1. As the point involved in all the above cases are the same, they are dealt with together. The respondents in all the five cases are the same. They were assessed under the Madras General Sales Tax Act in respect of certain transactions for the years 1959-60, 1960-61 and 1961-62 under Section 16 and for the years 1962-63 and 1963-64 under Section 12. In all these years, the respondents had been assessed as agents of their non-resident principal, the Titaghur Paper Mills Company Limited, Calcutta, in respect of sales of paper said to have been effected by them. The respondents, however, contended before the assessing as well as the appellate authority that the sales of paper have been effected directly by their principal, the said paper mills, to the various purchasers in this State and that the mere fact that they have taken delivery of the consignment and distributed the same to the various purchasers will not make them sellers in respect of those sale transactions. The respondents' claim that they have not effected any sales to the purchasers in this State and that it is only the paper mills which sold the goods in question to various purchasers in this State directly was not, however, accepted and, therefore, the respondents went before the Tribunal. The Tribunal, after due consideration of the various facts and circumstances, held that the sales had been directly effected by the paper mills to the various purchasers in this State, that those sales were inter-State in character and that, therefore, those transactions could not be taxed under the Madras General Sales Tax Act as local sales. This view of the Tribunal is being challenged before us in these cases by the revenue.
2. We are of the view that the Tribunal is right in its conclusion on the special facts and circumstances of these cases. On the materials available we find the nature of the transactions to be like this : the respondents are the authorised sole selling representatives of the paper mills within the State of Madras and as per the agreement which they have entered into with the paper mills they are entitled to 3 per cent of the invoice price as their commission both in respect of offers procured by them as also the direct sales effected by the paper mills to the various customers in this State. Normally, the respondents canvass orders from various paper dealers in this State for the purchase of paper manufactured by the paper mills. The indents are placed by the dealers directly with the paper mills. These indents are collected by the respondents and are forwarded to the paper mills along with their covering letters. After getting the indents, the paper mills manufacture the required quantity of paper as per the various indents. After the required quantity of paper is manufactured, they are packed in several packages with the distinct marks of various dealers who had already placed orders. But all those packages had been clubbed together and sent to the respondents in one wagon, the railway receipt being taken in the name of the respondents. The relevant invoices along with the railway receipt are sent by the paper mills to the respondents and the mills had debited the various dealers with the value of the paper sent. After the wagon reaches this State, the respondents cleared the goods and delivered the several packages to the concerned dealers and collected the amounts due by them as per the invoices sent by the paper mills and obtained declarations in form 'C' from them for the purpose of transmission to the paper mills. The question is, whether on these facts, it could be stated that the transactions of sale are in the nature of inter-State sales. As already stated there are various dealers in this State who have placed orders directly with the paper mills, though such orders were sent through the respondents. As soon as the required quantity of paper has been manufactured, as per the various indents placed by the purchasers in this State, they are packed in distinct packages but are sent in one consignment to the respondents for purposes of distribution to the various customers. It is also significant that the paper mills debited the various customers to whom the goods have been consigned with the value of the goods as per the invoices raised against them. As soon as the goods are taken delivery by the respondents, they have distributed the same to the various customers. The part played by the respondents in taking delivery of the consignment and distributing the various packages to the concerned customers, who had earlier placed orders may not be sufficient in our view to make them the sellers within the State. From the facts stated above, it is clear that there is direct privity between the paper mills and the purchasers within the State and the goods have been consigned by the paper mills to the purchasers in pursuance of the earlier orders placed. Therefore, it should be taken that the movement of the goods from the mills situate in West Bengal and in Orissa to this State is in pursuance of the earlier orders placed by the various dealers directly with the paper mills. It is true that the goods have been consigned in one wagon in the name of the respondents who are the sole selling agents of the paper company and they have taken delivery of the same and distributed the packages to the concerned purchasers, But that will not make any difference to the nature of the transaction being inter-State. The fact that the respondents have taken delivery of the goods and distributed the same to the various purchasers is not of any consequence for the reason that the goods indented by the various dealers had been separately packed with distinct marks and separately billed for by the paper mills and there is no discretion on the part of the respondents to divert the said packages to anyone else. These facts are, in our view, sufficient to establish that the transactions involved in all these cases are inter-State transactions. The orders of the Tribunal are, therefore, to be upheld and the tax cases are, therefore, dismissed. No costs.