Appeals must raise question of law
The Supreme Court has emphasised that an appeal against the decision of the electricity regulatory commission would lie only if there is a "substantial question of law". In this case, Wardha Power Co vs Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co, the parties entered into an agreement under which the former would generate and supply power to the distribution firm. However, it could not keep up the schedule. So, it made an ad-hoc arrangement for purchase of power from other sources. Whether such ad-hoc supply should be at the actual cost incurred by the Wardha firm or the agreed rate was the dispute. The state commission and the appellate tribunal rejected the arguments of the Wardha firm. In the appeal, the Supreme Court said under Section 125 of the Electricity Act, an appeal would lie only if there is a substantial question of law. In this case, though the supplier raised 34 questions, none of them involved a question of law, the judgment stated while dismissed the appeal.
Tax same on bitumen in any form
Bitumen in its solid form and bitumen emulsion in the liquid form are scientifically the same commodity and cannot be taxed differently, the Supreme Court ruled in its judgment, Commissioner of Commercial Taxes vs A R Thermosets Ltd. VAT authorities maintained that emulsion was in the unclassified category, attracting a levy of 12.5 per cent. The firm that supplies bitumen for road building and other civil works brought scientific data to contend that they were the same thing and the end use was also the same. Therefore, emulsion should be taxed only at four per cent like bitumen. Mixing of certain material in the emulsified form would not 'manufacture' a new product. The composition is the same and the product in commercial parlance is understood as the same commodity in a different form. This view was accepted by the Supreme Court and it dismissed the appeal of the authorities against the Allahabad High Court verdict.
Packing material not input for goods
The Supreme Court has ruled that packing materials cannot be considered raw materials for manufactured goods, nor are they components or inputs. Only those items that are integral to the manufacture of a product could be considered raw material, the court stated while dismissing the appeal, Hindustan Lever Ltd vs State of Karnataka. The firm produced tea of different varieties in its Dharwad unit, then newly started. It claimed exemption from entry tax for packing materials brought into local areas. Revenue authorities denied the claim, starting a series of litigation over tax liability for the period between 1994 and 1997. HLL lost everywhere, including the Karnataka High Court and now the Supreme Court.
Retired rich with wrong award
The Delhi High Court has upheld the dismissal of an employee of Johnson & Johnson Ltd, who had allegedly stolen confidential documents and threatened to circulate them to rival agencies. The labour court had awarded him Rs 10.44 lakh in 2008 as compensation, with 18 per cent for illegal termination. The high court allowed the appeal of the firm, observing that the "act of the workman was subversive of discipline and good behaviour." He has now retired, gathering all statutory benefits from the company. Though the labour court award has been set aside, in view of his age, the court barred the management from recovering amounts already paid.