Sri Venkateswara Rice, Ginning &
Groundnut Oil Mill Contract Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh & Ors  Insc
210 (23 August 1971)
CITATION: 1972 AIR 51 1972 SCR (1) 346 1971
SCC (2) 630
CITATOR INFO :
F 1972 SC2227 (4)
Andhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act, 1956,
Sch. III, item 6, and Central Sales Tax Act (74 of 1956), ss. 14 and 15Purchase
of groundnut by millers-Used for extracting oil and re-sale-Liability to
Practice and Procedure-Division Bench of High
Court ignoring earlier decision of another Division Bench-Propriety.
Under ss. 14 and 15 of the Central Sales Tax
Act, 1956, groundnut is one of the declared goods' and a State is not empowered
to levy purchase tax of more than 3% on the turnover, and further the tax
cannot be levied at more than one stage. Under s.. 6 of the Andhra Pradesh
General Sales Tax Act, 1956, the sales or purchases of 'declared good,&' by
a dealer shall be liable to tax at the rate, and at the point of sale or
purchase specified in the III Schedule to the Act. Item 6 of the III Schedule
provides, that with respect to groundnut, the point of levy is, when purchased
by a miller other than a decorticating miller in the State, at the point of
purchase by such miller, and in all other cases, at the point of purchase by
the last dealer who buys in the State.
The assesses were millers but not
decorticating millers and they were registered dealersunder the Act. Groundnut
was purchased by them not for sale, but was either used by them entirely for
extracting oil or partly for extracting oil and the rest sold to others.
On the question whether the event that gave
rise to tax liability was (a) the purchase by the assessees, or (b) the
crushing of the groundnut purchased by the assessees, or (c) the last purchase
by a purchaser in the State, the High Court, in revision, held that the
purchase tax should be levied when the assessees purchased the groundnut.
Dismissing the appeals to this Court,
HELD : (1) Under the sales-tax laws the
charge in respect of a sale or purchase becomes effective as soon as the sale
in the case of sales-tax and purchase in the case of purchasetax is made,
though, the liability of the dealer is computed only at the end of the year.,
Hence, the turnover relating to the purchases, in the present case, became
charged with the liability to pay tax as soon as those purchases were made by
the assesseemillers. That is to say, as soon as a first miller purchased
groundnut, the turnover relating to that purchase-any question of exemption
apart became liable to tax. [348 H; 349 A-C] (2)This interpretation would not
make subsequent purchases by other millersof the same groundnut eligible to tax,
because, in view of ss. 14 and 15of the General Sales Tax Act and s. 6 of
Andhra Pradesh Act, purchase of groundnut can be taxed only at one stage. Once
a particular quantity of groundnut has beer subjected to tax the State's power
in respect of those goods is exhausted. [349 D-E] 3 4 7 (3)The language of item
6 of the III Schedule shows that it is only the first purchase that becomes
exigible to tax., Therefore, there was no need, for the Legislature to say
'when purchased by the first miller' and the interpretation does not involve
the adding of any word into that item. [349 E-F] (4)The event which attracted
the tax in the present case is the purchase of groundnut by an assessee and not
his act of crushing the groundnut purchased or dealing with the groundnut in
any other manner, because, his subsequent dealings in those goods is
irrelevant. Hence, it could not be said that the assessees should be taxed only
in respect of that part of the turnover which related to groundnut crushed for
extracting oil; and that with respect to the remaining part it was the last
dealer who purchased it, that should be taxed. [349 G-H] (5)A Division Bench of
a High Court is bound by an earlier decision of a co-ordinate Bench of the same
High Court. If the Judges felt that the earlier decision should be reconsidered
they should have referred the question to a larger Bench and should not have
ignored the earlier decision. [350 C-D] M. Madar Khan & Co. v. Assistant
Commissioner (Commercial Taxes) Anantpur, 27 S.T.C. 18, overruled.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeals
Nos. 1809 to 1812 of 1968.
Appeals from the judgment and order dated
April 20, 1967 of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in T.R.C. Nos. 48, 43, 49 and
74 of 1966.
M. C. Chagla, C. A. Kanyaka Prasad, R.
Gopalakrishnan and D. P., Mahanty, for the appellants (in all the appeals).
P.Ram Reddy and G. S. Rama Rao, for the
respondents (in all the appeals).
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
Hegde, J. In these.appeals by certificate a common question of law arises for
decision viz., on the facts and circumstances of, these cases what is the point
of levy of purchase tax in respect of certain transactions relating to purchase
of , ground nut or groundnut kernel by the assessees-appellants under the
Andhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act, 1956 in brief 'the Act') ? The Commercial
Tax Officer came to the -conclusion that a critical event took place when the
assessees. purchased the groundnut with which we are concerned in these
appeals. In appeal the Assistant Commissioner upheld the order of the
Commercial Tax Officer. On a further appeal by the assessees, the Sales Tax
Appellate Tribunal disagreeing with the conclusion reached by the. Commercial
Tax Officer as well as the Assistant Commissioner came to the conclusion that
the turnovers relating to the purchases of groundnut in question became
exigible to tax either when the groundnut purchased was crushed by the millers
or when the 3 48 same was purchased by the last purchasers. But when the matter
was taken up in revision to the High Court, the High Court reversed the
decision of the Tribunal and restored the order of the Commercial Tax Officer.
In all these appeals, the assessees are
They are registered dealers under the Act.
The groundnut purchased by them was either entirely used by them for extracting
oil or partly used for extracting oil and partly sold to others. The levy with
which we are concerned in these appeals in purchase tax. The question for
decision, as mentioned earlier, is which were the events that gave rise to tax
liability-first purchase', the crushing ,of the groundnut purchased or the
'last purchase' ? The Ground is one of the "declared goods" (to be of
special importance in inter-state trade or commerce under S. 14 of the Central
Sales Tax Act, 1956, and therefore in view of S. 15(a) of that Act, the State
is not empowered to levy purchase tax of more than three percent on the
turnover in respect of those purchases and further the tax cannot be levied at
more than one stage. Herein we are not concerned with inter-state sales or
Now turning to the Act, S. 2(f) defines
"declared goods" as meaning goods declared under S. 14 of the Central
Sales Tax Act, 1956 (Central Act 74 of 1956) to be of special importance in
inter-state trade or commerce. In compliance with the mandate of ss. 14 and 15
of the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956. Section 6 of the Act provides that
notwithstanding anything contained in S. 5(the charging section), the sales or
purchases of declared goods by a dealer shall be liable to tax at the rate, and
only at the point of sale or purchase specified against each in the Third
Schedule on his turnover of such sales or purchases for each year irrespective
of the quantum of his turnover in such goods; and the tax shall beassessed,
levied and collected in such manner as may be prescribed. Here again we need
not refer to that part of S. 6 which deals with inter-state trade. The only
other provision which we have to notice is item 6 of the Third Schedule which
deals with groundnut. 'Me point of levy in respect of that item is when
purchased by a miller other than a decorticating miller in the State, at the
point of purchase by such miller and in all other cases at the point of
purchase by the last dealer who buys in the State. The rate of tax is 2 paise
in the rupee.
None of the assessees before us is a
decorticating miller, Hence we have to see whether the purchases of groundnut
made by them did not become taxable as soon as they made those purchases. It is
now well settled that even under the Sales Tax laws, the charge in respect of a
sale or purchase becomes effective as soon as the sale in the case of sales tax
and purchase in the case 349 of purchase tax is made, though the liability of
the dealer can be computed only at the end of the year. The incurring of the
charge is one thing and its computation is a totally different thing. Hence the
turnover relating to the purchases with which we are concerned in these appeals
became charged with the liability to pay tax as soon as those purchases were
made by the assessee-millers. To restate the position, whenever a miller
purchases groundnut, the turnover relating to that purchase becomes exigible to
tax subject to such exemptions as may be given under the Act. This means that
as soon as a first miller purchases groundnut, the turnover relating to that
purchase, the question of exemption apart-becomes liable to tax. This is also
the view taken by the High Court.
It was urged on behalf of the assessees that
if we place that interpretation then even the turnovers relating to subsequent
purchases of the same groundnut made by the other millers would become exigible
to tax despite the fact that only a single point purchase tax is leviable under
It was further urged that we should not read
into item 6 of the Third Schedule the word "first" before the word
"Miller" under column 2 thereof. We see no merit in these
contentions. Quite clearly in view of s. 14 and s. 15 of the Central Sales Tax
Act and s. 6 of the Act, purchase of groun dnut can be taxed only at one stage.
Once a particular quantity of groundnut has been subjected to payment of tax,
the State's power to tax in respect of those goods gets exhausted and any
further dealing in those goods cannot be brought to tax. This is clear from the
scheme of the Act.
There was no need for the legislature to say
"when purchased by first miller" in column 2 of item 6 of the Third
Schedule, because from the language employ Ada therein, it is clear that the
first purchase becomes eligible to tax and in view of s. 6 of the Act, the
subsequent purchases of the same goods cannot be subjected to tax. Therefore
there is no question of addingany word into that item, as contended by Mr. M.
C. Chagla on behalf of the assessees.
The next argument advanced on behalf of the
assessees is that in the case of some of the assessees a part of the groundnut
purchased had been sold to other millers; hence in those cases, the assessees
must be taxed only in respect of that part of the turnover which relates to
groundnut which they had crushed for extracting oil and in the case of
remaining part, it is the last dealer who purchased the same should be taxed.
This contention again is unacceptable. As mentioned earlier the event which
attracted tax is the act of the miller purchasing groundnut and not his act of
crushing the groundnut purchased or dealing with that groundnut in any other
manner. We have earlier mentioned that the very act of purchase by a miller
attracts the liability to pay tax under s. 5 read with Schedule 3 item 6.
His subsequent dealings in those 4-Ll340
SupCI/71 350 goods becomes irrelevant. In none of the cases before us it was
shown that any of the assessees had purchased groundnut with a view to sell
them. Hence we need not go into the question as to what would be the position
in law where a miller purchases some groundnut for milling and the rest for
Our approach to the question before us is
similar to that adopted by the High Court in the decision under appeal. We are
in entire agreement with the reasoning of the High Court. But our attention was
invited to a later decision of the same High Court in M. Madar Khan & Co.
v. Assistant Commissioner (Commercial Taxes) Anantpur and ors.(1) which took a
view contrary to that taken in the decision under appeal. It is strange that a
co-ordinate Bench of the same High Court should have tried to sit on judgment
over a decision of another Bench of that court. It is regrettable that the
learned judges who decided the later case overlooked the fact that they were
bound by the earlier decision. If they wanted that the earlier decision should
be reconsidered, they should have referred the question in issue to a larger
bench and not to ignore the earlier decision.
For the reasons mentioned above, these
appeals fail and they are dismissed with costs.
V.P.S. Appeals dismissed.
(1) 27 S.T.C. 18.