V. Khalid, J.
1. The revenue seeks to revise the order of the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal, Trivandrum, in this revision case, on the ground that the Tribunal misguided itself in approaching the questions of law involved regarding the production of the C forms by the dealer who is the respondent herein.
2. The questions of law raised read as follows :
(A) Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Appellate Tribunal was justified in holding that in respect of C forms produced by the appellant (assessee), he is entitled to relief ?
(B) Was the Appellate Tribunal justified in law in giving relief to the appellant (assessee) in respect of C forms produced after the assessment order, in the absence of a plea and/or proof 'of sufficient cause' for not producing such forms before the assessment order and
(C) Is not a finding regarding the existence of sufficient cause for non-production of C forms before the assessment, an essential prerequisite for granting the relief?
3. The respondent-company, dealers in rubber, Silk Street, Kozhikode, reported a turnover of Rs. 2,57,915.90 under the Central Sales Tax Act for the year 1960-61. No C forms were produced by the dealer for a turnover of Rs. 99,471.56. Time for production of C forms was given till 10th February, 1964. The Sales Tax Officer completed the assessment for this turnover not covered by C forms at 7 per cent. Some C forms were produced long after the assessment, when the appeal was pending before the Appellate Assistant Commissioner. No reason was given for the belated production nor was any application made to excuse the delay. The Appellate Assistant Commissioner dismissed the appeal. In second appeal, the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal held that the assessee was entitled to relief in respect of C forms produced by him. We shall extract below the relevant portion of the order of the Tribunal :
It is seen from the order of the Sales Tax Officer, that the disputed turnover is the turnover not covered by C forms and this turnover has been assessed to tax at the rate of 7 per cent. The Sales Tax Officer observes that in respect of this turnover the appellant had not produced before him C forms. But it is seen that within 2 months of the order of the Sales Tax Officer, the appellant produced certain C forms. The Appellate Assistant Commissioner himself observes in his order that certain C forms have been produced by the appellant, yet the appeal has been dismissed by the Appellate Assistant Commissioner. We are satisfied that in respect of the C forms produced by the appellant, the appellant is entitled to relief. It may or may not be that no sufficient explanation was given by the appellant to the non-production of the C forms before the order of assessment. But the Tribunal should see that justice should be done to the parties. So, as pointed out above, in respect of C forms already produced the appellant is entitled to relief at a lower rate of tax.
The principle of law enunciated by the Tribunal is incorrect. The Tribunal has not applied its mind to the relevant provisions of law that direct production of C forms. In this case we are concerned with the year 1960-61. The relevant provisions of law applicable to the production of C forms read as follows:
8. Rates of tax on sales in the course of inter-State trade or commerce.--...(4) The provisions of Sub-section (1) shall not apply to any sale in the course of inter-State trade or commerce unless the dealer selling the goods furnishes to the prescribed authority in the prescribed manner--
(a) a declaration duly filled and signed by the registered dealer to whom the goods are sold containing the prescribed particulars in a prescribed form obtained from the prescribed authority; or.... 12. (1) The declaration and the certificate referred to in Sub-section (4) of Section 8 shall be in forms C and D respectively....
Rule 6, Sub-rule (1), and its 1st proviso at the relevant time read as follows :
6. (1) Every dealer registered under Section 7 of the Act and every dealer liable to pay under the Act shall submit a return of all his transactions including those in the course of export of the goods out of the territory of India in form II together with connected declaration forms so as to reach the assessing authority on or before the 20th of each month showing the turnover for the preceding month and the amount or amounts collected by way of tax together with proof for the payment of tax due thereon under the Act.
Provided that in cases of delayed receipt of declaration forms, the dealer may submit the declaration forms at any time before the assessment is made...
A reference to the above proviso will make it clear that there is a statutory insistence on the production of the C forms before the assessing officer himself.
4. This question came up for consideration before a Division Bench of this Court in T.R.C. No. 33 of 1964, to which one of us was a party. After referring in detail to the various authorities relevant for the purpose, the court observed as follows :
This decision therefore definitely visualises the possibility of the appellate authority if it is satisfied that there were sufficient reasons for the non-production of the C forms before the assessing authority, accepting the C forms itself.
The observation extracted above whittles down the rigour of the rule and lays down that the authorities under the General Sales Tax Act have jurisdiction to consider whether there were sufficient reasons for the non-production of the C forms before the assessing authority in time. In this case it is admitted that the C forms were not produced before the assessing authority, and that only some were produced before the Appellate Assistant Commissioner. The relief that the assessee will be entitled to is to the turnover covered by the C forms which were produced before the appellate authority. But this can be done only on the assessing authority being satisfied that there were sufficient reasons for the non-production of the C forms. The Tribunal did not consider this aspect of the question and went astray in making a sweeping remark that even though there are sufficient reasons or not, justice had to be done. The Tribunal misguided itself on this question of law when it held that non-production in time is not a relevant consideration in granting relief to the assessee regarding the turnover covered by the C forms. This extreme generosity displayed by the Tribunal in 'doing justice' cannot be upheld in law. We set aside the order of the Tribunal and remand the case back to the assessing authority to apply its mind and to consider whether there were sufficient reasons for the non-production of the C forms before the Appellate Assistant Commissioner earlier and revise the assessment accordingly regarding the turnover covered by the C forms produced if he is satisfied about the sufficiency of reasons. The tax revision case is disposed of as above. The parties are directed to bear their respective costs.