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Deputy Commissioner of Commercial Taxes Vs. P.C. Mohammed Ibrahim Marakayar Sons - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case Number T.C. No. 209 of 1977 (Revision No. 43 of 1977)
Judge
Reported in[1980]46STC22(Mad)
AppellantDeputy Commissioner of Commercial Taxes
RespondentP.C. Mohammed Ibrahim Marakayar Sons
Appellant Advocate P. Suryaprakasam, Adv. for the Additional Government Pleader
Respondent Advocate None
DispositionPetition allowed
Cases ReferredState of Tamil Nadu v. Pyare Lal Malhotra
Excerpt:
- .....the sheets are called galvanised sheets. but in olden days, they were used to be called 'zinc sheets'. the process of galvanisation has been described in mcgraw-hill dictionary of scientific and technical terms as follows:to deposit zinc on the surface of metal by the processes of hot dipping, sherardizing, or sometimes electroplating.4. the word 'sherardizing' means, according to the same dictionary ;coating iron with zinc by tumbling the article in powdered zinc at about 250-375c.5. the category of goods called galvanised plain sheets have acquired a different commercial quality as a result of the process of galvanisation. before galvanisation, they are merely plain iron sheets. but subsequent to the galvanisation they have acquired a quantity of zinc which has become part.....
Judgment:

Sethuraman, J.

1. The Deputy Commissioner of Commercial Taxes has applied for revision of the order of the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal, dated 11th July, 1974. The assessee was originally assessed on a taxable turnover of Rs. 21,589.42 for the assessment year 1968-69 by an order dated 18th February, 1970. Subsequently, this assessment was revised and a turnover of Rs. 24,726.75 was brought to tax at multi-point rate on the ground that galvanised plain sheets, referred to as G. P. sheets and C. R. sheets, were wrongly exempted treating the goods as single point goods. Reassessment was made on 16th August, 1972, and the matter was taken on appeal to the Appellate Assistant Commissioner. He also held that G. P. sheets were liable to tax at multipoint rate. The assessee took the matter on appeal to the Appellate Tribunal, disputing the levy of tax at 3 per cent on Rs. 15,143.23 pertaining to G. P. sheets. The contention of the assessee was that these sheets came Within the category of iron and steel falling under item 4 of the Second Schedule to the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act and he relied on a decision of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in State of Andhra Pradesh v. Sri Durga Hardware Stores [1973] 32 S.T.C. 322. The Tribunal accepted the assessee's contention i and held that the relevant goods should be considered as single point goods falling under item 4 of the Second Schedule. The assessment was directed to be modified accordingly. It is this order of the Tribunal that is now brought on revision to this Court.

2. The only question that arises for consideration is whether G. P. sheets fall within the category of iron and steel. The Supreme Court in State of Tamil Nadu v. Pyare Lal Malhotra [1976] 37 S.T.C. 319 considered the scope of entry No. (iv) in Section 14 of the Central Sales Tax Act which is the same as the corresponding entry No. 4 in the Second Schedule to the Tamil Nadu Act. In that case, the main question was whether the expression 'that is to say' was illustrative or exhaustive. The Supreme Court pointed out that the expression 'that is to say' was exhaustive and that what was meant was 'iron and steel goods of various types enumerated below'. Therefore, in order to fall within the category of goods described in entry 4 of the Second Schedule, it is necessary that it must be brought within one or the other of the entries therein. Sub-item (d) of item 4 contains reference to 'steel plates','. Galvanised plates are, according to the assessee, only steel plates described in the said entry. We have to examine the correctness of this contention.

3. It is necessary first to point out what galvanisation means. In current terminology the sheets are called galvanised sheets. But in olden days, they were used to be called 'zinc sheets'. The process of galvanisation has been described in McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms as follows:

To deposit zinc on the surface of metal by the processes of hot dipping, sherardizing, or sometimes electroplating.

4. The word 'sherardizing' means, according to the same dictionary ;

Coating iron with zinc by tumbling the article in powdered zinc at about 250-375C.

5. The category of goods called galvanised plain sheets have acquired a different commercial quality as a result of the process of galvanisation. Before galvanisation, they are merely plain iron sheets. But subsequent to the galvanisation they have acquired a quantity of zinc which has become part and parcel thereof. Though the sheet cannot be called as alloy of iron and zinc, still the iron or zinc has become shrouded with the other. The zinc cannot be separated or rubbed off like paint. The result is the sheet acquires a new commercial character.

6. In a judgment of the Gujarat High Court in State of Gujarat v. S. V. Motichand, Lunawada [1969] 23 S.T.C. 288, the dispute to be dealt with related to corrugated iron sheets. At page 300, it was stated, after reference to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Fourteenth Edition, Volume 6, at page 471, that the process of corrugation of iron sheets enabled much lighter gauges of sheets to be used because it makes them very rigid and portable. The whole corrugating process was to make the corrugated sheets very rigid and portable and to use the corrugated sheets for the purpose for which other sheets could not be used. What the learned Judges said about corrugated sheets could be said of the galvanised plain sheets in this case.

7. The decision of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in State of Andhra Pradesh v. Sri Durga Hardware Stores [1973] 32 S.T.C. 322 was rendered at a time when the Supreme Court decision in State of Tamil Nadu v. Pyare Lal Malhotra [1976] 37 S.T.C. 319 had not been rendered. In the Andhra Pradesh decision [1973] 32 S.T.C. 322, it was held that galvanised plain or corrugated sheets and B. P. sheets fell within the ambit of 'iron and steel' in entry 2 of the Third Schedule and that the words 'that is to say' were intended to adopt the most general concept of iron and steel and that the legislature wanted all forms of iron and steel to be brought within that entry. The learned Judges observed that galvanisation was nothing but coating the iron sheet with zinc by an electrical process or some other processes, to prevent it from oxidation and galvanisation improved the utility of the raw material of iron. The wrinkling of corrugation process was also, it was pointed out, to make the sheets more rigid so as to give them increased stiffness in order to be more suitable for roofing and walling. Corrugation and galvanisation were referred to as having improved the utility of the raw material. However, this process did not, according to the learned Judges, result in the loss of their essential character as iron and steel. We are unable to agree with this decision for more than one reason. The learned Judges, as stated above, were dealing with the case at a time when the decision of the Supreme Court in State of Tamil Nadu v. Pyare Lal Malhotra [1976] 37 S.T.C. 319 was not available. They were under the impression that the expression 'that is to say' was designed to adopt the most general concept of iron and steel so as to take all forms of iron and steel to be brought within the entry. This conception of a broad meaning can no longer hold the field after the decision of the Supreme Court. It is only in this process of construction of the relevant entry in a wide sense that they came to the conclusion that notwithstanding the corrugation and galvanisation the sheets retained their character as iron and steel goods. However, in the light of the later decision of the Supreme Court, we have to find out whether the galvanised plain sheets fall within the category of steel plates referred in the entry. As we have pointed out, these sheets were previously known only as zinc sheets and merely because a different expression has come to be used it does not mean that they retain the character of iron and steel plates. They are actually materials different from steel plates and their use is also different, and commercially they are different goods. In these circumstances, we are unable to accept the conclusion of the Tribunal as correct. The relevant turnover would be brought to tax at the multi-point rate. We may at this stage point out that the entry has undergone a change. Whatever we have said above does not cover the entry as it is now in the statute. The revision petition is accordingly allowed. There will be no order as to costs.


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