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"Tobacco & Tobacco Products" In Schedule To Odisha Entry Tax Act Include 'Bidi': Orissa High Court

Jyoti Prakash Dutta
13 July 2022 4:04 AM GMT
Tobacco & Tobacco Products In Schedule To Odisha Entry Tax Act Include Bidi: Orissa High Court
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The Orissa High Court has held that 'bidi' comes under the purview of "tobacco and tobacco products" as provided under Entry 16, Part I of the Schedule to the Odisha Entry Tax Act, 1999 ('OET Act'). A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dr. S. Muralidhar and Justice Radha Krishna Pattanaik observed, "Although learned counsel for the Petitioner sought to contend that under...

The Orissa High Court has held that 'bidi' comes under the purview of "tobacco and tobacco products" as provided under Entry 16, Part I of the Schedule to the Odisha Entry Tax Act, 1999 ('OET Act'). A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dr. S. Muralidhar and Justice Radha Krishna Pattanaik observed,

"Although learned counsel for the Petitioner sought to contend that under Entry 31 'cigarette and lighter' is a separate item and therefore unless there is a separate entry for 'bidi' it would not be amenable to entry tax in terms of the OET Act, the Court is unable to agree with the above contention. The expression 'tobacco and tobacco products' is wide enough to include 'bidi'..."

Issue for Consideration:

Whether 'bidi' is included within the entry "Tobacco and Tobacco products" in item 16, Part-I of the Schedule under the OET Act?

Contentions:

Mr. S. Lal, counsel for the petitioner argued that as the entry does not specifically mention 'bidi', it would not fall within the scope of the above entry. He further contended that under Entry 31 'cigarette and lighter' is a separate item and therefore, unless there is a separate entry for 'bidi', it would not be amenable to entry tax in terms of the OET Act.

However, on the other hand, Mr. S. Mishra, Senior Standing Counsel pointed out that the expression 'tobacco products' is wide enough to include 'bidi' which is nothing but tobacco inserted in Kendu leaves and smoked in the rural countryside.

Court's Observations:

The Court reproduced and affirmed the following observations made by the Tribunal.

"Law is well settled that entry in the Schedule is to be dealt according to the common commercial parlance and its trade use. The said bidi is prepared from Kendu leaves and tobacco is inserted and it is called as poor man's cigarette. It is a handmade country cigarette composite of tobacco component in a rolled Kendu leaves and the said bidis are manufactured tobacco. No doubt there is no direct entry of bidi in the Schedule of the O.E.T. Act but as per common commercial parlance it is a tobacco product used in the rural India. So, bidi is a Scheduled goods under the O.E.T. Act and it is eligible to 1% of entry tax which has already been decided by both the lower forums which needs no interference by this Tribunal."

Again, the Court outrightly rejected the argument that under Entry 31 'cigarette and lighter' is a separate item and thus, unless there is a separate entry for 'bidi', it would not be amenable to entry tax in terms of the OET Act. The Court held that the expression 'tobacco and tobacco products' is wide enough to include 'bidi'.

Accordingly, it found that the Tribunal did not commit any error in including bidi under the purview of the aforesaid entry. It resultantly affirmed that bidi is amenable to entry tax under the OET Act.

Case Title: M/s. Patel Brothers & Co., Sambalpur v. State of Odisha

Case No.: STREV No. 29 of 2012

Order Dated: 5th July 2022

Coram: Dr. S. Muralidhar, CJ & Radha Krishna Pattanaik, J.

Order Authored By: Dr. S. Muralidhar, CJ.

Counsel for the Petitioner: Mr. S. Lal, Advocate

Counsel for the Respondent: Mr. S. Mishra, Senior Standing Counsel

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ori) 113

Click Here To Read/Download Order



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