The Supreme Court on Monday admitted the excise department's plea alleging that Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages (HCCBL) was liable to pay duty on water treated and purified by the company for supply to vendors for producing aerated beverages.
A bench headed by Justice MK Sharma admitted the petition filed by the excise department seeking to levy duty on treated and purified municipal or borewell water for supply to retail vendors for producing aerated drinks.
HCCL counsel Tarun Gulati argued that there is no manufacture as water remains water even after purification. He said the company was not making water marketable and mere purification does not amount to manufacture.
Challenging the Customs Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal judgment that dismissed its plea, the department said that according to Chapter notes to Chapter 22 of the Central Excise Tariff Act, any exhaustive process like adding bleach solution to kill micro organisms, treatments with lime, soda ash, bleaching powder etc and filtration through sand and carbon purifier, etc, carried out on municipal or borewell water amounts to manufacture.
The department said duty is leviable on goods which are subjected to process like packing or repacking of goods in a unit container or labeling or re-labeling of containers including the declaration or alteration of retail price on it or adoption of any other treatment on the goods to render the product marketable to the consumer.