INDIAN IRON AND STEEL CO LTD Vs. MEMBER BOARD OF REVENUE
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
INDIAN IRON AND STEEL CO. LTD.
MEMBER, BOARD OF REVENUE
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Sankar Prasad Mitra, J. -
(1.) This is a reference under Section 21(1) of the Bengal Finance (Sales Tax) Act, 1941. The applicant, Messrs Indian Iron & Steel Co., Ltd., is a dealer registered under the Act. The Commercial Tax Officer, for the assessment year ending on the 31st March, 1953, by an order dated the 11th "January, 1956, made an assessment for sales tax with regard to the following' transactions of the applicant during the relevant assessment year:--
(i) sales of coke-breeze to staff for Rs. 42,314, (ii) supply of stores to the colliery staff amounting to Rs. 21,068, and (iii) value of stores supplied to staff amounting to Rs. 1,372.
(2.) The applicant's appeal to the Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes failed. The applicant filed a revision petition before the Commissioner of Commercial Taxes. It was submitted to the Commissioner that coke-breeze and stores were supplied to the applicant's staff at concessional rates only to provide amenities to them and there being no motive of profit in such deals, the applicant could not be treated as a dealer in respect of such supplies and the same were not sales for the purpose of the Act. The Additional Commissioner of Commercial Taxes rejected this contention. The dealer then went to the Board of Revenue. The Board upheld the Additional Commissioner.
(3.) Thereafter the applicant applied under Section 21(1) of the Act to the Board of Revenue for reference to this court certain questions of law. The Board by its order dated the 24th December, 1962, observed as follows: With regard to question No. 2, it is an admitted fact that the petitioner is a dealer. But the contention is that certain sales (of coke-breeze, stores etc.) made to the staff cannot be subjected to sales tax inasmuch as profit-motive was totally absent in these transactions. The Board appears to have held that although profit-motive might have been absent in the particular sale transactions, they nevertheless constitute sales within the meaning of the Bengal Finance (Sales Tax) Act, 1941, and that having been made by a dealer, they are to be subjected to sales tax. There is no authoritative decision on this question, which is certainly a question of law. In the circumstances, a reference will be made to the High Court on this question which should stand modified as under. The question to be referred is : 'whether sales by the petitioner to the members of its staff of certain commodities such as coke-breeze and stores should be excluded from its turnover as dealer for the purpose of imposition of sales tax under the Bengal Finance (Sales Tax) Act, 1941, merely because such sales were without any profit-motive, and thus be exempt from sales tax?;
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