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The Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner (inspection) and anr. Vs. Laxmi Electric Company - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberLetters Patent Appeal No. 246 of 1980 in Civil Writ Petition No. 3843 of 1979
Judge
Reported in[1983]53STC346(P& H)
AppellantThe Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner (inspection) and anr.
RespondentLaxmi Electric Company
Appellant Advocate L.K. Sood, Adv.
Respondent Advocate Bhagirath Dass and; Romesh Chand, Advs.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredKamal Machinery Store v. Assessing Authoriiy
Excerpt:
- sections 80 (2) & 89 & punjab motor vehicles rules, 1989, rules 85 & 80: [t.s. thakur, cj, jasbir singh & surya kant, jj] appeal against orders of state or regional transport authority imitation held, a stipulation regarding the period of limitation available for invoking the remedy shall have to be strictly construed. that is because any provision by way of limitation is in the nature of a restraint on the remedy provided under the act. so viewed two inferences are clear viz., (1) sections 80 and 89 of the act read with rule 85 of the rules make it obligatory for the authorities making the order to communicate it to the applicant concerned and (2) the period of limitation for any appeal against the order is reckonable from the date of such communication of the reasons would imply..........:the respondents to these appeals deal in agricultural implements including monoblock centrifugal pumping sets. they are registered dealers under the punjab general sales tax, act 1948 (for short 'the punjab act'). they used to deduct the turnover of sales of monoblock pumping sets from their gross turnover during the year and used to pay sales tax on the taxable turnover. the authorities used to accept this position. however on the advice of the state government, the excise and taxation commissioner issued a letter no. sti/79/879 dated 9th april, 1979, to all the assistant excise and taxation commissioners in the state of punjab, who are the assessing authorities under the act, wherein it was stated that the government had clarified that the monoblock pumping sets are not covered by.....
Judgment:

Sukhdev Singh Kang, J.

1. This judgment will govern the disposal of Letters Patent Appeals Nos. 246, 247, 248, 249, 250 and 346 of 1980. They raise common questions of law for decision and are directed against a common judgment of the learned single Judge Reported as Paul Electric Company v. The Assistant Excise and taxation Commissioner (Inspection) Amritsar [1980] 46 STC 504.

2. The facts lie in a narrow compass :

The respondents to these appeals deal in agricultural implements including monoblock centrifugal pumping sets. They are registered dealers under the Punjab General Sales Tax, Act 1948 (for short 'the Punjab Act'). They used to deduct the turnover of sales of monoblock pumping sets from their gross turnover during the year and used to pay sales tax on the taxable turnover. The authorities used to accept this position. However on the advice of the State Government, the Excise and Taxation Commissioner issued a letter No. STI/79/879 dated 9th April, 1979, to all the Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioners in the State of Punjab, who are the Assessing Authorities under the Act, wherein it was stated that the Government had clarified that the monoblock pumping sets are not covered by item No. 34, agricultural implements as appearing in Schedule B of the Act and their sale is thus taxable at the rate of 6 per cent. It was directed that further action be taken accordingly. The letter had the desired effect. After its receipt the Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioners started issuing notices under Section 21 of the Act for reopening the cases of the respondents already decided and for levying tax on sale and purchase of monoblock pumping sets. This letter impelled the respondents to file writ petitions in this Court. It was contended therein that monoblock pumping sets were centrifugal pumps which have been declared to be tax-free goods by including them in item No. 34 of Schedule B to the Act. The learned single Judge upheld this contention of the writ petitioners and held that a monoblock pumping set is one complete unit manufactured and marketed as such. He concluded that the monoblock pumping sets were not liable to sales tax. Aggrieved, the State of Punjab has filed these Letters Patent appeals.

3. The sole question that falls for consideration is as to whether monoblock pumping sets are centrifugal pumps and are exempt from sales tax. Section 4 of the Act is a charging provision. This section provides that sales tax is leviable on the taxable turnover of a dealer subject to the provisions of the Act. Taxable turnover is defined in Sub-section (2) of Section 5 of the Act to mean that part of the dealer's gross turnover during a year which remains after deducting therefrom his turnover on the sale of goods declared tax-free under Section 6 of the Act. Section 6 of the Act lays down that no tax is payable on the sale of goods specified in the first column of Schedule B subject to the conditions and exceptions set out in the corresponding entry in the second column thereof. The dealer cannot charge sales tax on the sale of goods declared 'tax-free'. Item No. 34 in Schedule B enumerates agricultural implements which have been declared 'tax-free'. Centrifugal pumps find meniion therein and the sale thereof is not liable to sales tax. A monoblock centrifugal pump or for short monoblock pumping set is a contrivance manufactured for drawing or pumping water ; an electric motor coupled with the centrifugal pump by a common lathe to provide motive force to the latter. It consists of one single block. It can be purchased only as one item. If the electric motor is detached from the centrifugal pump, both cannot be used independently. The design of the centrifugal pump, which has to be used in a monoblock pumping set is different to some extent from the design of an ordinary centrifugal pump. If a centrifugal pump and a motor are purchased separately and they are joined together that contrivance is not called a 'monoblock pumping set'. The dealers while selling a monoblock pumping set charge it as one item, separate prices of the pumping set and the motor are not mentioned in the bill. It is well-settled that the words 'in a taxing statute' must be interpreted according to its popular sense meaning that 'sense which people conversant with the subject-matter with which the statute is dealing would attribute to it' : see Porritts & Spencer (Asia) Ltd. v. State of Haryana [1978] 42 STC 433 (SC).

4. Even the Assessing Authority, Amritsar, in Civil Writ Petition No. 3680 of 1979, decided on 8th January, 1980, held :

Monoblock pumping sets are combination of centrifugal pumps and electric motor and they are rolled out of the factories as single units. I have even seen the centrifugal pump and the monoblock pumping set and found out that the part comprising the pumping set in the monoblock has a different shape from the combining side, than that of centrifugal pumps sold independently, and therefore, the assessee could not manipulate accounts by using single bill for sale of two items separately....

5. No appeal or revision was filed against this order. Annexure P-3 is another order appended to this very appeal. It has been observed therein by the Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Jullundur :.monoblock pumping sets are centrifugal pumps that are coupled with electric motors. Since these are monoblock pumping sets, they are included in the term 'centrifugal pumps' and are exempt under item No. 34 of Schedule B.' The State filed an additional affidavit in some of the writ petitions. It was averred therein :

a monoblock pumping set is one block, i.e., the centrifugal pump and an electric motor attached with one common shaft and are inseparable.

6. The authorities under the Act, who are conversant with this subject, have been treating monoblock pumping sets to be centrifugal pumps. Before 15th April, 1971, the tax-free item under entry No. 34 was denned as 'agricultural implements'. The dispute arose as to whether monoblock pumping sets were exigible to sales tax. The departmental authorities wanted that they should be treated to be electrical goods which is an item taxable. A Division Bench of this Court in Kamal Machinery Store v. Assessing Authoriiy, Karnal [1973] 31 STC 3 held that monoblock pumping sets when used by an agriculturist would fall within the definition of 'agricultural implements'. Merely because in the case of one tool, the motivation is by electrical energy, it does not and will not make it 'electrical goods'. It is the intrinsic nature and the purpose for which a tool is used, which would, in our opinion, determine its nature. No doubt the case related to an assessee belonging to the State of Haryana, but the Act was applicable to the territories of Haryana also. It is clear from the above decision also that monoblock pumping set does not fall within the definition of 'electrical goods', simply because an electric motor is attached to the centrifugal pump. In fact the electric motor is an integral part of the centrifugal pump. They are assembled on one block fitted with a common shaft. This leads to greater efficiency, more water and lesser repair charges.

7. The State has not placed any material on the file to support its contention that monoblock pumping set is not a centrifugal pump.

8. We find no merit in these Letters Patent appeals (Nos. 246, 247, 248, 249, 250 and 346 of 1980) and the same are dismissed with costs. Counsel's fee Rs. 200.

S.S Sandhawalia, C.J.

9. I agree.


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