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Mettur Chemical and Industrial Corporation and anr. Vs. the Commercial Tax Officer and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax;Civil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petitions Nos. 445 of 1961 and 1045 of 1962
Judge
Reported in[1964]15STC734(Mad)
AppellantMettur Chemical and Industrial Corporation and anr.
RespondentThe Commercial Tax Officer and ors.
Appellant AdvocateK. Rajah Ayyar and ;K. Hariharan, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateS. Mohan, Adv. for ;Additional Government Pleader
DispositionPetition allowed
Cases ReferredUnion of India and Anr. v. The Delhi Cloth and General Mills
Excerpt:
- - if an article is an element in the composition of another article made out of it, such an article may well be described as a component part of the other article. when the vegetable oil goes into another vegetable product as for instance, vanaspati, the vegetable oil, like groundnut oil in the instant case, may not visually be identifiable......parts' referred to in section 3(3) do not mean that they should be identifiable while they form parts of some other goods and that all that is necessary to satisfy those words is that the articles should by their user go into the composition of any other goods in the first schedule. on the other hand, the learned additional government pleader placing reliance upon the language of some of the items in the first schedule, contends that it is only those component parts which are identifiable even when they go into the composition of other goods, that will come within section 3(3). in other words what is stated for the department is that, if the component parts by their user in the process of manufacture of other goods lose their identity and become one beyond identification with the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Veeraswami, J.

1. Both the petitioners claim to be manufacturers of vanaspati in Madras State. In addition, the petitioner in W. P. No. 445 of 1961 manufactures soaps. On the sales of vanaspati and soaps assessments have been made to sales tax at the prescribed rate. The validity of these assessments is not in question. It is stated that groundnut oil is a component part of vanaspati or soap. Section 3(2) of the Madras General Sales Tax Act, 1959, provides for tax at a single point in relation to all goods mentioned in the First Schedule. Further concession in the rate of tax is provided by Sub-section (3) in respect of those goods in the first schedule provided the sale thereof by the dealer to another is for use by the latter as component part of any other goods mentioned in that schedule. Sub-section (3) reads :-

Notwithstanding anything contained in Sub-section (1) or Sub-section (2), the tax payable by a dealer in respect of any sale of goods mentioned in the First Schedule by such dealer to another for use by the latter as component part of any other goods mentioned in that Schedule, which he intends to manufacture inside the State for sale shall be at the rate of only one per cent, on the turnover relating to such sale.

2. The words 'manufacture for sale inside the State' were substituted by the words 'manufacture inside the State for sale' by Madras Act 19 of 1960 with retrospective effect from 1st April, 1959. Item 20 in the First Schedule relates to all vegetable oils and item 45 to vegetable products, that is to say ' any vegetable oil or fat, which whether by itself or in admixture with any other substance, has by hydrogenation or by any other process been hardened for human consumption.'

3. In order to get the benefit of the concession of a single point rate of tax under Sub-section (3) of Section 3 a special procedure has been prescribed by the proviso to that sub-section and by Rule 22 of the rules framed under the Act. The proviso states that the provisions of the sub-Section shall not apply to any sale unless the dealer selling the goods furnishes to the assessing authority in the prescribed manner a declaration duly rilled in and signed by the dealer to whom the goods are sold containing the prescribed particulars in a prescribed form obtained from the prescribed authority. Form XVII is prescribed by Rule 22 for the purpose. Sub-rule (2) of that rule is as follows:-

A dealer who wishes to purchase goods from another dealer on payment of tax at the rate specified in Sub-section (3) of Section 3, shall obtain from the assessing authority a blank declaration form prescribed under Sub-rule (1) and shall furnish to the selling dealer the original and duplicate portions of the declaration in Form XVII duly filled in and signed by him or by any responsible person authorised by him in this behalf and shall retain the counterfoil.

4. In respect of the purchase of groundnut oil made by the petitioners for use by them in the manufacture of either vanaspati or soap or both, as the case may be, they applied to the prescribed authority for the supply of blank declaration forms in Form XVII. The Commercial Tax Officer in the case of the petitioner in W. P. No. 445 of 1961, informed him by his communication dated 4th March, 1961, that the forms could not be supplied because in his opinion the goods mentioned in the application of the petitioner did not form separable component parts of such goods. The Commercial Tax Officer's order reads :-

The raw materials used in the manufacture of the goods mentioned in your reference, go as ingredients in the manufacture and do not form as a separable component part of such goods. The concession under Sub-section (3) of Section 3 is not, therefore, applicable in such cases.

5. When the petitioner took the matter before the Deputy Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, Coimbatore, he agreed with view of the Commercial Tax Officer and stated that Section 3(3) of the Act did not apply to goods ' which form only ingredients of other goods or goods from out of which other goods are manufactured.'

6. This order of the Deputy Commissioner is dated 17th March, 1961. The same view was expressed by the Commercial Tax Officer in the case of the other petitioner in W. P. No. 1045 of 1962, by his order dated 21st April, 1962, though it appears that at the initial stages, that officer in fact supplied the forms up to 31st March, 1961. The petitioners have come up to this Court for a rule directing the taxing authorities concerned to supply the prescribed forms to them so that they could have the benefit of Section 3(3) in respect of their purchases of groundnut oil which they used in the manufacture of vanaspati and soap.

7. The contention for the petitioners is that the construction placed on behalf of the respondents by the departmental officials on Section 3(3) of the Act cannot be supported. It is argued that the ' component parts' referred to in Section 3(3) do not mean that they should be identifiable while they form parts of some other goods and that all that is necessary to satisfy those words is that the articles should by their user go into the composition of any other goods in the first schedule. On the other hand, the learned Additional Government Pleader placing reliance upon the language of some of the items in the first schedule, contends that it is only those component parts which are identifiable even when they go into the composition of other goods, that will come within Section 3(3). In other words what is stated for the department is that, if the component parts by their user in the process of manufacture of other goods lose their identity and become one beyond identification with the other goods, they would not be component parts for the purpose of the concession in the rate of tax.

8. Dictionary meaning of the word ' component' as given in the Oxford Concise Dictionary is ' contributing to the composition of a whole '. The Shorter Oxford Dictionary (1955 edn.) gives the meaning of the word thus :

Composing, making up, constituent. A constituent part or element '. ' Part ' is defined as ' that which with another or others makes up a whole,-a portion, Section, element, constituent.

9. In Funk and Wagnalls' ' New Standard Dictionary of the English Language ' (1953 edn.) ' component ' is explained as ' forming part or ingredient, constituent; a constituent element or part.' Part' means that which goes with others to constitute the whole. The meaning given in Webster's International English Dictionary (Vol. 1, 9th edn.) is :-' Serving or helping to form, comprising-constituting, constituent, the component parts of natural bodies.

10. It appears, therefore, that for an article to be called a component part, it is not necessary that even after it becomes part of another article, it should still retain its identity. All that is necessary to make an article, a component part is that it goes into the composition of another article. If an article is an element in the composition of another article made out of it, such an article may well be described as a component part of the other article. It may be that the final product made may be in the nature of a compound in which case, the elements forming the component parts may not be capable of any more separate identification. Equally, it may be that when a machinery is assembled out of several parts forming that machinery, those parts even after their being fitted may retain their individuality or identity. In such cases the parts or goods which go into the composition or assemblage of the other compound or mixture or some other article or machinery may properly be described as component parts of such machinery or article within the meaning of Section 3(3) of the Act.

11. This construction, I think, may also be justified by a reference to the language of the different items mentioned in the First Schedule. In the case of motor vehicles and their parts, the component parts fitted into the vehicle are certainty identifiable. The same is the position in the case of refrigerators and gramophones and electrical goods which are among the items specified in the First Schedule. In the case of these items the component parts are, no doubt, identifiable when they go into the whole but there are other items mentioned in the First Schedule in whose cases, the component parts when they form part of the whole may not retain their identity. Item 45 reads :-

Vegetable products, that is to say, any vegetable oil or fat, which whether by itself or in admixture with any other substance has by hydrogenation or by any other process been hardened for human consumption.

12. Item 20 relates to all vegetable oils. When the vegetable oil goes Into another vegetable product as for instance, vanaspati, the vegetable oil, like groundnut oil in the instant case, may not visually be identifiable. In the manufacture of Vanaspati, groundnut oil is subjected to a process by hydrogenation so as to convert the viscosity of the oil into a semi-solid substance, the process including also the purification of the groundnut oil. In my opinion, therefore, identity of the component parts is not necessarily the test for determining their character as such.

13. It is true the Supreme Court in Tungabhadra Industries, Ltd. v. The Commercial Tax Officer, Kurnool [1961] 1 S.C.J. 272, held that hydrogenated ground-not oil or vanaspati still continued to be groundnut oil notwithstanding the processing. That case was concerned with the grant of rebate and for that purpose the question that arose for determination was whether vanaspati still retained its character as groundnut oil. This decision, however, it seems to me, will be of no assistance in deciding the present case. The First Schedule to the Act makes a distinction between vegetable oils and vegetable products which include vanaspati. Vanaspati should, therefore, be considered to be goods other than groundnut oil which goes into it as a component part. The learned Additional Government Pleader invited my attention to the decision, Union of India and Anr. v. The Delhi Cloth and General Mills, Co., Ltd. etc. Civil Appeals Nos. 168 to 170 of 1960, against the judgment of the Punjab High Court (Circuit Bench) at Delhi in W.P. Nos. 301, 302 and 347 of 1956; : 1973ECR56(SC) , where the question decided was whether the process of making vanaspati out of vegetable oils can be regarded as ' manufacture ' for the purpose of levy of excise duty. That is not the question which arises in the present case.

14. By Madras Act 44 of 1961, an explanation was added to Section 3(3) of the Act which says:-

For the purposes of this sub-section, ' component part' means an article which forms an identifiable constituent of the finished product and which along with others goes to make up the finished product.

15. This explanation was brought into force only with effect from 10th January, 1962, and it is not contended that this has got retrospective effect. These petitions relate to applications by the petitioners for the blank forms for the period prior to 10th January, 1962. I am, therefore, not called upon to decide in these proceedings the scope and effect of the newly added explanation. The construction I have placed upon the provisions of Section 3(3) of the Act is, therefore, without reference to the explanation.

16. In the view I have taken of the scope of Section 3(3) of the Act, it follows that the petitioners were entitled to the supply of the forms which they asked for under Rule 22 of the rules in respect of transactions for the periods anterior to 10th January, 1962.

17. The petitions are allowed in those terms. No costs.


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