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Bakhat Ram Takhat Ram and ors. Vs. the State of Uttar Pradesh Andors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petition Nos. 2621, 2752, 2768 to 2771, 2794 to 2797, 2844, 2845 to 2848, 2983, 2984, 3004, 300
Judge
Reported in[1973]32STC14(All)
AppellantBakhat Ram Takhat Ram and ors.
RespondentThe State of Uttar Pradesh Andors.
Appellant AdvocateR.R. Agarwal, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateStanding Counsel
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
- - it is argued that the notification of 16th february, 1965, issued sub-section 4(1)(a) has not been rescinded and, therefore, paddy continues to enjoy the exemption from sales tax. this shows that paddy is regarded as a foodgrain by the government as well as by the traders. the petitions fail and are dismissed......intended to be included in food-grains as declared in clause (ii) of the notification. under that clause foodgrains include cereals and pulses but exclude sawan, kodon, mandua, kisar, kisari dal, etc. paddy has not been specifically excluded. it is argued that the intention could not be to include paddy, because the government has treated paddy as a separate item, not falling within the definition of foodgrains. reference is made to list i, where food-grains including cereals and pulses and excluding sawan, kodon, etc., have been mentioned at item no. 1 and paddy has separately been mentioned at item no. 3. it is argued that if paddy was included in foodgrains it was not necessary to mention it separately at item no. 3.7. now, list i purports to rescind all previous notifications in.....
Judgment:

R.L. Gulati, J.

1. The petitioners, who are in number, are dealers in paddy. The petitioners Nos. 1 to 26 are millers, who purchase paddy, husk it and sell rice. The remaining petitioners are wholesale dealers who purchase paddy and get it hulled and processed by other millers and sell the rice so produced. They are all registered under the provisions of the U.P. Sales Tax Act. Hitherto paddy was not liable to purchase tax nor was it liable to sales tax. Recently, the State Government of U.P. has issued a notification dated 15th November, 1971, under which the turnover of purchases of paddy is sought to be taxed by the sales tax department. The petitioners have deposited purchase tax in respect of the third and fourth quarters of the year 1971-72. According to the petitioners, they are not liable to any tax in respect of the purchases of paddy and are entitled to the refund of the tax already paid. Hence this and other connected petitions under Article 226 of the Constitution.

2. Section 3-D of the U.P. Sales Tax Act is the charging section under which purchase tax is levied on the turnover of first purchases of such commodities and at such rate not exceeding 2 paise per rupee in respect of the foodgrains, including cereals and pulses and five paise per rupee in the case of other goods and with effect from such date, as may from time to time be notified by the State Government. The Governor of Uttar Pradesh issued an Ordinance, Uttar Pradesh Taxation Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 1971 (U.P. Ordinance No. 19 of 1971). It came into force on 15th November, 1971. Section 3 of the Ordinance has amended Section 3-D of the U.P. Sales Tax Act. The amendment so far as material for our purpose is as under :

In Sub-section (1)-

(x) for the opening paragraph, the following paragraph shall be substituted, namely :-

'except as provided in Sub-section (2), there shall be levied and paid, for each assessment year or part thereof, a tax on the turnover, to be determined in the prescribed manner,-

(a) of purchases of such foodgrains (including cereals and pulses), at such rate not exceeding two per cent.,

(b) of first purchases of such other goods, at such rate not exceeding five per cent. and with effect from such date, as the State Government may, by notification in the Gazette, specify, in relation to purchases by a dealer (whether on his own account or on account of anyone else) or through a dealer acting as a purchasing agent.'

3. The Ordinance has since been replaced by U.P. Act No. 11 of 1972. On 15th November, 1971, the Governor issued the impugned notification, which reads :

In exercise of the powers Sub-section (1) of Section 3-D of the U.P. Sales Tax Act, 1948 (U.P. Act No. XV of 1948), read with Section 21 of the U.P. General Clauses Act, 1904 (U.P. Act No. I of 1904), the Governor is pleased, with effect from November 15, 1971-

(i) to rescind all previous notifications in so far as they relate to the goods specified in List I annexed to this notification and the rate of tax thereon ;

(ii) to declare that the turnover of purchases in respect of food-grains (including cereals and pulses), but excluding sawan, kodon, mandua, kisar (or kisari or latri), kisari dal, kakun, manjhari (or ankri), juar, kutu and ramdana, shall be liable to tax Sub-clause (a) of Sub-section (1) of Section 3-D at the rate of one per cent., at all points of purchase; and

(iii) further to declare that the turnover of first purchases in respect of the goods mentioned in List II below shall be liable to tax Sub-clause (b) of Sub-section (1) of Section 3-D of the said Act at the rate mentioned against each:

List I

1. Foodgrains including cereals and pulses but excluding sawan, kodon, mandua, kisar (or kisari or latri), kisari dal, kakun, manjhari (or ankri), juar, kutu, ramdana and paddy.

2. Bristles.

3. Paddy.

4. Ghee.

5. Gur including gur-shakkar, jaggery powder, gur-lauta, gur-raskat and palmyra gur.

6. Jute.

7..Oil-seeds.

8. Rah.

List IISI. No. Description of goods Rate of tax.1. Bristles 1 per cent.2. Ghee 3 per cent.3. Gur including gur-shakkar, 5 per cent.jaggery powder, gur-lauta,gur-raskat and palmyra gur4. Jute 2 per cent5. Oil-seeds 3 per cent6 Rab 5 per cent.

4. It will be immediately noticed that the restriction in the unamend- ed Section 3-D(1) that the tax would be leviable on the first purchases only was removed in respect of foodgrains, even though such restriction was retained in respect of other goods. The notification of 15th November, 1971, reproduced above, purports to impose a tax at the rate of 1 per cent, at all points of purchases in respect of foodgrains [clause (ii)] while Sub-clause (iii) the tax is levied on the turnover of first purchases of goods mentioned in List II.

5. The contention put forward on behalf of the petitioners is that on a correct reading of the impugned notification paddy has not been subjected to tax. It will be noticed that by the impugned notification the Government has sought to achieve three things. By Clause (i) it has rescinded all previous notifications relating to foodgrains and seven other commodities including paddy as mentioned in List I; by Clause (ii) it has levied tax on the turnover of purchases of foodgrains at the rate of 1 per cent, at all points of purchases and Sub-clause (iii) it has levied tax at different rates on the first purchases of goods as mentioned in List II. The argument is that the Government having rescinded all previous notifications in respect of foodgrains including paddy (as per List I), paddy has not been named for tax either Sub-clause (ii)or Clause (iii) and, as such, no tax can be levied on the purchases of paddy in pursuance of this notification. The argument proceeds that paddy is not a foodgrain nor does the notification show that paddy was intended to be included in foodgrains.

6. It is true that paddy has not separately been mentioned in the notification and unless it is covered by the word 'foodgrain' tax cannot be levied on its purchases in pursuance of the impugned notification. Now Clause (a) of Section 3-D(1), as amended by the Ordinance, permits the imposition of tax on the purchases of foodgrains. What has to be seen is as to whether paddy was intended to be included in food-grains as declared in Clause (ii) of the notification. Under that clause foodgrains include cereals and pulses but exclude sawan, kodon, mandua, kisar, kisari dal, etc. Paddy has not been specifically excluded. It is argued that the intention could not be to include paddy, because the Government has treated paddy as a separate item, not falling within the definition of foodgrains. Reference is made to List I, where food-grains including cereals and pulses and excluding sawan, kodon, etc., have been mentioned at item No. 1 and paddy has separately been mentioned at item No. 3. It is argued that if paddy was included in foodgrains it was not necessary to mention it separately at item No. 3.

7. Now, List I purports to rescind all previous notifications in respect of the commodities enumerated therein. Item No. 1 relates to foodgrains which include cereals and pulses and exclude paddy. Paddy is separately mentioned at serial No. 3. The question arises as to why paddy has been excluded from foodgrains in item No. 1 and listed separately at item No. 3. In order to find out the answer to that query, it will be necessary to refer to certain earlier notifications relating to foodgrains and paddy. The first notification is Notification No. ST-7122/X-900(16)-64 dated 1st October, 1964. That is a notification issued Sub-section 3-D(1) and provides:

With effect from October 1, 1964, the turnover of first purchases in respect of goods mentioned below shall be liable to tax Sub-section 3-D of the said Act at the rate mentioned against each:SI. No. Name of goods Rate of tax1. Foodgrains including cereals and 1.5 paise perpulses rupee.* * *

8. This notification was amended by Notification No. ST-7632/X- 900(16-A)-64 dated 30th November, 1964. By this notification, entry at serial No. 1 in the table under the heading 'name of goods', the followine words and commas were added :

but excluding sawan, kodon, mandua, kisar (or kisari or latri), kisari dal, kakun, manjhari (or ankri), juar, kutu and ramdana.

9. Next comes the Notification No. ST-315/X-900(16-A)-1964 dated 16th February, 1965. This again purports to amend the aforesaid notification dated 1st October, 1964. The amendment reads:

In the table appended to the aforesaid notification dated October 1, 1964, in the entry at serial No. 1, under the heading 'name of goods', for the words and full stop 'kutu and ramdana.' the words, a comma and full stop 'kutu, ramdana and paddy.' shall be substituted.

10. Thus, the final entry, as amended by the aforesaid two notifications, came to read :

Foodgrains, including cereals and pulses but excluding sawan, kodon, mandua, kisar (or kisari or latri), kisari dal, kakun, manjhari (or ankri), juar, kutu, ramdana and paddy.

11. This entry corresponds exactly to item No. 1 in List I relating to foodgrains. So, the result was that the entry relating to foodgrains, excluding paddy, as enumerated above, stood rescinded. Then we have Notification No. ST-315-A/X-900(16-A)-1964 dated 16th February, 1965. That is a notification Sub-clause (a) of Section 4(1) and provides that the Governor of Uttar Pradesh is pleased to exempt, with effect from 16th February, 1965, the .sale of paddy from payment of tax under the said Act.

12. It appears that the intention of the Government was to exempt from tax altogether the purchases and sales of paddy and to achieve that object, paddy was first excluded from foodgrains in the notification Sub-section 3-D(1) and exempted from sales tax Sub-section 4(1)(a). In order to rescind this notification also, which relates only to paddy, it was mentioned at item No. 3 in List I. The result was that the exemption from sales tax for paddy was withdrawn. That is why paddy was separately mentioned at item No. 3 in List I. The fact, that paddy was specifically excluded from the notification Sub-section 3-D(1), as reproduced above, shows that the Government considered paddy to be a foodgrain, otherwise there was no reason for excluding it from foodgrains which were subject to purchase tax.

13. The question, however, still remains if paddy would be included in 'foodgrains' under the amended Section 3-D(1), which is the charging section. If paddy cannot be called a foodgrain, then the charging section will not apply and the impugned notification would not cover paddy even if the intention of the Government was to include it. The Government cannot enlarge the scope of the charging section by treating paddy to be a foodgrain, if the Legislature did not treat it so.

14. Before we answer this question, it is appropriate to deal with a subsidiary contention. It is argued that the notification of 16th February, 1965, issued Sub-section 4(1)(a) has not been rescinded and, therefore, paddy continues to enjoy the exemption from sales tax. The argument is that the impugned notification has been issued in the exercise of powers under Section 3-D(1), which relates only to purchase tax and does not extend to sales tax. Therefore, by this notification, the notification Sub-section 4(1)(a) relating to sales tax in respect of paddy could not be rescinded.

15. To us it appears that the impugned notification is a composite notification issued Sub Sub-section (1) of Section 3-D and Sub-section 21 of the General Clauses Act. Section 3-D(1) authorises the State Government to issue notification for the levy of purchase tax. It does not authorise the State Government to rescind any notification. The power to rescind a notification is to be found Sub-section 21 of the U.P. General Clauses Act. Thus, the object to be achieved by the notification was to levy purchase tax Sub clauses (ii) and (iii) and to rescind all previous notifications whether relating to purchase tax or sales tax Sub-section 21 of the General Clauses Act.

16. Reverting now to the main contention, what has to be seen is as to whether paddy is a foodgrain or not. Foodgrain is a comprehensive term, which includes all grains which are used as food by human beings. Paddy, as such, no doubt, is not fit for human consumption, but encased inside it is rice, which is taken out from paddy by a process called husking or hulling. In other words, paddy is nothing but unhusked rice. In Webster's New International Dictionary, the meaning of paddy is 'in commerce, unmilled or rough rice, whether growing or cut, also, rice in general'. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, paddy means 'the rice in the straw or (in commerce) in the husk'. In Encyclopaedia Britannica, we find mentioned in the heading 'preparation of rice' : 'The kernel of rice as it leaves the thresher, is enclosed by the hull or husk and is known as paddy or rough rice. Rough rice is used for seed and feed for live-stock, but most of it is milled for human consumption'. Even in the commercial world, paddy is regarded as a foodgrain. Our attention has been drawn to certain newspapers. In Northern India Patrika, dated 25th October, 1972, on the commercial page, paddy is mentioned under the heading grains and pulses. Same is the position in Times of India of 28th October, 1972, where paddy is mentioned under the head 'grains and pulses'. In a booklet issued by the Joint Director of Agriculture (Statistics), Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow, called the Bulletin of Agricultural Statistics for Uttar Pradesh 1967-68, we find Table 2-4, which gives the acreage of important foodgrains from 1950-51 to 1967-68 in Uttar Pradesh, paddy is one of the items given in that table. This shows that paddy is regarded as a foodgrain by the Government as well as by the traders. That apart, Sub-clause (a) of Section 3-D(1), as amended, foodgrain includes cereals. One of the meanings of cereal in the Webster's Dictionary is 'any grass yielding farinaceous seeds suitable for food, as wheat, maize, rice, etc., also the seeds or grain so produced, either in their original state or commercially prepared'. Thus, according to this definition, paddy would be a cereal, as it is rice in its original state.

17. We have been referred to a decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Ganesh Trading Company v. State of Haryana and Anr. [1971] 27 S.T.C. 340, where it has been held that paddy and rice are two different commodities. That case is distinguishable. There a deduction out of the taxable turnover was allowable of the turnover of purchases of goods which were sold not later than six months of the close of the year to a registered dealer, etc. In the schedule enumerating the goods on which the purchase tax was payable, paddy and rice are mentioned separately and, therefore, it was held that a person selling rice could not claim deduction of the tax paid by him on the purchases of paddy. Here rice and paddy have not been mentioned separately. We are called upon to interpret the word 'foodgrain'. Foodgrain, in our opinion, would include rice whether in commercially prepared form or in its original state, which is called paddy.

18. This leaves us with the last contention of the learned counsel for the petitioners. The contention is that Sub-clause (a) of Section 3-D(1) tax is leviable on 'such foodgrains' as the State Government may, by notification in the Gazette, specify and, therefore, the State Government had to specify the foodgrains which were intended to be subjected to tax. It is said that paddy, even though a foodgrain, has not been so specified. Now, the notification mentions only foodgrains without specifying all of them. It includes cereals and pulses and excludes certain grains. This, in our opinion, is adequate specification. Specification may be by enumerating all foodgrains separately or by process of elimination. The notification sets out the foodgrains which are excluded. It means that the Government specified the foodgrains liable to tax by excluding therefrom such foodgrains as were not intended to be included. Thus, we are of the opinion, the requirement of the law has been sufficiently complied with.

19. In the end, we hold that the petitioners are rightly being asked to pay the purchase tax on the turnover of the purchases of paddy. The petitions fail and are dismissed. There will be no order as to costs.


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