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G.P.V.A. Subrhmanyam and ors. Vs. Commissioner, Corporation of Hyderabad - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectOther Taxes
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. No. 294 of 1965 and Civil Misc. Petn. Nos. 1188 and 1189 of 1968
Judge
Reported inAIR1970AP332
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908; Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Act, 1956 - Sections 252
AppellantG.P.V.A. Subrhmanyam and ors.
RespondentCommissioner, Corporation of Hyderabad
Appellant AdvocateM.B. Rama Sarma, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateY. Suryanarayana, Adv. for ;D. Narasaraju and ;O. Audinarayana Reddy, Advs. for ;P. Ramachandra Reddy, Adv.
Excerpt:
other taxes - octroi duty - code of civil procedure, 1908 and section 252 of hyderabad municipal corporation act, 1956 - octroi was extracted from petitioners bringing coconuts into limits of hyderabad municipal corporation - coconut not leviable to octroi duty under hyderabad municipal corporation act - held, petitioner liable for refund. - - to do that would be to run counter to well-known principles of statutory construction. if the legislature wanted only to tax canned or tinned fruits or canned or tinned varieties of food as the case may be it could easily have stated so without using any words within brackets in items (c) and (o). as these items now read it seems to me than the intention was clearly to tax fruits and all kinds of food and drink not specifically provided for......city and compulsorily exacted octroi from the petitioners. the petitioners claim that the levy of octroi duty on cocoanuts is illegal as cocoanut is not one of the articles mentioned in schedule h of the hyderabad municipal corporation act as an article on which octroi duty could be levied. i may incidentally mentioned here that octori duty was abolished since the filling of the writ petition. 3. section 252 of the hyderabad municipal corporation act authorises the levy of octroi duty in respect of the several articles mentioned in schedule h. the articles mentioned in schedule h are, 'grain of all sorts', 'flour of all sorts', 'wines and spirits', 'beer', 'sugar', 'molasses and gur', 'ghee' 'ghee substitutes'. 'timber', 'plywood', 'firewood', 'charcoal', 'tea', 'coal', 'dates',.....
Judgment:

Chinnappa Reddy, J.

1. This Writ Petition came up for hearing before one of us in the first instance and was referred to a Division Bench as it was thought that the decision of the Division Bench in W. A. Nos. 116 of 1964 and 4 of 1965 (Andh Pra) required reconsideration. Thereafter it came up for hearing before Kumarayya J. (as he then was) and Konaiah J: who referred it to a Full Bench as they also doubted the correctness of the earlier decision.

2. The question is a simple one. The petitioner import cocoanuts into the limits of Hyderabad Municipal Corporation from the coastal Districts of Andhra Pradesh and from Kerala. In March 1965 the Octroi Staff of the Municipal Corporation stopped lorries bringing cocoanuts into the city and compulsorily exacted Octroi from the petitioners. The petitioners claim that the levy of Octroi duty on cocoanuts is illegal as cocoanut is not one of the articles mentioned in Schedule H of the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Act as an article on which Octroi duty could be levied. I may incidentally mentioned here that Octori duty was abolished since the filling of the Writ Petition.

3. Section 252 of the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Act authorises the levy of Octroi duty in respect of the several articles mentioned in Schedule H. The articles mentioned in Schedule H are, 'Grain of all sorts', 'Flour of all sorts', 'Wines and Spirits', 'Beer', 'Sugar', 'molasses and gur', 'ghee' 'Ghee substitutes'. 'Timber', 'Plywood', 'Firewood', 'Charcoal', 'Tea', 'Coal', 'Dates', 'Cement', 'Iron and Steel', 'Paper', and under the head 'Edible':-

(a) Bacon and Ham

(b) Table Butter

(c) Fruits (canned, tinned, bottled boxed or cartoned)

(d) Fish (canned, tinned, bottled boxed, or cartoned)

(e) Cheese

(f) Confectionery

(g) Jams and Jellies

(h) Milk condensed and preserved

(i) All sorts of farinaceous foods,

(j) Pickles

(k) Cocoa and chocolates

(l) Biscuits and cakes

(m) Lard

(n) Fruit juices and all bevearages

(o) All kinds of food and drink not specifically provided for (canned, tinned bottled, boxed or cartoned)

(p) Whole mild Powder

(q) Skimmed Milk Powder

(r) Mawa and milk cream

4. According to the learned counsel for the Municipal Corporation Entry 'O' is wide enough to taken in every kind of food and drink including 'cocoanuts'. The learned counsel urges that the words 'canned etc., occurring within brackets are not to be as as words of limitation or qualification but rather as words of clarification or amplification. The learned counsel wants us to read the entry as 'all kinds of food and drink not expressly provided for including cancel canned etc., food and drink' as or as 'all kinds of food and drink not expressly provided for, whether canned etc., or not'. In the first place we see no justification for reading words into the entry which are not there. In the second place there is no reason to read these words into the entry to achieve a meaning which is easily achieved by altogether omitting the words within brackets. To read the entry as suggested by the learned counsel would be to render not only the words within the brackets in that entry but also all other entries under the heading 'Edible' superfluous. To do that would be to run counter to well-known principles of statutory construction.

5. In Rawatmal v. Commr. Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad, (1965) 2 Andh LT 445 Gopalkrishnan Nair, J. accepted the construction which the learned counsel for the Municipal Corporation now presses upon us. The learned Judge observed 'If the interpretation contended for by the petitioners is accepted the words outside the bracket in items (c) and (o) cannot be given the ordinary meaning and effect. If the legislature wanted only to tax canned or tinned fruits or canned or tinned varieties of food as the case may be it could easily have stated so without using any words within brackets in items (c) and (o). As these items now read it seems to me than the intention was clearly to tax fruits and all kinds of food and drink not specifically provided for. The purpose of stating the words 'canned, tinned, etc., within brackets appears to be to emphasise that full scope and effect should be given to the main words outside the brackets'. With great respect we do not agree. If the object was to tax all kinds of food and drink, nothing could have been easier than to omit altogether the words within brackets and together the words within brackets and the object would have been achieved.

The learned Judge went on to observe:

'Besides, the interpretation contended for on behalf of the petitioners will make for easy evasion of payment of the octroi duty. Suppose only canned, tinned, bottled, boxed or cartoned food is dutiable; it would be easy for a trader to take the food out of the cans, tins etc. and put them in gunny bags or other receptacles and thereby escape altogether the payment of octroi duty. A construction which enable such an easy chance of escape and evasion and which is likely to defeat the apparent intention of the legislature cannot reasonably be accepted'. This appears to us to be extremely far fetched. We are unable to conceive of any trader who would take the food out of the cans, tins, etc., and put it in gunny bags or receptacles. processed and preserved food which is tamed out of a can or tin is ready for consumption or cooking. It cannot be put in a gunny bag etc. To do so is to spoil it. In W. A. Nos. 116 of 1964 and 4 of 1965 Manohar Pershad C. J., and Mizra J., merely repeated the reasons given by Gopalkrishnan Nair, J. and it is therefore unnecessary to consider their reasons separately except to say that we do not agree with their reasons. The construction placed by us upon Entry (o) is supported by a judgment of the Mysore High Court in Abdul Karim v. City Municipality, AIR 1967 Mys 127. We hold that cocoanut is not leviable to Octroi duty under the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Act. The Writ Petition is therefore allowed with costs. A direction will issue for refund of the Octroi duty collected from the petitioners in respect of cocoanuts. Advocate's fee Rs. 100/-.

6. Petition allowed.


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