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The State of Andhra Pradesh Vs. the Bengal Coal Company Ltd. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberT.R.C. Nos. 10, 11, 12 and 13 of 1967
Judge
Reported in[1971]27STC213(AP)
AppellantThe State of Andhra Pradesh
RespondentThe Bengal Coal Company Ltd.
Appellant AdvocatePrincipal Government Pleader and ;V.R. Reddy, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateJaleel Ahmed, Adv.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
- - the assessees preferred appeals unsuccessfully to the assistant commissioner of commercial taxes and later to the tribunal......in respect of the supply of coal made by the assessees to the buyers constitute a part of the 'sale price' within the meaning of clause (h) of section 2 of the central sales tax act, 1956.2. to determine the question, it is necessary to state a few relevant facts: the assessees are m/s. james finlay & co. ltd., visakhapatnam, and are dealers in coal, electrical goods etc. and they filed their returns for the four assessment years 1960-61 to 1963-64. it is not necessary to state the details of the items which go to make up the total turnover for each of the assessment years, as nothing turns upon that since they claimed exemption only in respect of the turnover relating to railway freight and handling charges. it was their case before the assessing authority, the first appellate.....
Judgment:

Obul Reddi, J.

1. The only question that falls for decision in these revisions preferred by the State against the order of the Tribunal in T.A. Nos. 867, 977, 978 and 963 of 1965 is whether the railway freight and handling charges in respect of the supply of coal made by the assessees to the buyers constitute a part of the 'sale price' within the meaning of Clause (h) of Section 2 of the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956.

2. To determine the question, it is necessary to state a few relevant facts: The assessees are M/s. James Finlay & Co. Ltd., Visakhapatnam, and are dealers in coal, electrical goods etc. and they filed their returns for the four assessment years 1960-61 to 1963-64. It is not necessary to state the details of the items which go to make up the total turnover for each of the assessment years, as nothing turns upon that since they claimed exemption only in respect of the turnover relating to railway freight and handling charges. It was their case before the assessing authority, the first appellate authority and also before the Tribunal that they were entitled to exemption on the turnover relating to railway freight and handling charges in view of the definition of 'sale price'. Having regard to the definition of the term 'dealer' in Section 2(e) of the Andhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act, the Commercial Tax Officer negatived the claim for exemption and assessed them by including the railway freight and handling charges in the total taxable turnover. The assessees preferred appeals unsuccessfully to the Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes and later to the Tribunal. The Tribunal, having regard to the definition of 'sale price' given in Clause (h) of Section 2 of the Central Sales Tax Act, set aside the orders under appeal and allowed the appeals holding that railway freight and handling charges are not an integral part of the 'sale price'.

3. The Principal Government Pleader appearing for the State contended that the interpretation given by the Tribunal to the definition of 'sale price' is not correct; that the exemption contemplated under Clause (h) of Section 2 of the Central Sales Tax Act should be in connection with the sale; and that there is nothing to show that the railway freight and handling charges in question were incurred in connection with the sale so as to exclude the railway freight and handling charges from the 'sale price'.

4. It may be noticed that it was never the case of the department either before the Tribunal or before the Assistant Commissioner that the railway freight and handling charges were not incurred in connection with the transactions in question. Throughout, it was proceeded on the basis that the delivery of the goods, viz., coal in this case, was made by the assessees at Visakhapatnam to the buyers and the sale took place at Visakhapatnam. There was no dispute regarding the fact that the sale took place at Visakhapatnam, for the consignor and the consignee were the assessees and delivery of the goods was made against payment at Visakhapatnam.

5. We may now notice Clause (h) of Section 2 of the Central Sales Tax Act:

'Sale price' means the amount payable to a dealer as consideration for the sale of any goods less any sum allowed as cash discount according to the practice normally prevailing in the trade, but inclusive of any sum charged for anything done by the dealer in respect of the goods at the time of or before the delivery thereof other than the cost of freight or delivery or the cost of installation in cases where such cost is separately charged.

6. The second part of the clause makes it clear that the cost of freight or delivery of the goods at the time of or before the delivery is not a component part of the 'sale price'. Therefore, the 'sale price' as defined, means only the amount payable to a dealer as consideration for the sale of goods excluding the cost of freight or delivery of the goods at the time of or before the delivery of the goods. Since admittedly, the delivery of the goods was at Visakhapatnam against payment, the cost of freight till the time of delivery has to be excluded from the consideration for the sale of the goods.

7. The Principal Government Pleader relied upon the judgment of the Supreme Court in Civil Appeal No. 910 of 1968 [1969] 24 S.T.C. Short Notes 6 ; since fully reported as Dyer Meakin Breweries Ltd., v. State of Kerala, [1970] 26 S.T.C. 248 (S.C.). In that case their Lordships were construing the scope of Rule 9(f) of the Kerala General Sales Tax Rules. As pointed out by their Lordships, Rule 9(f) seeks to exclude only those charges which are incurred, either expressly or by necessary implication, for and on behalf of the purchaser, after the sale, when the dealer undertakes to transport the goods and to deliver the same or where the expenditure is incurred as an incident of sale. Therefore, it is clear that what is sought to be excluded there are the freight and handling charges after the sale and not before the sale.

8. Clause (h) of Section 2 of the Central Sales Tax Act deals with freight and handling charges prior to the stage of delivery and in this case, the expenditure incurred towards freight and handling charges was prior to delivery in connection with the sale in question. Therefore, the Tribunal was right in holding that 'sale price' does not include freight and handling charges and as such, the assessees are entitled to claim exemption in respect of this turnover shown as freight and handling charges for the four assessment years in question.

9. In the result, the order of the Tribunal is confirmed and the revisions are dismissed with costs.


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