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Mother India Refrigeration Industries P. Ltd. Vs. Superintendent of Central Excise and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectExcise
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Petition No. 472 of 1976
Judge
Reported in1980(6)ELT600(All)
ActsCentral Excises Act, 1944; Customs Act
AppellantMother India Refrigeration Industries P. Ltd.
RespondentSuperintendent of Central Excise and ors.
DispositionPetition allowed
Excerpt:
- - it is thus clear that erection of a complete plant at the site is outside the purview of sub-entries (1), (2) as well as (3). 8. the question then arises whether assembly or erection of a part of the refrigerating unit, namely, the erection of cooling coils and condensers at the site of the factory would be within the purview of entry 29-a......has been restricted by the elaboration made in the sub-items (1) and (2), under both the sub-items, refrigerating and air-conditioning appliances which are ordinarily' sold or offered for sale as ready assembled units are liable to duty. this is a restrictive condition with the result that refrigerator and other refrigerating applicances mentioned in item (1) or air-conditioners or other air-conditioning appliances mentioned in item (2) are not liable to duty unless it is furthsr established that they are ordinarily sold or offered for sale as ready assembled units. if a person erects a refrigerating plant from his own indigenous efforts and creates a refrigerating machinery or refrigerating unit, it will not be within the entry and hence will not be liable to duty because the duty.....
Judgment:

Satish Chandra, C.J.

1. This group of 19 writ petition has been filed by cold storage owners. The facts and the points of law raised in each are the same. We shall take the facts from Civil Miscellaneous Writ No. 450 of 1976. In this case, the petitioner installed and assembled the cold storage plant in 1965. Part of the plant consisted of erecting locally what an; called cooling coils and condensers. Generally cooling coils and containers contain a very long length of pipes made in a particular shape. The petitioner, however bought pipes of various lengths, erected them one after the other and joined one with the other with an 'U' shape bend. These bends were welded. The result was that the various pipes constituted an unit in designing the plant. This part of the plant was necessary in order to pass the cooling gas through it and thereby cool the chambers of the storage. The petitioner bought the pipes and the bends from the market and got them placed at the factory site and got them welded himself.

2. The petitioner received a notice dated April 22, 1970, from the Superintendent, Central Excise stating that the petitioner had manufactured parts of refrigerating and airconditioning machinery and appliances covered by Item No. 29A (3) of the First Schedule to the Central Excises and Salt Act, 1944, namely, condensers and cooling coils. On the estimated value of these coils and condensers a duty in the, sum of Rs. 32,000/- was payable which the petitioner was required to pay or to' show cause.

3. The petitioner filed objections which were dismissed by the Assistant Collector of Central Excise by an order dated June 22, 1973. The petitioner filed an appeal. The Appellate Collector of Central Excise and Customs dismissed the appeal on June 29, 1976. The petitioner then filed a revision before the Central Government. The same was pending when the present writ petition was filed.

4. Similar was the case with other petitioners. They also went up in appeal and then in revision. In some of those cases the revision was decided by the .Govt. of India. It was held that the conglomeration of pipes manufactured by-the petitioner constitutes manufacture of a cooling coil as used in refrigeration technology. The arrangement of coils in the manner done by the petitioner answered the term 'Cooling coils and condensers' adequately. It was also held that it was not necessary that for a person to be licenced he should be in the trade or profession of manufacture of component parts of regrigerating machinery. The petitioner did manufacture these parts, to carry on the business of cold storage. It was also found that the plea based upon the tariff advice relating to the entire refrigeration plant being assembled at site was not maintainable. Tariff advice was not applicable to components or parts of such refrigeration unit. The parts namely, the cooling coils and condensers erected by the petitioner in his own cold storage were liable to duty under Item No. 29A (3) of the Central Excise and Salt Act, 1944. The judgment of the Gujarat High Court relied upon by the petitioner was held distinguishable. On these findings the revision dismissed.

5. We are not disposed to decide the petition on a technical plea of alternative remedy because we now know the views of the Central Government. They have decided revisions in, marry cases. It will hence not be rightto ask such of the petitioners who have filed.revisions to await the decision.

6. All the authorities below have concurrently found that the things erected or installed by the petitioner by laying pipes and joining them by welded bends was manufacture of cooling coils and condensers as known to refrigeration technology. This is a finding on facts and we have not been pursuaded that the findings suffers from any manifest error or law. The basic method of erection of these pipes and the purpose of their use was nothing else than that of cooling coils and condensers as they are technically called. We shall hence proceed on the basis that the petitioner while erecting or installing the cold storage plant did manufacture cooling coils and condensers which are parts of refrigeration plant or unit. The authorities below have held that these installations were within the purview of Entry 29A (3) of the Act. This entry runs as follows :

Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Appliances :

Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Appliances and machinery, All Sorts, and parts thereof :-

(1) Refrigerator and other refrigerating appliances wnich are ordinarily sold or offered for sale as ready assembled units, such as ice makers, bottle coolers, display cabinets and water coolers.

...75% ad valorem.

(2) Air Conditioners and other air conditioning appliances, which are ordinarily sold or offered for sale as ready assembled units, including package type airconditioners and evaporative type of coolers

... 100% ad valorem

(3) Parts of refrigerating and airconditioning appliances and machinery, all sorts..125% ad valorem.

This entry finds place in the Schedule which is part of the Act. It has as much statutory force as the provisions of the Act itself.

Under Entry 29A, refrigerating or airconditioning appliances are covered. The sub-heading, which is equally important refers to refrigerating and airconditioning appliances and machinery all sorts, and parts thereof. These things are elaborated in the sub-items (1), (2) and (3). It is apparent that refrigerating and airconditioning appliances which answer the description given in subentries (1) aed (2) alone are liable to duty.

The heading is general but the ambit of that heading has been restricted by the elaboration made in the sub-items (1) and (2), Under both the sub-items, refrigerating and air-conditioning appliances which are ordinarily' sold or offered for sale as ready assembled units are liable to duty. This is a restrictive condition with the result that refrigerator and other refrigerating applicances mentioned in item (1) or air-conditioners or other air-conditioning appliances mentioned in item (2) are not liable to duty unless it is furthsr established that they are ordinarily sold or offered for sale as ready assembled units. If a person erects a refrigerating plant from his own indigenous efforts and creates a refrigerating machinery or refrigerating unit, it will not be within the entry and hence will not be liable to duty because the duty is leviable only on such of the mentioned appliances as are ready assembled units and are sold and offered for sale as such. Disputes arose in respect of this under the Customs Act. The Central Board of Excise and Customs issued a clariricatory tariff ruling. It states that 'in view of the wordings of the sub-items (1) and (2) of Item 29 of Central Excise Tariff, duty appears to bs attached only on refrigerators, refrigerating appliances, air-conditioners and air-conditioning appliances which are ordinarily sold or offered for sale as ready assembled units. The phrase 'ready assembled units' mentioned in Item 29-A supports this. Air-conditioning plants, cold storage plants and icemaking plants, etc. consist of series of machines and other equipments which are situated at different places and connected with each other to form the complete equipment. Such plant may be sold completely but are not ordinarily sold or offered for sale as ready assembled units. These are erected at site and many of the equipments would have to be tailored to individual requirements Such plants would not, therefore, be classified under sub-items (1) and (2) of Item 29-A of the Central Excise Tariff. Further the aforesaid interpretation of the tariff items was not considered and if refrigerating and airconditioning plants are also taken as covered by the sub-items (1) and (2), then the expression 'which are ordinarily sold or offered for sale as ready assembled units' occurring in the sub-item would be redundant. This, therefore, would not be a proper interpretation.

7. Subitem (3) of Item 29-A refers to parts of machinery and appliances. Complete plants cannot be considered as 'parts of machinery' and so would not be classifiable under sub-item (3) to Item /9-A also.

The Board accordingly considered that complete refrigerating and air- conditioning plants which are not ordinarily sold as ready assembled units but have to be erected at site would be outside the purview of Item 29-A and that no countervailing duty would be leviable on them. This is in accord with the interpretation that has appealed to us that the central idea underlying Entry 29-A is that the dutiable article must be an assembled unit which is ordinarily sold or offered for sale. If a person erects a unit with his own ingenuity, that is not liable to duty. It is further clear that component parts erected at the site are equally outside the purview of Entry 29-A as they are not assem- bled units. It is thus clear that erection of a complete plant at the site is outside the purview of sub-entries (1), (2) as well as (3).

8. The question then arises whether assembly or erection of a part of the refrigerating unit, namely, the erection of cooling coils and condensers at the site of the factory would be within the purview of Entry 29-A. It is obvious that it is outside the purview of sub-items (1) and (2). The heading of Entry 29-A makes it clear that only parts of such refrigerating and air-conditioning applian-ces and machinery as are covered by sub-entries (1) and (2) alone are liable to duty. In other words, the parts in question should be such as are ordinarily sold or offered for sale as ready assembled units. On any other interpretation the word 'thereof occurring in the heading 29-A will be redundant. An inte- pretation which makes any part of a statute redundant has to be discarded.

9. Mr. Tewari appearing for the department submitted that the duty leviable under the Excise Act is on the event of manufacture. The purposed the' object of manufacture is irrelevant. It is immaterial whether the article is manufactured for the purpose of sale or consumption. It may even be destroyed. Yet the event of manufacture attracts the levy of excise duty. There is no quarrel with this proposition which is generally true under the Excise Act. But when an entry in the schedule specifically refers to and restricts the applicability of d,uty to goods which are assembled units and which are generally offered for sale, the concept .of sale is necessarily brought in. As already seen, subentry (3) takes its colour from sub entries (1) and (2) because of the specific directive of the heading by using the words 'parts thereof, we are hence unable to agree with the authorities below that the tariff advice in relation to the refrigeration plants which are assembled at site was not relevant for determining the issue with regard to the parts which are assembled at site. In our opinion, these parts, though they may be called cooling coils and condensers, were not liable to excise duty within the meaning of Item 29-A (3) of the Tariff Schedule.

10. In the result, the petitions succeed and are allowed. The order passed by the authorities below are quashed and the demand notice issued to the petitioners are set aside. The petitioners will be entitled to costs.


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