M.S. Menon, C.J.
1. These are appeals by the State. It is submitted that we should hold that the suits concerned were not maintainable and allow the appeals on that ground.
2. No other contention was urged before us. And no other contention, therefore, arises for consideration.
3. The suits were for the recovery of amounts collected by way of sales tax. That the collections were unauthorised is not disputed by the State. The only contention, as already stated, is that a resort to the civil courts is unavailable.
4. At the relevant time there was no provision in the General Sales Tax Act, 1125, which precluded the filing of suits, Section 23-A of the Act which says :
No suit or other proceeding shall, except as expressly provided in this Act, be instituted in any court to set aside or modify any assessment made under this Act was introduced only by Section 12 of Act 18 of 1955.
5. The order of reference deals with the question as follows:
The matter has been recently considered in George v. State of Madras (1961) K.L.T. 852 by Govinda Menon, J., who held, on a construction of Sections 18 and 18-A of the Madras General Sales Tax Act which are identical in expression with Sections 23 and 23-A of the Travancore-Cochin General Sales Tax Act, that such suits would lie if the latter Section was not in existence when the cause of action arose. I agree respectfully with the learned Judge in the above view. Section 23-A of the Travancore-Cochin Act came into force only on 1st October, 1955, and the levy and collection of the impugned taxes were long before that date. In fact all these suits have been instituted before that section was enacted. It then follows that the suits are maintainable. That such a suit lies has been held in Sri Rama Purchase & Sale Society Ltd. v. State of Madras  9 S.T.C. 761. Subbaraju v. State of Andhra  10 S.T.C. 449, Trustees of the Port of Madras v. State of Madras  11 S.T.C. 224, Ayyanna Setty v. State of Mysore  12 S.T.C. 731 and Santhanna v. State of Madras A.I.R. 1958 A.P. 670
6. It is settled law that the exclusion of the jurisdiction of the civil courts is not to be readily inferred, but that such exclusion must be either explicitly expressed or clearly implied : Secretary of State for India v. Mask and Co. A.I.R. 1940 P.C. 105. It is equally clear that the determination of the question must arise on the terms of the particular statute which is under consideration and decisions on any other statutory provision are not of material assistance except in so far as general principles of construction are laid down. We are unable to find anything in the General Sales Tax Act, 1125, prior to the amendment effected by Act XVIII of 1955 which excludes the jurisdiction of the civil courts either in express terms or by necessary implication.
7. It follows that the appeals should fail and be dismissed with costs. We do so.