Decided on April 10,1973

STATE Appellant


R.N.MISRA, J. - (1.) THESE are references made under section 24 (1) of the Orissa Sales Tax (hereinafter referred to as the Act) by the Member, Sales Tax Tribunal, of the following questions : " (1) Whether on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Tribunal has been misdirected in disposing of the appeals following the earlier order of the Tribunal which is neither evidence on record nor has any value as a precedent ? (2) Whether in the facts and circumstances of the case, the Tribunal is right in holding that mill-made woollen blankets come under serial No. 33 of the schedule of tax-free goods ?"
(2.) THE facts relevant for the purpose of answering these questions as appearing from the statement of the case are these : The assessee is a registered dealer carrying on business in cloth, grocery, etc. , including blankets. The dealer was assessed for the years 1963-64 and 1964-65 to sales tax, but the assessing officer was satisfied that the turnover of the dealer relating to sale of woollen blankets (kambals) during the relevant period had escaped assessment. Therefore, action under section 12 (8) of the Act was taken for that period and proceedings under section 12 (4) of the Act were also taken for the year 1965-66. The assessee contended that woollen blankets were covered by entry No. 33 of the tax-free schedule while according to the department, it was covered by entry No. 46 of the schedule of taxable commodities. The assessing officer and the first appellate authority took the view that the article in question was a taxable commodity, but in second appeals at the instance of the assessee the Tribunal held : " The sole contention is whether blankets which the appellant deals should be taxed or not. I have held in similar cases that the type of blankets this assessee deals comes under the tax-free goods as mentioned under entry No. 33 of tax-free schedule and there is no reason why there should be deviation in this case. Appeals allowed and assessment reduced to returned figure. " Against this appellate order the references have been made at the instance of the State of Orissa. The first question referred to us is not a point of law arising out of the order of the Tribunal. In regard to that matter there was no lis between the taxing authority and the assessee. The question is in relation to the procedure adopted by the Tribunal in disposing of the second appeals. We decline to answer such a question, but we must say that the objection of the Commissioner seems to be quite a valid one. When these references came up before us we were not in a position to know what the views of the Tribunal on the point were. The Tribunal while disposing of the second appeals even did not indicate where the reasons had been given and did not append the reasons of the other case as reasons applicable to these appeals. Admittedly, the Tribunal is not a court of record and, therefore, its decisions have no precedent value. Apart from those aspects, even from the point of expediency and convenience, we think it appropriate that the Tribunal should indicate in brief the reasons while disposing of each case and where lengthy references are necessary, clear reference would be given to its previous judgment.
(3.) NOW , we shall proceed to deal with the remaining question. In exercise of the powers vested under the proviso to section 5 (1) of the Act the State Government published a notification bearing No. 33927-F dated 30th December, 1957, prescribing the rates of tax. Entry No. 46 thereof which we shall extract below is relevant. On the same day in exercise of the powers under section 6 of the Act the State Government notified by Notification No. 33925-F, a list of goods exempted from tax. Entry No. 33 thereof is relevant. These two entries are to the following effect : Entry No. Description of goods Rate of tax 46 All woollen goods including 7% woollen yarn and thread but excluding woollen fabrics and hand-made kambals and hand-loom and powerloom woven woollen cloth. 33 All mill-made fabrics made (nil)" wholly or partly of cotton, staple fibre, rayon, artificial silk or wool including processed fabrics made in the processing mills and mill-made pure silk fabrics. It is the stand of the department that woollen blankets are covered by entry 46 of the taxable list, while it has been the contention of the assessee that it is a tax-free goods covered by entry 33 of the other schedule. ;

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