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Varasuki and Co. Through One of Its Partners P.S. Subbaraman Vs. the Province of Madras, Through the District Collector - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberAppeal No. 811 of 1947
Judge
Reported inAIR1951Mad254; (1950)2MLJ449
ActsMadras General Sales Tax Act, 1939 - Sections 3, 4 and 19
AppellantVarasuki and Co. Through One of Its Partners P.S. Subbaraman
RespondentThe Province of Madras, Through the District Collector
Appellant AdvocateM. Subbaraya Ayyar, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateGovernment Pleader
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
.....the sale of the gunny bags, and that the contention of the commercial tax officer that he had made a profit of eight pies on each gunny bag was not well founded as the appellant was proved to have sold salt in some cases for less than the controlled price and the profit of 6 1/4% allowed to him......of rs. 1202-8-6 on tha turnover calculated only on the price of the gunny bags containing the salt sold by him (excluding, of course, the price of the salt, which is exempted from sales-tax) was illegally collected and ought to be refunded to him as salt could not be sold except after being put into gunny bags and he had merely purchased the gunny baga from dealers for the sake of filling them with salt and had included only the cost price of the gunny bags in the ultimate price charged by him for the salt baga. the learned district judge held that only salt had been exempted from sales-tax and not the gunny bags in which id had been packed and that the gunny bags could not be regarded as inevitably included in the exemption, and that anybody who buys and sells gunny bags, like the.....
Judgment:

Panchapakesa Ayyar, J.

1. This is an appeal against the judgment; and decree of the District Judge of Tirunelveli in O. S. No. 1 of 1947 and raises an interesting question of law. The appellant, who was the plaintiff, filed a suit against the Government for a declaration that the sales-tax collected from him to the extent of Rs. 1202-8-6 on tha turnover calculated only on the price of the gunny bags containing the salt sold by him (excluding, of course, the price of the salt, which is exempted from sales-tax) was illegally collected and ought to be refunded to him as salt could not be sold except after being put into gunny bags and he had merely purchased the gunny baga from dealers for the sake of filling them with salt and had included only the cost price of the gunny bags in the ultimate price charged by him for the salt baga. The learned District Judge held that only salt had been exempted from sales-tax and not the gunny bags in which id had been packed and that the gunny bags could not be regarded as inevitably included in the exemption, and that anybody who buys and sells gunny bags, like the appellant, even though along with the salt, would be liable for sales-tax as being a 'dealers' of goods within the meaning of Section 2(b) of the General Sales-tax Act. So he dismissed the appellant's suit with costs.

2. We have perused the recorda and heard the learned counsel for the appellant and the learned Government-Pleader contra. The learned counsel for the appellant relied on three main contentions. The first was that the appellant was not a 'dealer' within the meaning of Section 2 (b) as he waa not carrying on the business of buying and selling gunny bags (which were admitted to be 'goods'), but only the business of buying and selling salt. It appears to us that he was carrying on the business of buying and selling gunny baga also in addition to the business of buying and selling salt. It is admitted that he bought the gunny baga and sold them. It is obvious, and it is conceded by learned counsel for the appellant, that a man may carry on a number of businesses in different 'goods', sep-arately or jointly. His contention is that when any article is incapable of being sold without being packed in gunny bags the gunny bags must be exempted from the sales tax when the article viz, salt is also exempted, on the ground of ''necessity.' We cannot agree. It seems to as that this is a matter more for moving the Government to exempt the gunny bags, in which salt has to be packed for being sent to the customers, in addition to the salt itself as 'necessity' will be of no avail as the custo-mers could have supplied the gunny bags or taken away the salt themselves, The Government, we understand, have been moved subsequently for the amendment of the rules and to exempt the price of gunny bags also from sales-tax, and that they have conceded this demand. That itself shows that, originally, there was no such intention on the part of the Government to exempt the gunny bags, and this suit relates to the period when gunny bags were not exempted. On principle, it seems to us that any exemption of any article must be strictly construed and confined to the exemption itaelf and not extended. Thus, if salt is exempted, but not the gunny bags in which it is packed and sold, if we exempt the gunny bags without a special exemption to that effect, than gunny bags in which rice and other articles are packed, and drums and tins in which oil is packed, etc., will also claim exemption, and it is admitted that they have not been exempted and that they cannot be exempted because they will be included in the definition of 'turnover' under the rules.

3. The next contention was that the appellant had not made any profit from the sale of the gunny bags, and that the contention of the Commercial Tax Officer that he had made a profit of eight pies on each gunny bag was not well founded as the appellant was proved to have sold salt in some cases for less than the controlled price and the profit of 6 1/4% allowed to him. We consider that the question of profit and loss is irrelevant for this purpose. If a man is a 'dealer' in 'goods', he will be liable to pay sales-tax on his 'turnover' even if he has suffered a loss, and in this case, there is also no need for any undue sympathy for the appellant as he had collected sales-tax from the customers on the entire price including the price of gunnies admittedly included by him in this bills.

4. The last contention was that the appel-lant had acted only as 'an agent of the customers' for purchasing the gunny bags and had only recovered their actual price from the customers, and that as sales-tax had been paid on the original sale by the dealers in gunny bags to him, a second sales-tax should not be levied, in justice and equity, now. There is no evidence to show that he was acting as 'an agent of the customers' in purchasing these gunny bags. No customer wrote to him any letter asking him to buy the gunny bags on his behalf, or sent him an advance for purchase of gunny bags; nor were accounts for the gunny bags alone rendered by the appellant to his customers. The question of the second payment of sales-tax is not material as in some cases sales-tax has to be paid, under rules, twice over not only on these articles but in the case of many others.

5. In the end, therefore, we see no reason to interefere with the judgment and decree of the lower Court. This appeal deserves to be and is hereby dismissed with costs.


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