Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday held that surgical sutures were medical and pharmaceutical in nature.

A Division Bench comprising Justice K.L. Manjunath and Justice Jawed Rahim passed the order on an appeal by Rajui Agencies of Durgigudi, Shimoga. The agency had challenged the levy of additional tax and cess by the Department of Commercial Tax for sterilised suture.

Contention

The agency said surgical suture was classified as a medical and pharmaceutical preparation and hence it could not be taxed. It said the Government notifications of May 31, 2003 and January 13, 2004 had classified suture as a medical product.

During 2003-04 the agency had reported a turnover of Rs. 43,50,436 on the sale of sterilised suture. The Commercial Tax Department, it said, levied sales tax at the rate of 13 per cent and asked the agency to pay up.

Allowing the appeal, the Bench held that surgical suture comes under medicine and pharmaceuticals.

Stayed

Justice Nagmohan Das on Tuesday, in an interim order stayed a direction of the Railway Appellate Tribunal directing the Indian Railways to settle and pay the claims of one of its retired employees under the Gratuity Act.

The employee, Sheikh Mohammad Hussein, had filed an application before the tribunal seeking settlement of his retirement benefits, including pension, under the Gratuity Act. The tribunal had allowed his application.

The Railways had appealed in the High Court against this order. They contended that the Railways had their own rules of pension and gratuity and that the general rules of the Gratuity Act would not apply to railway employees.

It said if the order was not stayed, it would have a nation-wide impact as the Railways would have to settle the retirement benefits of its employees under the Gratuity Act. It urged the judge to stay the operation of the tribunal order.

Confirmed

A Division Bench comprising Justice S.R. Bannurmath and Justice A.S. Bopanna confirmed an order of a single judge quashing the acquisition of 17.21 acres of land in Mahadevapura village in K.R. Puram by the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Authority (KIADB) for industrial purpose.

Single judge’s order

The single judge had allowed petitions by Sheila and several others challenging the acquisition of land already earmarked as park for industrial purposes. The KIADB had appealed against the single judge order of January 24, 2006 who had also quashed the proceedings of the single window agency of November 15, 2003.

Upholding the single judge order, the Bench said the land was sought to be acquired for setting up a private software development park.

It observed that application of mind by the Government was most important while designating an area for industrial development.

It said in this case, there was no application of mind by the Government or by the single window agency. On the other hand, the beneficiary company had chosen a site reserved for a park and residential area. It said land could not have been acquired at the choice of the beneficiary. The area, therefore, could not have been declared as industrial area, it added.

The Bench said it saw no reason to interfere with the single judge order and dismissed the appeals by the KIADB and others.

More In: KARNATAKA | NATIONAL