Decided on January 20,1971


Cited Judgements :-



OBUL REDDI,J. - (1.)IT is strenuously contended by Mr. Dasaratharama Reddy appearing for the revision petitioner that there is no justification at all for remanding the matter by the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal when the findings recorded by it are entirely in favour of the petitioner.
(2.)THE petitioner is the proprietor of Panduranga Rice Mill, Cuddapah, carrying on rice milling operations. He is not a registered dealer and the customers bring paddy to his mill and convert the same into rice on payment of the hire charges. It would appear that on 30th October, 1963, the premises of the rice mill of the petitioner was inspected by the officers of the commercial taxes department. From on Malliakarjuna Raju, one of the customers of the mill, a rough note book containing certain entries showing the quantity of paddy brought to the mill and converted into rice at the mill was seized. On the basis of that rough note book, the assessing authority held the petitioner liable to tax on purchases of paddy and made a best judgment assessment. The best judgment assessment was made for the reason that the petitioner was helping dealers in evading taxes by clandestinely dealing in paddy and rice. The order of assessment was unsuccessfully challenged by the petitioner before the Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes and, therefore, he carried the matter in appeal to the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal. The Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal for the reasons recorded by it though thought fit to set aside the best judgment assessment, however, remitted the matter back to the assessing authority for disposal afresh after making adequate enquiries and affording a reasonable opportunity to the petitioner of being heard.
It is the case of the petitioner that on the ground that a reasonable opportunity was not afforded to the petitioner, the Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes had once remanded the matter to the assessing authority and it is only thereafter that the appeal was disposed of by the Assistant Commissioner, and the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal has now remitted the matter back without regard to the findings of fact recorded by it in favour of the petitioner. In paragraph 3 of its order, which is relied upon by the petitioner, the Appellate Tribunal observed :

" Apart from the fact there is no material whatsoever to support the view taken by the assessing authority, there is also nothing even to show that the appellant himself was clandestinely purchasing paddy, converting it into rice and selling the rice in due course. As already pointed out that was not the case of the assessing authority at all. "

(3.)WHEN it is not the case of the assessing authority that the petitioner was clandestinely purchasing paddy and converting the same into rice and then selling it, we fail to understand what useful purpose will be served by setting aside the order of assessment and remitting the matter back for disposal afresh. It is not as if there was no earlier remand of the matter on the ground that the petitioner was not afforded a reasonable opportunity and, in spite of that, it does not appear that the assessing authority was able to find any incriminating material, which connected the petitioner with the clandestine transactions. When there is absolutely no material to show that the petitioner was clandestinely purchasing paddy and when there is a categorical finding to that effect by the Tribunal in favour of the petitioner, any further enquiry to fish some information against the petitioner would only result in harassment of the petitioner. The assessing authority was unable to connect the entries found in the note book seized from Mallikarjuna Raju with the alleged clandestine transactions of the petitioner's mill. In the circumstances, we do not feel that the Appellate Tribunal was justified in remitting the matter for disposal afresh to the assessing authority. In the result, the order under revision in so far as it relates to remand is set aside and the revision is allowed, but, in the circumstances, without costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 100. Petition allowed.

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