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Mineral Sales (P) Ltd. Vs. State of Karnataka - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberW.P. No. 4722 of 1983 etc.
Judge
Reported inILR1986KAR3226
ActsKarnataka Motor Vehicles Taxation Act, 1957 - Sections 16(1)
AppellantMineral Sales (P) Ltd.
RespondentState of Karnataka
Appellant AdvocateH. Rangavittalachar, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateH.L. Dattu, HCGP
DispositionWrit petition allowed
Excerpt:
.....exclusively within a certain premises like a factory or any other enclosed area or an airport or a mining area that is relevant for the purpose of granting exemption and not whether any such vehicle is capable of being used on roads.;it is not the capability of vehicles like dumpers, rockers and tippers being used on public roads for other purposes, that can decide claim for exemption .... the condition on which they are eligible for exemption is that the vehicles should be used exclusively by the owners thereof in the mining areas of as in project areas as specified in prospecting licence or certified by the officer of the public works department or any other officer as the case may be .... the tippers are not in any way different from dumpers, in its design, construction and usage. the..........in respect of all the vehicles in question that they may be exempted from tax under the karnataka motor vehicles taxation act, since they were used exclusively within the mining area. the 4th respondent by his order dated 14-2-1983, which is similar in all the cases, refused to grant exemption relying upon the notification no. hd 128 tmt 74, dated 8-5-1980. these orders are challenged in these writ petitions.2. the petitioner has produced a letter issued by the manufacturers of the tippers in question, namely tata engineering and locomotive company limited, explaining that there is no difference between dumpers and tippers, though the terminology used is different. the only ground on which the 4th respondent declined to grant exemption is, that the tippers in question are not mentioned.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Rajasekhara Murthy, J.

1. The Petitioner in all these cases is Mineral Sales Private Limited. The petitioner/Company is owning diesel Tippers for use in the mining operations carried on by the petitioner company. The tippers were acquired by the petitioner for exclusive use within the mining area. The petitioner requested the R.T.O. Hospet in respect of all the vehicles in question that they may be exempted from tax under the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Taxation Act, since they were used exclusively within the mining area. The 4th respondent by his order dated 14-2-1983, which is similar in all the cases, refused to grant exemption relying upon the Notification No. HD 128 TMT 74, dated 8-5-1980. These orders are challenged in these Writ Petitions.

2. The petitioner has produced a letter issued by the manufacturers of the tippers in question, namely Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company Limited, explaining that there is no difference between dumpers and tippers, though the terminology used is different. The only ground on which the 4th respondent declined to grant exemption is, that the tippers in question are not mentioned in the Government Notification in which only dumpers, rockers and showels are eligible for exemption subject to satisfying the conditions laid down therein. The R.T O. has, in addition relied upon a clarification issued by the Commissioner for Transport dated 25-7-80. Notification dated 8-5-1980 and the instructions issued by the Government are reproduced below:--

1. 1806 Karnataka Gazette, May 22 1980 Part IV-2C (ii)------------------------------------------------------Home SecretariatNotification No. HD 128 TMT 74Bangalore, dated : 8th May 1080In exercise of the powers conferred by Sub-section (1) of Section 16 of the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Taxation Act, 1957 (Karnataka Act 35 of 1957), the Government of Karnataka being of the opinion that it is necessary in public interest so to do, hereby exempt with effect from 1st October 1967 the tax payable under the said Act in respect of dumpers, rockers and showels subject to the condition that the exemption is admissible only for the period during which the vehicle is used exclusively by the owner thereof in their mine areas or in project areas where they have taken any work on contract and such user is certified by an officer of the Public Works Department of and above the rank of Assistant Executive Engineer.

Explanation : For the purpose of this notification, --

(i) The mining area means an area as such specified in a mining lease or prospecting licence issued to the owner of the vehicle.

(ii) The project area means an area certified as such by an officer of the Public Works Department or the Mysore Power Corporation of and above the rank of Assistant Executive Engineer.

By Order and in the name of the Governor of Karnataka,'

No. TAX. I. REF. 167/78-79Office of the Commissioner forTransport in KarnatakaBangalore dated : 25-7-1980To

The R.T.O., Bellary & Tumkur.

Sir,

Sub : Refund of tax and exemption from payment of tax in respect of Tippers.

'Government in their letter No. HD. 230 TMT 80 dated 22-7-1980 have clarified that the 'Tippers' are registered as heavy goods vehicles and being used on road for transportation of Stones, Mud, etc., and they cannot be granted exemption from payment of Motor Vehicles Tax.

You are therefore directed to take necessary action in respect of Tippers immediately'.

Sd/- for Commissioner.

3. Being aggrieved by these orders, the petitioner has filed these Writ Petitions and has challenged the orders passed in each of the cases. That the Tippers in question are used exclusively in the mining area of the petitioner company in Vyasanakeri Iron Ore Mines in Hospet Taluk, is not in dispute. The only distinction sought to be made out by the learned Government Pleader is that tippers are different from dumpers and his further contention is that they can be used on roads and that therefore the exemption was rightly refused.

4. It is not the capability of vehicles like dumpers, rockers and tippers being used on public roads for other purposes, that can decide claim for exemption. Under the Motor Vehicles Taxation Act, all the Motor Vehicles suitable for use on roads and which are registered under Motor Vehicles Act, are taxed. Exemption is granted under Section 16(1) in respect of any class of Motor Vehicles, if in the opinion of the State Government, it is necessary so to do. Dumpers, rockers and showels are granted exemption from payment of tax by the Government Notification No. HD 128 TMT 74, dated 8-5-1980. The condition on which they are eligible for exemption is that the vehicles should be used exclusively by the owners thereof in the mining areas or in project areas as specified in prospecting licence or by the Officer of the Public Works Department or any other Officer as the case may be.

5. It is seen from one of the temporary permits produced in these cases that the permit is issued and valid for use within the mining area of Vyasankeri Iron Ore Mines. As already stated that the tippers in question are used exclusively in the mining areas, is not in dispute. The only distinction sought to be made out by the learned Government Pleader is based on the clarification issued by Commissioner for Transport. The Government has only clarified that the tippers registered as heavy vehicles and being used on roads for transportation of stones, mud etc., cannot be granted exemption from payment of Motor Vehicles Tax.

6. In the Appeal decided by the Supreme Court in Dalmia Cement (Bharat)Ltd. v. The Regional Transport Officer, Bellary, : [1975]2SCR138 the tax payable on the dumpers owned and used by the appellant before the Supreme Court, came up for consideration. Their Lordships while comparing the Dumpers as understood in the Orissa Taxation Act, observed :-

'A dumper in the Mysore case according to the manufacturer's own specification is suitable for roads and is described thus :

A dumper will carry bulk goods, building materials, mining products, earth stones, bricks, concrete, morter, etc.

The structure is of simple design and easy to handle. Tipping is performed by releasing the locking device retaining the tipping body.

The dumper requires no more than a few seconds for the emptying of its tipping body and gives no trouble to the driver when being operated on uphill or downhill roads, with its load unbalanced, or when the load refuses to slide out easily.

Quickness and ease characterise the operation of the dumper and the clumsy manoeuvring can be dispensed with. In narrow lanes or rough roads where turning would be impossible or undesirable, the seat is turned and will face driving direction.'

7. From the above discussion, it, therefore, follows that the Tippers are not in any way different from dumpers, in its design, construction, and usage. If the observations of the Supreme Court are rightly understood in relation to tippers, the distinction made by the R.T.O. relying on the clarification issued by the Government, is without any difference. The Government does not say that a tipper if it is used within any mining area should not be granted exemption. Any such interpretation would be contrary to the enunciation of the law as explained by the Supreme Court.

8. Dealing with the scope of the Motor Vehicles Taxation Act, the Supreme Court further observed that :

'It is not the purpose of the taxation Act to levy taxes on vehicles which do not use the roads or in any way form part of the flow of traffic on the roads which is required to be regulated.'

Further, it was held :

'If the vehicles do not use the roads, notwithstanding that they are registered under the Act, they cannot be taxed. This very concept is embodied in the provisions of Section 7 of the Taxation Act as also the relevant sections in the Taxation Acts of other States, namely that where a motor vehicle is not using the roads and it is declared that it will not use the roads for any quarter or quarters of a year or for any particular year or years, no tax is leviable thereon and if any tax has been paid for any quarter during which it is not proposed to use the motor vehicle on the road, the tax for that quarter is refundable'.

9. It is the user exclusively within a certain premises like a factory or any other enclosed area or an Airport or a mining area that is relevant for the purpose of granting exemption and not whether any such vehicle is capable of being used on roads for carrying goods like stones and other materials. The reason given by the R.T.O. in refusing to grant exemption in respect of the vehicles in question, has to be set aside. The order of the 4th respondent in each of these cases declining to grant exemption is quashed.

10. For the reasons stated above, the writ petitions are allowed and the rule issued is made absolute in each of the cases. The 4th respondent in each of the cases is directed to grant exemption.


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