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The Central Sales Tax Act, 1956
Section 14 in The Central Sales Tax Act, 1956
State Of Tamil Nadu vs Pyare Lal Malhotra Etc on 19 January, 1976
Government Of Andhra Pradesh And ... vs Sri D. Janardhana Rao And Another on 23 September, 1976
Section 15 in The Central Sales Tax Act, 1956
Citedby 1 docs
Assistant Commercial Taxes ... vs Raj. Agro Industries And Ors. on 30 July, 1985

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Rajasthan High Court
Rajasthan Iron And Steel ... vs Commercial Taxes Officer on 2 July, 1984
Equivalent citations: 1987 65 STC 215 Raj, 1985 (1) WLN 100
Author: N Kasliwal
Bench: N Kasliwal, S Bhargava

JUDGMENT

N.M. Kasliwal, J.

1. On a direction given by this Court, the Board of Revenue has sent the following question of law for the opinion of this Court:

Whether entry No. 23 of the Notification No. F. 5(40)F.D. (R & T) 63-XIII dated 2nd March, 1963, under the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act, 1954 and Section 14 of the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956, covers G.P. and G.C. sheets within the term "iron and steel" when the petitioner purchases and sells these items in the same form in which it received them from the rolling mills ?

2. M/s. Rajasthan Iron and Steel Merchants Association (P.) Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "the assessee") is a dealer in the business of sale of galvanised plain and corrugated sheets and galvanised wire purchased from M/s. Tata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. or M/s. Hindustan Steel Ltd. The Commercial Taxes Department was treating such galvanised sheets and wires as "iron and steel" for sales tax purposes up to 31st December, 1963 and assessing such sales to tax at 2 per cent. The assessing authority started calculating sales tax at 6 per cent on items mentioned above from 1st January, 1964, in pursuance of a departmental clarification issued on the basis of an interpretation given by the Government of India that these items would not come under the definition of "iron and steel" as defined under Section 14 of the Central Sales Tax Act and as notified under the Government notification dated 2nd March, 1963. The Commercial Taxes Officer, Special Circle-II, Jaipur, while assessing sales tax for the assessment year 1963-64 held that from 1st January, 1964, onwards sale of G.P. sheets, G.C. sheets and G.I. wires attracted a general rate of sales tax at 6 per cent while prior to 1st January, 1964, sales tax was leviable at 2 per cent. An appeal filed by the assessee was dismissed by the Deputy Commissioner, Commercial Taxes (Appeals), Jaipur. The assessee then filed a revision application before the Board of Revenue. The Board of Revenue agreed with the contention of the assessee's counsel that the departmental circulars could not change the legal position which is governed by law and rules on the subject. The Board then examined the basic question whether G.P. and G.C. sheets and G.I. wires would fall under the category of "iron and steel" or not. If they fall under that category, then they will attract sales tax at the rate of 2 per cent but if they do not, then at the rate of 6 per cent. The Board of Revenue held that though corrugation was only a change in the shape of sheet, it did not really change the property of the matter, but in case of galvanisation the Board held that such a process where the entire metal area of the iron item is coated with another metal (zinc) there occurs a basic change in the nature and properties of the iron sheets or wires and accordingly after this process of galvanisation they could not be strictly called merely items of "iron and steel". In view of this position, the Board of Revenue found that it had been rightly held that galvanised corrugated sheets or galvanised wires, no longer fall under the category of iron and steel under Section 14 of the Central Sales Tax Act and as notified vide Government notification dated 2nd March, 1963. Thus, they attract sales tax at the rate of 6 per cent instead of 2 per cent.

3. The Board of Revenue as regards the period earlier to 1st January, 1964, observed as under:

There is also the question as to why the higher rate should be levied from 1st January, 1964 and not for the earlier period. Once it is accepted that these items no longer fall under the category of iron and steel, the higher rate would be leviable for the relevant period, but we are prohibited from ordering its levy for the earlier period because that could be prejudicial to the assessee and we are barred from passing such order under Section 14(2) of the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act.

4. In view of the above findings, the Board of Revenue dismissed the revision by its order dated 5th October, 1968. An application for making a reference was also dismissed by the Board of Revenue on 26th March, 1969. Thereafter the assessee submitted an application to this Court under Sub-section (2)(b) of Section 15 of the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act, 1954, requiring the Board of Revenue to state the case and refer the abovementioned question of law for answer by this Court. This Court by order dated 22nd November, 1973, directed the Board of Revenue to make a statement of the case and refer the aforesaid question for answer of this Court. In these circumstances the above question of law has been referred to this Court.

5. It may be mentioned at the outset that the Board of Revenue itself did not agree with the above view in latter decisions and in view of conflicting judgments, a larger Bench of the Board of Revenue was constituted to decide the above controversy. A larger Bench of the Board of Revenue consisting of three members in Radhaballabh and Sons v. State of Rajasthan reported in 1974 RRD 368 considered the above question and held that galvanised, corrugated sheets fell within the definition of "iron and steel" and that galvanisation and corrugation of the iron sheets or wires did not change their basic character from being iron and steel. The Board of Revenue placed reliance on a decision of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in State of Andhra Pradesh v. Sri Durga Hardware Stores, Vijayawada [1973] 32 STC 322. In the above Andhra Pradesh case it was held as under :

Galvanised plain or corrugated sheets and B.P. sheets fall within the ambit of 'iron and steel' in entry 2 of the Third Schedule to the Andhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act, 1957.

The words 'that is to say' occurring immediately after 'iron and steel' in entry 2 show that the legislature intended to adopt the most general concept of iron and steel and wanted all forms of iron and steel to be brought within that entry.

Galvanisation is nothing but coating the iron sheet with zinc by an electrical process, or some other processes, to prevent it from oxidation. The galvanisation improves the utility of the raw material of iron. Corrugation is merely wrinkling of the sheets in one direction for the purpose of making the sheets more rigid and for giving increased stiffness so as to be more suitable for roofing and walling. Both corrugation and galvanisation improve the utility of the raw material. By the process of galvanisation and corrugation, the iron and steel do not lose their essential character as iron and steel.

6. A similar view was taken by the Allahabad High Court in Commissioner of Sales Tax, Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow v. Tata Iron and Steel Company Ltd. [1976] 38 STC 10, by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in Sales Tax Commissioner v. Jammu Iron and Steel Syndicate [1980] 45 STC 99, by the Calcutta High Court in Phanindra Nath Manna and Company v. Commercial Tax Officer [1974] 33 STC 292 and by the Gujarat High Court in State of Gujarat v. Shah Veljibhai Motichand, Lunawada [1969] 23 STC 288.

7. The matter then came to be examined by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in State of Tamil Nadu v. Pyare Lal Malhotra [1976] 37 STC 319 (SC). Their Lordships of the Supreme Court considered Section 14 of the Central Act. The list of goods given at No. (iv) as it stood in 1968 was as under :

(iv) iron and steel, that is to say,-

(a) pig iron and iron scrap ;

(b) iron plates sold in the same form in which they are directly produced by the rolling mill;

(c) steel scrap, steel ingots, steel billets, steel bars and rods ; (d)(i)steel plates,

(ii) steel sheets, sold in the same form in

(iii)sheet bars and which they are directly

tin bars, Produced by the

(iv)rolled steel rolling mill.

sections,

(v)tool alloy steel ;

8. By the Central Sales Tax (Amendment) Act (61 of 1972), Clause (iv) was redrafted. It now reads as follows :

(iv) iron and steel, that is to say,-

(i) pig iron and cast iron including ingot moulds, bottom plates, iron scrap, cast iron scrap, runner scrap and iron skull scrap ;

(ii) steel semis (ingots, slabs, blooms and billets of all qualities, shapes and sizes) ;

(iii) skelp bars, tin bars, sheet bars, hoe-bars and sleeper bars ;

(iv) steel bars (rounds, rods, squares, flats, octagons and hexagons, plain and ribbed or twisted, in coil form as well as straight lengths);

(v) steel structural (angles, joists, channels, tees, sheet piling sections, Z sections or any other rolled sections);

(vi) sheets, hoops, strips and skelp, both black and galvanised, hot and cold rolled, plain and corrugated, in all qualities, in straight lengths and in coil form, as rolled and in rivetted condition ;

(vii) plates both plain and chequered in all qualities ;

(viii) discs, rings, forgings and steel castings ;

(ix) tool, alloy and special steels of any of the above categories ;

(x) steel melting scrap in all forms including steel skull, turnings and borings ;

(xi) steel tubes, both welded and seamless, of all diameters and lengths, including tube fittings;

(xii) tin-plates, both hot dipped and electrolytic and tinfree plates;

(xiii) fish plate bars, bearing plate bars, crossing sleeper bars, fish plates, bearing plates, crossing sleepers and pressed steel sleepers, rails-heavy and light crane rails;

(xiv) wheels, tyres, axles and wheel sets ;

(xv) wire rods and wires-rolled, drawn, galvanised, aluminised, tinned or coated such as by copper ;

(xvi) defectives, rejects, cuttings or end pieces of any of the above categories.

9. Their Lordships then considered the significance and effect of the use of words "that is to say" and held as under :

What we have inferred above also appears to us to be the significance and effect of the use of the words 'that is to say' in accordance with their normal connotation and effect. Thus, in Stroud's Judicial Dictionary, 4th Edn., Vol. 5; at page 2753, we find :

That is to say.-(1) "That is to say" is the commencement of an ancillary clause which explains the meaning of the principal clause. It has the following properties : (1) it must not be contrary to the principal clause; (2) it must neither increase nor diminish it ; (3) but where the principal clause is general in terms it may restrict it: see this explained with many examples, Stukeley v. Butler, Hob

171.

The quotation, given above, from Stroud's Judicial Dictionary shows that, ordinarily, the expression 'that is to say' is employed to make clear and fix the meaning of what is to be explained or defined. Such words are not used, as a rule, to amplify a meaning while removing a possible doubt for which purpose the word 'includes' is generally employed. In unusual cases, depending upon the context of the words 'that is to say', this expression may be followed by illustrative instances. In Megh Raj v. Allah Rdkhia AIR 1947 PC 72, the words 'that is to say', with reference to a general category 'land' were held to introduce, 'the most general concept' when followed, inter alia, by the words 'right in or over land'. We think that the precise meaning of the words 'that is to say' must vary with the context. Where, as in Megh Raj's case AIR 1947 PC 72, the amplitude of legislative power to enact provisions with regard to 'land' and rights over it was meant to be indicated, the expression was given a wide scope because it came after the word 'land' and then followed 'rights over land' as an explanation of "land". Both were wide classes. The object of using them for subject-matter of legislation, was obviously to lay down a wide power to legislate. But, in the context of single point sales tax, subject to special conditions when imposed on separate categories of specified goods, the expression was apparently meant to exhaustively enumerate the kinds of goods on a given list. The purpose of an enumeration in a statute dealing with sales tax at a single point in a series of sales would, very naturally, be to indicate the types of goods each of which would constitute a separate class for a series of sales. Otherwise, the listing itself loses all meaning and would be without any purpose behind it.

Learned counsel appearing for an intervener argued that the chemical composition of iron and steel affords a clue to the meaning of 'iron and steel' as used in Section 14 of the Central Act. We are unable to agree that this could be what Parliament or any legislature would be thinking of when enumerating items to be taxed as commercial goods. The ordinary meaning to be assigned to a taxable item in a list of specified items is that each item so specified is considered as a separately taxable item for purposes of single point taxation in a series of sales unless the contrary is shown. Some confusion has arisen because the separate items are all listed under one heading : 'iron and steel'.

If the object was to make iron and steel taxable as a substance, the entry could have been : 'Goods of iron and steel'. Perhaps even this would not have been clear enough. The entry, to clearly have that meaning, would have to be : 'Iron and steel irrespective of change of form or shape or character of goods made out of them'; This is the very unusual meaning which the respondents would like us to adopt. If that was the meaning, sales tax law itself would undergo a change from being a law which normally taxes sales of 'goods' to a law which taxes sales of substances out of which goods are made. We, however, prefer the more natural and normal interpretation which follows plainly from the fact of separate specification and numbering of each item. This means that each item so specified forms a separate species for each series of sales although they may all belong to the genus : 'iron and steel'. Hence, if iron and steel 'plates' are melted and converted into 'wire' and then sold in the market, such wire would only be taxable once so long as it retains its identity as commercial goods belonging to the category 'wire' made of either iron or steel. The mere fact that the substance or raw material out of which it is made has also been taxed in some other form, when it was sold as a separate commercial commodity, would make no difference for purposes of the law of sales tax. The object appears to us to be to tax sales of goods of each variety and not the sale of the substance out of which they are made.

As we all know, sales tax law is intended to tax sales of different commercial commodities and not to tax the production or manufacture of particular substances out of which these commodities may have been made. As soon as separate commercial commodities emerge or come into existence, they become separately taxable goods or entities for purposes of sales tax. Where commercial goods, without change of their identity as such goods, are merely subjected to some processing or finishing or are merely joined together, they may remain commercially the goods which cannot be taxed again, in a series of sales, so long as they retain their identity as goods of a particular type.

10. Their Lordships distinguished the earlier case decided by the Supreme Court in the State of Madhya Bharat (Now the State of Madhya Pradesh) v. Hiralal [1966] 17 STC 313 (SC). After the above decision of the Supreme Court in Pyare Lal Malhotra's case [1976] 37 STC 319 (SC) the matter again came up for consideration before a Bench of the Madras High Court. The Madras High Court in Deputy Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, Tifuchirapalli v. P.C. Mohammed Ibrahim Marakayar Sons [1980] 46 STC 22 held that galvanised plain sheets, referred to as G.P. sheets or C.R. sheets, would not fall within the category of "iron and steel" under entry 4 of the Second Schedule to the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act, 1959, as it stood during the assessment year 1968-69 and, therefore; they are taxable at the multi-point rate. It was further held that galvanised plain sheets were previously known 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. It was observed that the decision of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in State of Andhra Pradesh v. Sri Durga Hardware Stores, Vijayawada [1973] 32 STC 322 was rendered at a time when the Supreme Court decision in State of Tamil Nadu v. Pyare Lal Malhotra [1976] 37 STC 319 (SC) had not been rendered. The learned Judges of the Madras High Court did not agree with the decision of the Andhra Pradesh High Court and in this regard observed as under :

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 STC 319 (SC) 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.

11. The Allahabad High Court in Agra Metal Perforators v. Commissioner, Sales Tax, U.P., Lucknow [1981] 48 STC 378 held :

As a result of perforation of iron sheets a different commercial commodity comes into existence and since perforated iron sheet is not covered by the categories mentioned in Section 14(iv) of the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956, as amended by the Central Sales Tax (Amendment) Act, 1972, it could not be treated as iron and steel but had to be treated as an unclassified item for the purposes of assessment under the U.P. Sales Tax Act, 1948.

12. We may also refer to some cases cited by Mr. Singhal, learned counsel for the assessee. In Tungabhadra Industries Ltd. v. Commercial Tax Officer, Kurnool [1960] 11 STC 827 (SC) the Supreme Court held that "hydrogenated groundnut oil (commonly called vanaspati) is 'groundnut oil' within the meaning of Rule 18(2) of the Madras General Sales Tax (Turnover and Assessment) Rules, 1939".

13. The State of Madhya Bharat (Now the State of Madkya Pradesh) v. Hiralal [1966] 17 STC 313 (SC) has already been distinguished by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in State of Tamil Nadu v. Pyare Lal Malhotra [1976] 37 STC 319 (SC).

14. Deputy Commissioner of Agricultural Income-tax and Sales Tax, Quilon v. Travancore Rubber and Tea Co. [1967] 20 STC 520 (SC) is a case of the Supreme Court where the question was whether the assessee was a dealer within the meaning of Section 2(b) of the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956. It was observed that:

Where the only facts that were established were that the assessee converted the latex tapped from its rubber trees into sheets and effected a sale of those sheets to its customers and that the conversion of latex into sheets was a process essential for the transport and marketing of the produce.

Held, that the onus of proving that the assessee was carrying on business and was, therefore, a 'dealer' within the meaning of Section 2(b) of the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956, was on the department and that the department had not discharged that onus.

15. In State of Gujarat v. Sakarwala Brothers [1967] 19 STC 24 (SC) it was held by the Supreme Court as under :

Patasa, harda and alchidana fall within the definition of 'sugar' in entry 47 of Schedule A to the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1959 and their sales are exempt from the payment of sales tax. The word 'sugar' in entry 47 is intended to include within its ambit all forms of sugar, that is to say, sugar of any shape or texture, colour or density and by whatever name it is called.

16. In Alladi Venkateswarlu v. Government of Andhra Pradesh [1978] 41 STC 394 (SC) it was held by their Lordships of the Supreme Court as under :

Rice in husk' is 'paddy'. When it is removed from husk, the husk and rice become separately taxable under the Act. But, there are no separate entries for rice and rice reduced into an edible form by heating or parching without any addition of ingredients or appreciable changes in chemical composition. The term 'rice' is wide enough to include rice in its various forms whether edible or inedible. Rice in the form of grain is not edible. Parched rice and puffed rice are edible. But 'rice' in entry 66 is wide enough to cover both forms of rice.

The term 'rice' as ordinarily understood in English language would include both parched and puffed rice.

17. In Deputy Commissioner of Sales Tax (Law), Board of Revenue (Taxes), Ernakulam v. Pio Food Packers [1980] 46 STC 63 (SC) it was held as under :

When pineapple fruit is processed into pineapple slices for the purpose of being sold in sealed cans there is no consumption of the original pineapple fruit for the purpose of manufacture and the case does not fall within Section 5A(1)(a) of the Kerala General Sales Tax Act, 1963. Although a degree of processing is involved in preparing pineapple slices from the original fruit, the commodity continues to possess its original identity, notwithstanding the removal of inedible portions, the slicing and thereafter canning it on adding sugar to preserve it.

18. All the above cases cited by Mr. Singhal do not deal with the controversy raised before us.

19. The relevant entry for our consideration is Clause (iv) of Section 14 of the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956, as it stood prior to the amendment made by Act No. 61 of 1972. The above clause has already been extracted above in the earlier part of our judgment while dealing with State of Tamil Nadu v. Pyare Lal Malhotra [1976] 37 STC 319 (SC). The question is whether galvanised and corrugated iron sheets fall within the meaning of ''iron and steel" under entry No. 23 of the notification dated 2nd March, 1963, issued under the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act, 1954 and Section 14 of the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956. There is no manner of doubt that after an amendment in 1972 abovementioned sheets have been included in the above clause, but we are concerned with the notification dated 2nd March, 1963, which was in force while dealing with the assessment year 1963-64. The view taken in State of Andhra Pradesh v. Sri Durga Hardware Stores, Vijayawada [1973] 32 STC 322 by the Andhra Pradesh High Court is no longer correct after the decision of their Lordships of the Supreme Court in State of Tamil Nadu v. Pyare Lal Malhotra [1976] 37 STC 319 (SC). The scope and meaning of the words "that is to say" have been enunciated by the Supreme Court and according to which the expression ''that is to say" is apparently meant to exhaustively enumerate all kinds of goods on a given list. The term "that is to say" has been used in the relevant notification to be dealt by us and a general and wide meaning cannot be given to the term "iron and steel". In order to claim rate of tax at 2 per cent it has to be seen whether corrugated and galvanised iron sheets fell within any of the categories mentioned in the above notification dated 2nd March, 1963, at entry No. 23. So far as the iron goods are concerned, it only makes a mention of pig iron and iron scrap in Clause (a) and speaks of iron plates only in Clause (b). Thus, there is no scope for any argument to bring the corrugated and galvanised iron sheets in any of the above categories. Clauses (c) and (d) deal with goods of steel. Clause (c) which mentions steel scrap, steel ingots, steel billets, steel bars and rods, is totally out of question and is not relied even by the learned counsel for the assessee. We are thus left to consider Clause (d) of the above notification. Mr. Singhal, learned counsel for the assessee, submitted that the goods in question fall within item (iv) of Clause (d) which mentions "rolled steel sections". In our view galvanised and corrugated iron sheets cannot fall within the a,boye item of rolled steel sections. The goods in question also do not fall within item (ii) of Clause (d) which mentions "steel sheets" as in our view corrugated and galvanised iron sheets cannot come within the meaning of "steel sheets". All the items mentioned under the term "iron and steel" shall be dealt with exhaustively as the words "that is to say" have been used after iron and steel. The corrugated and galvanised G.P. and G.C. sheets are commercially different and even in common parlance cannot come within the term "steel sheets" or "rolled steel sections".

20. Mr. Singhal also submitted that the amendment made in 1972 was merely an exposition or clarification of the earlier law and should be considered useful in construing the earlier relevant notification dated 2nd March, 1963. Reliance in this regard was placed on Manickam and Co. v. State of Tamil Nadu [1977] 39 STC 12 (SC). In the above case the question was whether the appellant was entitled to claim refund of the sales tax paid under the State Act in respect of yarn sold by it in the course of inter-State trade in accordance with Section 15(b) of the Central Act. It was held that the emphasis in the word "refunded" in Clause (b) of Section 15 of the Central Act and the proviso to Section 4 of the State Act was on repayment of the amount. The context in which that word was used showed that such repayment need not be to the person who initially paid the tax. While dealing with this question it was observed that the amendment made in Clause (b) of Section 15 of the Central Act by Act No. 61 of 1972 can be taken to be an exposition by the legislature itself of its intent contained in the earlier provision. It was further observed that as a result of the amendment the legislature has clarified what was implicit in the provisions as they existed earlier. The above principle cannot be applied in the case of a notification which deals with declared goods and according to which the lower rate of taxation is applied. There is no question of clarifying by subsequent amendment in such a case. The notification dated 2nd March, 1963, was itself exhaustive to deal with all items of iron and steel and if it did not include corrugated and galvanised iron sheets, it would be held that the intention of the legislature was not to include the same earlier as it was done subsequently by an amendment made in 1972. In the case of such notification no retrospective intention can be given. On the contrary it goes to show that the legislature wanted to include such goods only in 1972 as the same were mentioned by making an amendment in 1972.

21. In the result, we hold that entry No. 23 of the abovementioned notification dated 2nd March, 1963, does not cover G.P. and G.C. sheets within the term "iron and steel". The reference is thus answered in the negative. There would be no order as to costs in the facts and circumstances of this case.