1. This appeal has been filed against the order of the Board of Revenue dated 19th June, 1974, in exercise of its suo motu powers of revision under the provisions of the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act, 1959. The assessee is a dealer in iron and steel. He reported a total and taxable turnover of Rs. 11,51,998.33 and Rs. 5,05,998.63 for the year 1965-66. The Deputy Commercial Tax Officer found the accounts to be defective and he rejected the accounts and determined the taxable turnover at Rs. 7,18,030.37. The dealer filed an appeal before the Appellate Assistant Commissioner. The result of the order of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner was to accept the book turnover but to reject the claim for exemption made by the assessee with reference to a turnover of Rs. 1,69,992. The assessee preferred a further appeal to the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal. The Tribunal by its order dated 29th December, 1970, set aside the order of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner and restored the appeal to the file of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner. This order was in the nature of a consent order and it runs as follows :
The issue involved in this appeal relates to the claim for exemption by the appellant on the basis of second sales of iron and steel. The appellant has furnished a statement regarding his claim, which is in excess of the original claim. It is represented by the Additional State Representative that the details in the appellant's statement require verification with the original account and that, in effect, the entire assessment would have to be reconsidered. In this context, both the appellant's authorised representative and the Additional State Representative have requested that the entire matter may be remanded to the A.A.C. for verification of the accounts and to reconsider the sustainability of the appellant's claim. Having heard in full, we are also satisfied that the entire matter requires a detailed consideration in the presence of the assessing officer and on a thorough scrutiny of the accounts. We therefore countenance the joint representation, allow this appeal, set aside the order of the A.A.C. and remand the matter to him for fresh disposal on merits and according to law.
2. The order of the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal clearly shows that the claim for exemption made before it was larger than that taken up before the assessing authority or the appellate authority. Conscious of this position, the Appellate Tribunal, as a result of the joint representation, set aside the order of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner and restored the appeal to his file. Thereafter, the Appellate Assistant Commissioner took into consideration the claim made by the assessee. He got the claim verified by the assessing officer. The assessing officer found that a sum of Rs. 34,418.65 out of Rs. 9,24,115.08 was not eligible for exemption. The Appellate Assistant Commissioner, therefore, accepting his report, gave the exemption to the extent of Rs. 8,89,696.63. The result was that the taxable turnover was reduced to Rs. 2,64,752.62. It is this order of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner that was examined by the Board and that was the subject of the order under Section 34 in exercise of the powers of suo motu revision. In the view of the Board, in the absence of separate accounts, there was no case for claiming exemption on a higher amount than that claimed at the time of original assessment. The Board was provisionally of the view that the order of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner in so far as it allowed exemption on a larger amount than that claimed was not correct and had to be set aside. After hearing the objections of the assessee to its proposal to revise the said order, the Board of Revenue held that the order of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner was not correct and, therefore, restored the assessment as made earlier by the Appellate Assistant Commissioner. It is this order of the Board that is now the subject-matter of the present appeal.
3. The learned counsel for the assessee submitted that the view of the Board that the Appellate Assistant Commissioner could not go into a larger claim for exemption than what was originally agitated before the appellate authority was not correct as the Appellate Tribunal had specifically entertained the said claim and had remanded the matter for the purpose of consideration by the Appellate Assistant Commissioner as a result of the joint representation made before it. On a perusal of the order of the Appellate Tribunal, it is clear that the Tribunal was conscious of the fact that it was entertaining a claim for exemption in excess of what was originally made before the assessing authority or the appellate authority. The Tribunal, therefore, wanted the whole claim to be examined and it was at that stage that a joint representation was made for the purpose of having the matter scrutinised by the Appellate Assistant Commissioner. If the sales tax authorities felt aggrieved by the order of the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal in so far as it entertained the claim for a larger amount than what had been agitated before the assessing authority or the appellate authority, then they should have taken up appropriate proceedings, if any such proceedings were available. In fact, being a consent order we are not sure whether any proceedings would have been available at all. However, we need not go into that aspect. The result would be that the Appellate Assistant Commissioner was very much within his authority in examining the contention of the assessee for a larger exemption in view of the Tribunal's order and considering in the light of all the facts and circumstances.
4. The Board has pointed out in its order as follows:
The direction of the Tribunal is only to examine the claim de novo with reference to the statement. There is no finding on the question whether the assessee is entitled to claim exemption on a turnover higher than that claimed before the Appellate Assistant Commissioner. Therefore, the contention that the Tribunal gave such a direction is not correct.
5. We have already reproduced the order of the Tribunal. We consider that the Board has not understood the order of the Appellate Tribunal properly. As pointed out earlier, the Appellate Tribunal was conscious of the fact that the claim for exemption made before it was for larger amount than what was originally made before the assessing authority and it wanted the whole claim to be examined. Neither the order of the Tribunal nor that of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner would have resulted in a merely futile examination of the claim, if the claim had not been considered to be entertainable. In other words, the Tribunal passed the order only on the basis that the assessee would be entitled to agitate the claim for a larger amount and it is only on that basis directed on the facts, the claim for the examination thereof not only on its own, but also by consent. It is for this purpose that the matter was restored to the file of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner. We, therefore, consider that the Board had no jurisdiction to exercise its powers of revision virtually against the order of the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal and we, therefore, set aside the order of the Board. The appeal is accordingly allowed. The assessee will be entitled to his costs. Counsel's fee Rs. 250.