BHARUCH COCONUT TRADING CO Vs. MUNICIPAL CORPORATION OF THE CITY OFAHMEDABAD
LAWS(SC)-1990-11-29
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: GUJARAT)
Decided on November 27,1990

BHARUCH COCONUT TRADING COMPANY Appellant
VERSUS
AHMEDABAD MUNICIPAL CORPORATION Respondents





Cited Judgements :-

OSWAL AGRO MILLS LIMITED VS. COLLECTOR OF CENTRAL EXCISE [LAWS(SC)-1993-4-102] [RELIED ON]
PARVEEN AGNIHOTRI VS. ANURADHA MALHOTRA [LAWS(DLH)-1992-2-44] [REFERRED]
PONDS INDIA LTD VS. COMMISSIONER OF TRADE TAX [LAWS(SC)-2008-5-70] [REFERRED TO]
|COMMISSIONER OF CENTRAL EXCISE VS. CONNAUGHT PLAZA RESTAURANT LTD [LAWS(SC)-2012-11-41] [REFERRED TO]
M/S. AGRAWAL ALUMINUM VS. ASSTT. COMMISSIONER A/E CIRCLE-III [LAWS(RAJ)-2011-10-78] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

K. Ramaswamy, J. - (1.)This appeal under Art. 136 is against the judgment in S.C.A. No. 655 of 1975 of the Gujarat High Court dated January 24, 1977 wherein the appellants questioned the power to levy octroi on brown coconut (watery coconut) and the High Court dismissed the writ petition holding that the brown coconut is not an exempted green fruit but would attract general item No. 55 of R. 14 of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Octroi Rules (for short 'the Rules'). The admitted facts are that the appellants import and sell the brown coconut, in the city of Ahmedabad as their trading activity. The respondent levied octroi on brown coconuts at the rate of Rs. 1 / - per 100 kilograms at the point of import into the octroi limits of the respondent corporation. By an amendment to the rules, with effect from April 16, 1975 the rate of levy was increased to Rs. 5/- per 100 kilograms. The appellants challenged its legality contending that the brown coconuts are green fruits within the meaning of item 10 of R. 4 of the rules and, therefore, they are exempted articles. It is, thereby, not exigible to octroi. The contention was negated and the writ petition was dismissed as against which this appeal has been filed.
(2.)Admittedly the appellants, as a part of their trading activity, import brown coconuts (watery coconuts) from Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu through rail and road to Ahmedabad. Under the rules, whenever goods are carried into or out of the octroi limits of the Municipal Corporation, the articles specified under the rules are liable to octroi, except of course those exempted under Item 10 of R. 4. R. 4 contains the list of articles which are exempted from octroi. Item 10 in R. 4 reads thus:
"(10) Green fruits of all kinds, sugar cane, fennel (green Variali), Pan and Vegetables".Rule 14 provides that octroi shall be levied at the rates and in the manner stated in schedule 'A'. Item 11 of the schedule specify dry fruits thus:

"11. Dried fruits and their cakes, dry shingodas, dry cashew nuts and dried grapes. 1-00 ps. Advl.

13(b). Dried Kernel of coconut. 0-75 ps. Advl.

55. All articles and goods not specified elsewhere in the schedule or in the list of exempted articles and goods 1-00, 100 kg."

(3.)The question is whether brown coconut (watery coconut) is a green fruit or not In Ramavtar Budhaiprasad v. Asstt. Sales-tax Officer, Akola, 1961 (12) STC 287 and Commissioner of Sales-tax, U. P. v. S. N. BrOTHERS 1973 (31) STC 302 , this court held that the expression occurring in schedules to the sales tax Acts have to be considered with reference to their meaning in ordinary commercial parlance and should not he considered according to the strict scientific meaning. In Ramavtar Budhaiprasad's case (supra), this Court held that betel leaves, though vegetable leaves in the strict scientific sense, cannot be considered to be vegetables. In ordinary commercial language in the common parlance, betel leaves cannot be considered as vegetables. Coconut in the ordinary commercial sense is understood in several forms as tender coconut, watery coconut, dried coconut and copra and all these come under the expression coconut. Tender coconut contains juicy water and the kernel is at he tender stage. The tender coconuts are used generally during summer (autumn) season to drink the watery juice therein after cutting it. A watery coconut is a ripend coconut and enters the market after the removal of the outer cover of its fibre. It is called coconut or watery coconut. For the purpose of the case it is called brown coconut. The water is used as a drink and the kernel for culinary purposes. After the coconut is fully grown it is plucked from the trees and after removing the outer fibre (to reduce weight), it is sent to the market for commercial purposes. As stated earlier it is called coconut or watery coconut (brown coconut). The question, therefore, is whether the brown coconut (watery coconut) is a green fruit. The word green is defined in Chambers, Dictionary at page 463 as adjective of the colour usually in leaves between blue and yellow in spectrum unripe, fresh, undried, raw or colour of green. things.
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