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M/s. Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. Rep. by its Authorised Agent & Senior Manager (Retail Sales) Power Agent, Chennai v/s R. Thirumalai

    Civil Suit(Comm.Div) No. 477 of 2017

    Decided On, 26 April 2022

    At, High Court of Judicature at Madras

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE SENTHILKUMAR RAMAMOORTHY

    For the Plaintiff: M.S. Krishnan, Senior Counsel for M/s. Mohammed Fayaz Ali, Advocates. For the Defendant: S. Raveekumar & M. Hariharan, Advocates.



Judgment Text

(Prayer: The suit is filed under Order VI Rule 1 of O.S. Rules r/w Order VII Rule 1 of CPC to direct the Defendant to pay a sum of Rs.2,88,38,631/-(Rupees Two Crores Eighty eight Lakhs Thirty Eight Thousand Six Hundred and Thirty One only) together with interest at the rate of 18% per annum and for the costs.)

1. The suit was filed for recovery of a sum of Rs.1,53,10,515/-, which was paid by the Plaintiff towards differential tax on account of non- submission of 'C' forms. The Plaintiff also claims a sum of Rs.1,35,28,116/- which was paid towards interest for the delayed payment of differential tax. Thus, an aggregate sum of Rs.2,88,38,631/- is claimed.

2. The Plaintiff and Defendant entered into a Petrol/HSD Pump Dealer Agreement dated 04.11.1999 (the Agreement). Under the Agreement, the Defendant was appointed as the Plaintiff's dealer (the Dealer) for retail sale of petroleum products. As per Clause 34 of the Agreement, the Dealer/Defendant is solely responsible for the payment of all local and other taxes in respect of the sale of the Plaintiff's products. Clause 44 provides for indemnification of the Plaintiff by the Defendant in respect of all losses, damages, claims, suits or actions which may arise out of,inter alia, non-observance by the Dealer of the provisions of the Agreement. Clause 47 prescribes that the Dealer/Defendant shall indemnify the Plaintiff against all actions, proceedings, claims and demands made against it by the Central and/ or State Government, municipal, local and/ or other authorities in relation to any acts or omissions of the dealer.

3. The parties carried on business pursuant to the Agreement. In relation thereto, it is stated by the Plaintiff that the Defendant was under an obligation to provide 'C' forms to the Plaintiff. The sale of petroleum products is said to attract Central Sales Tax (CST) at the rate of 19.43% on high speed diesel (HSD) and at the rate of 28% on motor spirit/petrol unless 'C' forms are produced. In case 'C' forms are produced, tax would be charged at the concessional rate of 2%. According to the Plaintiff, the Defendant collected tax from his customers on re-sale of petroleum products but failed to remit the same to the Government of Puducherry. Therefore, the Plaintiff states that the registration certificate of the Defendant was cancelled by the Government of Puducherry for alleged evasion of taxes. In these circumstances, the Defendant could not produce 'C' forms and, in turn, the Plaintiff could not attach the 'C' forms with its returns or even thereafter.

4. Consequently, the Deputy Commissioner(CT)-IV (LTU), Chennai, made an assessment of the Plaintiff's tax liability under assessment order dated 29.06.2012 bearing Assessment No.CST/25232/2009-10. Upon receipt of such assessment order, by communication dated 26.07.2012, the Plaintiff called upon the Defendant to provide 'C' forms. In spite of assuring the Plaintiff by letters dated 27.08.2012 and 21.09.2012 that 'C' forms would be provided, the Defendant failed to do so. Consequently, differential tax at the rate of 28% in respect of motor spirit and at 19.43% in respect of high speed diesel was levied on the Plaintiff. Such differential tax aggregated to a sum of Rs.1,53,10,515/-. The Plaintiff issued a letter dated 18.10.2012 to the Commercial Tax Officer, Puducherry, to release the 'C' forms to the Defendant in order to avert payment of differential tax. By proceedings dated 16.11.2012, the Commercial Tax Officer, Puducherry, refused to release 'C' forms to the Defendant by relying upon Section 43(1) of the Puducherry VAT Act, 2007. In these circumstances, the Plaintiff filed W.P.Nos.31015, 31016 and 31680 of 2012 challenging the assessment by the Deputy Commissioner (CT)-IV (LTU), Chennai, and prayed for a direction to the Commercial Tax Officer, Puducherry, to furnish the 'C' forms. The said writ petitions were dismissed by order dated 13.03.2014. The writ appeals by which the said order was assailed were dismissed on 07.04.2016 and the Special Leave Petitions against the appellate judgment were also dismissed on 17.08.2016.

5. Therefore, the Plaintiff paid the differential tax of Rs.1,53,10,515/- on 19.08.2016 as acknowledged by receipt dated 30.08.2016. After paying the differential tax, by letters dated 14.09.2016 and 03.10.2016, the Plaintiff called upon the Defendant to pay the amount paid as differential tax to the Plaintiff. Thereafter, the Plaintiff received a demand notice from the Deputy Commissioner dated 11.09.2018 demanding a sum of Rs.1,35,28,116/- towards interest. Although the Plaintiff requested for remission of interest, the assessing authority refused to accede to the request for remission. In those circumstances, the Plaintiff remitted the interest amount of Rs.1,35,28,116/-, as evidenced by receipt dated 13.04.2018. The suit was initially filed to claim the amount paid as differential tax and subsequently amended to include the amount paid as interest, i.e. an aggregate sum of Rs.2,88,38,631/-.

6. The Defendant filed a written statement and refuted the suit claim. According to the Defendant, the suit is liable to be dismissed for non-joinder of the assessing authority as a party to the suit. The Defendant also contended that Writ Appeal No.1495 of 2014, which was filed by the Defendant, is pending before this Court. Therefore, the Defendant states that the suit is premature. As an alternative plea, the Defendant states that the suit is barred by limitation inasmuch as the cause of action arose on the dates when the Plaintiff was required to attach the 'C' forms. The Defendant states that the 'C' forms were required with regard to the assessment year 2009-2010. Since 'C' forms are required to be submitted at the end of every quarter, it is stated that the suit, which was filed in 2017, is barred by limitation, whether the period of limitation is computed from the end of the relevant assessment year or from the date of issuance of the assessment order dated 06.08.2012. The Defendant further states that it is not under a legal liability to pay the amounts demanded by the Plaintiff. The Defendant contends that the non-issuance of 'C' forms by the Commercial Tax Department cannot be held against the Defendant. The Defendant also contended that the suit is barred under Order II Rule 2 CPC because the Plaintiff did not claim all the reliefs on the cause of action while filing the suit. According to the Defendant, the Plaintiff applied for and received permission for amendment in order to include the claim for interest on a subsequent date. The application for amendment was allowed subject to the objections of the Defendant being considered in course of final disposal.

7. Based on the pleadings and documents, the following issues were framed:

(i) Whether the Defendant has committed a breach of contract by not forwarding C-forms to the Plaintiff?

(ii) Whether the Plaintiff is entitled for interest owing to the delay of the Defendant in forwarding the C-forms to the Plaintiff?

(iii) Whether the suit is hit by the principle of Order 2 Rule 2 CPC?

(iv) Whether the suit is barred by the law of limitation?

(v) To what other relief the Plaintiff is entitled?

8. Both parties adduced oral and documentary evidence. The Plaintiff adduced evidence through Mr.S.Asokan, who was examined as P.W.1. The Defendants adduced evidence through Mr.R.Thirumalai, who was examined as D.W.1. Ex.P.1 to P23 were marked through P.W.1 and Ex.D1 to D4 were marked through D.W.1. Oral submissions were made by Mr. M.S. Krishnan, learned senior counsel, assisted by Mr. Mohammed Fayaz Ali, learned counsel, on behalf of the Plaintiff; and by Mr. Hariharan and Mr. S.Raveekumar, learned counsel, on behalf of the Defendant . Both parties filed written arguments and additional written arguments.

9. Issue Nos.3 and 4 are preliminary objections with regard to the maintainability of the suit. Therefore, the said issues are considered first. Issue No.3 relates to whether the suit is barred by Order II Rule 2 CPC. Order II Rule 2 CPC reads, in relevant part, as under:-

1. Frame of suit__Every suit shall as far as practicable be framed so as to afford ground for final decision upon the subjects in dispute and to prevent further litigation concerning them.

2. Suit to include the whole claim__(1) Every suit shall include the whole of the claim which the plaintiff is entitled to make in respect of the cause of action; but a plaintiff may relinquish any portion of his claim in order to bring the suit within the jurisdiction of any Court.

(2). Relinquishment of part of claim__Where a plaintiff omits to sue in respect of, or intentionally relinquishes, any portion of his claim, he shall not afterwards sue in respect of the portion so omitted or relinquished.

(3) Omission to sue for one of several reliefs__A person entitled to more than one relief in respect of the same cause of action may sue for all or any of such reliefs, but if he omits, except with the leave of the Court, to sue for all such reliefs, he shall not afterwards sue for any relief so omitted.''

On perusal of sub-Rule 1 of Order II Rule 2, it is evident that it prescribes that the suit should include the whole of the claim which the plaintiff concerned is entitled to make in respect of a cause of action. Such plaintiff is, however, entitled to relinquish a portion of the claim in order to bring the suit within the jurisdiction of any Court.As per sub-Rule 2 of Order II Rule 2, if a plaintiff omits to sue in respect of, or intentionally relinquishes, any portion of his claim, he shall not subsequently sue in respect of the portion so omitted or relinquished. Sub-Rule 3 of Order II Rule 2 reiterates that the plaintiff concerned may sue for all or any of the reliefs arising out of a cause of action but if such plaintiff omits to sue for all such reliefs, he is not permitted to sue for the omitted reliefs subsequently unless he had applied for and obtained leave of the court. This provision is, thus, designed to prevent a plaintiff from suing for omitted reliefs that arise out of the same cause of action in subsequent proceedings unless leave had been obtained in the earlier proceeding. In other words, it does not preclude an application for amendment of the first and only suit so as to include reliefs which had not been originally claimed. Any such amendment, unless otherwise specified by the Court, would take effect retrospectively from the date of plaint.

10. The Defendant relied upon the judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Virgo Industries (Eng). P. Ltd. v. Venturetech Solutions P. Ltd (2013) 1 SCC 625 to contend that the suit is hit by Order II Rule 2 CPC. As is evident from paragraphs 9 to 11 thereof, Order II Rule 2 CPC is intended to prevent a suitor from vexing the defendant repeatedly by filing multiple suits. Even in such context, the Hon'ble Supreme Court concluded that the prohibition under Order II Rule 2 CPC would apply only if the suits in question are founded on the same cause of action. The Defendant also relied upon the judgment of this Court inVijayan and others v. Kolandaiammal and others, C.R.P.(PD)No.3617 of 2009, order dated 13.06.2011. The said judgment, once again, records that Order II Rule 2 CPC is based on the rule of law that no man should be vexed twice for the same cause.

11. In this case, the objection of the Defendant is on the ground that the Plaintiff amended the suit subsequently to include the interest claim. It is not the Defendant's case that the Plaintiff filed a separate suit subsequently to claim interest. If the Plaintiff had filed a separate suit to claim interest, the reliance on Order II Rule 2 would have been justified. In the facts and circumstances of this case, the objection by the Defendant on this ground is completely misconceived. Therefore, Issue No.3 is decided in favour of the Plaintiff and against the Defendant.

Issue No.4:

12. Issue No.4 is with regard to limitation. The Defendant asserts that the suit is barred by limitation because it pertains to the non-issuance of 'C' forms in the assessment year 2009-2010. The Defendant points out that the obligation to submit 'C' forms arises at the end of every quarter. At best, the cause of action could be extended till the end of the relevant assessment year. Besides, the Defendant states that the assessment order was issued on 06.08.2012 (Ex.P-8). Consequently, whether computed from the end of the relevant assessment year or the date of assessment order, the suit is barred by limitation.

13. These contentions are refuted by the Plaintiff on the ground that the Agreement specifies that the Dealer/Defendant is solely responsible for the payment of all local and other taxes in respect of the sale of petroleum products. As a result of non-compliance with this obligation by the Defendant, the tax authorities refused to provide 'C' forms to the Defendant. The tax demand on the Plaintiff arises out of the inability of the Plaintiff to attach the 'C' forms with its returns. The Plaintiff further contends that the Defendant agreed to indemnify the Plaintiff with regard to all losses, damages, etc. arising out of the non-observance by the Dealer/Defendant of the provisions of the Agreement. The Defendant also agreed to indemnify the Plaintiff against all claims and demands made by any Government or local authority. By virtue of these provisions, the Plaintiff contends that the Defendant became liable to indemnify the Plaintiff once the Plaintiff incurred the liability by paying tax and interest on belated payment of tax.

14. The Plaintiff contends that the relevant article in the Schedule to the Limitation Act, 1963 (the Limitation Act) is Article 113. As per Article 113, it is contended that the suit is required to be filed within three years from the date on which the right to sue accrues. The Plaintiff further contends that cause of action is the bundle of facts that gives the suitor the right to sue. By relying on Shakti Bhog Food Industries Limited v. Central Bank of India and another (2020) 17 SCC 260, the Plaintiff pointed out that Article 58 of the Schedule to the Limitation Act uses the expression “when the right to sue first accrues”, whereas Article 113 uses the expression “when the right to sue accrues.” Therefore, a suit may be filed within three years from the occurrence of the last event in the bundle of events giving the right to sue. According to the Plaintiff, such last event was the payment of differential tax or interest, as the case may be. Since differential tax was paid on 19.08.2016, the suit filed in June 2017 is within time. As regards interest, it is stated that interest was paid on 13.04.2018 on the basis of a demand made by the tax authorities on 11.09.2017 (Ex.P-10) and the order dated 28.02.2018 refusing remission (Ex.P-12). Thereafter, the amendment with regard to payment of interest was allowed on 05.11.2019. Even if the date of amendment is reckoned as the date of the claim for interest, the interest claim is within the period of limitation.

15. The Defendant contends, on the contrary, that Article 113 is not the relevant article in the Schedule to the Limitation Act. The Defendant states that Article 113 applies only if no other article in the Schedule to the Limitation Act is applicable. For this proposition, the Defendant relies on the judgment in A.Venkata Subbarao and others v. The State of Andhra Pradesh, AIR 1965 SC 1773. Moreover, by relying on the judgment in Deena (Dead) through legal representatives v. Bharat Singh (Dead) through legal representatives, (2002) 6 SCC 336, the Defendant contended that Section 14 of the Limitation Act is inapplicable in this case because the proceedings instituted by way of writ petitions before this Court were not for recovery of differential tax or interest from the Defendant. Indeed, the writ petitions were directed against the Commercial Tax Department and not against the Defendant.

16. The Defendant is justified in contending that the Plaintiff is not entitled to the benefit of Section 14 of the Limitation Act on account of the earlier writ petitions. As correctly contended by the Defendant, the benefit of Section 14 is available only if the earlier proceedings were against the same party and for the same relief.

17. The other contentions with regard to limitation remain to be considered. While the Plaintiff relied on Article 113 of the Limitation Act, the Defendant contended that Articles 14, 24 or 26 would apply. On a reading of the text of Article 24, it is clear that this Article applies only in cases where a defendant receives money, which is intended for the plaintiff. In this case, the suit claim relates to differential tax paid by the Plaintiff to the relevant tax authorities on account of non-submission of 'C' forms by the Defendant to the Plaintiff, which, in turn, is attributable to the Defendant's failure to comply with its obligation under Clause 34. Therefore, there is no basis to apply Article 24. Article 26 relates to money payable to a plaintiff in respect of dues reflected in accounts stated between them. While the Defendant contended that the debit notes raised by the Plaintiff (Ex.P6) amount to a statement of account, this contention is untenable because the suit is not founded on reconciled or unreconciled accounts. The Defendant also relied on Article 14, which deals with suits for the price of goods sold and delivered where no fixed period of credit is agreed upon. The present suit is not for the price of goods; instead, it is for the tax paid to the Commercial Tax Department in relation to the sale of goods. Therefore, Article 14 is also inapplicable.

18. While the contention of the Defendant that Article 113 would not apply if a specific article applies is meritorious and liable to be accepted, the Defendant has failed to establish that Articles 14, 24 or 26 would apply. Before drawing conclusions on the applicability of Article 113, the applicability of any other specific article should be considered. The Defendant also placed reliance on Article 55 of the Schedule to the Limitation Act. As per Article 55, the period of limitation would commence on the date the contract is broken, or, where there are successive breaches when the breach in respect of which the suit is instituted occurs, or, where there is a continuing breach when it ceases. By relying on M/s. Bhajan Singh Hardit Singh & Co. v. Karson Agency (India) & another ILR (1985) II Delhi (FB) and Sundaram Finance Limited v. Noorjahan Beevi and another (2016) 13 SCC 1, the Defendant contended that the alleged breach of Clause 34 occurred in the year 2009 and that, therefore, the suit is barred by limitation as per Article 55.

19. However, it should be noticed that the Agreement also contains indemnity obligations under Clauses 44 and 47. While the Defendant may have failed to remit local tax in 2009, in response to the letters demanding 'C' forms, the Defendant did not state either that it is not under an obligation to provide 'C' forms under the Agreement or that it is unable to provide the same. If so, the right to sue for breach or even on the indemnity would have accrued then on the basis of the assessment orders issued in 2012. Instead, by letter dated 27.08.2012 (Ex.P7), the Defendant assured the Plaintiff that 'C' forms would be provided upon obtaining court directions in such regard. In fact, the Defendant filed writ petitions and writ appeals for the purpose of directing the Commercial Tax Department to provide the 'C' forms. The writ appeals were rejected by judgment dated 07.04.2016 (Ex.P14).

20. The breach of Clause 34 did not per se cause loss to the Plaintiff. The loss occurred because of the subsequent failure to obtain and provide 'C' forms, which triggered the obligation to indemnify. An action seeking indemnification is not an action for damages for breach of contract. However, even if Article 55 were to be construed widely as being applicable to an action for indemnification, in view of the letter dated 27.08.2012, the right to sue on the indemnity accrued on the date on which the Defendant failed in its efforts to obtain and produce 'C' forms and thereby caused loss to the Plaintiff. Thus, even if Article 55 were to be applied, the period of limitation should be reckoned from 07.04.2016, when the writ appeal filed by the Defendant was dismissed. If Article 113 is applied instead, the period of limitation would run either from 07.04.2016 or the date of payment as regards the principal tax claim. Since Article 113 does not use the expression “when the right to sue first accrues” in contrast with Article 58, there is a case to start the limitation clock on the date of payment by reckoning the same as the last material event or fact in the bundle of events on which the right to sue accrues. In either case, the suit filed on 09.06.2017 is within time. As regards the interest claim, even if computed by starting the limitation clock on the date of demand on 11.09.2017 (Ex. P10) and stopping it on the date on which the amendment was allowed (05.11.2019), it is within time. Therefore, Issue No.4 is decided in favour of the Plaintiff and against the Defendant.

Issue Nos.1 & 2:

21.Issue Nos.1 & 2 are dealt with next. Issue No.1 pertains to whether the Defendant committed a breach of contract by not forwarding 'C' forms to the Plaintiff. Issue No.2 relates to whether the Plaintiff is entitled to interest owing to the delay of the Defendant in forwarding the 'C' forms to the Plaintiff. In view of the admitted position that the Defendant did not obtain and submit 'C' forms, Issue No.2 should be recast as: whether the Plaintiff is entitled to the interest claim? In order to adjudicate these issues, it is necessary to turn to the Agreement. Clause 34 of the Agreement relates to the liability of the Defendant to pay taxes. The said clause is set out below:

''34. All expenses in connection with or incidental to the storage, handing, sale and distribution of the Corporation's products shall be borne by the Dealer. The Dealer shall be solely responsible for the payment of all local and other taxes in respect of the sale of the Corporation's products.''

Clauses 44 & 47 deal with the indemnity obligations of the Defendant. The said Clauses are also set out below:

''44. The Dealer shall indemnify and save harmless the Corporation from all losses, damages, claims, suits are actions which may arise out of or result from any injury to any person or property or from violation of any statutory enactments, rules or regulations or other written orders or other loss or caused by or resulting from non observance by the Dealer of the provisions of this Agreement.''

''47. The Dealer shall be solely responsible for and shall himself bear all expenses of and in connection with the Dealership business, including administration office, insurance premia telephone, license or other fees, rates, taxes and all other charges and outgoings of every kind connected with the said business and shall pay the same promptly and without fail. The Dealer shall also be solely responsible for any breach or contravention by himself his servants or agents of any laws, rules, regulations or by laws passed or made by the Central and / or State Government and /or Municipal local and / or other authorities as may be applicable from time to time to the business including without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the concerned authorities respectively appointed under the Petroleum Act, Payment of Wages Act, Shops and Establishments Act, Factories Act and the Workmen's Compensation Act or any statutory modifications or re-enactments of the said statutes or Rules and the Corporation shall not be responsible in any manner for any liability arising out of non-compliance by the Dealer with the same. The Dealer shall at all times indemnify and keep indemnified the Corporation against all actions proceedings claims and demands made against it by the Central and / or State Government Municipal local and / or authorities and / or by any customer of the products and / or by any other third party as a result of or in consequence of any act or omission of whatsoever nature of the Dealer, his servants or agents, including without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, any accident or loss or damage arising out of the storage handling and / or sale of the products or attributable to the use of the said premises for the aforesaid purposes whether or not such act or omission or accident or loss or damage was due to any negligence want to care or skill or any misconduct of the Dealer, its servants or agents.''

22. On examination of Clause 34, it is evident that the Dealer/Defendant agreed to pay all local and other taxes in respect of the sale by the Defendant of the Plaintiff's products. The admitted position is that the concessional CST liability of 2% was paid by the Plaintiff to the tax authorities on the basis that the Defendant would obtain and submit 'C' forms as agreed to in its communications. This could not be done because the Defendant did not comply with its obligation under Clause 34 by remitting amounts collected as taxes from his customers. Therefore, the Plaintiff had to pay CST at the non-concessional rate and the suit claim pertains to differential CST. Although none of the clauses of the Agreement imposes an obligation on the Defendant to provide 'C' forms to the Plaintiff, the Defendant is under an obligation to pay all local and other taxes arising out of the re-sale of the petroleum products by the Defendant. The inability of the Defendant to obtain and provide 'C' forms arises out of non-compliance with this obligation.

23. By virtue of Clause 44 and, in particular, Clause 47, the Dealer/Defendant is liable to indemnify the Plaintiff in respect of all claims made by any Government as a result of any act or omission of the Dealer/Defendant. In this case, the Plaintiff was called upon to discharge the differential tax demanded by the Commercial Tax Department. Therefore, by virtue of the indemnity clauses, the Defendant becomes liable to indemnify the Plaintiff. By communication of 26.04.2010, the Plaintiff called upon the Defendant to provide the 'C' forms or pay the differential tax. By subsequent communications dated 06.08.2010 and 26.07

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.2012, similar demands were made on the Defendant. In response to the demand made on 26.07.2012, by reply dated 27.08.2012, the Defendant informed the Plaintiff that it had filed proceedings before this Court to direct the Assessing Officer to issue the 'C' forms. The Defendant stated that it would submit the 'C' forms as soon as it receives the court direction in such regard. Eventually, the writ petitions were dismissed by order dated 13.03.2014 and the writ appeals arising therefrom by judgment dated 07.04.2016. While dismissing the writ appeals, the Court recognised that the only legal recourse available to the Plaintiff is to file a civil suit for recovery of its dues from the Dealer/Defendant. Thus, Issue No.1 is decided in favour of the Plaintiff. 24. The recast Issue No.2 relates to the entitlement of the Plaintiff to interest. Issue No.2 is entirely consequential to Issue No.1. In view of the assurance by the Defendant to provide 'C' forms to the Plaintiff, the Plaintiff did not pay tax when demanded by the Commercial Tax Department. Eventually, after the writ appeals and special leave petitions were dismissed, the Plaintiff was constrained to pay tax on 19.08.2016 and claim the differential tax from the Defendant on the basis of the indemnity obligation triggered because of the Defendant's default in paying all taxes arising out of the sale of petroleum products. On account of non-payment thereof by the Defendant, the suit was filed in June 2017. Thereafter, a demand was raised by the tax authorities on 11.09.2017 for interest. By filing Application No.6072 of 2018, which was allowed on 05.11.2019, the plaint was amended to also claim interest. The Defendant contended that the Agreement does not provide for the payment of interest. This contention is untenable because the Agreement expressly provides for indemnification in respect of all demands made by Governmental authorities at the Central, State and local levels. Therefore, the Defendant is also liable for payment of interest on the delayed payment of differential tax. 25. For reasons aforesaid, the suit is decreed by directing the Defendant to pay the Plaintiff a sum of Rs.2,88,38,631/- comprising the sum of Rs.1,53,10,515/- towards differential tax and the sum of Rs.1,35,28,116/- towards interest. The Agreement does not deal with or specify the rate of interest on claims such as the suit claims, but the transaction between the parties is in the course of trade. Keeping in mind the interest rates prevailing during the relevant period, the Defendant shall also pay interest at 9% per annum on the sum of Rs.1,53,10,515/- from 19.08.2016 till the date of realization and on the sum of Rs.1,35,28,116/- from 13.04.2018 till the date of realization. In addition, on the loser pays principle, the Defendant shall pay the sum of Rs.5,00,000/- as costs, which will include the sum of Rs.2,91,911/- towards court fees, lawyer's fees and other expenses.
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