SHRI PRANESH CHANDRA PALIT Vs. SUPERINTENDENT OF TAXES
HIGH COURT OF GAUHATI
SHRI PRANESH CHANDRA PALIT
SUPERINTENDENT OF TAXES
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LAHIRI, J. -
(1.)WE propose to dispose of these civil rules by a common judgment as common questions of facts and laws are involved in these civil rules.
(2.)THE moot question is whether "meat on hoof" is taxable under the Assam Sales Tax Act, 1947 ? To answer the question it is necessary to gather the meaning of the expression "meat on hoof". The petitioners are contractors who supplied among other things "meat on hoof" and "meat" to para-military forces like the Assam Rifles, etc. Under section 7 read with entry 11 of Schedule III to "the Act" no tax is payable on the sale of meat except when sold in sealed containers. However, in the instant cases, the question of sale in sealed containers does not arise. The taxing authorities held that the assessee had supplied "meat on hoof" relying on the tender notices. Admittedly the sales tax authorities did not consider the terms of the contract between the contractors and the para-military authorities.
It has been urged before us that what was supplied by the contractors and accepted by the buyers was only the meat-content of the animal though described as "meat on hoof" in the tender notices. It has been urged that the price paid by the buyers was on the basis of the meat-content of the animals. Indeed the tender notices do indicate that the buyers desired to purchase "meat on hoof". But the question is what was sold by the contractors to the buyers, whether live animals or meat, i. e. , flesh. The tender notices do not clearly show whether the price paid by the buyers was on the basis of the meat-content of the animal or the sales were for live animals. It appears to us that the respondents completely left out of consideration the terms of the agreements between the buyers and the suppliers. There is no wrangle at the Bar that it would be clear on perusal of the terms of the contract as to the nature of supply accepted by the buyer, and, whether the price was paid on the basis of live animals or on the basis of the meat-content of the animal, i. e. , on the basis of percentage of the weight of the animal taken as the amount of "dressed meat". Some tender notice have been annexed by the parties wherefrom we find indication that certain percentage of the actual weight of the animal was stipulated to be the meat received or receivable from such animals and certain ratio were taken to be the weight of the meat for the purpose of supply.
(3.)IT is the common case of the parties that no tax is leviable on sale of "meat". There is also no dispute that the decisions taken by the authorities below that the live animals were sold, were entirely based on the expressions "meat on hoof" and the terms of the contracts were not taken into consideration to decide what supplies were made by the contractors - live animals or meat. It is also not disputed that the authorities below did not try to ascertain whether price paid by the buyers was on the basis of the meat-content of the animals or not. It appears from the terms of the tender forms that the price paid by the buyer might have been on the basis of meat-content of the animal, i. e. , certain percentage of the weight of the animal was taken in calculating the price of flesh/meat or dressed meat.
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