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Business Forms Ltd. Vs. Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, Karnataka, Bangalore - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectExcise;Sales Tax
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSales Tax Appeal Nos. 23 and 24 of 1979
Judge
Reported in1985(5)ECC118; 1992(61)ELT429(Kar); [1985]59STC87(Kar)
ActsKarnataka Sales Tax Act, 1957 - Sections 2(1), 5(1), 6A, 12A and 22A
AppellantBusiness Forms Ltd.
RespondentCommissioner of Commercial Taxes, Karnataka, Bangalore
Appellant AdvocateHariprasad Shukla, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateS. Rajendra Babu, High Court Government Adv.
Excerpt:
.....- sales tax--words and phrases--paper--teleprinter rolls, adding machine rolls and computer output papers--are 'paper' within meaning of entry 125 of second schedule to karnataka sales tax act--classification of goods for purpose of levy under central excise act does not furnish guidance for determining rate of levy under sales tax act--central excises and salt act (1 of 1944)--kaknataka sales tax act (25 of 1957), section 5(1) ; schedule ii, entry 125. - constitution of india -- article 226: [ram mohan reddy,j] writ of quo warranto - election to membership of gram panchayat - second respondent, contested the election - production of bcm b caste certificate - false claim made by the second respondent that he belongs to bcm b category, though he belonged to bcm a category - cancellation..........'paper' as popularly understood. paper may be presented in plain sheets or in exercise books or in rolls. paper may be in small pieces or in big rolls. it may be thick or thin, light or heavy, bleached or coloured, according to the requirements of purchasers. it may be used for writing in hand, or for printing in the press or in teleprinters. the form in which the paper is presented or sold is not a conclusive test, but the use to which it is put would furnish a guiding principle. take for example, a teleprinter roll or an adding machine roll. they are 'paper' cut and rolled into different shapes so as to suit a particular machine for the purpose of printing. merely because the assessee has undertaken the task of cutting and rolling the paper into different shapes for being used in.....
Judgment:

Jagannatha Shetty, J.

1. A short but an important question that arises for consideration in these appeals is :

'Whether teleprinter rolls, adding machine rolls and computer out-put papers, etc., could be classified as 'paper', within the scope of entry 125 of the Second Schedule to the Karnataka Sales Tax Act, 1957 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') ?'

2. The appellant is a limited company having its head office at Calcutta. It has branch offices in many States dealing in teleprinter rolls, addition machine rolls, computer out-put papers and printed stationery. For the assessment year 1973-74, the turnover returned by the assesses-company was assessed by the assessing authority at the rate prescribed under section 5(1) of the Act. But, subsequently, the assessing authority reassessed the turnover under section 12-A of Act, levying the tax at the rate prescribed under entry 125 of the Second Schedule. Similar assessment was made on the turnover returned by the assessee for the assessment year 1974-75.

3. Challenging the order of assessment for the year 1973-74 and also the order of assessment for the year 1974-75, the assessee appealed to the Deputy Commissioner of Commercial Taxes. The Deputy Commissioner allowed both the appeals and directed uniform levy under section 5(1) of the Act. But the Commissioner of Commercial Taxes in exercise of his suo motu revisional jurisdiction under section 22-A of the Act, reversed the orders of the Deputy Commissioner and restored that of the assessing authority.

4. The principal question that was debated before the Commissioner of Commercial Taxes relates to the nature of the goods sold by the assessee. It was urged that the goods in question were in the nature of 'continuous stationery' and as such, the sale turnover was liable to be taxed under section 5(1) of the Act. But the Commissioner did not accept that contention. He observed that the goods were made of paper and used for printing purpose and since this fact has not been disputed by the assessee, the goods sold by the assessee should be regarded as 'paper' attracting the levy prescribed under entry 125 of the Second Schedule.

5. Entry 125 of the Second Schedule, as it stood during the relevant period reads :

'All kinds of paper including carbon paper but excluding paper falling under serial number 55.'

It is not necessary to refer to the items enumerated under serial No. 55, referred to above, since it is not the case of the assessee that the commodity in question falls under serial No. 55.

6. Mr. Shukla, for the assessee, has produced before us samples of the goods usually sold by the assessee. It will be seen that the teleprinter rolls is made up of paper interleaved with carbon paper. Adding machine roll is also made up of paper, but comparatively a smaller roll without carbon paper in between. The telex roll is a thick paper cut-out and rolled on a cone. The teleprinter rolls as the name goes is used for teleprinting. Adding machine roll is used in calculators for the purpose of producing added results. Mr. Shukla also produced before us for perusal the printed forms and punch-cards, which are made to order and supplied by the assesses-company as per the requirements of the concerned customers.

7. The primary contention of Mr. Shukla is that the goods sold or dealt with by the assesses-company have been manufactured out of paper and they are not commercially known as 'paper'. They have got a limited use unlike the general use of paper and therefore, they cannot be classified as 'paper', falling under entry 125 of the Second Schedule. Mr. Shukla also contended that the said goods have been classified under the Central Excises and Salt Act, 1944 as the products manufactured out of paper, quite different from the ordinary paper for the purpose of levy of excise duty.

8. We may, at the outset, state that the classification of the said goods for the purpose of levy under the Central Excise Act, furnishes no guidance for determining the rate of levy under the State Sales Tax Act. We have to examine the meaning of the paper as understood in common parlance. Entry 125 of the Second Schedule appears to be comprehensive in terms. It takes within its fold 'all kinds of paper', excluding those specifically set out therein. Those which are excluded are only the items mentioned under serial No. 55 and no other.

9. In State of Uttar Pradesh v. Kores (India) Ltd. : [1977]1SCR837 , the Supreme Court had an occasion to consider the meaning of the word 'paper' used in the Uttar Pradesh Sales Tax Act. The Court, after referring to various shades of the meaning, finally observed at page 11, thus :

'... It is clear that in popular parlance, the words 'paper' is understood as meaning a substance which is used for bearing writing, or printing, or for packing, or for drawing on, or for decorating, or covering the walls ...'

This should be the meaning with which we have to understood the scope of the entry 125 in this case also. If the goods sold by the assessee is generally used for writing, printing, packing or for drawing, decorating or covering the wall, then they must be classified as 'paper' as popularly understood.

Paper may be presented in plain sheets or in exercise books or in rolls. Paper may be in small pieces or in big rolls. It may be thick or thin, light or heavy, bleached or coloured, according to the requirements of purchasers. It may be used for writing in hand, or for printing in the press or in teleprinters. The form in which the paper is presented or sold is not a conclusive test, but the use to which it is put would furnish a guiding principle.

Take for example, a teleprinter roll or an adding machine roll. They are 'paper' cut and rolled into different shapes so as to suit a particular machine for the purpose of printing. Merely because the assessee has undertaken the task of cutting and rolling the paper into different shapes for being used in different machines, one cannot go with an impression that that rolled paper cannot be regarded as 'paper'.

10. In Maharaja Book Depot v. State of Gujarat : 1978CriLJ1859 , the Supreme Court, while rejecting the contention that exercise books cannot be considered as 'paper', observed at page 183 thus :

'In substance, therefore, paper, whether lined or blank, means a material on which writing, printing, drawing, etc., can be done. In light of this meaning of expression 'paper' the question is whether an exercise book would be covered by that expression or not It cannot be disputed that an exercise book is nothing but a collection of sheets of paper (blank or lined) stitched together by a piece of string or pinned together with pins of a stapler and is a substance used for writing and, therefore, would clearly fall within the item 'paper'. The test would be whether because of stitching or pinned them together such a collection of sheets loses its identity as paper. The answer must be in the negative. Looked at from this angle it is different to accept the contention that an exercise book is a distinct commodity other than paper.'

Although the decision proceeded on the meaning to be given to the given to the word 'paper' occurring in section 2(a)(vii) and section 6-A of the Essential Commodities Act, the ratio of the decision has been extended even in respect of the word 'paper' occurring in the Orissa Sales Tax Act. (See : Rameshwarlal Murlidhar v. State of Orissa [1982] 51 STC 401.)

11. Having regard to these considerations, it seems to us that the material sold by the assesses-company, particularly, teleprinter rolls, adding machine rolls, computer out-put papers should be classified as 'paper' falling within the entry 125 of the Second Schedule.

12. Mr. Shukla next contended that printed forms, punch-cards and other printed sheets made to order and supplied to the respective purchasers by the assesses-company cannot at all be classified as 'paper' and they should be classified as 'stationery' if not 'works contract'. We express no opinion on this contention since such a contention has not been raised before any one of the authorities below. We, however, makes it clear that this decision shall not come in the way of the assesses-company from raising such a contention in the assessment of any other year.

13. With these observations, we dismiss these appeals.


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