P.C. Pandit, J.
1. Hans Raj and his brother Karnail Chand filed an application under Section 13 of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949, for the ejectment of Ram Murti, from the shop in dispute situate in the town of Bhatinda. One of the grounds for eviction was that the tenant had sublet the premises to Surinder Kumar and his two brothers, Raj Kumar and Devinder Kumar. During the pendency of this application, the landlords, in order to prove their case, made an application for the summoning of the record keeper of the sales tax department with the file regarding the sales tax licence issued to the tenant on the 19th of May, 1964, and his application dated 18th June, 1966, for the cancellation of the said licence along with the order passed on that application. The case of the tenant was that Surinder Kumar and his two brothers were not his lessees, but they were working as his employees in the shop in dispute. The position taken by the landlords, on the other hand, was that the tenant had given up his business in Bhatinda, and had got his licence cancelled by the sales tax department and he had gone to Sirsa for starting some new business. It was with that idea that they had sent for the application of the tenant made to the sales tax department for the cancellation of his licence and the order passed by the department thereon. Counsel for the respondents contended before the Rent Controller that the documents required by the landlords were secret and could not be sent for under the provisions of Section 26 of the Punjab General Sales Tax Act, 1948. This objection was, however, overruled by the Rent Controller, vide his order dated 23rd June, 1966. Against that decision, the present revision petition has been filed by Ram Murti.
2. Section 26 of the Punjab General Sales Tax Act, 1948, reads as under :
(1) All particulars contained in any statement made, return furnished or accounts or documents produced in accordance with this Act, or in any record of evidence given in the course of any proceedings under this Act other than proceedings before a Criminal Court shall, save as provided in Sub-section (3), be treated as confidential, and notwithstanding anything contained in the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, no court shall, save as aforesaid be entitled to require any officer of the State Government to produce before it any such statement, return, account, document or record or any part thereof, or to give evidence before it in respect thereof.
(2) If, save as provided in Sub-section (3), any officer of the State Government discloses any of the particulars referred to in Sub-section (1), he shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to six months, and shall also be liable to fine.
(3) Nothing in this section shall apply to the disclosure of any of the particulars referred to in Sub-section (1) for the purposes of a prosecution under the Indian Penal Code in respect of any such statement, return, accounts, documents or evidence, or for the purposes of a prosecution under this Act, or for departmental use of the officials of the Income-tax department of the Government of India or for Government departments of other sister States or the Union of India.
3. A perusal of this section shows that all communications which the assessee had made with the sales tax department during the course of the assessment proceedings, e.g., the returns, statements, accounts and documents, would be kept secret. In other words, the documents which were relevant for the purposes of assessment, would be covered by the provisions of this section and the court would not be entitled to require any officer of the State Government to produce before it any of those documents. The section does not lay down that everything that is filed before the sales tax department, irrespective of its nature, would come within the purview of this section. In the instant case, the landlords were wanting the department to produce only the application filed by the tenant for the cancellation of his licence and the order passed thereon under Section 7 (4) and (6) of the Punjab General Sales Tax Act, 1948. This application and the order passed thereon had nothing to do with the assessment proceedings regarding the return filed by the tenant. This document, in my opinion, is not covered by the provisions of Section 26 of the Punjab General Sales Tax Act and the objection raised by the tenant regarding the same had been correctly overruled by the court below. Besides, under the provisions of Section 26 of the Punjab General Sales Tax Act, 1948, it was the officer of the State Government who had been asked by the court to produce the document which was covered by the provisions of that section who would claim privilege, and the counsel for the petitioner could not show that the assessee also could invoke this section and ask the court to summon it from the department.
4. The result is that this petition fails and is dismissed. There will, however, be no order as to costs.