MADHAVA REDDY,J. -
(1.)THE questions that arise for consideration in this petition for the issuance of a writ of prohibition or for any other direction filed by a registered dealer is whether "watery cocoanuts" are "oil-seeds" within the meaning of section 14 (vi) of the Central Sales Tax Act (hereinafter referred to as the Central Act) and whether they are exigible to tax in the course of inter-State trade or commerce when they have already suffered tax under the Andhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act, 1957 (hereinafter referred to as the State Act ).
(2.)THE petitioner who is a registered dealer under the Andhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act and who mainly deals in watery cocoanuts at Kanchili in Srikakulam district filed returns disclosing a gross turnover of Rs. 4,64,979. 64 in watery cocoanuts and claimed an exemption on a turnover of Rs. 24,858. 50 for the year 1964-65 through form VI returns. After scrutinising the return, the Commercial Tax Officer, Srikakulam district, fixed the gross turnover at Rs. 4,60,033. 09 and net turnover at Rs. 4,27,060. 35 after allowing exemption on a turnover of Rs. 32,972. 75. He then issued the impugned notice G. I. No. 70/64-65 C. S. T. dated 30th July, 1965, proposing to fix the net turnover as indicated therein under the Central Act and directing the petitioner to file his objections, if any, along with the books of accounts and intimating him that on failure to do so, the assessment would be completed as notified therein. In the said notice, while fixing the taxable turnover at Rs. 4,27,060. 35, he proposed to tax the same as under : at 2% (covered by 'c' form) Rs. 2,19,164. 17 at 10% (not covered by 'c' form) Rs. 2,07,896. 18 ----------- Rs. 4,27,060. 35 -----------
It is contended by the petitioner that the Commercial Tax Officer, Srikakulam district, respondent herein, is acting patently without jurisdiction in issuing the notice and proposing to assess the turnover in respect of "watery cocoanuts" under the Central Act, that the expression "cocoanuts" includes both watery cocoanuts and "dried cocoanuts", that cocoanuts are "oil-seeds" within the meaning of section 14 (vi) of the Central Act which are goods declared to be of special importance in inter-State trade or commerce and that since "cocoanuts" have already been subjected to tax under the State Act, they are not exigible to further tax under the Central Act. Alternatively, it is contended that "watery cocoanuts" are either "fruits" or "vegetables" and are, therefore, exempt from the tax payable under the State Act in view of the G. O. Ms. No. 1091 Revenue dated 10th June, 1957. In view of sections 6 and 9 of the Central Art, the tax payable by any dealer under the Central Act on sales of goods effected by him in the course of inter-State trade or commerce shall be levied and collected by the Government of India in the manner provided by sub-section (3) of section 9 in the State from which the movement of the goods commenced. "watery cocoanuts" are exempted from tax by G. O. Ms. No. 1091 Revenue dated 10th June, 1957, the same being either "fruits" or "vegetables", and therefore, no tax under the Central Act is leviable.
The respondent resisted this petition on the ground that "watery cocoanuts" are not "oil-seeds" and they being not "declared goods" are not covered by Schedule 3 to the State Act. "watery cocoanuts" and "cocoanuts" are two distinct commodities of merchandise. The nature of the goods when the transactions are entered into must be taken into account in adjudging whether cocoanut is an "oil-seed", "fruit" or "vegetable". So viewed, "watery cocoanuts" could not be deemed to be "oil-seeds", "fruits" or "vegetables". Therefore, they do not fall within the ambit of section 14 (vi) of the Central Act or item 5 of the Third Schedule to the State Act or exempt from tax under G. O. Ms. No. 1091 Revenue dated 10th June, 1957. The contention that the tax under the Central Act shall be levied and collected in the same manner as under the State Act is met by referring to the Central Sales Tax Ordinance (4 of 1969) which has also since been replaced by an Act of Parliament in identical terms. By this Ordinance certain provisions of the Central Sales Tax Act have been amended, section 9 therefor is substituted by a new section and all assessments are validated. As a result of this amendment, the Commercial Tax Officer is clothed with the jurisdiction to assess goods under the Central Sales Tax Act although they are not liable to tax under the said Act. In order to appreciate the rival contentions, it is necessary to read certain provisions of the State Act as well as the Central Act.
(3.)UNDER section 5 of the State Act every dealer whose total turnover per year is not less than Rs. 10,000 shall pay a tax for each year at the rate of Re. 0. 03 on every rupee of his turnover and the tax is levied either at the sale or purchase point as mentioned in the Schedules. Subject to certain restrictions and conditions as may be prescribed, a dealer who deals in the goods enumerated in the Fourth Schedule of the Act, is exempt from tax under the said Act. Section 8 reads as follows :
" Section 8 : Exemption from tax in respect of certain goods.- Subject to such restrictions and conditions as may be prescribed, including conditions as to licences and licence fees, a dealer who deals in the goods specified in the Fourth Schedule shall be exempt from tax under this Act in respect of such goods : Provided that a dealer who deals in textiles, sugar or tobacco and its products, on which duties of excise are not levied under the Additional Duties of Excise (Goods of Special Importance) Act, 1957, shall not be so exempt. "