Skip to content


S.K. Nataraja Mudaliar and Co. Vs. the State of Tamil Nadu and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petition Nos. 4389, 4442 to 4444, 4459 and 4460 of 1977 and 7604 and 1132 of 1978
Judge
Reported in[1982]51STC55(Mad)
ActsCentral Sales Tax Act, 1956 - Sections 14 and 15; Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act, 1959 - Sections 2, 3, 4 and 59
AppellantS.K. Nataraja Mudaliar and Co.
RespondentThe State of Tamil Nadu and anr.
Appellant AdvocateK. Srinivasan, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateLokapriya, Adv. for the Additional Government Pleader
Cases ReferredIn Ghasi Ram Hari Ram v. Commissioner of Sales Tax
Excerpt:
sales tax - single point levy - sections 14 and 15 of central sales tax act, 1956 and sections 2, 3, 4 and 59 of tamil nadu general sales tax act, 1959 - whether assessee bound to pay sales tax on fried gram at 4.7% on total turnover or only at 4% - in case fried or parched items fall within item (vi-a) of section 14 and item 6a of second schedule to state act than they will stand excluded from entry 80 (a) of first schedule to state act - state government entitled to levy sales tax only at 4% - in case fried grams or pulses do not fall under item (vi-a) of section 14 and item 6a of second schedule to state act the state government entitled to levy sales tax 4.7% - pulses and grams included in item (vi-a) of section 14 and item 6a of second schedule to state act take in pulses or grams..........inter-state trade or commerce, and tax has been paid under this act in respect of the sale of such goods goods in the course of inter-state trade or commerce, the tax levied under such law shall be reimbursed to the person making such sale in the course of inter-state trade or commerce in such manner and subject to such conditions as may be provided in any law in force in that state : (c) where a tax has been levied under the law in respect of the sale or purchase inside the state of any paddy referred to in sub-clause (i) of clause (i) of section 14, the tax leviable on rice procured out of such paddy shall be reduced by the amount of tax levied on such paddy; (d) each of the pulses referred to in clause (via) of section 14, whether whole or separated, and whether with or without.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Padmanabhan, J.

1. These writ petitions arise under the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act and involve a common question of law.

2. I shall confine myself to W.P. No. 4389 of 1977 for a narration of the statement of facts. The petitioner is a firm carrying on business in pulses, grams and gram dhal under the name and style of M/s. S. K. Nataraja Mudaliar and Co., and is an assessee under the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act.

3. Section 14 of the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956, declares certain goods to be of special importance in inter-State trade or commerce and section 15 imposes conditions and restrictions subject to which the state Government can impose tax on the internal trade in those goods, the main condition being that no State shall have a system of levy other than a single point levy, at a single stage to be specified by law. Section 14 was amended by Central Tax Act No. 103 of 1976 and in the items included in section 14, item (vi-a) was introduced. Item (vi-a) reads thus :

'(vi-a) pulses, that is to say, -

(i) gram or gulab gram (Cicerarietinum L.);

(ii) tur or arhar (Cajanus cajan);

(iii) moong or green gram (Phaselous aureus).'

Section 15 of the Central Sales Tax Act reads as follows :

'Every sales tax law of a State shall, in so far as it imposes or authorises the imposition of a tax on the sale or purchase of declared goods, be subject to the following restrictions and conditions, namely :-

(a) the tax payable under the law in respect of any sale or purchase of such goods inside the State shall not exceed four per cent of the sale or purchase price thereof, and such tax shall not be levied at more than one stage;

(b) where a tax has been levied under that tax in respect of the sale or purchase inside the State of any declared goods and such goods are sold in the course of inter-State trade or commerce, and tax has been paid under this Act in respect of the sale of such goods goods in the course of inter-State trade or commerce, the tax levied under such law shall be reimbursed to the person making such sale in the course of inter-State trade or commerce in such manner and subject to such conditions as may be provided in any law in force in that State :

(c) where a tax has been levied under the law in respect of the sale or purchase inside the State of any paddy referred to in sub-clause (i) of clause (i) of section 14, the tax leviable on rice procured out of such paddy shall be reduced by the amount of tax levied on such paddy;

(d) each of the pulses referred to in clause (via) of section 14, whether whole or separated, and whether with or without husk, shall be treated as a single commodity for the purposes of levy of tax under that law.'

4. The clauses (c) and (d) to section 15 were introduced by the amending Act 103 of 1976. A reading of sections 14 and 15 of the Central Sales Tax Act, makes it clear that in the case of declared goods as enumerated in section 14, the State shall not levy more than 4 per cent tax on the sale or purchase price. Further such tax shall not be levied at more than one stage. Section 15(d) as amended by amending Act No. 103 of 1976 makes it clear that the pulses catalogued in clause (vi-a) of section 14 whether whole or separated and whether with or without husk, shall be treated as a single commodity for the purpose of levy of tax under the Central Sales Tax Act. It has to be noted here, that for the first time pulses were brought under the category of declared goods in section 14 of the Central Sales Tax Act. After the inclusion of pulses in the list of declared goods by amending Act 103 of 1976, the State Government would not be entitled to levy tax at more than 4 per cent on the sale or purchase of pulses.

5. While so, for the assessment year 1977-78, the assessee filed his monthly A-2 return for the period April, 1977, to October, 1977, and paid the tax on the turnover at 4 per cent. The second respondent by his communication dated 7th December, 1977, called upon the petitioner to pay an additional sum of Rs. 17,606 by way of additional tax at 0.7 per cent on the turnover of Rs. 25,15,556. The second respondent made this claim, on the basis that fried gram was included under item 80(b) of the First Schedule to the General Sales Tax Act from November, 1976, and liable to additional tax.

6. The question for consideration is whether the assessee is bound to pay sales tax on fried gram at 4.7 per cent on the total turnover or whether only at 4 per cent. In other words, the question that falls to be considered is whether fried gram falls within the meaning of pulses in item (vi-a) of section 14 of the Central Sales Tax Act.

7. Section 2(h) of the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act, 1959, defines declared goods to mean goods declared by section 14 of the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956, to be of special importance in inter-State trade or commerce. Section 4 states that notwithstanding anything contained in section 3, the tax under this Act shall be payable by a dealer on the sale or purchase inside the State of declared goods at the rate and only at the point specified against each in the Second Schedule on the turnover in such goods in each year, whatever be the quantum of turnover in that year. This section has been enacted in compliance with section 15 of the Central Sales Tax Act. Under this section sales tax is payable on declared goods only at the rate and only at the point specified against each in the Second Schedule on the turnover in such goods. The Second Schedule enumerates declared goods in respect of which a single point tax only is leviable under section 4. By Tamil Nadu Act No. 40 of 1976 the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act 1959, was amended and item 6-A was introduced containing seven items. Item 6-A reads thus :

'Pulses, that is to say,

(i) gram or gulab gram At the point 4%' (Cicerarietinum L.) of first sale in the State.

(ii) .............

8. Tamil Nadu Act No. 40 of 1976 was obviously introduced to bring 'pulses' within the Second Schedule in conformity with the Central Act No. 103 of 1976, which introduced item (vi-a) in section 14 and also amended section 15. A combined reading of section 14 with item (vi-a) introduced by Central Act No. 103 of 1976 and section 15(c) to (d) of the Central Sales Tax Act and section 4 and item 6-A that was introduced in the Second Schedule by Tamil Nadu Act No. 40 of 1976, would make it clear that pulses were brought within the category of declared goods in 1976 and in respect of pulses the State Government would not be entitled to levy sales tax in excess of 4 per cent.

9. However, on 3rd February, 1977, the State Government issued a Notification No. II(1)/CTRE/25(a)/77 under the powers conferred on it by section 59 of the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act and introduced entry 80(a) and 80(b) in the First Schedule, which reads thus :

'80(a) Pulses and grams (other At the point 4% than those specified of first sale under item 6-A of the in the State. Second Schedule).

80(b) Dhals of pulses and At the point 4%' grams (whether whole or of first sale split) parched and fried in the State. pulses and grams, their husks and flour which have not suffered tax under sub-item (a) above or under item 6-A of the Second Schedule.

10. Entry 80(a) and (b) of the First Schedule specially excludes pulses and grams included in item 6-A of the Second Schedule. It has already been seen that item 6-A of the Second Schedule of the State Act and item (vi-a) of section 14 of the Central Sales Tax Act are identical.

11. The point in controversy between the assessee and the department is whether fried gram comes within the meaning of pulses or grams in item (vi-a) of section 14 of the Central Act and item 6-A of the Second Schedule to the State Act. If fried or parched grams fall within item (vi-a) of section 14 of the Central Act and item 6-A of the Second Schedule to the State Act, then they will stand excluded from entry 80(a) of the First Schedule to the State Act. Further, in respect of the said gram the State Government will be entitled to levy sales tax only at 4 per cent. On the other hand, if the fried grams or pulses do not fall under item (vi-a) of section 14 of the Central Act and item 6-A of the Second Schedule to the State Act, the State Government will be entitled to levy sales tax 4.7 per cent as has been done.

12. Mr. Lokapriya, the learned counsel for the revenue, contended that fried or parched gram was a different commercial commodity from grams and therefore would not fall under item (vi-a) of section 14 of the Central Act and item 6-A of the Second Schedule to the State Act. I do not agree. In Chambers' Dictionary the meaning of gram is given a pulses generally. Therefore, the term 'pulses and grams' used in item 6-A must be taken to cover pulses of all kinds and grams of all kinds. Even parched gram or fried gram in common parlance is still known as gram or dhal. I am therefore of the view that the gram included in item (vi-a) of section 14 of the Central Act and item 6-A of the Second Schedule to the State Act takes in all forms of grams. This is strengthened by the introduction of section 15(d) to the Central Sales Tax Act which states that each of the pulses referred to in clause (vi-a) of section 14, whether whole or separated, and whether with or without husk, shall be treated as a single commodity for the purpose of levy of tax under the law. As a result of parching or frying the moisture if any is removed and the gram is spilt. It cannot be said that as a result of frying or parching a new commercial commodity comes into existence. In Kapildeoram Baijnath Prosad v. J. K. Das [1954]5 STC365 it has been held that as long as a thing continued to be cereal and retained its form as such although it may have undergone some simple processes of boiling or parching, it could not be held that it was not to be covered by the exemption. Chira and muri do not cease to be cereals merely because rice or paddy had undergone the process of being flattened and fried in assuming the form of chira and muri.

13. In Tungabhadra Industries Limited, Kurnool v. Commercial Tax Officer, Kurnool : [1961]2SCR14 the Supreme Court was of the view that 'hydrogenated groundnut oil (commonly known as vanaspati) remained groundnut oil within the meaning of rule 18(2) of the Madras General Sales Tax (Turnover and Assessment) Rules, 1939. This was so in spite of the fact that the groundnut oil was passed through a process of hydrogenation, bringing about a chemical change and turning it into a semi-sold condition thereby resulting in a change in its shape'.

14. In Ghasi Ram Hari Ram v. Commissioner of Sales Tax [1972]30STC88 H. R. Khanna, C.J., has observed thus : 'In the case before us, parched gram or parched dal in common parlance is still known as gram or dal. A customer going to the assessee when asking for chana or dal could be understood to be asking for parched chana or parched dal as these words in their popular sense include gram or dal even when parched. It cannot be said that the same are not exempt merely because they have been passed through a process of parching. Likewise, rice in all its forms in included in the term 'cereal' and in common parlance, corn, rice or grain in parched form are referred to as 'cereals'.'

15. I therefore hold that pulses and grams included in item (vi-a) of section 14 of the Central Act and item 6-A of the Second Schedule to the State Act will take in pulses or grams whether parched or fried. Entry 80(a) and (b) of the First Schedule to the State Act include the items which have been declared as declared goods under item (vi-a) of section 14 of the Central Act and item 6-A of the Second Schedule to the State Act which the State Government has no jurisdiction to do. In the light of my finding that fried gram or parched gram comes within the meaning of pulses and grams included in item (vi-a) of section 14 of the Central Act and item 6-A of the Second Schedule to the State Act and constitutes declared goods, it will not be open to the State Government to levy sales tax in excess of 4 per cent as provided for under section 15(a) of the Central Sales Tax Act.

16. In the result, all the writ petitions succeed and writs of prohibition will issue to the second respondent prohibiting from collecting the additional sales tax over and above 4 per cent in respect of sale turnover on fried gram, from the petitioner in each of the petitions. The writ petitions are allowed and under the circumstances without costs.

17. Writ petitions allowed.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //