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STATE OF UTTARANCHAL v. M/S. KUMAON STONE CRUSHER [2017] INSC 791 (15 September 2017) THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA STATE OF UTTARANCHAL ……………………………………. APPELLANT(S) VERSUS M/S.KUMAON STONE CRUSHER……...………………………… RESPONDENT(S) Dated: 15th September, 2017 Bench: Ashok Bhushan, J

1. FACTS : I. CIVIL APPEALS arising out of JUDGMENTS of UTTARAKHAND HIGH COURT. 2. There are nineteen appeals arising out of judgments rendered by Uttarakhand High Court. There are only three main judgments rendered by Division Bench of the High Court which have been followed in other cases. It is thus necessary to note the facts giving rise to above mentioned three judgments. (1) Judgment dated 01.07.2004 in Writ Petition No. 1124 (MB) of 2001, M/s Kumaon Stone Crusher vs. State of U.P. & Ors. [Giving rise to Civil Appeal (arising out of SLP No. 19445 of 2004, State of Uttaranchal & Ors. vs. State of Kumaon Stone Crusher and Civil Appeal (arising out of SLP No. 26273 of 2004, the State of U. P. & Ors. vs. M/s. Kumaon Stone Crusher.] 3. M/s Kumaon Stone Crusher filed a writ petition praying for quashing the order dated 14.06.1999 issued by Conservator of Forest and order dated 01.06.1999 issued by Divisional Forest Officer directing for making recovery and levy of Transit Fee upon the finished item of stone i.e. stone grits, stone chips etc from the writ petitioner. Petitioners case was that its stone crusher which collects the boulders from the bank of Sharda River, which is a Forest Produce, Transit Fee is charged and paid. After taking the boulders to the crushing centre and involving manufacturing process, boulders are converted into the commercial commodity, namely, stone grits and chips. It is pleaded that after it becomes a commercial commodity, it ceases to be as Forest Produce and no Transit Fee can be charged and recovered thereafter. 4. The Division Bench vide its judgment dated 10 01.07.2004 allowed the writ petition and quashed the orders dated 14.03.1999 and 21.06.1999. Both State of Uttarakhand and State of U. P. aggrieved by aforesaid judgments have filed the above noted several appeals. 5. Writ Petitioners, proprietary firms were carrying on the business of manufacturing & sale of finished produce of washed and single pea gravel and bajri. The Writ Petitioner used to purchase river bed material from the lessee of query on payment of royalty and trade tax on which Transit Fee is charged from the State of Uttarakhand. But when the writ petitioners transport their finished products from their factory to customers, Transit Fee is charged by State of Uttarakhand and further, when it crosses the border of Uttarakhand and enter into the State of U.P., the Transit Pass issued by the State of Uttarakhand is to be surrendered and again Transit Passes are to be taken by making payment of the Transit Fee. 6. High Court allowed the writ petition vide its judgment dated 30.03.2005 holding that after river bed material is converted into the Washed & Single Pea Gravel and Bajri after involving manufacturing process, a new commercial commodity comes into existence and same ceases to be a Forest Produce. High Court allowed the writ petition holding that no Transit Fee can be realised. It was further observed that even if, same is treated as Forest Produce, Transit Fee can not be realised twice on the same material under 1978 Rules. Both State of U.P. and Uttarakhand had filed Civil Appeals against the aforesaid judgment. 7. (3) Judgment dated 26.06.2007 in Writ Petition No. 993 of 2004, M/s Gupta Builders vs. State of Uttaranchal & Ors. 8. The writ petitioner in the writ petition has prayed for issuing a writ of certiorari, quashing 1978 Rules as applicable in State of Uttaranchal (now Uttarakhand) 12 so far the 1978 Rules provides for Transit Pass and Transit Fee for boulders, sand and bajri, further not to enforce 1978 Rules as amended by the State of U.P. vide amendment Rules 2004. 9. Writ Petitioner, a Registered Partnership Firm was engaged in the business of purchase & sale of natural stones, boulders, sand & bajri and supplying the same to the various Government Departments including PWD. Writ Petitioner purchased boulders, sand, bajri from the Kol river bed from Uttaranchal Forest Development Corporation which is lessee. Writ Petitioner makes payment of royalty and other charges to the lessee. The Uttar Pradesh Minor Minerals (Concession) Rules, 1963 (hereinafter referred to as 'Rules, 1963') has been adopted by the State of Uttarakhand, as Uttaranchal Minor Minerals (Concession) Rules, 2001(hereinafter referred to as 'Rules, 2001'). Uttaranchal Forest Development Corporation issues Form MM11 to the writ petitioner. 10. Writ Petitioner pleaded that since royalty and other charges are being paid in accordance with the minor mineral rules framed under the Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Act, 1957 (hereinafter referred to as 'MMDR Act, 1957'), no Transit Fee can be levied on the writ petitioner. The High Court allowed the writ petition holding that Transit Fee under Rules, 1978 can not be applicable on the transit of minor minerals. The levy of Transit Fee was held to be illegal. 11. Following the aforesaid judgment dated 26.06.2007 several other writ petitions were decided giving rise to different other Civil Appeals, which are Civil Appeal No.1010 of 2011, Civil Appeal(arising out of SLP No. 18094 of 2011) and Civil Appeal (arising out of SLP No. 26285 of 2011). 12. A large number of Civil Appeals have been filed. Four Transfer Petitions and seven Contempt Petitions have also been filed. Civil appeals have been filed by the aggrieved parties against the various judgments of the Allahabad High Court. All the civil appeals filed by the writ petitioners as well as by the State of U.P. centre around leviability of transit fee on different forest produces as per 1978 Rules. 13. Apart from various other judgments against which appeals have been filed, two judgments delivered by two Division Benches need to be specially noted by which judgments bunch of writ petitions numbering more then 100 have been decided. We shall notice these two judgments first before referring to facts of other cases. 14. Several writ petitions were filed challenging the realisation of transit fee on transport of stone chips, stone grit, stone ballast, sand, morrum, coal, lime stone, dolomite etc. The writ petitioners have also challenged the validity of notification dated 14.06.2004 by which 1978 Rules were amended increasing the transit fee from Rs.5/to Rs.38/per tonne of lorry load of timber and other forest produce. By judgment dated 15 27.04.2005 bunch of writ petitions was decided consisting of petitions dealing with different materials. The High Court in its judgment has noticed details of few of the writ petitions facts of only leading petition which need to be briefly referred: 15. Writ Petition No.975 of 2004, which was stated to be leading writ petition: Petitioners have been granted mining lease by the District Magistrate, Sonebhadra, for excavation of boulders, rocks, sand and morrum in the District of Sonebhadra from the plots situated on the land owned by the State Government which do not come within any forest area. The petitioners' case was that they do not carry any mining operation in the forest area. After excavation they transport the goods from the site to the destination by truck. The petitioners convert the stone and boulder into Gitti. It was further pleaded that while transporting the goods, they do not pass through the forest area and they are not using any forest road for the purpose of transportation of their goods. 16. They pay royalty to the State Government under the provisions of the U.P. Minor Minerals (Concession) Rules, 1963. The State's case was that the petitioners are procuring the grit, boulder etc. from the land of village Billi Markundi notified under Section 4 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927. The petitioners are carrying out mining operations in the forest land. With regard to some of the petitioners it was alleged that they are carrying business in the area which had already been notified as forest area under Section 4 of 1927 Act. It was pleaded by the State that grit, boulder etc. are being procured and transported from the forest which are the forest produce. The Transit Rules, 1978 has already been upheld by this Court. 17. 15. The Division Bench after hearing the parties dismissed all the writ petitions holding the liability of the petitioners to pay transit fee. The High Court held that validity of the Rules have already been upheld by this Court in State of U.P. vs. Sitapur Packing Wood Suppliers, 2002 (4) SCC 566. The Court upheld the 2004 Amendment. The High Court also held that the words 17 "brought from forest" as occurring in Section 2(4)(b) of the 1927 Act, necessarily implies that it passes through the forest. It also held forest must be understood according to its dictionary meaning. This description covers all statutory recognised forest, whether designated as reserve, protected or otherwise. The Court held that all goods are passing through forest, hence, petitioners cannot deny liability to pay transit fee. The increase of transit fee to Rs.38/can neither be said to be excessive or exorbitant or prohibitive. 18. 16. The several civil appeals have been filed against the above judgment where the appellants reiterate their claim as they raised before the High Court. Civil Appeal arising out of SLP(C)No.1675 of 2012 State of U.P. & Ors. vs. M/s. Ajay Trading (Coal)Co. & Ors. (arising out of the judgment dated 11/21.11.2011) in Writ Petition No.963 of 2011 M/ s. Ajay Trading (Coal)Co. & Ors. vs. State U.P. & Ors.) 19. 17. The first group of writ petitions of which Writ (Tax) No.327 of 2008 was treated as leading writ petition, was filed against the imposition of transit fee on the transportation of soil(mitti) and coal. NTPC Limited is a Government of India undertaking engaged in generation of electricity in its various units, one of them being Singrauli Super Thermal Power Station at Shakti Nagar, District Sonebhadra which is a Coal Based Thermal Power Station. For disposal of fly ash, soil is excavated from nonforest areas and it is transported by the route, which does not fall within the forest area. The Divisional Forest Officer has demanded transit fee on transportation of soil. By amendments the petitioners were also permitted to challenge Fourth and Fifth Amendment Rules, 1978. 20. 18. The second group of writ petitions of which Writ (Tax) No.963 of 2011(M/s. Ajay Trading((Coal) Co. and others vs. State of U.P. & ors.) was treated as leading petition. That petitioners are incorporated as Public 19 Limited Co./Private Lt. Co./Proprietor Firm Manufacturers and Traders of goods made of forest produce, the miners, as transporters of forest produce who challenged the applicability of Indian Forest Act, 1927 on mines and minerals and other forest produce. The validity of Fourth and Fifth Amendment Rules by which transit fee was increased was also challenged. Both the above batch of writ petitions consisted of a large number of writ petitions dealing with various materials raising various facts and grounds, some common and some different. 21. 19. The claim of various writ petitioners that they are not liable to pay transit fee was, however, not accepted. Aggrieved against the judgment dated 11.11.2011 in so far as it struck down Fourth and Fifth Amendment Rules, the State of U.P. has come up in appeals whereas writ 20 petitioners who were denying the liability to pay transit fee have filed appeals against the judgment dated 11.11.2011 reiterating their claim that they are not liable to pay transit fee on various grounds as raised in their writ petitions. The claims in various writ petitions are different and also founded on different grounds. It is neither necessary nor desirable to notice the facts and claim in each case separately. The writ petitions which have been decided by both the judgments dated 27.04.2005 as well as 11.11.2011 consisted of different nature of writ petitions which can be broadly described in few groups. It shall suffice to notice facts and claims as raised in few cases of each group: 22. Group(A) This represents petitioners who have obtained mining leases under U.P. Minor Minerals (Concession) Rules, 1963 as well as leases of major minerals for mining of various minerals. Some of the mining lease holders are also transporting the minerals. There are other categories of petitioners who are only transporting the minerals by their factories. Stone crusher, dealers who are crushing the minerals and 21 transporting finished materials, all these petitioners denied their liability to pay transit fee. Petitioners claim that the stone ballasts and grit, boulders etc. are minerals which are covered under MMDR Act, 1957 and no transit fee can be charged under 1978 Rules. Some of the petitioners say that they are transporting the minerals through State and National Highways by paying toll tax. Petitioners further state that the transit fee is charged twice that is on raw material as well as on finished goods which is not permissible. Check posts have been put on State and National Highways which are illegal. 23. Group(B) Petitioners in this group deal with coal/ hard coke/coal briquettes /softcoke /cinder (rejected coke). Petitioners claim that coal is not forest produce and it is governed by various Parliamentary Acts which covers the field. Petitioners further pleaded that they are not mining coal from forest area rather they are purchasing from Coal India Ltd. after payment of necessary expenses. They are not using any forest land and rather are using State and National highways and PWD 22 roads. Some petitioners obtained coal from a company or dealer by paying necessary charges. The petitioner is using U.P. roads as a passage only and going out of State of U.P. that is to Delhi and Haryana. Some petitioners also rely on exemption notification dated 29.03.2010. 24. Group(C) This group consisted of limestone, calcium hydroxide, marble, calcium oxide, dolomite, pawdis, etc. Petitioners claim that the aforesaid items are not forest produce. They further pleaded that they are using State and National highways as well as PWD roads and not using any forest road. They further pleaded that twice transit fee is charged, firstly on raw material and secondly on the finished products by Fourth and Fifth Amendment. 25. Group(D) This group consists of petitioners who are dealers in plywood, imported timber/wood, bamboo, veneer, waste of plywoods, wood charcoal. Petitioners claim that they are not passing through forest area in U.P. They are not transporting any forest produce rather are transporting finished goods. Petitioners are purchasing timber which is coming out of the country. 26. Group(E) This group consists of petitioners dealing 23 in fly ash, clinkers and gypsum. Petitioners claim to obtain the aforesaid material by manufacturing process. Petitioners claim that the aforesaid articles are not forest produce since they undergo chemical process. 28. In so far as writ petition included in group 'A' is concerned, we have noticed above the facts of Writ Petition No.26273 of 2004, M/s. Kumaon Stone Crusher, decided on 01.07.2004. Group 'B' consisting of petitioners who are dealing in coal/hard coke/coal briquettes/soft coke/cinder(rejected coke), etc. C.A. No.2706 of 2008 (M/s. Krishna Kumar Jaiswal vs. State of U.P. & Ors., is one of such writ petitions which was dismissed by the High Court on 27.04.2005. 27. 20. In group 'B' reference is made to Civil Appeals arising out of SLP(C)Nos.3490934916 of 2012 (M./s. Anand Coal Agency & Ors. etc.etc. vs. State of U.P. & Ors. etc.etc.). The writ petitionersappellants are involved in trading of coal. Petitioners get coal after the acceptance of their bid by the Coal India Limited for the coal field concern. The petitioners imports coal from the outside the State of U.P. by road and do not use forest 24 roads. The coal is transported only by National highways and PWD roads. It was stated that collection of transit fee on coal is illegal and without jurisdiction. Levy on schedule minerals is exclusively subject matter of MMDR Act. 28. 21. In group 'C', one of the cases is Civil Appeal arising out of SLP(C)No.36272 of 2011 (Agra Stone Traders 25 Association & Ors. vs. State of U.P. & Ors., the writ petitionersappellants are engaged in the business of purchasing and selling of marbles, marbles goods, marble chips, stone chips, stone powder, dolomite, limestone chips and pawdis from the State Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, etc. from various wholesale shopkeepers, industries/factories situated in the above said States. 29. After purchasing the above said materials/finished goods the same are transported by them within the State of U.P. for sale to the consumers from the shops of the writ petitioners. The above materials are not directly transported from mines nor the same are in original form of mines and minerals. The petitioners have all necessary passes and invoices from different States. However, when petitioners' vehicles enter into the State of U.P. transit fee is being charged under 1978 Rules. The petitioners denied their liability to pay transit fee. 30. 22. One of such cases is Civil Appeal No.1697 of 2012 (M/s. Aditya Birla Chemicals (India) Limited vs. State of U.P. & Ors.). The writ petitionerappellant is a public 26 limited company who is engaged in the business of manufacture of chemicals and uses calcium hydroxide and calcium oxide. The petitioner pleads that calcium hydroxide is manufactured by treating lime with water at a particular temperature and calcium oxide is made by thermal decomposition of materials such as limestone, that contain calcium carbonate in a lime kiln which is accomplished by heating the material to above 825 degree centigrade. These products were also purchased from registered traders/manufacturers of the State of Rajasthan after obtaining invoices and passes. On such transportation the State of U.P. is levying transit fee. The product manufactured and purchased by the petitioners is not forest produce and no transit fee can be levied. 31. 23. In group 'D', one of the cases is Civil Appeal arising out of SLP (C) No.30185 of 2012 (Arvind Kumar Singh & Anr. vs. State of U.P. & Ors.), the writ petitionerappellant carries on the business of supplying bamboo, waste of plywood and small twigs/debarked jalawani lakdi of eucalyptus and poplar trees to paper manufacturing units. The paper manufacturing units, to 27 which the petitioner supplies are situate in the State of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Waste of plywood is a waste product obtained from the plywood industries, which is processed to obtain chips. The purchases are not made by the petitioner inside any forest of Uttar Pradesh or any other State. The loaded trucks of the petitioner do not pass through any forest road. The waste of plywood and veneer is neither timber nor any kind of forest produce. They are products of human/mechanical effort and labour and a result of a manufacturing process. There is no liability to pay transit fee on the above items. 32. 24. In group 'E', one of the cases is Civil Appeal arising out of SLP(C)No.5760 of 2012 (Ambuja Cements Limited vs. State of U.P. & Ors.). The writ petitionerappellant is an ISO Co. for manufacturing of cement. The fly ash (a by product of Thermal Power Plants, purchased by the petitioners); and gypsum (a raw material used in the manufacture of cement and purchased by the petitioner) and clinker is not a forest produce. Clinker/fly ash is an industrial produced and cannot fall 28 in the ambit of forest produce as defined under Section 2(4) of 1927 Act. 33. The manufacture of clinker comprises of two stages. In stage one raw material like lime stone, clay, bauxite, iron ore and sand are mixed in specific proportion and raw mix is obtained and in stage second the raw material is fed into kiln whereby at high temperature, chemical reaction occurs and the product obtained is 'alite' which is commercially sold as clinker. The petitioner though was not a party in the writ petition before the High Court but has filed the SLP with the permission of the Court granted on 10.02.2012. 34. 25. Transfer Petition No.18 of 2012 has been filed under Article 139A for transferring the Writ Petition No.40 of 2000 pending in the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad. The writ petitioner is engaged in business of manufacturing and dealing in aluminium and semis. Hindalco owns and operates the Aluminium plant at Renukoot and captive thermal power plant is at Renusagar. Hindalco uses both bauxite and coal in the production of aluminium. 35. 26. In December, 1999, the State of U.P. demanded transit fee on transport of minerals (bauxite and coal). Aggrieved thereby Writ Petition(C) No 40 of 2000 was filed. An Interim order was passed on 18.01.2000 restraining forest department from charging transit fee. This interim order continued till 29.10.2013 when this court passed detailed interim order.

SUBMISSIONS WITH REGARD TO THE JUDGMENT OF UTTARAKHAND HIGH COURT

As noted above both the State of Uttarakhand and State of U.P. have challenged the judgment of Uttarakhand High Court. Shri Dinesh Dwivedi, learned senior counsel questioning the judgment dated 01.07.2004 of Uttarakhand High Court in M/s. Kumaon Stone Crusher vs. State of Uttarakhand, submits that boulders crushed into grits retain same characteristic that is forest produce. By obtaining grits, stone chips and dust no new material is obtained. Challenging the judgment of Uttarakhand High Court in M/s. Gupta Builders dated 26.06.2007, it is submitted that the mere fact that royalty has been paid by the writ petitioners in accordance with the Uttar Pradesh Minor Minerals (Concession) Rules, 1963 as adopted in Uttarakhand by Uttarakhand Minor Minerals (Concession) Rules, 2001 shall have no effect on the entitlement of the State to levy transit fee.

36. The judgment of the High Court that no transit fee can be levied on the minerals is erroneous. It is further submitted that the High Court erred in adopting a very restrictive meaning of word 'forest' whereas the forest has to be understood in a wide sense. It is contended that Forest Act, 1927 and MMDR Act, 1957 operate in different fields. In so far as the case of the writ petitioners is that transit fee is being charged for second transit also. It is submitted that transit pass has its destination and after it reaches its destination, the pass comes to an end, the transit fee can be validly charged.

37. 28. Replying the above submission of State, learned counsel for writ petitioners submits that main challenge in the writ petitions filed by petitioners was that no Transit Fee can be levied on finished products from the stone crusher. It is contended that river bed materials i.e. boulders and bajri by applying mechanical process are converted into small size stone grits, chips and dust which become a commercial commodity and ceases to be a Forest Produce therefore no Transit Fee can be charged. It is further contended that in Section 2(4)(b) of the 1927 Act the words 'found in' and 'brought from' are qualified by word 'when', which denotes the time factor. The word 'when' signifies that the item while leaving the forest is in continuous process of transit from the point where it is said to be found in. But once, the continuous transit of forest produce terminates at any point of place which is not a forest item included in Clause B(4) (2), shall cease to be a Forest Produce and further transit of such material being material not brought from forest shall not attract tax under Section 41 of Act, 1927.

38. 29. The stone or sand which is in its primary or dominantly primary state is subjected to a manufacturing process for making it marketable product, which is not a 39 Forest Produce. Act, 1927 does not provide for any definition of term 'Manufacturing Process'. The term 'Manufacturing Process' is to be given a liberal interpretation. The process of stone crushing have to be held to be Manufacturing Process. It is further contended that levy of Transit Fee on Transit Pass does not have any relationship with the distance of the destination of the transit and the Transit Pass originally issued at the time of First Sale of transit required only on endorsement and the insistence of levy of Transit Fee at the time of second transit is irrational and unreasonable.


39. 30. Learned counsel for the State of U.P, challenging the judgment of High Court of Uttarakhand has also raised the similar submissions as has been raised by the learned counsel for the State of Uttarakhand.

In view of the foregoing discussion, we arrived at following conclusions: 

40. I. (a) The crushing of stones, stone boulders into stone grits, stone chips and stone dust does not result into a new commodity different from forest produce. Thecrushed materials continue to be stone and retain their nature of forest produce.

41. (b) Coal with its various varieties, limestone, hydrated line, quick limestone, slake line, veneer and plywood waste are all forest produce.

42. (c) Marble blogs, marble slabs, marble chips are all forest produce.

43. (d) Flay ash, clinker, synthetic gypsum are not forest produce. Gypsum, however, is a forest produce. II. The Indian Forest Act, 1927 and the Rules framed under Section 41 are neither overridden nor impliedly repealed, altered or amended by Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and the Rules framed thereunder. Both the above legislations operate in different spheres and fields.

44. III. The words “brought from” as occurring in Section 2(4)(b) of 1927 Act means brought from forest from where forest produce has originated. The words 'brought from forest' cannot be read as “brought through forest”. We, however, clarify that for an item to be treated as forest produce, its origin may be in any forest within the State of U.P. or in a forest outside the State of U.P. IV. The forest has to be understood according to its dictionary meaning which covers the statutory recognised forest and also shall include any area regarded as forest in the Government record irrespective of the ownership. The meaning of forest cannot be restricted only to reserve forests, protected forests and village forests. V. The roads notified by notification dated 10.02.1960 under Section 80A of 1927 Act cannot be read to mean that such roads have been declared as protected forest. The notification dated 10.2.1960 can only be read to mean that both sides of the road have been declared as protected forest on which Chapter IV of the 1927 Act shall be applicable.

45. VI. Rule 3 of 1978 Rules is not independent of Rule 5 of 1978 Rules. Transit fee is payable on all kinds of transit passes and cannot be confined only to transit passes as referred to in Rule 4(1)(b) only. VII. After issuance of notification under Section 4 of 1927 Act, removal of forest produce therefrom shall be governed by the Rules framed by the State in view of U.P. Act 23 of 1965 by which original Section 5 has been substituted in its application in the State of U.P. The fact that no notification under Section 20 has been issued does not mean that restriction put by the State Government by Rules are not applicable.

In view of the foregoing discussion, we decide this batch of cases in following manner: 

46. (1) All Civil Appeals filed by the State of U.P. and State of Uttarakhand challenging the judgments of the High Court of Uttarakhand dated 01.7.2004, 20.03.2005, 26.06.2007 and subsequent judgments following the aforesaid three judgments are allowed. The impugned judgments are set aside and the writ petitions stand dismissed.

47. (2) All the Civil Appeals filed by the State of U.P. against the judgment dated 11.11.2011 and subsequent judgments following judgment dated 11.11.2011 are dismissed.

48. (3) The Civil Appeals filed by the writ petitioners against the judgment of the Allahabad High Court dated 27.04.2005 and the subsequent judgments following the judgment dated 27.04.2005 as well as the Civil Appeals filed by the writ petitioners against the judgment dated 11.11.2011 and other subsequent judgments following the judgment dated 11.11.2011 are disposed of in terms of our conclusion as recorded in paragraph 21(I to VIII).

49. (4) The transfer petitions are disposed of in terms of our conclusion as recorded in paragraph 221(I to VIII) and Writ Petition(C) No.203 of 2009 (M/s. Pappu Coal Master & Ors. vs. State of U.P. & Anr.) is also disposed of in terms of our conclusion as recorded in paragraph (5) The writ petitioners from whom the transit fee was realised with effect from 01.05.2016 in accordance with the Fifth Amendment to 1978 Rule shall be entitled to claim for refund along with interest @ 9% which shall beconsidered by the State or any officer authorised by theState. The claim of refund shall be allowed only if the assessee alleges and establishes that he has not passed on the burden to any other person, since it is well settled that the power of the Court is not meant to be exercised for unjustly enriching a person. (6) All the Contempt Petitions are dismissed. (7) All the Civil Appeals filed by the State of Madhya Pradesh against judgment dated 14.05.2007 are allowed. The judgment of the Division Bench of the High Court dated 14.05.2007 is set aside and the writ petitions stand dismissed.

50. 223. Parties shall bear their own costs.