PUBLIC PROSECUTOR Vs. M THOMMAIA FERUANDO
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
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Ramaswami, J. -
(1.) These are connected appeals preferred by the learned Public Prosecutor against the order of acquittal of the learned Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Tuticorin, in S. C. Nos. 439, 485, 487, 526 and 531 of 1951.
(2.) The facts are: The respondents before us live at Tuticorin on the foreshore of the sea. Every day the fishermen go out in boats or canoes and bring in the catches. These catches are stacked on the foreshore by the persons to whom they belonged and these owners stand by the side of these catches. They employ these present respondents for auctioning these catches. The respondents cry out the upset price, invite bidders and when the price offered exceeds the reserve price the sales are knocked down in the names of the highest bidders and those bidders pay the prices to the owners and take over from them the catches. If the reserved prices are not reached the owners take the fish to the market. These respondents are paid for the duties performed by them at the rate of quarter to one anna per rupee. On these facts, the respective contentions are advanced, viz., that these respondents are commission agents coming within the meaning of "dealers" and liable to sales-tax and that they are only brokers or criers at the auctions and do not therefore come within the meaning of "dealers" liable to pay sales-tax.
(3.) In this case and in similar cases there is no dispute that the Deputy Commercial tax Officer, Tuticorin, levied sales tax and the Commercial Tax Officer, Tirunelveli East, confirmed them. Thereupon, appeals were preferred before the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal, Madras, and it was held that these respondents and persons similarly situated were not liable to be assessed to sales tax. The Government has not preferred any revisions from these orders. Tribunal Appeals Nos. 276, 277, 278 etc., dated 23-7-1952 and appeal No. 275 of 1952 dated 29-10-1952.;
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