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Kasturi Seshagiri Pai and Co. Vs. the Deputy Commissioner of South Kanara - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petition No. 1086 of 1960
Judge
Reported inILR1961KAR214; [1961]12STC629(Kar)
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226; Madras Commercial Crops Markets Act, 1933 - Sections 11; Mysore Act, 1958; Central Sales Tax Act, 1956 - Sections 14 and 15
AppellantKasturi Seshagiri Pai and Co.
RespondentThe Deputy Commissioner of South Kanara
Appellant AdvocateG.K. Govinda Bhat, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateAdv.-General
Excerpt:
.....in industry, or in the manufacture of varnishes, soaps and the like, or in lubrication, and volatile oils used chiefly in medicines, perfumes, cosmetics and the like. 16. our view receives strong support from the amendment made to schedule iv of the mysore sales tax act, 1957, by the legislature of the new state of mysore. 5 of that schedule, as it stood before its amendment, described oil-seeds as seeds yielding non-volatile oils used for human consumption, on in industry, or in the manufacture of varnishes, soaps and the like, or in lubrication, and volatile oils used chiefly in medicines, perfumes, cosmetics, and the like, in respect of which sales tax could be imposed in the manner specified in section 5(4) of the act. it is perfectly manifest that they were so included because it..........markets act, 1933, to forbear from levying and collecting cess by way of sales tax on coconuts and copra purchased by the petitioner for the production of coconut oil, which the respondent demanded of him under the provisions of section 11 of the madras commercial crops markets act. 2. that section was first amended by madras act xxxiii of 1955 and was further amended by mysore act 20 of 1958. in its present form that section reads : '(1) notwithstanding anything contained in the general sales tax law for the time being in force, the market committee shall levy a cess by way of sales tax on any commercial crop bought or sold in the notified area at the rates specified hereunder :- i. arecanut 1. for every thousand raw undried areca nuts six pies or three in husk or part thereof naye.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Somnath Iyer, J.

1. The petitioner is the owner of an oil mill extracting coconut oil in Mangalore town and he prays for a writ of mandamus directing the respondent who is the Deputy Commissioner of South Kanara, exercising the functions of the South Kanara Market Committee under the provisions of the Madras Commercial Crops Markets Act, 1933, to forbear from levying and collecting cess by way of sales tax on coconuts and copra purchased by the petitioner for the production of coconut oil, which the respondent demanded of him under the provisions of section 11 of the Madras Commercial Crops Markets Act.

2. That section was first amended by Madras Act XXXIII of 1955 and was further amended by Mysore Act 20 of 1958. In its present form that section reads :

'(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the general sales tax law for the time being in force, the market committee shall levy a cess by way of sales tax on any commercial crop bought or sold in the notified area at the rates specified hereunder :- I. ARECANUT 1. For every thousand raw undried areca nuts Six pies or three in husk or part thereof naye paise.2. For every hundredweight of cured areca nuts Two and a half annas (including whole dry nuts and dried nut in or fifteen naye paise. slice) or part thereof. II. COCONUT 1. For every thousand coconuts (with husk or Two annas or twelve dehusked) or part thereof. naye paise. 2. For every candy of seven hundred pounds Eight annas or fifty of copra or part thereof. naye paise.'

3. Under the provisions of the Mysore Sales Tax Act, a dealer is also liable to pay sales tax on the purchase of coconuts and copra. Section 5(4) of the Mysore Sales Tax Act read with Schedule Four to that Act provides that the point of levy in respect of such sales tax on the purchases of coconut and copra is the purchase by the last or earliest of successive dealers liable to tax under the Act. The rate of tax is two per cent. of the turnover. It is not disputed on behalf of the respondent that the impost made by section 11 of the Madras Commercial Crops Markets Act is really a tax on the sale or purchase of the commercial crop referred to in that section.

4. Mr. Govinda Bhat, appearing on behalf of the petitioner contends that the maximum sales tax which may be imposed by the State on the sale or purchase of coconut and copra is two per cent. on the turnover as provided by section 15 of the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956, and since that maximum sales tax has been imposed by section 5(4) of the Mysore Sales Tax Act read with the Fourth Schedule to it, it was no longer competent for the State to demand any further sales tax by way of cess under the provisions of section 11 of the Madras Commercial Crops Markets Act.

5. In order to understand the contention, it would be necessary to set out the provisions of sections 14 and 15 of the Central Sales Tax Act. Those sections read :

'14. Certain goods to be of special importance in inter-State trade or commerce. - It is hereby declared that the following goods are of special importance in inter-State trade or commerce :-

.......... (vi) oil-seeds, that is to say, seeds yielding non-volatile oils used for human consumption, or in industry, or in the manufacture of varnishes, soaps and the like, or in lubrication, and volatile oils used chiefly in medicines, perfumes, cosmetics and the like.'

'15. Restrictions and conditions in regard to tax on sale or purchase of declared goods within a State. - Every sales tax law of a State shall, in so far as it imposes or authorises the imposition of a tax on the sale or purchase of declared goods, be subject to the following restrictions and conditions, namely :-

(a) the tax payable under that law in respect of any sale or purchase of such goods inside the State shall not exceed two per cent. of the sale or purchase price thereof, and such tax shall not be levied at more than one stage;

(b) where a tax has been levied under that law in respect of the sale or purchase inside the State of any declared goods and such goods are sold in the course of inter-State trade or commerce, the tax so levied shall be refunded to such person in such manner and subject to such conditions as may be provided in any law in force in that State.'

6. Now, Article 286(3) of the Constitution provides :

'(3) Any law of a State shall, in so far as it imposes, or authorises the imposition of, a tax on the sale or purchase of goods declared by Parliament by law to be of special importance in inter-State trade or commerce, be subject to such restrictions and conditions in regard to the system of levy, rates and other incidents of the tax as Parliament may by law specify.'

7. It is clear that 'oil-seeds' which are referred to in section 14(vi) of the Central Sales Tax Act were declared by Parliament to be of special importance in inter-State trade or commerce. The restrictions which the Parliament could impose under Article 286(3) on the imposition of tax on the sale or purchase of oil-seeds are those contained in section 15 of the Central Sales Tax Act. The restriction which is of relevance for the purpose of this case is that the sales tax which may be imposed in respect of the sale or purchase of oil-seeds shall not exceed two per cent. of the sale or purchase price.

8. It was, therefore, not competent for the State to demand a tax in respect of the sale or purchase of oil-seeds in excess of two per cent. of the sale or purchase price thereof. That is the effect of sections 14 and 15 of the Central Sales Tax Act, read with Article 286(3) of the Constitution. Under section 5(4) of the Mysore Sales Tax Act, read with Schedule IV to that Act, the State of Mysore imposed a tax in respect of sale or purchase of oil-seeds and since the tax so imposed was two per cent. of the sale or purchase price, the maximum tax which could be demanded without infringing the provisions of sections 14 and 15 of the Central Sales Tax Act, was imposed by the State.

9. If the expression 'oil-seeds' occurring in section 14(vi) of the Central Sales Tax Act includes coconut and copra it is clear that the maximum sales tax that the State could impose in respect of a sale or purchase of coconut and copra has been imposed by the State making it incompetent to demand any cess by way of sales tax under the provisions of section 11 of the Madras Commercial Crops Markets Act.

10. Mr. Govinda Bhat's contention is that section 14 of the Central Sales Tax Act declared also coconut and copra as goods of special importance in inter-State trade or commerce. The word 'oil-seeds' occurring in section 14(vi), according to him, includes coconut and copra.

11. The learned Government Pleader on behalf of the respondent contends to the contrary and urges that coconut and copra are not oil-seeds within the meaning of that expression occurring in section 14(vi) of the Central Sales Tax Act. According to him, coconut is a fruit and copra is a dried fruit and that neither of them is an oil-seed.

12. It is not in our opinion possible for any one to dispute - and indeed, that fact is not disputed by the learned Government Pleader - that both coconut and copra are commodities from which oil can be extracted. Coconut oil is what is extracted both from coconut and copra although coconut oil is generally extracted from dried copra. The question is whether they are seeds from which oil is so extracted.

13. The dictionary meaning of the word 'seed' is that it is a flowering plant's unit of reproduction or germ capable of developing into another such plant.

14. It is common knowledge and that fact is also admitted by the learned Government Pleader that the unit of reproduction of the coconut plant which is admittedly a flowering plant, is the coconut with its shell and husk and that it is such coconut when planted that becomes capable of developing into another coconut plant. That being so, it is clear that a coconut is a seed and since oil can be extracted from a coconut, it is an oil-seed within the meaning of that expression occurring in section 14(vi) of the Central Sales Tax Act. We are not impressed by the argument addressed by the learned Government Pleader that since coconut without its husk is incapable of developing into another coconut plant when planted, that variety of coconut is not an oil-seed. A coconut, as ordinarily understood, is the coconut grown on the top of a coconut tree with its husk and shell and if that coconut is capable of developing into another coconut plant when planted, it is not possible, in our opinion, to hold that a coconut is not an oil-seed because, a coconut without the husk is incapable of developing into another coconut plant when planted.

15. The learned Government Pleader next contended that even so, copra is not an oil-seed since no one plants underground copra for the purpose of growing a coconut tree. It may be that it is not possible to use copra for the purpose of producing another coconut tree by planting it underground; but, in one sense it seems to us that copra is really a coconut. It is the kernel of the coconut, and a coconut when its husk is removed along with its shell and dried, is called copra. It is really a dried coconut with its husk and shell removed. In that view of the matter and since copra is as much the source of coconut oil as a coconut, copra, it seems to us, is as much as oil-seed as a coconut.

16. Our view receives strong support from the amendment made to Schedule IV of the Mysore Sales Tax Act, 1957, by the Legislature of the New State of Mysore. This amendment was made in the year 1958. Serial No. 5 of that Schedule, as it stood before its amendment, described oil-seeds as seeds yielding non-volatile oils used for human consumption, on in industry, or in the manufacture of varnishes, soaps and the like, or in lubrication, and volatile oils used chiefly in medicines, perfumes, cosmetics, and the like, in respect of which sales tax could be imposed in the manner specified in section 5(4) of the Act. In that part of Schedule IV, coconut and copra had not been included in the first instance when the Mysore Sales Tax Act was enacted. On the contrary, they were included in schedule III to that Act. But when Schedule IV was amended in the year 1958, in Serial No. 5 of that Schedule, coconut and copra were expressly mentioned as included in the expression oil-seeds. It is perfectly manifest that they were so included because it was clear to the mind of the Legislature that coconut and copra were both oil-seeds.

17. In our opinion, the expression 'oil-seeds' occurring in section 14(vi) of the Central Sales Tax Act includes coconut and copra. The result of that view would be that the maximum sales tax which could be demanded on the sale or purchase of coconut or copra is two per cent. of the sale or purchase price thereof. That maximum tax was imposed by section 5(4) of the Mysore Sales Tax Act, 1957, read with Schedule IV to it. It was no longer therefore possible for the state, without infringing the provisions of Article 286(3) of the Constitution and sections 14 and 15 of the Central Sales Tax Act, to demand any further sales tax on the sale or purchase of copra and coconut under section 11 of the Madras Commercial Crops Markets Act. The demand in this case which is therefore without the authority of law is liable to be quashed.

18. This writ petition therefore succeeds. A mandamus as prayed for by the petitioner will now issue. The respondent must pay the costs of this writ petition, Advocate's fee being fixed at Rs. 100.

19. Petition allowed.


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