1. These are two petitions preferred by the State against the order of the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal dated 1st August, 1972, in respect of two assessment years 1967-68 and 1968-69 dealing with the same assessee. The respondent in this case, treating himself as a dealer in cane jaggery and jaggery powder, filed Al returns for both the years. The returns were accepted and the assessments were made accordingly. Subsequently, claiming that he saw a newspaper cutting in Nava India dated 26th March, 1970, to the effect that this court had allowed cases in respect of agriculturists converting sugarcane into cane jaggery and selling them, holding that they are not liable to be assessed under the provisions of the Tamil Nadu. General Sales Tax Act, 1959 and he came within the scope of the said judgment, he filed appeals before the Appellate Assistant Commissioner with an: application to excuse the delay in filing the appeals. That application was dismissed. Thereafter, the respondent similarly approached the Tribunal-with an application to excuse the delay in filing the appeals and they too were dismissed. It is only thereafter the respondent herein preferred petitions before the Deputy Commissioner invoking his jurisdiction under Section 32 of the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act. The Deputy Commissioner, without going into the merits of the case, dismissed the petitions in limine on the ground that the respondent had allowed the assessments to become final, that he himself had not preferred any appeals and that even though the judgment of this court came into existence later he should have kept the matter alive by taking further proceedings. It is against the order of the Deputy Commissioner that the respondent filed appeals to the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal. The Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal by the impugned order held that the Deputy Commissioner was clearly in error in rejecting the petitions for revision filed by the respondent herein in limine on the ground that the respondent herein had allowed the matters to become final and should have preferred appeals. The Tribunal also went into the merits and held that the respondent was only an agriculturist and converted the sugarcane grown on his own land into jaggery and sold them and, therefore, he came within the scope of the decision of this court in Kannu v. State of Madras  27 S.T.C. 25 and allowed the appeals. It is against the orders of the Tribunal allowing these appeals, the present revision cases have been preferred by the State.
2. As far as the Tribunal holding that the Deputy Commissioner should not have dismissed the revision petitions in limine and should have disposed them of on merits is concerned, we are of the opinion that the Tribunal is right. If a person like the respondent had availed himself of the remedy of appeal, there would be no occasion for him to approach the Deputy Commissioner in revision at all. As a matter of fact, according to the respondent herein, he came to know of the decision of this court only in newspaper report dated 26th March, 1970 and that was the provocation for his approaching the higher authorities further. Under those circumstances, the respondent could not have been found guilty of either acquiescence or negligence in not taking further proceedings. As soon as the respondent read the newspaper report, he took steps for filing appeals both before the first appellate authority and the second appellate authority with applications to excuse the delay in filing the appeals ; but those authorities declined to excuse the delay and, therefore, the respondent could not pursue the matter in appeal. We are clearly of the opinion that the Deputy Commissioner was in error in dismissing the revision petitions filed by the respondent herein in limine without disposing of the same on merits.
3. The next question for consideration is whether the Tribunal was justified in going into the merits without remitting the matter to the Deputy Commissioner asking him to dispose of the petitions preferred by the respondent herein on merits. A perusal of the order of the Tribunal shows that the request for remitting the matter back to the Deputy Commissioner was made to the Tribunal on behalf of the State. However, the Tribunal rejected that request. We are of the opinion that the Tribunal was not justified in doing so. There were certain facts to be investigated into and found and under those circumstances, the proper procedure that the Tribunal should have adopted was to remit the matter back to the Deputy Commissioner with a direction to dispose of the two petitions filed by the respondent herein on merits. Accordingly, we allow the tax revision cases in part and set aside the order of the Tribunal in so far as it allowed the appeals of the respondent herein on merits. The result of this will be, the Tribunal will have to restore the appeals preferred by the respondent herein to its file and remit the matter back to the Deputy Commissioner for disposing of the revision petitions preferred by the respondent on merits. There will be no order as to costs.