M.R. Sharma, J.
1. The Excise and Taxation Officer-cum-Assessing Authority, Jullundur, seized the following documents from the possession of the petitioner-factory on 2nd August, 1974.
(1) Current cash book written up to 29th March, 1974.
(2) Current day book up to 30th July, 1974.
(3) Current ledger.
(4) One rough ledger with 1 to 142 written pages.
(5) Bill book (Exhibits 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 30, 31, 32 and 33).
(6) 32 loose papers (27 sale bills and 5 other loose papers regarding purchases).
(7) One loose voucher file.
(8) Some loose credit vouchers.
2. The grievance of the petitioner-factory is that more than a year has passed since these documents were taken into possession and respondent No. 2 has not returned the documents to it in contravention of Section 14(3) of the Punjab General Sales Tax Act, 1948 (hereinafter called the Act).
3. On behalf of the respondents, it has been stated that one rough ledger with written pages from 1 to 142 had been impounded by the income-tax authorities, that documents mentioned at S. Nos. 1 to 3 and 5 have been returned and that the remaining documents mentioned at S. Nos. 6, 7 and 8 are being verified. Mr. Tulsi, the learned counsel for the respondent, states that the petitioner-factory itself is to blame inasmuch as it did not appear before the authority on various dates of hearing.
4. We are not impressed with the plea raised by Mr. Tulsi. The provision of law is quite clear. Section 14(3) of the Act provides that some documents will have to be returned within 10 days and the other could be retained for a period up to 60 days only from the date of seizure. It is not necessary to enter into a classification of the documents because both the periods mentioned in the statute have long passed. The law provides that the Sales Tax Officer may, if he is so advised, retain copies of the documents but he is under no circumstances authorised to retain them beyond a period of 60 days. The seizure of the documents being against the mandatory provision of law has to be set aside and we order accordingly. The documents mentioned at S. Nos. 6, 7 and 8 will be returned forthwith to the petitioner-factory. It will also be entitled to costs of this petition, which are assessed at Rs. 200.
5. Regarding the documents mentioned at S. No. 4, no relief can be given to the petitioner-factory in these proceedings because the Income-tax Officer, who impounded this document has not been impleaded as a party. It shall, however, be open to the petitioner-factory to seek the appropriate relief by making an application to the said authority or by availing of other remedies which may be available to it under law.