WESTERN COALFIELDS LTD. Vs. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA & ANR.
LAWS(SC)-2016-5-107
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on May 06,2016

WESTERN COALFIELDS LTD. Appellant
VERSUS
State of Maharashtra And Anr. Respondents

JUDGEMENT

- (1.) The question that arises in this case is whether excavators of the description available on the record of the case and belonging to the appellant Western Coalfields Ltd. is a 'motor vehicle' within the meaning of Section 2(28) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (hereinafter referred to as "the Act") so as to make the same liable for registration and payment of taxes under the Act. A two judge Bench perceiving a conflict of views between the decision of a three judge Bench of this court in Goodyear India Ltd. Versus Union of India and others (1997) 5 SCC 752 and two decisions of two judges Bench of this Court in Natwar Parikh & Co. Ltd. Versus State of Karnataka and others (2005) 7 SCC 364 and Chairman, Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation and others versus Santosh and others (2013) 6 SCC 94 has referred the question to a larger Bench for consideration.
(2.) We have heard the learned counsels for the parties. We have read and considered the order of reference; the relevant provisions of the Statutes and the decisions referred to above. The three judge Bench decision of this court in Goodyear (supra) is in the context of the provisions of the Central Excise Tariff under Item 16 thereof for the purpose of determining the classifiability of tyres of a particular size for payment of central excise duty. The question in that case was whether tyres of the size 1800 and above would be classifiable as "tyres for motor vehicles" or would fall within the residuary sub -item (3) "all other tyres". Naturally, "tyres for motor vehicles" attract a higher rate of duty (60%) than the tyres which fell within the residuary clause (20%). It is in the above context that the description of motor vehicles contained in Item 34 of the Central Excise Tariff was considered and a conclusion was reached that tyres above 1800 size would not be classifiable under the entry "tyres for motor vehicles" and instead would be appropriate for classification under the residuary item "all other tyres".
(3.) On the other hand, the two judge Bench decisions in Natwar Parikh & Co. Ltd. (supra) and Chairman, Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (supra) squarely dealt with the issue and the conclusions therein that the vehicles involved in the said cases would come within the meaning of the definition in Section 2(28) of the Act was on a consideration of the provisions thereof. We have taken note of the definition contained in Section 2(28) of the Act and having regard to the facts of the case we are of the view that the decision in Goodyear (supra) would have no application for determination of the question that arises in the present case. Having read and considered the decisions in Natwar Parikh & Co. Ltd. (supra) and Chairman, Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (supra) we are in respectful agreement with the conclusions reached therein. We, therefore, answer the question referred by holding that the excavators belonging to the appellant fall within the meaning of the definition of 'motor vehicles' contained in Section 2(28) of the Act and would, therefore, be liable for registration, payment of taxes, etc. as envisaged under the provisions of the Act.;


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