Supreme Court: When the bench of AM Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi, JJ was called upon to decide whether the condition of ‘use in the same form in which such goods are purchased’ under Rule 6(4)(m)(i) of the KST Rules expands the scope of charging section i.e. Section 5B under KST Act, 1957, it held,
“there is no variance between Rules 6(4)(m)(i) read with Explanation III and Section 5B of the KST Act, 1957.”
The Court said,
“We are clear, in our view, that Section 5B of the KST Act and Rule 6(4)(m)(i) of the KST Rules operate in different spheres. Section 5B is a charging provision for levy of sales tax whereas Rule 6(4)(m)(i) is a provision for deduction from tax. Under Section 5B, tax can be levied on transfer of property in the goods whether as goods or in some other form whereas Rule 6(4)(m)(i) provides for a deduction in respect of the goods which have already suffered tax and which are used in the same form.”
It was explained that Section 5B of the KST Act is a charging provision which empowers the State to levy tax on the transfer of property in goods involved in works contract. At the same time Rule 6(4)(m)(i) read with Explanation III to Rule 6(4) of the KST Rules clarifies that the same goods can be taxed only once and cannot be made subject matter of multiple incidence of tax and the goods which have suffered taxation undergoes transformation into a different commodity altogether and is then used in the execution of a works contract, the same being a different commercial commodity is liable to be taxed.
The Court explained that Rule 6(4)(m)(i) purports to grant benefit to the assessee by allowing deductions for the value of goods which have already suffered taxation and which goods substantially retain their original identity while being used in the execution of a works contract. Explanation III to Rule 6(4) clarifies it further by categorically providing that in case the goods are transformed into a different commodity which then is used in the execution of works contract, then the benefit of deduction cannot be availed.
The Court also referred to a recent verdict in Achal Industries v. State of Karnataka, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 428 and said that it is trite law that tax provisions granting exemptions/concessions are required to be strictly construed.
[Craft Interiors v. Joint Commissioner of Commercial Taxes (Intelligence), 2019 SCC OnLine SC 815, decided on 02.07.2019]