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Deputy Commissioner of Sales Tax (Law) Vs. International Fisheries Ltd. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case Number T.R.C. Nos. 5 and 8 of 1981
Judge
Reported in[1981]48STC409(Ker)
AppellantDeputy Commissioner of Sales Tax (Law)
Respondentinternational Fisheries Ltd.
Appellant AdvocateThe Government Pleader
Respondent Advocate K.V.R. Shenoi and; P.K. Kurien, Advs.
Cases ReferredT. S. Govindarajulu Naidu v. State of Kerala
Excerpt:
- .....corporation, though, according to the assessee, there is no sale but only a rendering of service. sale of water by the cochin corporation is exempt under section 10(1)(ii) in view of the notification exempting local authorities from being taxed on sales of water by local authorities. therefore the sale of water, if there be a sale, to the assessee is not liable to be taxed. for that reason the assessee was sought to be taxed on the purchase turnover of water and that is the controversy in this revision. the assessee contended that such purchase turnover was not liable to be taxed under section 5a of the general sales tax act for the reason that water must be treated as goods not liable to tax under the general sales tax act. that contention did not succeed before the assessing authority.....
Judgment:

P. Subramonian Poti, Ag. C.J.

1. The same question arises in these two revisions. These revisions arise out of orders of assessment to sales tax for the years 1974-75 and 1970-71 respectively. The assessee is the same in both the cases. The assessee manufactures ice, consumes such ice for his own business and also effects sales of such ice. The water required for manufacture of ice is said to be sold to the assessee by the Cochin Corporation, though, according to the assessee, there is no sale but only a rendering of service. Sale of water by the Cochin Corporation is exempt under Section 10(1)(ii) in view of the notification exempting local authorities from being taxed on sales of water by local authorities. Therefore the sale of water, if there be a sale, to the assessee is not liable to be taxed. For that reason the assessee was sought to be taxed on the purchase turnover of water and that is the controversy in this revision. The assessee contended that such purchase turnover was not liable to be taxed under Section 5A of the General Sales Tax Act for the reason that water must be treated as goods not liable to tax under the General Sales Tax Act. That contention did not succeed before the assessing authority and the Deputy Commissioner in appeal. The Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal applied the decision in T.S. Govindarajulu Naidu v. State of Kerala [1979] 43 S.T.C. 233 to the case and held that since water was exempt from tax when sold by the Corporation and that was the sale in this case, Section 5A would not be attracted. It is the correctness of the decision of the Tribunal that is challenged in these revisions.

2. In Govindarajulu's case [1979] 43 S.T.C. 233, it was contended for the State that the words 'goods the sale or purchase of which is liable to tax under this Act' refer to goods which are taxable under this Act irrespective of the question whether by reason of the exemption under Section 10 they become non-taxable. Under the scheme of the Sales Tax Act all goods falling within the definition of the term are liable to be taxed unless the Act itself excluded some goods from the scope of such taxation. In fact at one time in the sales tax law of the State there were provisions excluding goods from the liability to be taxed such as electrical energy under Section 4 of the Travancore-Cochin General Sales Tax Act, 1125. Taking the view that practically the qualification of the term 'goods' by the words 'the sale or purchase of which is liable to tax under this Act' would be rendered redundant if goods exempted are not brought within the scope of the words, the Division Bench construed the words to include goods which by reason of a provision for exemption under Section 10 are not liable to be taxed under the Act. What was essentially meant was that the Act by reason of the exemption provision in Section 10 may not operate to tax the sale or purchase of certain goods and when that is the case such goods would fall within the scope of Section 5A of the Act. The goods concerned in that case was synthetic gems exempted at all points of sale in the State. The case before us is not one of an exemption at all points. In fact it is not an exemption at any point of sale or purchase. It is an exemption of sale by a class of persons, an exemption which falls within Section 10(1)(ii) of the Kerala General Sales Tax Act. By reason of that exemption it cannot be said that water is not liable to be taxed under the Act. Water is taxable and continues to be taxable notwithstanding the exemption. That is because water sold by anyone other than those who fall within the exempted class would be liable to be taxed under the Act. Hence the Tribunal was in error in applying the decision in T. S. Govindarajulu Naidu v. State of Kerala [1979] 43 S.T.C. 233 to the case before it. The decision of the Tribunal has necessarily to be set aside.

3. It is said that other contentions had been raised such as the absence of a sale of water to the assessee. We are only disposing of the question raised before us so that the matter will stand remitted back to the Tribunal for disposal of the appeals afresh in the light of our decision and for consideration of other points, if any, that may arise. No costs.


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