Sugars Vs. Govt. of Andhra Pradesh & Ors  INSC 171 (28 April 1999)
S.Rajendra Babu, S.S.Mkohammed Quadri,M.B.Shah Bharucha, J. :
concerned with the interpretation of Section 21 of the Andhra Pradesh Sugarcane
(Regulation of Supply and Purchase) Act, 1961, as amended by Act 25 of 1976.
the provisions to be dealt with are sub-sections 3D, 4 and 5 of Section 21
which read thus:
In relation to the tax levied under sub-section (1) and in respect of purchase
of sugarcane on or after the date of commencement as aforesaid :- (a)
Sub-sections (4) and (5) shall not apply, and the tax shall be deemed due date
of purchase of sugarcane or the date of commencement as aforesaid, whichever is
later, (b) Sub-section (3-C) shall apply with the modification that where the
assessing authority is satisfied that the Occupier of a factory or Owner of Khandasari
unit has removed or cause to be removed any sugar in contravention of the
provision of this section or has failed to account fully for the sugar produced
in the factory or Khandasari unit or deposited by him under the provision to
sub-section (3), the person liable to pay the tax shall in addition to the
amount payable under sub-section (3) in respect of the quantity of sugar so
removed or caused to be removed or unaccounted for, be also liable to pay by
way of penalty a further sum not exceeding one hundred percent of the sum so
The provisions of the sub-section shall be without prejudice to the provisions
of sub-section (3-C).
The tax payable under sub-section (1) shall be levied and collected from the
Occupier of the factory or Owner of the Khandasari unit in such manner and by
such authority as may be prescribed.
Arrears of tax shall carry interest at such rate as may be prescribed, The
question is whether, subsequent to the said provisions as amended, any interest
could be levied on arrears of tax under sub-rule (4) of Rule 45 of the Andhra
Pradesh Sugarcane (Regulation of Supply & Purchase) Rules, 1961. Rule 45,
so far as it is relevant, reads thus :
amount of tax still remaining unpaid, as finally arrived at, at the end of the
crushing season on the revised assessment of tax worked out and communicated by
the assessing authority under sub-section (3-B) of Section 21, shall be treated
as arrear under sub-section (5) of Section 21 of the Act.
Such arrears shall carry interest at the rate of 16 percent per annum from the
date following the date of closure of crushing till the amount is finally paid.
argument on behalf of the appellants is that by reason of clause (a) of
sub-section 3D of Section 21, as amended, sub-sections (4) & (5) thereof
are not to apply in respect of purchases of sugarcane made on or after the date
of the commencement of the Amending Act, which was 29th December, 1975; that
sub-section (5) of Section 21 was the provision that required the payment of
interest on arrears of tax; and that, having regard to the inapplicability of
that provision for the relevant period, no interest could be levied. The High
Court in the principal judgment, which was followed in the subsequent orders,
took the view that the scope of sub-section 3D of Section 21 and its
application was restricted to the crushing season 1975-76 during which the
Amending Act had come into force.
said Act is a taxing statute and a taxing statute must be interpreted as it
reads, with no additions and no subtractions, on the ground of legislative
intendment or otherwise.
plain wording of clause (a) of sub-section (3D) of Section 21 of the Act as
amended, we find it difficult to agree with the High Court. The provisions
thereof say that sub-section (5) shall not apply in relation to tax levied
under sub-section (1) of Section 21 on purchase of sugarcane. The provisions
came into force on the date of the commencement of the Amending Act. The
provisions are open ended and are intended to apply upon the commencement of
the Amending Act with no limitation in time.
Court in India Carbon Limited & Ors. vs. State of Assam (1997 (6) SCC 479)
has held, after analysing the Constitution Bench judgment in J.K. Synthetic vs.
CTO (1994 (4) SCC 276), that interest can be levied and charged on delayed
payment of tax only if the statute that levies and charges the tax makes a substantive
provision in this behalf. There being no substantive provision in the Act for
the levy of interest on arrears of tax that applied to purchases of sugarcane
made subsequent to the date of commencement of the Amending Act, no interest
thereon could be so levied, based on the application of the said Rule 45 or
appeals are allowed. The judgments and orders under appeal are set aside.
Court, by order dated 23rd Novemeber, 1983, had refused stay of the judgment
and orders under appeal and had directed that, in the event the appeals
succeeded and the respondents were held liable to refund the amounts recovered
on account of refusal of stay, the entire amounts should be refunded within
three months from the date of the order with 18% interest from the date of the
payment till the amounts were refunded. The appeals having succeeded, the
respondents shall refund the amounts that the appellants have paid within three
months from today with interest at the rate of 18% per annum from the date of
payment till the refund is made. No order as to costs.