Decided on February 04,1972



A.D.V.REDDY,J. - (1.) THE common and only point that arises for consideration in two petitions is whether cardamom is an oil-seed. The two petitioners who were dealers dealing in, among other things, cardamom, have included a certain turnover, i. e. , Rs. 63,145. 12 in the case of M/s. Sait Ricabji Babulal of Rajahmundry, one of the petitioners, and Rs. 1,12,036. 30 in the case of M/s. Shantilal and Co. of Rajahmundry for the assessment year 1967-68 in their total turnover. This sale turnover over was also subjected to tax as general goods. Their appeals to the Assistant Commissioner, Commercial Taxes, contending that these are oil-seeds coming within the definition of section 14 (vi) of the Central Sales Tax Act and are declared goods, the levy which is controlled by the provisions of section 15 of the said Act read with item 3 of the Third Schedule and section 6 of the Andhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act and as such they are taxable only at one point, i. e. , at the point if first purchase in the State, and their turnovers are exempt from tax as they had purchased in the course of inter-State trade, were rejected holding that in common parlance cardamom is not known to be oil-seed and, therefore, the turnover of sales is liable to be taxed as general goods and the appeals to the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal on this ground were also dismissed. Hence these petitions before us and hence also the question whether cardamoms are oil-seeds.
(2.) THE Assistant Commercial Tax Officer as well as the Tribunal for coming to the decision that cardamom is not an oil-seed had adopted the test of its being known as such in common parlance, relying on the decision in State of Andhra Pradesh v. Kajjam Ramachandraiah Gari Anantaiah ([1961] 12 S. T. C. 795), and held that it is not known to be an oil-seed in common parlance. In the case relied on, a Bench of this court was dealing with the sale turnovers of coriander, ajwan and sompu and their Lordships rightly remarked that it is not every seed from which by some process or other, oil can be extracted that can be called oil-seed. They further found that it was evident that oil from the commodities they were dealing with is not generally known to be extracted in this country and that there was no evidence to show that the oil extracted from these is used commercially or industrially or can be bought in the market. Under these circumstances, they also further added that it is not known to be an oil-seed in common parlance. In the present case, there was no evidence before the appellate authority as to whether in common parlance it is known as oil-seed or not. The inference that it was not known as an oil-seed in common parlance is based entirely on their personal knowledge. And secondly, the fact that a certain commodity is not mainly used as an oil-seed but is generally used in the shape of seed itself, would not show that in common parlance it is not known as an oil-seed. Cardamoms, as ordinarily used, are in the shape of pods, with the seeds inside. It is mainly used either whole pod with the outer skin or as seeds extracted and powered for culinary purposes as both the outer skin and the seeds have an aromatic quality but oil is also extracted and used for several purposes. In the book "the Wealth of India" published by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi, 1952 Edition, at page 156, it is stated that " cardamom is used as a spice and masticatory, and in medicine. . . . . . . . . It is used for flavouring curries, cakes, bread and for other culinary purposes. It is also used for flavouring liqueurs. In the Middle East countries, cardamom is used for flavouring coffee. In medicine, it is used as an adjuvant to carminative drugs. " It is further stated that cardamom oil is obtained by the distillation of the whole fruits and what is obtained is a colourless or pale yellow liquid with a penetrating, somewhat camphoraceous odour and a strong persistent pungent taste, that cardamom oil is used in flavouring beverages and it is a component of compound cardamom spirit and compound vanillin spirit. Therefore, cardamom seeds also yield oil which is used for several purposes and it cannot be said that the common parlance test is to be adopted in such a case. Moreover, under the statute, it is not every oil-seed that is to be characterised as declared goods. Section 14 (vi) of the Central Sales Tax Act itself gives the categories of oil-seeds that could be considered to be declared goods and it says : " (vi) oil-seeds, that is to say, seeds yielding non-volatile oils used for human consumption, or in industry, or in the manufacture of varnishes, soaps and the like, or in lubrication, and volatile oils used chiefly in medicines, perfumes, cosmetics and the like. "
(3.) IT is contended on behalf of the department that cardamom is not a non-volatile oil, but what is contemplated under that definition is oil-seeds yielding non-volatile oils used for certain other purposes and volatile oils used for certain other purposes. Volatile oils are those that evaporate rapidly. As shown in the book "wealth of India", cardamom seeds stored after dehusking suffer a loss of 30 per cent. in 8 months in its oil content. This would mean that it is not such a volatile oil. It should, therefore, be considered as a non-volatile oil used for human consumption, satisfying the definition. As shown by their letters, copies of which are placed before us, the Government of India, Ministry of Finance, as well as the Board of Revenue, Government of Andhra Pradesh, have treated cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) as an oil-seed falling under section 14 of the Central Sales Tax Act. This shows that even the departments concerned with the taxation of these commodities have dealt with it as an oil-seed. We, therefore, find that cardamom is an oil-seed coming within section 14 (vi) of the Central Sales Tax Act and as such is not general goods liable to tax at multi-sale-point in the State. The sale turnovers of the petitioners in this regard should therefore be deleted from the taxable turnover. The assessment in each case will be suitably revised.;

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