1. The assessees in this case are manufacturers of steel castings. During the course of assessment for the year 1974-75 the assessees claimed a deduction of a turnover of Rs. 1,51,878.02 on the ground that the said turnover represented sales returns in relation to sales that took place in the previous years 1972-73 and 1973-74. The assessing authority disallowed the said claim on the ground that the claim in relation to those sales returns was beyond the period of six months from the date of sales and therefore the assessees would not be entitled to any relief. The assessees took the matter in appeal to the Appellate Assistant Commissioner. The Appellate Assistant Commissioner also held that the credit notes for the sales returns had been issued only after six months from the date of sales and therefore the claim of the assessees could not be sustained. On a further appeal to the Tribunal by the assessees, the Tribunal has, following the decision of a Full Bench of this Court in Traders and Traders and Traders v. State of Tamil Nadu  40 STC 289 held that refunds cannot be granted after six months from the date of sales or after the date of final assessment whichever is later, as provided in rule 5-B of the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Rules, 1959. The view taken by the Tribunal has been challenged by the assessees in this tax case.
2. Mr. Natarajan, the learned counsel for the assessees, contends that the Tribunal has not properly understood the scope of section 13(5), that section 13(5) deals with a different relief, other than the one contemplated under rule 5-A read with section 2(r) and that section 2(r) read with rule 5-A provides for relief by way of deduction of the turnover in relation to sales returns, while section 13(5) read with rule 5-B provides for another relief, that is, by way of adjustment of tax. According to the learned counsel, the decision of the majority of the Full Bench can be taken to apply to a claim for deduction of the turnover under section 2(r) read with rule 5-A and it cannot be taken to have decided the question as to whether the assessees are entitled to claim adjustment of tax under section 13(5) read with rule 5-B.
3. However, it is seen that in the majority judgment of the Full Bench cited above, section 13(5) was taken to govern both the reliefs, namely, the relief by way of deduction of the turnover as well as the relief by way of adjustment of tax in relation to sales returns. It is therefore not possible to say that the Full Bench considered only the relief by way of deduction of the turnover arising under section 2(r) and not the relief by way of adjustment of tax arising under section 13(5). Whatever that be, the position here is that all the authorities below, including the Tribunal have held that the claim of the assessees cannot be sustained as it has been made beyond the period of limitation provided in rule 5-B. In this case, even assuming that the interpretation sought to be placed by the learned counsel on section 13(5) is correct, still the assessee to get relief thereunder must satisfy the time-limit provided in rule 5-B. Section 13(5) admittedly says that the relief under that section should be claimed within the time-limit prescribed by the Rules. Rule 5-B, which is the relevant rule, says that any claim for adjustment or refund of tax under the date of sale or before the date of final assessment, whichever is later (sic). In the present case the authorities below have found that the claim has been made beyond the period of six months from the date of sale and also long after the date of final assessment in relation to the year in which the turnover of the relevant sales had been included. The learned counsel would say that the final assessment referred to in rule 5-B will refer only to the final assessment for the subsequent year and the claim in the present case having been made before the final assessment for the subsequent year, the claim must be taken to be in time. But we are of the view that the expression 'final assessment' occurring in rule 5-B can only relate in this context to the final assessment, for the previous years in which the sales had taken place and in respect of which relief had been claimed. In the present case the sales in respect of which relief is claimed under section 13(5) took place in the years 1972-73 and 1973-74 and there have been final assessment for those years. But the relief under section 13(5) has been claimed only in the year 1974-75 in respect of sales took place in 1972-73 and 1973-74. Having regard to the provision in rule 5-B, the assessees should have made a claim before the date of the final assessment in relation to 1972-73 and 1973-74 or within six months from the date of the sales whichever is later. The application in the present case having been filed beyond the period of six months and also beyond the date of the final assessment for 1972-73 and 1973-74, we have to agree with the Tribunal that the claim is not sustainable under rule 5-B.
4. The tax case is therefore dismissed. There will be no order as to costs.