made of the office of one of such transport companies. There a copy book was discovered which contained fictitious names of different persons to whom ghee was being despatched. In the case of the assessee it was discovered that he had despatched five tins of ghee each on 27th January, 1967, arid 9th March, 1967, to one Prabhu. This Prabhu was found to be a fictitious dealer. At this time the assessment proceedings for the assessment years 1965-66 and 1966-67 were pending. The question is as to whether the assessee's books of account were liable to be rejected on the basis of this survey of 10th March, 1967. The date 10th of March, 1967, falls within the assessment year 1966-67 and is beyond the assessment year 1965-66. The survey was directly relevant for the assessment year 1966-67 and there is no dispute about it. But the assessee's contention is that this survey report was not relevant for the assessment year 1965-66 and could not be made the basis for rejecting his accounts. We do not agree with the assessee that the survey report of 10th March, 1967, was not relevant. It is not the date of survey which is material, but what is material is the nature of evidence which comes to light as a result of the survey. If the material is such which points to suppression of sales in an earlier year, the material becomes relevant for that year also. But if the material relates to the assessment year itself, then it cannot be used either in the preceding or the succeeding years.
4. Now, in the instant case all that was discovered was that the assessee had despatched ghee on dates falling in the assessment year 1966-67 in a fictitious name. Those dates are far removed from the end of the assessment year 1965-66. The survey report certainly casts a doubt on the veracity of account books of the assessee for the assessment year in question, but suspicion cannot take the place of material or evidence. Each assessment year is a self-contained unit of assessment and the assessment for each year must be based upon the material relevant for that year.
5. In the instant case admittedly the material discovered did not point to any suppression or evasion in the year 1965-66. We, therefore, agree with the contention of the assessee that the survey report constituted no material for rejecting his books of account. Since that was the only material upon which the rejection of the account books was based, it must be held that the rejection was improper and illegal.
6. Accordingly we answer the question in the negative in favour of the assessee and against the Commissioner. The assessee is entitled to his costs which we assess at Rs. 50.