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Eastern Typewriter Service Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberTax Revision Case Nos. 25 and 26 of 1976
Judge
Reported in[1978]42STC18(AP)
AppellantEastern Typewriter Service
RespondentState of Andhra Pradesh
Appellant AdvocateS. Dasaratharama Reddi and ;S.R. Ashok, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateGovernment Pleader for Commercial Taxes
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....is no standard formula by which one can distinguish a contract of sale from a contract for work and labour. , in a state of good condition were being supplied at the rates agreed between the parties......agreed to be done at the offices where the machines existed at the rates approved. the quarterly servicing charges and overhauling charges were rs. 5 and rs. 28 in the case of standard typewriters and duplicators, while these charges were at rs. 5 and rs. 24 in the case of portable typewriters. over and above these servicing charges and overhauling charges certain spare parts and other materials were supplied for replacement or repairs of these typewriters, duplicators, etc. and the question for consideration is whether the charges for the materials should be treated as charges in respect of the works contract or whether they should be treated as independent sales of these materials. the tribunal has treated this supply of materials for price as amounting to 'sales' and that they.....
Judgment:

B.J. Divan, C. J.

1. The assessee in both these revision cases is the same and it is a proprietary concern. The question arising in connection with two different assessments is the same question in both these cases. Hence, we will dispose of these two matters by this common judgment.

2. The assessee entered into an agreement with the Director of Printing, Stationery and Stores Purchase Department (Stationery Wing), Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, in 1968 to carry out repairs to typewriters, duplicators, calculators and comptometers of all patterns belonging to Government, agreeing to take up repairs and servicing of the typewriters, duplicators, etc., at the rates approved by the Government of India through the Director General of Supplies and Disposals, New Delhi. Under condition 6 of the agreement, the rates for spares were to be allowed as per the rates approved by the Government of India through the Director General of Supplies and Disposals, New Delhi. The quarterly servicing and minor repairs to the machines were agreed to be done at the offices where the machines existed at the rates approved. The quarterly servicing charges and overhauling charges were Rs. 5 and Rs. 28 in the case of standard typewriters and duplicators, while these charges were at Rs. 5 and Rs. 24 in the case of portable typewriters. Over and above these servicing charges and overhauling charges certain spare parts and other materials were supplied for replacement or repairs of these typewriters, duplicators, etc. and the question for consideration is whether the charges for the materials should be treated as charges in respect of the works contract or whether they should be treated as independent sales of these materials. The Tribunal has treated this supply of materials for price as amounting to 'sales' and that they should be assessed to tax.

3. Mr. Dasaratharama Reddi, appearing for the assessee, has drawn our attention to the agreement between the parties in this case. The agreement provides for servicing of typewriters, duplicators, calculators, etc. and ordinarily the charges are as per the agreement between the parties, viz., Rs. 5 and Rs. 28 for servicing and overhauling. Under Clause 3 of the agreement, the assessee agreed to take up repairs and servicing of typewriters, duplicators, etc., of the patterns described in paragraph 2 at the rates approved by the Director General of Supplies and Disposals, New Delhi, in respect of each where the estimated cost of repairs exceeds Rs. 25 or at the rates approved by the Head of the office subject to the confirmation of the rates by the Director of Printing, Stationery and Stores Purchase Department (Stationery Wing), A.P., Hyderabad. The conditions attached to the agreement provide for various details and condition 6 is in these terms :

The rates of spares shall be allowed as per the rates approved by the Government of India through the Director General of Supplies and Disposals, New Delhi.

4. Mr. Dasaratharama Reddi drew our attention to several decisions of the Mysore, Gujarat and Madras High Courts and of the Supreme Court. However, we find that in the latest decision of the Supreme Court in State of Gujarat v. Variety Body Builders [1976] 38 S.T.C. 176 at 187 (S.C.), the Supreme Court has pointed out as follows :

It can be treated as well-settled that there is no standard formula by which one can distinguish a contract of sale from a contract for work and labour. There may be many common features in both the contracts, some neutral in particular context and yet certain clinching terms in a given case may fortify a conclusion one way or the other. It will depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case. The question is not always easy and has for all time vexed jurists all over.

5. In this case the charges for servicing typewriters, duplicators, etc. and overhauling the machines, which are covered by the agreement between the assessee and the Government department, are specific and for all the spare parts, etc., supplied by the assessee while repairing or servicing the typewriters and other machines, the rates are governed by the condition of the agreement. We find from one of the bills which has been reproduced by the Tribunal in its order, that the assessee used to charge separately for each of the items of spare parts supplied and charge sales tax at the rate of 10 per cent on the amount of taxable items and in respect of complete overhauling and major adjustments an amount of Rs. 28 was shown in the bill as non-taxable amount. It is true that from the mere fact that 10 per cent amount was charged in the bill, it does not necessarily follow that the transaction amounted to transaction of sale. It is only in the light of the agreement between the parties that the question can be determined as to whether this was work and labour contract, or whether it was sales contract. Now, under the terms of the agreement for the work and labour done by the assessee the specified rates, viz., Rs. 5 and Rs. 28 in one case and Rs. 5 and Rs. 24 in the other case, were to be charged per quarter. These are the charges for work and labour. It is not as if while carrying out certain servicing and repairs work incidentally some small item was supplied. Here, in the instant case, all the spare parts, which were required for keeping typewriters, duplicators, etc., in a state of good condition were being supplied at the rates agreed between the parties. Under these circumstances, the Tribunal was justified in holding, particularly in the light of the observations of the Supreme Court which we have pointed out above, that the transaction was transaction of sale and not a works and labour contract. In view of this latest judgment of the Supreme Court, we have not referred to the other decisions, viz., Sundaram Motors (Private) Ltd. v. State of Madras [1958] 9 S.T.C. 687, Sundaram Motors Private Ltd. v. State of Mysore [1967] 19 S.T.C. 290, Commissioner of Sales Tax v. Asha Watch Company [1971] 28 S.T.C. 395, Variety Body Builders v. Commissioner of Sales Tax, Gujarat [1971] 28 S.T.C. 339 and State of Madras v. Champion Motor Works [1974] 34 S.T.C. 338.

6. It may be pointed out that the decision of the Supreme Court in State of Gujarat v. Variety Body Builders [1976] 38 S.T.C. 176 (S.C.) is against the decision of the Gujarat High Court in Variety Body Builders v. Commissioner of Sales Tax, Gujarat [1971] 28 S.T.C. 339.

7. In view of the facts of this case, we have come to the conclusion that the Tribunal was right in holding that the supply of spare parts amounted to sales within the meaning of the sales tax law.

8. Under these circumstances, each of these tax revision cases is decided against the assessee and in favour of the revenue.

9. The tax revision cases are, therefore, dismissed. There will be no order as to costs. Advocate's fee. Rs. 150 in each.


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