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Agra University Press Paliwal Park Vs. Commissioner of Sales Tax - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case Number S.T.R. No. 796 of 1979
Judge
Reported in[1984]56STC317(All)
AppellantAgra University Press Paliwal Park
RespondentCommissioner of Sales Tax
DispositionRevision allowed
Excerpt:
- - these cases clearly support the contention of the assessee......supreme court held that the value of containers was assessable only in case there was an express agreement for their sale. this case too does not lend any strength to the argument advanced by the standing counsel. considering the agreement entered into between the parties, it is not possible to hold that the contract entered into by the assessee and the board was severable in the sense that it consisted of two parts; one for the supply of paper, packing envelopes, etc. and the other of labour and services, viz., printing, despatching, etc., the entire contract being composite in character, was a works contract and as such the authorities erred in taxing the impugned turnover.7. the revision succeeds, and is allowed. the order of the revising authority to the extent indicated above is.....
Judgment:

C.S.P. Singh, J.

1. The assessee owns a printing press and supplies printed materials in the shape of envelopes, examination papers, certificates, result sheets, etc. In the assessment year 1972-73, it entered into an agreement with the Madhyamik Shiksha Mandal, Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal, for the supply of examination papers, mark sheets, certificates, etc., in sealed envelopes and packages. Under the terms of the agreement they were to be prepared in accordance with the needs of each examination centre and were to be packed in sealed envelopes and put in boxes, and despatched to the examination centers notified by the Board. In the event of excess number of examination papers being printed by the assessee they were to be sent in a likewise manner to the Board Office. The agreement further stipulated that till such time that the examinations were over the assessee was to maintain secrecy about the contents of the papers, and in the event of a breach by the assessee he will be liable for damages and imposition of such penalty as the Secretary of the Board might determine. A schedule of rates for payment to the assessee was set out along with the agreement. Under the first heading, charges for composing, proof reading, printing, pasting and other similar operations including cost of paper were specified. Under Clauses (c), (d) and (e) of the schedule of rates, prices for the cost of paper required for printing the examination papers, and for craft paper used for packing were detailed. The assessee's contention was that the work done was a job-work, and was not liable to tax. He claimed exemption on the turnover of envelopes, craft paper, packages and the printed material including the question papers. The Sales Tax Officer accepted the accounts, but taxed the turnover of envelopes, and the turnover of the printed material and question papers. The revising authority has upheld this view. Counsel for the assessee contended that it was a works contract, and not liable to tax, as although the rates of payment for paper, envelopes, etc., had been separately specified, but that was only for calculating the total amount payable to the assessee for printing the examination papers, despatching them to the examination centres and thereafter printing the result sheets and certificates, etc. He has particularly placed reliance on the decision of the Kerala High Court in the case of P.T. Varghese v. State of Kerala [1976] 37 STC 171 and on State of Tamil Nadu v. Anandam Viswanaihan [1977] 39 STC 226. In the Varghese's case a question arose as to whether the assessee who was running a press and printing bill books, vouchers, receipt books, letter head, question papers and notices, as ordered by his client in which he used his own paper, was doing a works contract, or a contract for sale of paper, and a contract for work and labour involved in printing those materials. It was held that the contract for supply of the aforesaid material was a composite contract, and could not be broken up into one relating to sale of paper and the other for work and labour, and as it was a works contract, its turnover could not be taxed. In Anandam's case the assessee had entered into a contract with Universities and other educational institutions for printing question papers. In the quotation the assessee had given separately the charges for printing, block-making, packing and handling and for the cost of paper and packing material. It was held that as the contract was a composite contract for the supply of printed question papers properly packed, it could not be broken up into a contract for sale of paper and for work and labour involved in printing them. These cases clearly support the contention of the assessee.

2. Sri V.D. Singh, the Learned Standing Counsel, however, referred to the decisions in the cases of Babulal Onkarmal & Co. v. State of Bombay [1964] 15 STC 598, Government of Andhra Pradesh v. Guntur Tobaccos Ltd. [1965] 16 STC 240 (SC), Hyderabad Deccan Cigarette Factory v. State of Andhra Pradesh [1966] 17 STC 624 (SC) and Commissioner of Taxes, Assam v. Prabhai Marketing Co. [1967] 19 STC 84 (SC) and urged that both the turnover of paper and envelopes was liable to tax. I am unable to agree with this contention. As will be presently shown, none of the cases relied upon can be appropriately applied to the fact of the present case.

3. In Babulal Onker Mal's case [1964] 15 STC 598 the applicants were engaged in the business of ginning and pressing cotton, and after converting them into bales packed them in hessian with iron hoops. The question arose as to whether the contract entered into by the assessees with their customers for ginning and pressing cotton also included within it, the supply of hessian and iron hoops. It was held that as the contract entered into was for the ginning and pressing of cotton only, the price charged for hessian and iron hoops was not a part of the works contract of ginning and pressing cotton, and as such the supply of hessian and iron hoops by the assessees was a sale of those goods, and the assessees were dealers in respect of these goods within the meaning of Section 2(6) of the Bombay Sales Tax Act. We have already adverted to the contract entered into in the present case. The contract is a composite contract for the supply of printed examination papers, duly packed which had to be sent by the assessee to the various examination centres, and thereafter the assessee has to print the result sheet of the examination. During the performance of this contract strict secrecy has to be observed. This being so, the contract cannot be split up into one for the supply of paper and envelopes, and the other for labour and service consisting of printing, packing and despatching the examination papers and the result sheets and maintaining secrecy.

4. In the Guntur Tobabccos Ltd.'s case [1965] 16 STC 240 (SC) the assessee was carrying on the business of redrying tobacco entrusted to it by customers. The dried tobacco was packed in packing material purchased from the market, and then delivered to the customers. For redrying each lot of tobacco, the assessee charged certain sums, but there was no separate charge for the packing material. The assessee was assessed on the value of the packing material on the ground that there was a sale of the packing material. The majority held that as there was no contract for sale of packing material, the use of the packing material by the assessee must be taken to be incidental to the works contract. This case affords no assistance to the contention raised, but on the contrary goes in favour of the assessee, inasmuch as in the present case too it cannot be held that the assessee had contracted with the Board to supply envelopes, etc., separately, from the printed examination papers. As secrecy had to be maintained regarding the contents of the examination papers, they had to be sent in sealed envelopes. The packing of the examination papers in the envelopes and cartons was incidental to the contract for the supply of printed examination papers and did not constitute a separate contract.

5. In Hyderabad Deccan Cigarette Factory's case [1966] 17 STC 624 (SC) the department sought to assess the cigarette factory on the turnover of packing material consisting of cardboard and dealwood. It was held that the question as to whether there was a sale of packing material was essentially a question of fact, and as no finding had been given that it was subject to an agreement for sale, or was used by the sellers as convenient and cheap vehicle of transport, the question could not be decided till such findings were recorded. The case as such also sheds little light on the point involved.

6. In Prabhat Marketing Co.'s case [1967] 19 STC 84 (SC) the question was whether the value of containers of hydrogenated oil could be assessed to sales tax. The High Court had taken the view that it could not be included in the turnover unless a separate price for it has been charged. Their Lordships of the Supreme Court held that the value of containers was assessable only in case there was an express agreement for their sale. This case too does not lend any strength to the argument advanced by the standing Counsel. Considering the agreement entered into between the parties, it is not possible to hold that the contract entered into by the assessee and the Board was severable in the sense that it consisted of two parts; one for the supply of paper, packing envelopes, etc. and the other of labour and services, viz., printing, despatching, etc., the entire contract being composite in character, was a works contract and as such the authorities erred in taxing the impugned turnover.

7. The revision succeeds, and is allowed. The order of the revising authority to the extent indicated above is set aside and he is directed to treat the impugned turnover as a works contract. The assessee is entitled to its costs, which is assessed at Rs. 200. A copy of this order will be sent to the revising authority under Section 11(8) of the Act.


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