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The Thanjavur Leather and Autoliners Industrial Co-operative Society Limited Vs. the State of Tamil Nadu - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberTax Case Nos. 959 to 964 of 1977 (Appeal Nos. 71 to 76 of 1977)
Judge
Reported in[1983]52STC343(Mad)
ActsTamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act, 1959 - Sections 17
AppellantThe Thanjavur Leather and Autoliners Industrial Co-operative Society Limited
RespondentThe State of Tamil Nadu
Appellant AdvocateN. Inbarajan, Adv. for ;Chandrasekara Sastri, ;C. Venkataraman and ;C. Natarajan, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateK.S. Bakthavatsalam, Additional Government Pleader
Cases ReferredGovindarajan & Brother v. Government of Pondicherry
Excerpt:
- - the assessee cannot be in a better position than it was when the suo motu revision was undertaken by the board......which are used for the hoods of jeeps. the claim of the assessee was that these were automobile spare parts so as to come within the scope of the notification dated 18th march, 1970. before the assessing authority, the assessee claimed also that it could be assessed only at the general rate of sales tax if at all it could be taxed. the assessing authority rejected these contentions and levied tax on the basis that these were automobile accessories taxable at 15 per cent under entry 3 to the first schedule. the appeal of the assessee to the appellate assistant commissioner was successful and he accepted the assessee's claim that the tax livable was only 13 per cent on the basis of the said notification dated 18th march, 1970. the assessee accepted the decision. the board took up the.....
Judgment:

Sethuraman, J.

1. These are appeals for the assessment years 1969-70 to 1974-75 against the order of the Board of Revenue dated 18th January, 1977. The assessee is a manufacturer of leather goods. During the relevant years, the assessee manufactured the materials which are used for the hoods of jeeps. The claim of the assessee was that these were automobile spare parts so as to come within the scope of the notification dated 18th March, 1970. Before the assessing authority, the assessee claimed also that it could be assessed only at the general rate of sales tax if at all it could be taxed. The assessing authority rejected these contentions and levied tax on the basis that these were automobile accessories taxable at 15 per cent under entry 3 to the First Schedule. The appeal of the assessee to the Appellate Assistant Commissioner was successful and he accepted the assessee's claim that the tax livable was only 13 per cent on the basis of the said notification dated 18th March, 1970. The assessee accepted the decision. The Board took up the matter on suo motu revision and after giving the assessee the necessary opportunity came to the conclusion that the concessional rate of 13 per cent allowed under the notification was not applicable to it. The assessments were, therefore, directed to be remade on the basis that the tax was 15 per cent under entry 3 to the First Schedule.

2. In the present appeals, the learned counsel for the appellant contended that the notification applied to the present case and that in any event the lower rate of taxation as general goods should have been adopted for this item. We shall take up the first question. The relevant notification runs as follows :

'In exercise of the powers conferred by section 17 of the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act, 1959 (Tamil Nadu Act 1 of 1959), the Governor of Tamil Nadu hereby makes with effect on and from the 1st April, 1970 :

(i) ....................

(ii) the reduction in rate from 15 per cent to 13 per cent in respect of the tax payable by any dealer under the said Act, on the sales of automobile tyres, batteries (excluding dry cells), and automobile spare parts.'

3. In the present case the contention is that these leather hoods come within the category of automobile spare parts.

4. The meaning of the term 'spare parts' has been considered by a Bench of this Court in Govindarajan & Brother v. Government of Pondicherry [1977] 40 STC 169. In that case, the goods under consideration were leather cases for transistors and leakproof battery cells. It was pointed out after reference to the dictionary meaning of the word 'spare part' that the essential thing is that it must be part of a machine or the apparatus, as the case may be. It was also pointed out that in the case of leakproof battery cells, if a person does not want to use leakproof cells for the working of his transistor and wants to use ordinary cells by taking care to remove the same, when the apparatus is not in use, there is nothing to prohibit him from doing so. It was consequently held that the leakproof cells could not be taken as exclusively meant for transistor.

5. Applying the aforesaid decision to the present case, it is not as if everyone who purchases a jeep uses leather hoods. The hoods may consist of either tarpaulin or canvass or leather. Having regard to the choice available to the user, it has to be held as in the case of leakproof battery cells, that the leather hood is not an indispensable part of a jeep and that, therefore, it cannot be grouped as an automobile spare part.

6. For instance, in a motor car a man may have a spare wheel or he may purchase another wheel when one goes out of order. Similarly, he may purchase a battery when one goes out of service. These are all items without which the vehicles cannot be used. They would be spare parts. It cannot be said that the leather hood is so indispensable to the jeep so as to justify the view that the jeep cannot be used without the leather hood. We do not, therefore, consider that leather hoods fall within the category of automobile spare parts.

7. The learned counsel contended that it must, at the most, be taxed under the general head because if these leather hoods are not spare parts, they cannot also be accessories of jeeps or motor vehicles. As far as this point is concerned, the assessee is in a technical difficulty. The assessee was prepared to accept the order of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner levying tax at 13 per cent on the basis that the leather hood was an automobile spare part. The assessee cannot have now the benefit out of the revisional power exercised by the Board. The assessee cannot be in a better position than it was when the suo motu revision was undertaken by the Board. Further, it is found that even before the Appellate Assistant Commissioner the assessee appears to have raised the point but did not pursue it by further appeal to the Tribunal. In the circumstances, the assessee cannot be allowed to raise the point at this stage. In the result, the order of the Board is confirmed. The appeals are dismissed. There will be no order as to costs.


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