GOVERNMENT OF INDIA Vs. HYDERABAD ASBESTOS CEMENT PRODUCTS LTD
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
Hyderabad Asbestos Cement Products Ltd
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MADHAVA REDDY,J. -
(1.) In this Appeal, the short question that arises for consideration is whether the Asbestos Cement Pressure Pipes manufactured by the Respondent-Company, were properly classified as falling under Class 3 of the Indian Standard Specification for Asbestos Cement Pressure Pipes specified in IS: 1592-1960 of the Indian Standards Institution, New Delhi-1. In view of the notification issued under sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the Central Excises and Salt Act, 1944, for the Pressure Pipes manufactured according to the specification of class III of the Indian Standard specification No. IS 1592/1960 a duty of Rs. 116/- per metric tonne is leviable, and in respect of the other Pressure Pipes manufactured according to the other standard specifications mentioned therein viz., Classes 1, 2, 4 and 5, Rs. 86/- is leviable. While the Respondent contends that the pipes on which differential duty is now demanded fall under Class 4 or 5, the Appellants insist that they fall under Class 3.
(2.) A pressure Pipe of 80 mm. diameter classified under Class 3, it should withstand water tightness test of 15 kg., per square centimetre, and a bursting pressure test of not less than twice the water-tightness test i.e., not less than 30 kg., per square centimetre as laid down in paragraph 4-1 and 4-2 of the said Specification. The certificates issued by the Ministry of Supply and Technical Division, National Test House, Alipore, Calcutta, in respect of the A.C. Pressure Pipes in question, disclose that so far as 84 mm., pipes are concerned, they were subjected to Internal Hydraulic pressure water tightness Test at 15 Kg., per square centimetre. The certificates do not disclose that the pipes were put to a test of a higher pressure than 15 Kg. It is common ground that if they could withstand the pressure over and above 15 Kg., per square centimetre, they would have to be put under Class 4 and if they withstand a pressure of 25 kg., or more per square centimetre, they have to be included in Class 5. From the certificates, it is clear that the Pressure Pipes in question were subjected to the tests mentioned in the certificates and no other tests. Unless they were subjected to a test pressure of more than 15 Kg. per square centimetre, it could not be conclusively certified that they fall under Class 3 and not under Class 4 or 5. While the opinion of the Expert in matters like these carry great weight, the is not precluded from considering whether the certificate is issued by the expert after subjecting the material to the tests envisaged by the specifications laid down by the Indian Standard Institute referred to above. The certificates in question do not show that the A.C. Pressure Pipes of less than 125 mm., were subjected to the test of more than 15 kg. per square centimetre, and those between 125 mm. and 200 mm. diametres, were subjected to the test of 25 kg., per square centimetre. Hence it cannot be conclusively said that they fall only under Class 3 and not Class 4 or 5.
(3.) So far as the Bursting Pressure Test is concerned, all that the Rule says is that in order to classify the pipes under Class 3, the bursting pressure should be more than twice the water tightness test. For 100 mm., diameter pipes, the bursting pressure should be not less than 30 kg. per square centimetre, and in the case of pipes having a diameter of 125 to 200 mm. it should not be less than 1.75 of the water tightness test pressure. However, the Bursting Pressure Test by itself would not be conclusive. The crucial test is the water tightness test in the case of each of the pipes of the respective diameters. That, as already held, has not been done. It is for the department which seeks to collect higher duty to conclusively establish that the pipes in question fall under Class 3 alone and not under any other class before they can claim to impose higher duty. We, therefore, do not see any reason to come to a different conclusion than the one arrived at by our learned brother Ramachandra Rao, J.;
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