1. Since in this batch of 15 petitions, common questions are involved, they are heard together and are being disposed of by a common judgment.
2. The petitioners are cotton-seed dealers and/or crushers who purchase cotton-seed for their business. Various Market Committees constituted under S.11 of the Maharashtra Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation) Act 1963 (' the APM Act' for short) issued notices to the petitioners demanding on the transactions of purchase of cotton-seed, market-fee and supervision charges respectively in terms of S. 31 and Chap IV-A of the APM Act read with R. 32 of the Maharashtra Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation) Rules 1967 ('the APM Rules' for short). The validity of these demands is questioned in these petitions.
3. The necessary factual as well as legal back ground may be noticed first. In the State of Maharashtra exists the Maharashtra raw Cotton (Procurement, Process and Marketing) Act, 1971 (' the RC Act' for short). It provides for carrying of all monopoly trade in raw cotton for certain time. S. 2(g) defines 'cotton' as meaning raw cotton, whether ginned or unginned and S.2(m) defines 'Kapas' as meaning unginned cotton. For the sake of convenience we will use the word 'lint' for ginned cotton. This Act also defines 'Market area' and 'marketing committee' giving to them the sane meaning as is assigned under the APM Act. S. 17 totally prohibits carrying on business in cotton other than baled cotton by any person other than State or its agent except with previous permission. S. 18 prohibits (without the previous permission of the State) owners of cotton ginning factories from ginning in the factory any Kapas other than Kapas to be ginned on Government account. The similar restrictions apply also against pressing lint onto bales to the pressing factories. S. 19 contains the prohibition on transport outside the State of cotton other than baled cotton. Under S. 20 every grower of cotton who intends to sell his cotton is obliged to sell his produce only to the Government by tendering it at collection centre. S. 21A obliges every market committee to designate and maintain one or more convenient places as may be found necessary, for tendering cotton, by the growers and other sellers. S.22 provides for grading and pooling of the cotton at collection centres. S.23 mandates weighment of all cotton in accordance with the provisions of the APM Act. S. 39 contained in Chap. IX dealing with the subject of disposal of cotton seeds mandates its disposal only in a particular manner and mode. It provides that the graded Kapas pooled under S. 22 has to be ginned separately, in the same lots into which the kapas has been graded and that after setting aside the cotton seed required for issue to the cotton growers for cultivation in the controlled areas, the registered seed growers, the Taluka Seed Multiplication Farms and such other persons as may be prescribed, the remaining cotton seed shall be sold after taking into consideration the advice tendered by the Advisory Board in this behalf, preference being given to the local growers. In these petitions we are essentially concerned with cotton seed so graded and pooled out of Kapas brought at collection centres under the RC Act.
4. The APM Act as its Preamble itself indicates is 'An act to regulate the marketing of agricultural and certain other produce in market areas and markets to be established therefor in the State'. S. 2(a) defines the term 'agricultural produce' thus :--
'means all produce (whether processed or not) of agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, apiculture, pisciculture and forest specified in the Schedule'.
S. 2(h) defines 'market' as meaning any principal market established for the purposes of the Act and also a subsidiary market. S. 2(a) defines 'market area' as meaning an area specified in a declaration made under S.4. on such declaration being made no local authority can establish, or authorise or continue or allow to be established, authorised or continued any place in the market area for the marketing of that agricultural produce. S.5 permits establishment of a principal market and subsidiary markets. Chap.II deals with 'marketing of Agricultural Produce'. S.6(1) regulates the marketing of agricultural Produce within market area. It makes it mandatory to obtain from a Director a licence for (i) using any place in the market area for the marketing of the agricultural produce (ii) operating as a trader, a commission agent, broker, processor, weighman, measurer, surveyor, warehouseman etc. These activities or use have to be in conformity with the terms and conditions of a licence. S.6(2) which makes exception with relation to certain class of persons reads thus:--
'Nothing in sub-sec. (1) shall apply to sales by retail; sales by an agriculturist who sells his own produce; not to sales by a person where he himself, sills to another who buys for his personal consumption or the consumption of any member of his family.'
S.10 provides for settlement of certain disputes. Chap. III deals with the constitution of market committees and Chap. IV deals with their powers and duties. Under S.30A the Market Committee is authorized by the State Government to open collection centres for marketing of notified produce mentioned in the authorization order. S.31 deals with levy of fees. It reads thus :--
'It shall be competent to a Market Committee to levy and collect fees in the prescribed manner at such rates as may be decided by it (but subject to the minimum and maximum rates which may be fixed by the State Government by notification in the Official Gazette in that behalf) from every purchaser of agricultural produce marketed in the market area :
Provided that, when any agricultural produce brought in any number processing only or for export is not processed or exported therefrom within thirty days from the date of its arrival therein, it shall, until the contrary is proved, be presumed to have been marketed in the market area, and shall be liable for the levy or fees under this sections, as if it had been so marketed:
Provided further that, no such fees shall be levied and collected in the same market area in relation to agricultural produce in respect of which fees under this section have already been levied and collected therein or in relation to declared agricultural produce purchased by persons engaged in industries carried on without the aid of any machinery or labour in any market area.'
S. 34(1) provides for machinery for settlement of disputes regarding construction of rules, weights and measurements and several other ancillary matters. This is notwithstanding the provisions contained in Bombay Weights and Measures (Enforcement) Act, 1958. Sub-sec.(2) provides for an appeal to the State Government against the decision recorded under S. 34(1). Chap. IV-A deals with cost of supervision and Chap. VI deals with the Market Fund, the amount to the credit of which is to be invested in the pre described manner. This fund consists of the monies received by the Market Committee from various sources. S. 37 enumerates the purposes for which market fund may be expended. These include inter alia acquisition of site or sites for the market, maintenance, development and improvement of the market, construction of and repairs to buildings necessary for the purposes of such market and for the health, convenience and safety of persons using it, the provision and maintenance of standard weights and measures. S.60 is a rule making power. S.62 gives power to the State Government to amend or cancel any of the items of agricultural produce specified in the Scheduled referred to in S. 2(i)(a). Some of the relevant entries in the Schedule read as under :--
'I. Fibres -
1. Cotton (ginned and unginned).
II. Cereals -
2. Paddy (husked and unhusked).
VI. Gur and sugarcane.
X. Condiments, spices and others.
6. Cardamon and pepper.
5. R. 12 of the APM Rules provides that ordinarily, every declared agricultural produce shall be sold by public auction. R. 13 deals with manner of sale by auction; R. 14 with fixation of price; R. 19 with the maintenance of register of sales; R. 22 with the grading and standardisation of agricultural produce; R. 23 with weighment on weigh bridge, R. 27 with publishing the prices and other information, R. 29 with the equipment for weighman, measurer and surveyor, R. 32 with the market fees. R. 32 reads thus:--
'32. Market fees.- (1) A Market Committee may levy and collect fees on declared agricultural produce marketed in the market area on an ad valorem basis from the purchaser at such rates as may be specified in the bye-laws of the committee, so, however, that such rates shall not be less than the minimum and more than the maximum rates notified by the State Government under S. 31.
(2) The market fees shall be paid by the purchaser immediately after weighment or measurement of the declared agricultural produce is done.
(3) A trader, commission agent, processor shall immediately on bringing any declared agricultural produce in any market area for the purpose of processing or for export, as the case may be, make a declaration in Form 8.
(4) The fees on declared agricultural produce in respect of which a declaration has been made under sub-rule (3) and which becomes liable for the levy of fees under S. 31 shall be calculated at the average market rate of the produce on the day on which the fees become due.'
R. 34-A provides for the manner of payment of the cost of supervision under S. 34-B(2).
6. Kapas consists of cotton-seed and lint and its price naturally includes prices of both. Market fees are on ad valoram basis and thus cotton seed as well as lint in that non-separated form are subjected to the levy of market fees when Kapas is subjected to sale. In the ginning factory all that is cone is to separate by applying mechanical pressure cottonseed from the ball of Kapas. Cotton seed in its original from is separated from Kapas and this process dies not either chemically of physically change the essential character of cottonseed. When lint is sold it is not subjected to the levy of market fees. Whenever Cotton Monopoly Scheme is in force, graded Kapas is ginned separately in the lots and the cottonseed so separated is sold as per advice tendered by the Advisory board. The cotton seed is heaped in respective ginning factories within the market area. The samples of these heaps are taken out and they are sold by sample in public auctions which take place in the Zonal Offices of the Maharashtra State Co-operative marketing federation Limited which is the authorized Agent of the State under the RC Act. These Zonal Offices are not necessarily situated in the area of the market committee where cottonseed is stored. Only those who register themselves with the Federation as buyers can bid in the auction which takes place on certain terms and conditions. These include payment of price at certain stages and entitlement to delivery at the spot only after making full payment of the price. Cottonseed contract forms have to be signed by the purchaser whose bid is accepted by the Federation. The actual weighment and delivery takes place at the spot where heaps lie in accordance with the APM Act.
7. The petitioners have raised four contentions, the first being that cottonseed is not an agricultural produce. We see no merit whatsoever in this contention. The term 'agriculture produce' is defined under S. 2(1)(a) of the APM Act and cottonseed is specifically included in the Schedule (item No. 7 under the head Oilseeds) referred to in the said definition. Even otherwise cottonseed is a pat of Kapas which is a produce of agriculture and only because the simple mechanical process has to be applied for its removal from Kapas it does not cease to be an agriculture produce. Kapas, lint and cottonseed are all things produced from agriculture.
8. The second point centres round the interpretation of the terminology 'buys for his personal consumption or the consumption of any member of his family' as found in S. 6(2) of the APM Act. The submission is that some of the petitioners do not trade in cottonseed at all and consume the cottonseed in the oil mill for production of the oil which is their sole business and therefore such purchase is only for its 'consumption' in the sense of its conversion into a different commercial commodity by subjecting it to a process by which its previous identity is completely lost. We find this contention also to be equally meritless. In the first place, it is difficult to believe that in no circumstance an oil mill owner or crusher will not carry on the trade of cottonseed as such. Secondly, in the context of the scheme of the APM Act in general and S. 6 in particular, it does not appear to us that the word 'consumption' can be interpreted in isolation without reference to the context on which it appears. The preceding word 'personal' and succeeding words 'of any member of his family' are significant. They clearly signify that consumption contemplated under this provisions is not consumption in the commercial sense of converting one article into the other but in the since of final consumption for personal and domestic use in the familiar sense. After all S. 6(2) is in the nature of exception drawn in favour of small person like retailer, agriculturist selling his own produce and the seller who sells directly to the consumer for personal use. It is unthinkable that in this category of persons a crusher of cottonseed for business purposes is intended to be included. Such an interpretation is bound to defeat the very object of the APM Act. Our attention was invited to Anwarkhan Mahboob Co. v. State of Bombay : 1SCR709 in support of the proposition, but we find that ratio does not help such a construction. That case related to the word 'consumption' as it appeared in Explanation to Art. 286 of the Constitution before its omission by Sixth Amendment in 1956. It is observed:--
'The act of consumption with which people are most familiar occurs when they set, or drink or smoke. Thus, we speak of people consuming bread, or fish or meat or vegetables, when they eat these articles of food; we speak of people consuming tea or coffee or water or wine, when they drink these articles; we speak of people consuming cigars or cigarettes or bidis, when they smoke these............
In the absence of any words to limit, the connotation of the word 'consumption' to the final act of consumption, it will be proper to think that the Constitution-makers used the word to connote any kind of user which is ordinarily spoken of as consumption of the particular commodity.'
We have already referred to the words which limit the connotation of the word to the final act of consumption in the sense familiarly understood.
9. This takes us to the point No.3 which relates to the term 'marketed' as used in S. 31 of the APM Act. The contention is that this term is used only in the sense of 'purchase and sale' and as sale has taken place at the Zonal Office which is not necessarily in the market area in which commodity is heaped in lots, the levy is not attracted. Our attention was invited to the case of Devendra Trading Company v. State of Maharashtra 1974 Mah LJ 463 : 1974 Tax LR 2091, in support of a proposition that 'marketed' means act of sale and purchase and nothing else. That was a case in which first proviso to S. 31 was attracted. The tobacco was brought in the market area only for the purposes of processing and ultimately it was to be exported from the area within a period of 30 days of its arrival. It is in this context that the following observations were made :--
'The fees are leviable only on the sale transaction of agricultural produce as defined in the Act read with Schedule marketed in the market area and the liability for the payment of such fees is on the purchaser and not on the seller. In these cases though the goods in respect of which the fees are claimed are agricultural produce, they cannot be said to be marketed in the market area. The term 'marketed' is not defined in the Act, but word 'marketing' connotes the buying and selling of an article. The commodity must be displayed for sale and by a seller and that commodity is purchased by purchaser. These acts constitute marketing of a commodity.......The word 'market' as a verb is defined in the dictionary as 'buy or sell in the market; sell (goods) in market'. Unless, therefore, the goods are offered for sale and are purchased by others, there is no marketing of those goods. In none of these cases the goods which are brought in by the petitioners from outside the market area are put in the market for sale or purchase by others, nor are those goods purchased by these petitioners in the market area. Even if these goods which are brought in were put in for sale by these petitioners in the market are, it would be the purchasers thereof who would be liable for the payment of fees to the market committee. It is not in dispute in these cases that the petitioners do not sell the bidi leaves or tobacco brought in by them from outside in the market area. They only bring in these goods for the purpose of using them in manufacture of bidis. Under the substantive part of S. 31, therefore, the petitioners would not be liable to the payment of any fees nor would the market committee be empowered to levy and collect fees on these commodities.'
Reading in the context, we do not find that ratio or this decision is that 'marketing' can be equated only with the activity of buying and selling and no other. It is true that the words 'marketed' or 'marketing' have not been defined either in the APM Act or in the Rules and, therefore, normally resort will have to be made to the dictionary meaning. It seems to us that only a part of the meaning is quoted in the aforesaid decision. Webster's New Dictionary of the English Language - Deluxe Encyclopedic Edition - at Page 583 gives the meaning of the word 'marketing' as under :--
Trading in a market; buying or selling; the entire process of storing, shipping, advertising, and selling which promotes and actualizes a sales transaction.'
Thus Even if one goes only by dictionary meaning, the term includes the entire process, commencing from storage till delivery and that actual sale constitutes only one of the process of marketing. Having a concourse between buyer and seller, display of article for sale, activity of sale and purchase are all some of the parts of the process of marketing.
10. Our attention was also invited to unreported decision of this Court in Criminal Appeal No. 494 of 1978 in the matter of Agricultural Produce Market Samiti, Shirpur, District Dhule v. M/s. Mansingka Industries, Private Limited, decided on 24th July 1979. The point in that case was whether there was ample evidence to convict M/s. Mansingka Industries for marketing the goods in the area without obtaining the requisite licence. No proper evidence was adduced in the case about the place of actual sale and different stages of activities connected with the sale. The order of acquittal was confirmed by the High Court by making certain observations. Close reading of the said decision reveals that no law as such has been laid down.
11. Unquestionable position is that in the market area cotton seeds were (1) processed (ii) put in heaps in the lots from which they were taken from the lots of the unginned cotton, (iii) displayed for sale; (iv) weighed and (v) delivered. No doubt actual auction has taken place outside, but that does not alter the position that substantial part of process of marketing has taken place in the market area itself. Indeed pertinent question can be, what has not taken place in the market area? It is submitted that the goods are not even displayed in the market area and only sample is shown 15minutes before the auction. We have already noticed the procedure adopted by the Federation in the sale. It is a sale by sample which is governed by S. 17 of the Sale of Goods Act. Essential feature of such a sale is that buyer has ample opportunity of comparing the bulk with the sample. It is thus apparent that goods are displayed for comparison in the market area. That apart, the very scheme of the APM Act indicates in no uncertain terms that the term 'marketing' has not been used in this enactment in the limited sense of sale or purchase. Indeed, the activity of the market committee starts even before the stage of bringing the goods in the market area and does not end even with delivery of goods. We have already noticed the scheme of the APM Act. Indeed, the very preamble refers to the term 'marketing'. Services contemplated include preparation of market yard, providing facilities there and settlement of disputes even after delivery is over. Thus activities of the market committee are all pervading and therefore also the term 'marketing' cannot be equated with merely sale or purchase. The result is thus unavoidable that the cottonseed is marketed in the market area and its sale can be subjected to the levy of market fees and supervision charges.
12. Now, we turn to the last point relating to the second proviso to S. 31 which mandates against multi point imposition of levy in the same market area 'in relation to agricultural produce in respect of which fees under this section have already been levied and collected therein.' We must confess at the outset that this point has presented some difficulty in arriving at a conclusion. The argument is somewhat on the following lines : Levy of market fees and supervision charges is on ad valorem basis. The sale of Kapas was subjected to this levy. The price of Kapas included price of cottonseed. In the process of separation of cottonseed from Kapas by ginning, the identity of the cotton seed or its essential character is not changed in any manner whatsoever and under the circumstances subjecting the cottonseed again to the levy of market fees amounts to double levy 'in relation to' the same agricultural produce which is prohibited by this proviso. The matter is concluded by two Supreme Court decisions Ramachandra Kailash Kumar v. State of U.P., : 3SCR104 and Sreeniwas General Traders v. State of A.P., : 3SCR843 which have binding effect on us. We are inclined to rake a view that these submissions are weighty. In the first case dealing with Uttar Pradesh Krishi Utpadan Mandi Adhiniyam it is observed :--
'It is clear and it was expressly conceded to on behalf of the Market Committees and the State that there cannot be any multi point levy of market fee in the same market area. The reason is obvious. S. 17 (iii)(b), as amended by U.P. Act of 1978 reads as follows:--
'Market fee which shall be payable on transactions if sale of specified agricultural produce in the market area at such rates, being not less than one percentum and not more than one and half percentum of the price of the agricultural produce so sold, as the State Government may specify by notification, and such fee shall be realised in the following manner :--
(1) If the produce is sold through a commission agent, the commission agent may realise the market fee from the purchaser and shall be liable to pay the same to the Committee;
(2) if the produce is purchased directly by a trader from a producer the trader shall be liable to pay the market fee to the Committee:
(3) if the produce is purchased by a trader from another trader, the trader selling the produce may realise it from the purchaser and shall be liable to pay the market fee to the Committee; and
(4) in any case of sale of such produce, the purchaser shall be liable to pay the market fee to the Committee'...........
If the produce is purchased from a producer directly the trader shall be liable to pay the market fee to the Committee in accordance with sub-cl. (2). But if the trader sells the same produce to another trader neither the seller-trader nor the purchaser-trader can be made to pay the market fee under sub-cl. (3). So far the position was not disputed by the Market Committee, rather it was conceded, and in our opinion rightly. But some difficulty arises in regard to the produce of the agricultural produce which bas been subjected to the levy of market fee. This will be relevant when we come to consider the various agricultural produce in respect of which challenge was made on the ground that it amounts to multipoint levy. At this stage we may explain out viewpoint be taking a few examples from the Schedule appended to the Act. Wheat, an agricultural produce is mentioned under the heading 'cereals'. Suppose the transaction of wheat, namely, wheat purchased from a producer by a trader has been subjected to levy of market fee under S. 17(iii)(b)(2) no further levy of market fee in the sane market area could be made, not even on wheat flour if flour were to be included in the Schedule. The better example can be found in the items under the heading 'Animal Husbandry Products' wherein in the Schedule milk and Ghee both are mentioned. Milk, of course, is not mentioned in the notification D/- 11-4-1978. But if it would have been mentioned then only the transaction of milk in a particular market area could be subjected to the levy of fee in accordance with the principle to be discussed hereinafter. The greater difficulty arises with respect to paddy and rice as both of them are mentioned in the Schedule as well as in the notification. We shall show hereinafter that in a particular market area market fee cannot e levied both in relation to the transaction of purchase and sale of paddy and the rice produced from the same paddy. Fee can be charged only on one transaction ..........
If paddy is purchased in a particular market area by a rice miller and the same paddy is converted into rice and sold then the rice miller will be liable to pay market fee on his purchase of paddy from the agriculturist-producer under sub-cl. (2) of S. 17(iii)(b). He cannot be asked to pay market fee over again under sub-cl. (3) in relation to the transaction of rice. Nor will it be open to the Market Committee to choose between either of the two in the example just given. Market fee has to be levied and collected in relation to the transaction of paddy alone'.
Thus, it has been held that under the U.P. Act material portion of which is reproduced above, as multi-point levy was prohibited, once the transaction of sale of paddy was subjected to the levy, the transaction of rice taken out of that paddy cannot be subjected to the levy over again.
13. The second decision relates to the Andhra Pradesh (Agricultural Produce and Livestock) Markets Act, 1966, relevant provision of which reads thus :--
12. Levy of fees by the market committees:--
(1) The market committee shall levy fees on any notified agricultural produce, livestock or products of livestock purchased or sold in the notified market area at such rate, not exceeding one rupee, as may be specified in the bye-laws for every hundred rupees of the aggregate amount for which the notified agricultural produce, livestock or products of livestock is purchased or sold, whether for cash or deferred payment or other valuable consideration.
Explanation 1 : For the purposes of this section, all notified agricultural produce, livestock or products of livestock taken out of a notified market area shall, unless the contrary is proved, be presumed to have been purchased or sold within such area.
(2) The fees referred to in sub-sec. (1) shall be paid by the purchaser of the notified agricultural produce, livestock or products of livestock :
Provided that where the purchaser cannot be identified, the fees shall be paid by the seller.'
R. 74 of the Andhra Pradesh (Agricultural Produce and Livestock) Market Rules, 1969, reads thus :--
'74. Market Fees : (1) The fees leviable under sub-sec. (1) of S. 12 on notified agricultural produce, livestock and products of livestock, if paid to a Market Committee within the State shall not be collected by another Market Committee when such notified agricultural produce, livestock or products or livestock are brought into the notified market area of another Market Committee for the purpose of processing, packing, storage, export and on sales effected in the course of commercial transactions between the licensed traders, and the licensed traders and consumers subject to production of such evidence as may be prescribed in the bye-laws about the payment of market fees from where it was brought :
Provided that the fees shall be levied on notified agricultural produce, livestock or products of livestock when such agricultural produce, livestock or products of livestock are sold in the auction or in any other manner prescribed in the bye-laws in the market either directly or through Commission Agents even though purchased already in the same market or some other market or place within the State.'
After considering the aforesaid provisions and the earlier decision under the U.P. Act it is observed :--
'If paddy is subjected to levy of a market fee on purchase or sale by the producer to a miller in a notified market area by a market committee within the State is taken to the notified market area of another market committee for being processed i.e. de-husked into rice and sold by a rice miller to a trader or by a trader to a trader in the course of commercial transactions, there cannot be any levy of market fee on such purchase or sale of rice in another notified market area. It that be so, it must logically follow that the subsequent sale of rice in the notified market area of the same market committee cannot be subjected to the levy of market fee on purchase or sale of rice by a miller to a trader or by a trader to a trader if sale or purchase of paddy within such notified market area has suffered the levy of market fee. This is of course subject to the qualification that such sale or purchase has taken place in the notified market area, but outside the market in that area, as enjoined by the proviso to R. 74(1) is not very happily worded but one part of its meaning is clear. It was obviously introduced to grant exemption from payment of market fee on sale or purchase of agricultural produce, livestock or products of livestock on which such fee has already been levied under sub-sec.(1) of S. 12 by a market committee within the State.......... According to the terms of R. 74 (1) read with the proviso thereto, the fee leviable under sub-sec. (1) of S. 12 on any notified agricultural produce, livestock or products of livestock, if paid to a market committee within the State, shall not be collected by another market committee when such notified agricultural produce, livestock are brought into the notified market area of such other market committee for the purpose of processing, pressing, packing, storage, export and on sales effected in the course of commercial transactions between licensed traders, and the licensed traders and consumers. This is of course subject to production of such evidence as may be prescribed in the byelaws about the payment of market fees from where it was brought. Upon the construction placed by us, the exemption under R. 74(1) is also claimable if such transactions take place within the notified market area of the same market committee.'
The ratio of this decision also seems to be that once the transaction of sale of agriculture produce is subjected to the levy, even the products of that produce cannot be subjected to the levy over again.
14. It is true that provisions of each Act have to be interpreted on the basis of its scheme. We have already quoted the relevant provisions of all the three enactments. Though the wordings are not exactly similar, we see no material difference in the scheme so far as prohibition against multi-point levy is concerned. Under the circumstances, we are unable to see as to how the ratio of these two Supreme Court decisions will not apply to the APM Act. Even the definition of agriculture produce given in various enactments are not materially different. In any case none of these definitions specifically refers to the 'products of produce'. It is contended on behalf of the various market committees that husk and rice taken out of husk stand on different footing than Kapas and cottonseed for the reason that cotton seed is independently mentioned in the schedule and is not grouped with cotton. Now it is conceded that transaction of lint is not subjected to levy over again. We fail to see how then cottonseed can be differently treated only because it is mentioned under different head. It is true that while cotton-ginned and unginned are grouped under one item, under the head fibre, cotton seed is put under the head-oilseeds. This was unavoidable. Cottonseed cannot fall under the head fibre and can be marketed independently in the market area specially when Cotton Monopoly Scheme is not in force. It is always possible to merely market cottonseed without marketing in the market area the Kapas from which kit is removed. If the only test to be applied as is contended is whether the produce is commercially different commodity or not, lint and cottonseed must stand on the same footing, for it cannot be reasonably disputed that even lint and Kapas are commercially different goods and they cannot be treated as one and the same only because they are put in one entry. We are unable to read any legislative intention that two commodities put in one entry in the Schedule were treated by fiction as only one commodity. In our view such an interpretation would lead to absurd results. One illustration would be enough to demonstrate this. Cardamon and pepper are mentioned in entry No. 6 under head-condiments, spices and others. These two commodities are entirely different. Can it be reasonably suggested that only because of their placement, if transaction of one is subjected to levy the transaction with relation to the other will not be? Thus the reason suggested for making a distinction between lint and cottonseed appears to be altruistic. Hence in our judgment the ratio of Supreme Court decisions clearly apply to the present case. Indeed Supreme Court has gone to the extent of observing that if transaction of any commodity subjected to levy, even the transaction of its product will not be subject to levy over again. The term 'in relation to' used in the second proviso to S. 31 is significant. There has been levy 'in relation to' cotton seed though when it was a part of Kapas and only because it is physically separated from Kapas transaction relating to it cannot be subjected to second levy specially when it has not undergone any change. After all we are interpreting an impost legislation which always has to be construed in favour of a subject in case of doubt. Our attention was invited to certain decisions under the Sales Tax Act in which it has been held that unginned cotton and ginned cotton are two different commodities. There can be no doubt about this proposition. But nothing has turned on this consideration in the two Supreme Court decisions referred to above. Under the circumstances it seems to us that petitions must succeed on this last point.
15. It is not disputed before us that all the petitions relate to the cottonseed ginned out of Kapas purchased by the Federation under the RC Act.
16. To conclude, the petitions are allowed with no order as to costs and the rules are made absolute in the following terms :--
It is held that the transaction of sale of cottonseed cannot be subject to the market fee and supervision charges by the Market Committees in case the Kapas from which it is ginned is already subjected to the said levy and charges. The impugned notices of demand are quashed. The respondent market committees are restrained from recovering the market fees and/or supervision charges in the above circumstances. They are directed to refund the levy and charges (if collected) within a period of 6 months from today.
17. We consider it expedient to mention that case of cottonseed other than cottonseed ginned out of Kapas purchased by the Federation will stand on somewhat different footing. In those cases burden of establishing necessary material to attract exemption will have to be discharged by the claimants of the said exemption.
18. Petition allowed.