WESTERN COALFIELDS LTD. Vs. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA & ANR.
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
WESTERN COALFIELDS LTD.
State of Maharashtra And Anr.
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(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
(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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