K. Veeraswami, J.
1. Only a single item of turnover among others was in dispute right through and that related to an inter-State transaction. The question was whether it was covered by a declaration in form 'C' with full particulars.
2. It is admitted that the declaration in 'C' form was lost in transit and that in spite of time given by the assessing authority, the assessee could not produce it before the assessment was completed. What appears to have been done, however, is that he obtained a photostat copy of the counterfoil of the declaration in form 'C' issued by the purchasing dealer and produced the same before the Appellate Assistant Commissioner. He disposed of the question by observing that it was only a copy of the counterfoil and not even an authenticated copy of the foil and that there was no provision to accept the 'C' form at that stage. The Tribunal practically shared this view and said that the declaration in form 'C' should have been filed within the prescribed time with full particulars. Following a recent Judgment of the Supreme Court, this Court held in (The Tirukoilur Oil Mills Ltd., Arakandanellur v. Dy. Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, Madras T.C. Nos. 8 and 9 of 1954) that the time factor in filing the 'C' forms should be understood not in the sense of a strict limitation for the purpose, but it would be necessary to file such forms within a reasonable time. If the 'C' forms were not filed along with the monthly returns but produced before the assessment order was made, that was considered to be within a reasonable time. But no line was drawn for the purpose. There may be circumstances which may well justify the view that although the 'C' forms are filed only before the Appellate Assistant Commissioner, nevertheless, it was within a reasonable time. This is a case where even the Revenue does not appear to dispute that the 'C' form issued by the out of State purchasing dealer was lost in transit by the bank through whom the documents were negotiated. If the delay in getting a duplicate form is explained or if a counterfoil of the 'C' form is produced, either in the form of its original or of a photostat copy which is as authentic, the Appellate Assistant Commissioner may consider whether it is not filed within a reasonable time. He and the Tribunal were in error in approaching the question from the stand point of strict limitation in filing these forms along with the returns. In view of this error, we are disposed to allow this petition.
3. The petition is allowed. The Tribunal will restore the appeal on its file and dispose it of afresh after receiving the photostat copy of the counterfoil and considering on its merits whether the assessee is entitled to the benefit of Section 8(4) of the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956. No costs.