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The State of Tamil Nadu Vs. S. Viswanathan (Printers and Publishers) Private Ltd. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberT.C. (Revisions) Nos. 700 and 701 of 1978
Judge
Reported in[1979]44STC156(Mad)
AppellantThe State of Tamil Nadu
RespondentS. Viswanathan (Printers and Publishers) Private Ltd.
Advocates:K. Venkataswami, Additional Government Pleader
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredGovernment of Andhra Pradesh v. Guntur Tobaccos Ltd.
Excerpt:
- .....papers for certain universities and educational institutions and, while supplying them, they used packing materials, so that the packed up package may maintain secrecy of the question papers packed within them. the admitted case is that there was no express contract for the supply of the packing materials. the assessing officer included the value of the packing materials in the assessable turnover; even so, the appellate assistant commissioner.2. an appeal was preferred against the appellate assistant commissioner's order by the respondents. before the appellate tribunal, the case of the respondents was that the appellate assistant commissioner ought not to have included the cost of the packing materials in the assessable turnover and there was no justification for the inclusion of such.....
Judgment:

T. Ramaprasada Rao, C.J.

1. The respondents are printers and publishers. They were assessed both under the Central Sales Tax Act and the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act, under the former for the year 1971-72 and, under the latter for the year 1974-75. The transactions related to printing of question papers for certain universities and educational institutions and, while supplying them, they used packing materials, so that the packed up package may maintain secrecy of the question papers packed within them. The admitted case is that there was no express contract for the supply of the packing materials. The assessing officer included the value of the packing materials in the assessable turnover; even so, the Appellate Assistant Commissioner.

2. An appeal was preferred against the Appellate Assistant Commissioner's order by the respondents. Before the Appellate Tribunal, the case of the respondents was that the Appellate Assistant Commissioner ought not to have included the cost of the packing materials in the assessable turnover and there was no justification for the inclusion of such cost of the packing materials in the net of taxation. The Appellate Tribunal agreed with the contention of the respondents and granted relief. It is as against this finding of the Tribunal the present tax revision cases have been filed.

3. The main question raised by the learned Additional Government Pleader, in the light of the admitted fact that there was no express contract for the supply of packing materials, is that, as the question papers could not be despatched without being packed, the cost of such packing materials should be deemed to form part of the price of the question papers themselves and, therefore, the turnover referable to the cost of such packing materials should be deemed to be the assessable turnover. The other argument is that, having regard to the fact that the question papers, in order to maintain secrecy, ought to be packed and sent, there should be an inference that there is an implied contract to sell such packing materials.

4. In the instant case, the cost of the packing materials, having been shown separately, is eligible for deduction under Rule 6(cc) of the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Rules in so far as the local Act is concerned. In that sense, therefore, the argument of the Learned Counsel for the petitioner cannot be countenanced. On the other question whether an implied contract could be inferred by reason of the fact that the packing materials are a must in so far as the supply of question papers is concerned, since a printer should maintain secrecy, we are unable to agree that the cost of such materials should be deemed to be the price of the materials sold by the printer in the course of his dealings. No doubt, the question papers, which are printed by the respondent, haloed by a hedge of secrecy which they have to maintain, having regard to the nature of the transactions, have to be packed at the time when they are despatched. But that by itself would not raise the reasonable impression that such packing must be deemed to be an implied term of a contract of sale of such packing materials. On the other hand, the reasonable conclusion on the set of facts and circumstances of this case appears to be that such packing materials were used as incidental to the supply of the question papers and not for the primary purpose of sale of the packing materials themselves. In fact, in Government of Andhra Pradesh v. Guntur Tobaccos Ltd. [1965] 16 S.T.C. 240 the Supreme Court, while considering a case, which arose under similar circumstances, observed that, in the absence of a contract for the sale of the packing materials, any supply of packing materials has to be treated as incidental to the packing work involved and, such being the general observation of the Supreme Court in that case, it would be safe to adopt the said opinion expressed by the Supreme Court in a case where such packing work is inevitable having regard to the secrecy which the printer has to maintain while despatching the question papers. This is a case in which the respondents are entitled to claim an exemption in regard to the cost of the packing materials for a greater reason because they charged such cost independently. This aspect we have already referred and found that the cost of such packing materials is eligible for deduction as per the express provision made under Rule 6(cc) of the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Rules. For the reason that the packing materials used by the respondents in the course of their dealings should be treated as incidental to the packing work involved in the printing and despatching of such papers and also for the reason that they are eligible to claim the deduction of the cost of such packing materials under Rule 6(cc), the Tribunal came to the correct conclusion. Hence, we are not inclined to interfere.

5. The tax revision cases are dismissed.


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