Decided on April 27,1973



R.N.MISRA, J. - (1.) THESE are five separate writ applications on behalf of five different betel leaf dealers of the district of Ganjam. Each of the petitioners has been subjected to tax under the Orissa Sales Tax Act, 1947 (hereinafter referred to as the Orissa Act ). In respect of some of these petitioners, assessments have become final, while in regard to others, after assessments were made appeals had been filed and at the time the writ petition was filed either first appeals before the Assistant Commissioner or second appeals before the Tribunal under the Orissa Act were pending disposal. At the instance of the parties, these writ applications have been heard together as common questions of fact and law arise. In fact, there was only a single hearing in respect of all these cases as suggested by the learned counsel for the parties.
(2.) WHEN the writ applications were heard, a preliminary objection was raised to the maintainability of these petitions on the ground that the petitioners were pursuing their remedies under the statute and they should not be permitted to invoke the extraordinary jurisdiction of this court. Thereupon the petitioners' counsel withdrew the appeals from the appropriate forums and intimated this court that the writ petitions would be pressed. As the allegations are more or less the same in these writ petitions, we propose to deal with the facts as stated in O. J. C. No. 754 of 1970. The State Government by notification dated 6th August, 1962, declared that the sale of betel leaves would be liable to purchase tax from 1st September, 1962, at the rate of 3 per cent. By a subsequent notification the rate of tax was reduced to 2 per cent with effect from 1st June, 1963, and a rebate of 2 per cent was allowed if the dealer proved that the stocks on which purchase tax had been paid, had subsequently been sold in the course of inter-State trade or commerce. By notification dated 26th June, 1969, the provisions for payment of rebate was deleted with effect from 1st July, 1969.
(3.) THE petitioners contend that the withdrawal of the provision for rebate amounted to double taxation of the turnover of the betel leaves. As a fact, the betel leaves having been exported outside the State, the sale was in the course of inter-State trade and was not liable to be assessed under the Orissa Act. It is claimed that the deletion of the provision of rebate makes the same transaction liable to two sets of taxes and gives rise to a situation which conflicts with the provision of article 286 (1) (a) of the Constitution. On behalf of the revenue, the learned standing counsel disputes all these allegations and contends that the assessment in these cases has been made on the transaction of purchase preceding the inter-State sale. According to the learned standing counsel, the goods at the purchase point preceding the transaction constituting the inte-State sale that has been subjected to tax. It is not the one and the single transaction which has been subjected to two taxes. The purchase tax under the Orissa Act is levied at the time of passing of title in the goods in favour of the petitioner and tax under the Central Sales Tax Act (hereinafter referred to as the Central Act) is payable, according to the taxing department, when the goods are exported out of the State in terms of section 3 of the Central Act.;

Click here to view full judgement.
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.