Skip to content


Jyotikana Chowdhurani and Others Vs. Commissioner of Income-tax, Assam. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
Subject;Direct Taxation
CourtGuwahati High Court
Decided On
Case NumberIncome-tax Reference No. of 1951
AppellantJyotikana Chowdhurani and Others
RespondentCommissioner of Income-tax, Assam.
Excerpt:
- - -these references under section 66(1) of the indian income-tax act (act xi of 1922 as amended up to date) raise an important and interesting question of law, namely, " where, therefore, human labour and skill is so employed to exploit the and to its best advantage and make it yield to its products or things rowing on the land, its maximum nutriment, be it crop or fruit or vegetable or trees -the process in each case should and must be regarded as " these efforts may be so directed as to enable the soil to yield its best possible nourishment to those trees by various scientific and up-to-date methods. but, in my opinion, if i may respectfully say so, the view holds good also with reference to the term as occurring in the income-tax law or in the agricultural income-tax..... sarjoo prosad, c.j. - these references under section 66(1) of the indian income-tax act (act xi of 1922 as amended up to date) raise an important and interesting question of law, namely, "whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of this case, the receipts from the sale of sal trees can be said to be agricultural income under section 2(1) and are exempt from taxation under section 4(3) (viii) of the income-tax act".the relevant facts leading to this reference, as found in the statement of the case submitted by the tribunal, are that the applicants nos. 1, 2 and 3, namely, jyotsna nath chowdhury, kamal krishna chowdhury, and birendra narayan chowdhury, are some of the co-sharers of a zamindary property known as mechpara estate. applicant no. 4, jyotirindra narayana sinha.....
Judgment:

SARJOO PROSAD, C.J. - These references under Section 66(1) of the Indian Income-tax Act (Act XI of 1922 as amended up to date) raise an important and interesting question of law, namely, "whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of this case, the receipts from the sale of sal trees can be said to be agricultural income under Section 2(1) and are exempt from taxation under Section 4(3) (viii) of the Income-tax Act".

The relevant facts leading to this reference, as found in the statement of the case submitted by the Tribunal, are that the applicants Nos. 1, 2 and 3, namely, Jyotsna Nath Chowdhury, Kamal Krishna Chowdhury, and Birendra Narayan Chowdhury, are some of the co-sharers of a zamindary property known as Mechpara Estate. Applicant No. 4, Jyotirindra Narayana Sinha Chowdhury, who is since dead and in whose place his heirs have been substituted before this Court, was a co-sharer in another zamindary called Parbatjoar Estate, whereas the applicants in items Nos. 5 to 7, Sourindra Narayan Chowdhury, and applicant No. 8, Sulochona Chowdhurani, are co-sharers in both the abovementioned estates, Mechpara and Parbatjoar.

These estates are admittedly in the Goalpara District of the State of Assam and are assessed to land revenue. Both these estates have vast areas of forest tracts, considerable portions of which are covered mainly with sal trees. The trees in the forest are of spontaneous growth or, as the assessee puts it, of spontaneous germination, and there was no planting or sowing or employment of any human agency for the purpose of tilling the soil. It has, however, not been disputed in the statement submitted to us that the assessee maintained establishments to look after the maintenance, preservation and regeneration of the forest.

Some of the activities carried on by the assessees with reference to the forest may be summarised thus : (a) reservation of blocks of forest commonly known as jhars and their operation in these blocks by rotation; (b) marking of trees fit for felling; (c) creeper and climber cutting; (d) thinning and removal of diseased and unsound trees; (e) clearing of jungles and undergrowth; (f) allowing grazing from Kartik to Chaitra; (g) burning of undergrowths in March-April (which clears the jungles and fertilises the soil); (h) protection from fire -maintenance of fire lines; (i) closure of all forests to men and cattle during rainy season (Baisak to Aswin); and (j) preservation of mother trees.

The actual costs with reference to each activity could not be shown, nor could it be possible to show that, but the total costs came to about Rs. 14,000 in respect of Parbatjoar Estate and Rs. 15,000 in respect of Mechpara Estate. The assessees claimed that these processes constituted agricultural processes in the wider sense of the terms as contemplated by the income-tax law, and that accordingly the income derived from the sale of these forest trees should be exempted from taxation under Section 4 (3) (viii) of the Act. The reference relates to various years of assessment beginning from the years 1946-47 and ending with the years 1948-49. During all these years, it will be found that the assessees did periodically derive income from the sale of sal trees.

The Tribunal considered that the word "agriculture", with reference to the Indian Income-tax Act, should be taken to mean only those kinds of operations which were limited to tilling of the soil or to acts of planting or sowing; but could not possibly cover the case of forests of natural and spontaneous growth where there was no human skill or labour employed in the actual cultivation of the soil itself. It accordingly disallowed the exemption claimed by the assessees. It also appears to have been urged by the assessees that the money received from the sale of the trees was not really a revenue receipt but capital receipt. But in view of various decisions to the contrary, the point was advisedly abandoned.

I think it only right to mention at the outset that the point under reference was concluded by a decision of this Court in Jyotirindra Narayan v. State of Assam. This decision ought to have been respected by the Tribunal as an authority binding on the point. With reference to this case, the Tribunal rightly concedes : "that in respect of the same assessees it has been held by the High Court of Assam in an agricultural income-tax case of the appellants for the same year that the income derived by the appellants was agricultural income"; yet it sought to distinguish the case on grounds which, I am afraid, do not justify the endeavour.

It is suggested that the main question in that case was whether the amount received was capital receipt or revenue receipt; and once the point had been decided against the assessees, it was evidently to their advantage to confess judgment on the other point. It must be remembered, however, that both the points had been referred to the Court for its decision. The Court, therefore, had to give its decision on the point whether the income received from the sale of the forest trees was agricultural income and liable to be taxed as such. In fact, the judgment, on the face of it, shows that the point has been exhaustively dealt with and many of the relevant decisions reviewed. This Court having pronounced its decision on the question, I feel bound to observe, with due deference to the members, that it was the clear duty of the Tribunal to follow that authority, unless the decision was overruled or otherwise modified. The appropriate procedure in such a case for the Tribunal was to decide the question in accordance with the view taken by this Court in the decision aforesaid and leave the Income-tax Commissioner to pursue his remedies, if so advised.

Ordinarily, we would have been justified in disposing of the reference with the observations aforesaid and in simply affirming the view which has been already expressed by this Court. But owing to the importance of the point involved, we thought it appropriate to have the matter heard by a larger Bench.

The matter has been very fully argued on both sides and Mr. Iyengar, with all the wealth of his knowledge and details, has discussed and analysed threadbare, as it were, almost every case that had any bearing on the question involved. He even attempted at one stage to address us on "forestry" in general, but we were not tempted to be led too far field from the problem confronting us. The question referred to us for adjudication is a difficult and thorny question. The decisions on the point reveal a marked diversity of opinion, which it has not been easy enough for me to reconcile. I shall endeavour to refer to them in so far as they are necessary and in the manner that I have understood and appreciated them.

Broadly speaking, these decisions can be classified under three different groups according to the line of reasoning which they seem to favour. The classification is not water-tight because it is not unoften that one notices in them one line of reasoning subconsciously striking into another.

(1) In the first group, I would place those cases which suggest that tilling or ploughing of the soil is essential and in the absence of these activities, there can be no agricultural operation at all. This group of cases undoubtedly assumes the common and popular notion of the term "Agriculture". But, if I may say so, it has the demerit of taking a conservative view of the matter as it leaves out of account various other process which undoubtedly would fall under agricultural operation and also such produce of land which do not necessarily need ploughing and tilling for their growth.

(2) The second group is an improvement upon the first and considers that ploughing or tilling are not the only decisive factors in agricultural operations; but this group insists that human labour and skill must be spent in operations upon the land itself, e.g., in the shape of sowing, planting, hoeing, watering, manuring, etc. This group rules out of consideration forests of natural growth where the trees or saplings germinate spontaneously and grow of their own accord, even though human skill and labour may be employed to rear and tend those trees and to aid the growth of the off-shoots standing on the land. Pruning the leaves or guarding the shrubs, off-shoots and saplings from early destruction or lopping off the branches of trees and removal of obnoxious weeds and creepers, though actually conducive to the development and growth of the trees standing on the land, will not, according to this group of cases, constitute "agriculture" because they are not operations on the soil strictly so called.

This group is, as I have said, an improvement upon the former group; but it rests upon the artificial distinction between the soil and the produce of the soil, between the land and the trees standing on the land, ignoring, if I may say so, that many of the operations on the produce or the trees essentially react upon the soil or the land itself. Moreover, having examined the cases rather carefully, it does not appear to me that they definitely provide any terminus a quo for agricultural processes. I would have been amazed if they did.

(3) The third group takes the view that if human skill and labour is employed to aid the growth of the trees, even if the trees are of spontaneous germination, the operations are "agriculture". This last view seems to me to be more logical and scientific, as I shall presently show. With the advance of knowledge and science, human ingenuity has made new conquests of regions where nature once rules supreme and has combined with natural forces to help them create and produce on a planned and scientific basis. It has, in unison with the forces of nature, clothed hills and dales and wild tracts with more fruitful and productive vegetation - productive not merely on account of its food value but also because of its utility in various other commerce of life.

Where, therefore, human labour and skill is so employed to exploit the and to its best advantage and make it yield to its products or things rowing on the land, its maximum nutriment, - be it crop or fruit or vegetable or trees -the process in each case should and must be regarded as "agricultural process". There is no cogent or sound basis or any differentiation as to the extent and form of the skill and about employed, because that would depend largely upon the nature of the produce and the exigencies of each case.

"Agricultural income" has been thus defined in Section 2(1) of the income-tax Act :-

"(a) Any rent or revenue derived from land which is used for agricultural purposes, and is either assessed to land revenue..... or subject to a local rate assessed and collected by officers of the Government as such;

(b) any income derived from such land by -

(i) agriculture, or

(ii) the performance by a cultivator or receiver of rent-in-kind of any process ordinarily employed by a cultivator or receiver of rent-in-kind to render the produce raised or received by him fit to be taken to market, or

(iii) the sale by a cultivator or receiver of rent-in-kind of the produce raised or received by him, in respect of which no process has been performed other than a process of the nature described in subclause (ii);....."

The Agricultural Income-tax Act defines "agricultural income" substantially in the same terms, except for the numbering of the clauses.

Clause (c) of Section 2(1) of the Income-tax Act is not included in the definition of "agricultural income" in the Agricultural Income-tax Act, and an explanation has been added in regard to agricultural income derived from cultivation of tea. It would be obvious from the above definition that in order that an income may be characterised as "agricultural income", it should be income derived (i) by "agriculture" and (ii) "from land" which is used for "agricultural purposes" and is assessed to land revenue or subject to some local rate assessed and collected by Government. The land on which the forests in question stand is undoubtedly assessed to land revenue. The only question is : whether the lands are used for "agricultural purposes" and the income is derived from such land by "agriculture".

"Agriculture" in its derivative and etymological sense, means - "ager" : land, and "cultura" : cultivation, that is, cultivation of land. Mr. Iyengar, therefore, contends that the meaning of the terms should be confined to actual cultivation or tillage of the soil, and agricultural purposes only connote such purposes. Where there is absence of tillage, or cultivation of the soil, or in other words, absence of ploughing, hoeing and opening up of the soil or planting or sowing of seeds, there is no agricultural process; nor can the land, even if it yields some produce, be said to be used for agricultural purposes. This argument is evidently founded on the first or second group of cases as classified by me above. The question is undoubtedly not free from difficulty.

The dictionary meaning of the terms "agriculture", as gathered from several standard dictionaries, is very wide and it includes even "forestry". There can be no doubt that trees growing in forests are also products of the land. They derive their succour and nourishment from the solid which is conducive to their girth and size. The trees, therefore, are as much products of the soil as any other fruit or vegetable. But the trees may grow wild and spontaneously without any human agency to aid their growth. In such cases, it cannot be said that the income derived from the sale of the trees is agricultural income, merely because they have been cut and stacked for sale through human agencies; nor can it be said that the land on which they stood was used for any agricultural purpose. Therefore, the income from a virgin forest or forest of spontaneous growth without any intervention of human agency is not "agricultural income".

This may be so; but it does not lead to any necessary inference that the meaning of the term "agriculture" should be confined to mere tillage or cultivation of the soil. Forest trees may grow broadcast or by spontaneous germination, yet human skill and labour may be employed for their preservation, protection and regeneration. These efforts may be so directed as to enable the soil to yield its best possible nourishment to those trees by various scientific and up-to-date methods. When such trees grow wild in the forest, hundreds of them may develop into the giants of the forest which we come across and yet thousands may be destroyed or dried up in their early growth by various supervening causes which could have been avoided and averted. The saplings may be overwhelmed and destroyed by obnoxious weeds and creepers or pests; they may be trampled upon by men and animals or the young shoots may be browsed and grazed or they may be burnt by fire, etc. Many other causes may combine to retard their growth and development.

Where, therefore, human agency intervenes on a planned and scientific scale to do away with causes which interfere with the growth of the trees or tend to destroy them and adopts processes which enable the land to yield its utmost nutriment to the trees standing thereon, there is undoubtedly the utilisation of human skill and labour for the production and growth of the trees. In other words, human skill and labour is harnessed to the "raising" or rearing of the "trees on the land"; and so long as the trees stand on the land, this human skill and labour is in essence utilised over the land and the produce of the land itself. The adoption of these processes would naturally constitute agricultural process. They prepare, as it were, the soil for the growth of the trees and for their getting conserved nutriment from the land. The land has, therefore, been utilised for agricultural purposes. I am thus driven to the necessity of attributing to the word "agriculture" a wide sense so as to denote the raising of useful or valuable products which derive nutriment from the soil with the aid of human skill and labour; it would include horticulture, arboriculture and sylviculture where the growth of the trees is effected by the expenditure of human efforts, skill and attention in such operations. These operations may, according to the exigencies of the case, take different forms; it is not necessary that each and all of the various processes must be present in order that the operations should constitute agricultural operations.

It is unnecessary to enumerate these various processes. I fell tempted to quote here the observations of Spencer, J., in Pavadai Pathan v. Ramasami Chetti, where the learned Judge observed with reference to the meaning of the term "lease for agricultural purpose" within the meaning of Section 117 of the Transfer of Property Act thus :-

"In my opinion, agriculture connotes the raising of useful or valuable products which derive nutriment from the soil with the aid of human skill and labour; and thus it will include horticulture, arboriculture and sylviculture in all cases where the growth of trees is effected by the expenditure of human care and attention in such operations as those of ploughing, sowing, planting, pruning, manuring, watering, protecting, etc."

The other learned Judge, Ramesam, J., who was a party to the decision also took the same view, when he said :-

"To give a narrower interpretation to the term and to confine it to the raising of products used as food for man and beast will exclude all cultivation of fibrous plants such as cotton, jute and linen and all plants used for dyeing purposes, such as indigo, etc., and all timber trees and flowering plants. I do not think this is the intention of the Act. The rearing of casuarina plantation requires some preparation of the ground and subsequent care by watering the plants".

I have underlined the words in the quotations to illustrate my point. I am not unconscious of the fact that the above decision was given with reference to another statute; but, in my opinion, if I may respectfully say so, the view holds good also with reference to the term as occurring in the income-tax law or in the Agricultural Income-tax Act. I am adopting that meaning with due care an caution and with full knowledge of the note of warning sounded by the Judicial Committee, in the well-known case of Mustafa Ali Khan v. Commissioner of Income-tax. If the test which I have given above is adopted, it will be found that much of the conflict of views can be satisfactorily explained and understood.

I will now turn to some of the important cases cited on the point and deal with them chronologically.

Mr. Iyengar places in the vanguard of his submissions a casual remark in this connection made by Rankin, J., (as he then was) in Emperor v. Probhat Chandra Barua, which decision ultimately travailed up to the Privy Council.

The remark of that eminent Judge is certainly entitled to weight; but the point in that case was entirely different. The learned Judge observed that he was not "convinced that the legislature, if it intended to include even forestry, would have been content to say agriculture, but in the circumstances, I desire to prejudice this question no further than by an expression of this doubt".

Page, J., the other learned Judge, refrained from expressing any view upon "that vexed question" because in his opinion "income derived from sthaljat is not rent or revenue derived from land which is used for agricultural purposes, but is rent derived from land which is used for the purpose of enabling the timber contractors to carry on their trade or business". The above casual remark of Rankin, J., therefore, does not lead us very far and leaves us free to investigate the matter for ourselves.

Next in order is the decision of Moolji Sicka & Co., In re. The question there arose in connection with tendu plants. Tendu plants are entirely of wild growth and propagate themselves without human agency in jungles and waste lands. The assessee had taken several villages on lease for plucking the leaves of such plants and the work done by the assessee consisted in pruning the trees and burning the dead branches and dried leaves lying on the ground. It was held that the pruning of the shrub was a cultivation of the shrub and as the shrub grows in the soil and is a part of it, it is cultivation of the soil in a legal and technical sense.

The learned Judges further pointed out that to what extent pruning contributes to the growth of the crop, gathered as a whole, was a difficult question of fact which the Income-tax Office should determine as best as he could from the evidence in this case. What is significant here is to notice that the process of pruning the shrub which contributed to the growth of the leaves was regarded as a process of cultivation, in other words, the employment of human agency on the soil itself in a legal and technical sense of the term, because the shrub grow on the soil and derived its nutrition therefrom.

It may not appeal to some people that this solitary process of pruning of the leaves is by itself a process of cultivation; but the tendu leaves in the case in question were essentially needed for the purpose of manufacturing biri, a kind of cigarette consisting of tobacco wrapped in those leave. The assessee, therefore, required these leaves in abundance and with that object in view, cultivated the tendu shrubs to develop and yield these leaves. They were, therefore, held to be carrying on an agricultural process to that extent.

In Province of Bihar v. Maharaja Pratap Udai Nath, the point related to income derived from timber in virgin forests. The only evidence was that a few forest guards had been employed to protect the property, but the trees appeared to have grown naturally in the jungles without the intervention of human agency. It was held that the income from the sale of the trees could not be regarded as agricultural income. As Harries, C.J., tersely put it : "In fact, it was the absence of cultivation that permitted the area to grow into a jungle".

Although the words "cultivation of the soil" have been used, I doubt very much if the learned Judge actually purported to decide that actual tilling of the soil was the sine qua non of an agricultural process. The essential finding was that the trees grew without any intervention of human agency and there was no evidence to show that anything had been done by the assessee for the growth and development of the trees. Mere employment of forest guards to prevent people from cutting and destroying trees could not in any sense of the term amount to an agricultural process, and the decision is justified on its own facts.

The decision in Maharaja of Kapurthala v. Commissioner of Income-tax, is another instance of the kind mentioned above. This decision is of some importance because of the fact that it appears to have been approved by the Judicial Committee on appeal as also in Mustafa Ali Khans case. In this case, the Income-tax Tribunal was of opinion that :-

"Even where trees are grown and cut by the owner of the land according to strict botanical principles, the operation is not agricultural". Their Lordships, however, did not consider it necessary to determine in the case whether "when trees are so grown, the land is being used for agricultural purposes," because admittedly the trees under consideration were of spontaneous growth. And although the general agent of the estate, B. Harcharan Dass, referred to the "maintenance, preservation, nursing, improving and rearing" of the forest, and to there being a regular plan for the improvement of the quality and general condition of the forests, this was regarded as an exaggeration, on the admission before the Tribunal that "the forest was of spontaneous growth and that nothing in the nature of preparing the land for the growth of the trees was done".

The expenditure seems to have been mostly on watch and ward and what may be described as "conservation". The case, therefore, is of no assistance to the Department because there was no evidence in that case of any human skill and labour having been employed for the purpose of growing and rearing the trees. The trees were merely of spontaneous growth.

The ratio decidendi of the Kapurthala case only is that :-

"land used for agricultural purposes in the Income-tax Act does not extend to forests of spontaneous growth, where nothing is done to prepare the soil for trees to be planted or to foster the growth of the trees".

The reference to operations like tillage or preparation of the soil and plating are merely illustrative, in my opinion; and they do not exhaust the whole filed of agricultural operations. We have to remember that in the case in question, there was absence of any such operation. It is true that their Lordships observed that the word "agriculture" should be construed in its primary sense, but this remark can be justified only in the context of the case in question, and on its own facts there can be no doubt that the decision was perfectly correct.

It could not be held that the income derived from a forest of the kind which was wholly of spontaneous growth was agricultural income at all. I shall now refer to another decision which appears to have received the approval of the Judicial Committee in Mustafa Ali Khans case. In my opinion, this decision is very important, Yuvarajah of Pithapuram v. Commissioner of Income-tax, Madras. There also the trees in the forest and the non-forest areas had grown wild and no agricultural operations had been carried on in any of the areas. The Court was called upon to decide whether the income derived from forests of spontaneous growth and from trees which had grown wild in non-forest areas, represents agricultural income within the meaning of the definition given in Section 2(1) of the Income-tax Act.

Their Lordships held that the word "agriculture" implied something which was "achieved with the aid of human agency", and income derived from trees which have grown wild could not legitimately be described as agricultural income. This case does not say that the cultivation or tillage of the soil was an essential factor; all that it considered necessary was the aid of human agency, and in the absence of any such aid, the income derived from trees grown on natural forests was not considered liable to exemption under the income-tax law.

It is important to remember that while in the Kapurthala case the learned Judges to some extent emphasised on the "growth of the trees being fostered by tillage", in this case, to which Patanjali Sastri, J., (as he then was) was himself a party, there was no such emphasis, and the only emphasis was on the aid of human agency.

The case of Benoy Ratan Banerji v,. Commissioner of Income-tax, is another of those cases which had the approval of the Judicial Committee. This was also a case of income from the sale of forest trees of spontaneous growth growing on land naturally and without the intervention of human agency. It was held that such an income was not agricultural income and could not be exempted under the income-tax law. By implication, the learned Judges appear to have thought that in order to make it agricultural process, there must be some evidence of cultivation contributing to the production of the trees. Whether this word "cultivation" was used in the sense of actual tillage of the soil, or not, does not appear from the judgment. Hence there was absence of human aid, assisting the growth of the trees, and the Tribunal had stated that there was no evidence on the record showing that the growth of the trees in question was the result of any actual cultivation by the assessee at all. The learned Judges proceeded upon this finding.

It, therefore, does not mean that they in any manner sought to emphasise that cultivation or tillage, by itself, was the only essential factor in agricultural process. It may be one of the factors by which the growth of the produce could be aided; but it is not the only process and the main process, failing which any other operation, although favourable to the growth of the trees, could not be regarded as agricultural process.

The only other case which needs mention in Mustafa Ali Khans case is the decision in Beohar Singh Raghubir Singh v. Commissioner of Income-tax. There the Court considered the question how far "agricultural" covers "forests". Incidentally the learned Judges examined the etymological and dictionary meaning of the term "agriculture", and they found on a review of the definitions, "that the essence of agriculture, even when it is extended to include forestry, is the application of human skill and labour. Without that it can be neither art nor a science. And that, we feel, must be the determining factor in this class of case". This dictum as to the "essence of agriculture" in relation to "forestry" is sufficiently explicit.

The learned Judges here did not insist that tillage or opening up of the soil was the sine qua non of agricultural operations in this class of cases. All that they emphasised was the application of human skill and labour, of course, in the produce of the soil. At another place, however, in the judgment, the Judges underlined the word "tilled" as bringing out the distinction which they sought to draw between agricultural and non-agricultural purposes. This, however, they did with reference to a passage occurring in a decision of the Federal Court in Meghraj v. Alla Rakhia. The passage in question refers to the meaning of the terms "agricultural land" occurring in a local Act which indeed could not be a satisfactory criterion for interpreting the words in the income-tax law.

In any case, even the Punjab Chief Court, when dealing with the terms as used in the Punjab Act of 1905, held that it had been used in its widest sense to denote all land which is tilled, including land used as tea garden. The above remark was, however, followed by another observation of the learned Judges, wherein, after a reference to various cases, they proceeded to observe thus :-

"This resume will show that so far as forests are concerned the definition we have adopted making actual cultivation with the aid of human skill and labour the dividing the reconciles, as far as we can see, the various cases which have been cited on the matter of forests".

This passage has been particularly relied upon by Mr. Iyengar for the Department. If actual cultivation is synonymous with the word "tillage" then, of course, it supports the contention of the learned counsel. But in the earlier part of the judgment, as I have shown, the learned Judges merely emphasised on "human skill and labour" and not actual cultivation with reference to forestry. If there is actual cultivation or tilling of the soil, then the process is undoubtedly agriculture, whether with reference to forests or to any other class of land. It is then unnecessary to talk of employment of any other kind of human skill and labour.

But the learned Judges themselves in a later part of the judgment have explained what they meant by the term "actual cultivation". They observed with reference to the facts in one of the cases, that the assessee had not proved -

"that the forest was cultivated by him in the sense that its produce was due to the skill and labour which he expended on its as opposed to produce which would come in any way from natural causes despite inaction on his part".

So the word "cultivated" had been used in this sense by the learned Judges, namely, in the sense of expenditure of skill and labour on the produce, in contradistinction to natural causes without any activity on the part of the assessee.

This reading of the decision is further confirmed by another very pertinent dictum in the judgment which may be this stated :-

"Whatever else may be necessary, it is essential that the income should be derived from some activity which necessitates the employment of human skill and labour and which is not merely a product of mans neglect or inaction except for the gathering in of the spoils. Not only must be labour to reap the harvest - that of course he must do, else there could be no income - but he must also labour to produce it".

This evidently brings us back to the test which the learned Judges had originally laid down and which, in my opinion, is the main and essential test. In dealing with the facts found in the individual cases, the learned Judges have emphasised the same aspect of the case. I have already quoted what they meant by the word "cultivation" with reference to one of the cases. In another case, they similarly found that nothing had been done "in the nature of preparing land for the growth of the trees therein", while yet in a third case they pointed out that "Active human agency in tilling the soil was not employed nor any process which is commonly understood as an agricultural process was used in the production of the forest trees which grow spontaneously and which were sold from time to time to clear off the overgrowth".

This last quotation quite clearly shows that "tillage" was not the only test but that there could be any other process which is commonly understood as an agricultural process in the production of the forest trees. Judged in this light, the decision is quite consistent with the principles which I have indicated above.

The above discussions disclose some conflict of views only on the negative aspect of the cases with which they dealt; but the decisions were apparently all agreed on the positive side, namely, that where the forest is of wild, spontaneous growth and there is no intervention of human agency, the income from the forest is not agricultural income, because there is neither any agricultural activity not the land on which the trees stand is used for agricultural purposes.

In this background, I shall now turn to consider the Privy Council decision in Mustafa Ali Khan v. Commissioner of Income-tax. There also the question related to income derived from the sale of trees described as forest trees "growing on land naturally" and without the intervention of human agency. There was nothing to show that the assessee was carrying on any regular operations in forestry and that the jungle from which the trees had been cut and sold was of spontaneous growth.

Their Lordships pointed out that whether exemption is sought under Section 2(1) (a) or under Section 2(1)(b) of the Income-tax Act, the primary condition which must be satisfied is that the land is used for agricultural purposes; the expression "such land" in clause (b) refers back to the land mentioned in clause (a) and must have the same quality. The case of the assessee would fail if he does not prove that the land is used for agricultural purposes. It is only on this point that their Lordships agreed with the decision to which I have referred earlier. they, however, left the question open, "the vexed question", as pointed out by Page, J., namely, "whether land can be said to be used for agricultural purposes within the section if it has been planted with trees and cultivated in the regular course of arboriculture".

The question did not really arise for the purposes of that case in view of the findings stated above. It was quite clear on those findings that there was neither any agricultural operation nor any agricultural purpose involved in selling timber from a forest of spontaneous growth without any human intervention. But their Lordships made a very significant observation as to the essential test in determining the meaning of the word "agriculture". It is better to quote the dictum to extenso as it has provided the text for subsequent judicial pronouncements. It runs thus :-

"It is sufficient for the purpose of the present appeal to say (1) that in their opinion, no assistance is to be got from the meaning ascribed to the word agriculture in other statues and (2) that, though it must always be difficult to draw the line, yet, unless there is some measure of cultivation of the land, some expenditure of skill and labour upon it, it cannot be said to be used for agricultural purposes within the meaning of the Income-tax Act".

The contention of Mr. Iyengar is that the expression "some expenditure of skill and labour upon it" is used merely in further clarification of the expression "cultivation of the land" and, therefore, all that their Lordships held was that cultivation of the land was necessary. I do not concede that the word "cultivation" is necessarily synonymous with ploughing or tillage. But even if it were, I am unable to accept the argument for the simple reason that if precision is the hallmark of Privy Council decisions, as I think it is, then their Lordships would have stopped short with the phrase "some measure of cultivation of the land". This, in itself, was quite expressive and no further expressions were needed to clarify the matter. Therefore, when they proceeded to add after a comma, the phrase "some expenditure of skill and labour upon it", they evidently intended to signify something more than mere cultivation. There is, of course, no conjunctive phrase between the two expressions, but in the context the meaning seems to be plain.

Their Lordships intended to convey that there may be some measure of cultivation of the land or some expenditure of skill and labour upon it in the shape of some form of agricultural process or activity. It is in this sense that the above passage in the judgment has been understood in some of the later decisions which followed in the wake of this judgment. Some of the earlier decisions also, in particular, the decision of the Madras High Court in Pithapurams case fortify the same inference.

At the outset is the decision of the Calcutta High Court in Commissioner of Agricultural Income-tax, West Bengal v. Raja Jagadish Chandra Deo Dhabal Deb, where it was held that in order to bring a particular income within either clause (a) or (b) of Section 2(1) of the Bengal Agricultural Income-tax Act, 1944 [which is substantially the same as Section 2(a) (1) and (2) of the Assam Agricultural Income-tax Act, 1939], it is not that there must always be "some measure of cultivation of the land" and "some expenditure of skill and labour upon it". Proof of either would be sufficient to bring the case with any one of the clauses. "Regular operations in forestry" do require expenditure of skill and labour upon the land on which the forest grows.

It was further pointed out that although sal trees growing in the assessees forest were not planted by him and there was no cultivation of the land, yet, as he carried on "regular operations in forestry", income from the sale of such trees was agricultural income within the meaning of the Agricultural Income-tax Act. They held that "the view that tilling of the soil was the sine qua non for bringing within the term agriculture, has also been exploded". If there is actual tilling of the soil for production it is the unquestionable result of human pursuit.

In the case in question, the different processes adopted by the assessee on the findings could be summarised in the following terms; (1) parcelling out the total area of 14,000 acres of land into about 100 acres each, the trees on each parcel being sold when they were about 15 years old; (2) to prevent damage to the new shoots in the early stages of their growth and to give new vigour to the new shoots and saplings, the ground was kept free from undergrowth of jungle and by removal of leaves; (3) during the early stages of the growth at least for one year from the time when the block in question was cut down, thus keeping out both men and cattle from the lands, so that they might not damage the growing shoots by trampling or browsing; and (4) final cutting near about the 15th year when the trees were sufficiently matured for the purpose, the season and date being fixed appropriately.

The application of human efforts according to the exigencies of this particular case was undoubtedly different from what would appear in Moolji Sickas case or some of the other cases, but it was held that there could be no doubt that the assessee was carrying out regular operations in forestry tantamounting to tending of the trees in the forests. The utilisation of land for regular operations in forestry was essentially an agricultural operation in the wider sense of the terms, and in those circumstances it was held that although there may not have been any actual cultivation of the soil and the trees may have originally grown naturally and spontaneously, yet the regular activities carried on by the assessee with a view of promote and develop the growth of the trees and the preservation thereof, was substantially an agricultural operation. I am conscious of the fact that there has been some suggestion to doubt the correctness of this decision; but, in my opinion, the principles laid down therein have not been questioned, and as I shall presently show, have been, in fact, affirmed by the subsequent decisions.

Even on facts, I am unable to see how this case can be said to have been incorrectly decided. Mr. Iyengars contention is that this decision of the Calcutta High Court was given on a reference arising under the Agricultural Income-tax Act and not under the Income-tax Act. This can be hardly and sensible distinction of the case, because, as I have already shown, the definitions in the two Acts are not only in pari materia but substantially identical.

The next case in chronological order is the decision of the Madras High Court in Commissioner of Income-tax v. Sundara Mudaliar. Here the reference was under the Income-tax Act. The dispute related to income derived from casuarina plantations, and the question was whether it was agricultural income within the meaning of the Agricultural Income-tax Act. The wood of casuarina trees is used mostly either for fuel or for building purposes. It was not disputed that in order to raise casuarina plantations it is necessary to prepare the soil, raise seedings, cultivate the land and plant them. After the plantation, the plants require watering for periods ranging from 3 to 5 years according to the nature and quality of the soil. Even after the expiry of the period of 3 or 5 years, the trees, in order to facilitate their growth, require pruning. The trees are usually cut 8 or 10 years after they are transplanted. It was, therefore, undoubted on those facts that the process involved both tillage of the solid and the employment of labour and skill to grow the plantation. So, in any view of the matter, the process was agricultural process. The trees, when cut and sold, were meant merely for purposes of timber and fuel.

The learned Judges pointed out that it was common knowledge that other commercial crops, such as tobacco, hemp, cotton and so on are grown on the land and though such crops have no food value, nobody could suggest that the purpose to which the land in which such crops are raised is not "agricultural purpose". If there is actual tilling of the soil either by plough or by spade or by expending human energy, and plantation is raised, there is no reason for not considering it as agriculture.

Satyanarayana Rao, J., appears to have followed and approved of the above decision of the Calcutta High Court in the case of Raja Jagadish Chandra Deo. The learned Judge also quoted with approval the dictum of Spencer, J., and Ramesam, J., in Pavadai Pathan v. Ramasami Chetti. The other learned Judge Viswanatha Sastri, J., however, appears to have doubted the correctness of the Calcutta judgment, though, on principle, he also agrees that the word "agriculture" in the Income-tax Act was used in a wide sense so as to denote the raising of useful and valuable products which derive nutriment from the soil with the aid of human skill and labour.

In dealing with the case of Mustafa Ali Khan the learned Judge thought that the observations of the Privy Council in regard to arboriculture were made ex abundanti cautela and did not imply that the Board treated arboriculture, horticulture and sylviculture as standing on a different footing from agriculture for purposes of the Income-tax Act. Although the learned Judge put a wide interpretation upon the term "agriculture" yet he thought that the above decision of the Calcutta High Court with reference to income derived from sal trees growing spontaneously in forests, and not planted by man, was an undue extension of the principle laid down by the Judicial Committee in Raja Mustafa Ali Khans case. In the case of casuarina plants, as I have shown, cultivation was necessary, and there was evidence of cultivation of the land and planting of the trees. But if the term "agriculture" had reference not merely to cultivation of the land and plantation of the seeds or saplings, but also to other human efforts with a view to aiding the growth of the produce deriving nutriment or sustenance from the soil with such labour and skill, then I do not see why logically such operations even in regard to trees of spontaneous growth cannot be regarded as agricultural operation.

The decision, although giving a wide meaning to the term "agriculture" impliedly seems to favour the suggestion that the agricultural process must include both "some measure of cultivation" as also "some expenditure of human skill and labour" and not either of the two. I have already said that the presence of either of the two elements is sufficient to constitute agricultural process, and with great respect, I am unable to agree with the doubt expressed by the learned Judge.

The observation of the learned Judge also implies that in the case of forests of spontaneous growth, there could be no agricultural operation at all. Frankly speaking, I do not see why it cannot be so. Can there be no utilisation of human skill and labour to aid the growth of such trees or saplings which germinate spontaneously so as to make the land on which they stand yield its utmost succour and nourishment to them and make them grow to their full girth and height Processes of that kind cannot be discounted and, in fact, have been found to exist in various cases. Viswanatha Sastri, J., agreed to the answers proposed to the relevant questions by the other learned Judge. It is, therefore, obvious that his doubts regarding the soundness of the Calcutta decision in Raja Jagadish Chandra Deos case are largely out of the way.

In Jyotirindra Narayan v. State of Assam a Division Bench of this Court, to which I have already referred earlier, the judgment thereof being delivered by my brother Ram Labhaya, the same view prevailed. The decision refer to the very same point which is involved in the present proceedings and to which the petitioners were parties. It was admitted in the case that the sal forests in question had to be nursed, preserved and developed at considerable expenses, and the sales were periodically effected. In other words, there was an exploitation of the forest in conformity with schemes to guard against the forest disappearing altogether. It was moreover found that the forest trees as they exist were the result of operations in forestry that were undertaken for their growth and regeneration. On those facts, it was held that the operations were agricultural operations and the income derived from the sale of the forest feel within the purview of the agricultural income-tax law. It was pointed out that the one feature which was essentially common to all the definitions of the term "agriculture" was the application of human skill and labour without which there could be no agriculture.

I may add that it goes without saying that this application of human skill and labour must be with reference to the land and the produce standing thereon, which is utilised for agricultural purposes. It is true that the learned counsel for the assessee stated in that case that if the precepts from the sale of forest trees were treated as income, as distinct from capital receipts, they would be covered by the expression "Agricultural income".

But my learned brother there examined the various relevant authorities and held that regular operations in forestry which were to be noticed in these forests necessarily involved expenditure of skill and labour. The forest trees were protected and fostered in growth by the application of human labour and skill. The forests had to be carefully looked after. Noxious creepers which kill sal trees had to be cut and destroyed. The undergrowth which hinder the proper growth of plants had got to be destroyed every year, and that various other steps had to be taken for their conservation.

On these facts, it was held that the operations were agricultural operations though there may have been no cultivation of the land in the sense of tilling or ploughing of the soil or sowing and planting of seeds or saplings. I have found nothing in the able and elaborate arguments of Mr. Iyengar to detract from the soundness of this judgment. It is also in line with the view of the Calcutta High Court in Jagadish Chandra Deos case.

The learned counsel for the Department has, however, drawn our attention to a recent decision of the Allahabad High Court in Pratap Singh Balbeer Singh v. Commissioner of Income-tax. A similar question arose there. The Tribunal had, in submitting the statement of the case, tacitly accepted the assessees claim that though the trees were originally of spontaneous growth, the applicant had applied human labour and skill for the regeneration and preservation of the trees growing on the land. There was, however, no evidence that there had been every any cultivation of the soil on which the trees stood or that human labour and skill had been expended toward the planting or growing of the trees and according to the finding, it appears that the utilisation of human skill and labour lay in pruning and weeding, besides the protection of the trees. It was held that these processes, by themselves, do not constitute "agriculture" or regular operation in "forestry".

Their Lordships appear to have thought that the operation must be on the soil of the land itself; human skill and labour should be used for the purpose of ploughing the soil, manuring it, planting the trees or some similar process in order to constitute "agriculture". As they say, mere weeding, care and preservation of the trees which grow spontaneously are not operations on the soil of the land which are necessary to constitute the process a process of agriculture. They naturally fell back in support upon the earlier decision of there own Court in Benoy Rata Banerji v. Commissioner of Income-tax, C. P. & Berar. It is, however, significant to note their observation with reference to the judgment of the Privy Council in the aforesaid case of Raja Mustafa Ali Khan and, in particular, their interpretation of the relevant passage discussed by me earlier. They observed : "It is quite clear that their Lordships were of the view that for, income to be agricultural income, the essential element that must exist is that there should be some measure of cultivation of the land or some expenditure of sill and labour upon it." The use of the word "or" very clearly indicates that if either of the two factors is present, it is enough to constitute "agriculture".

I agree that the expenditure of human skill and labour must be upon the land, but the tree growing on the land is also a part of it and if the expenditure of skill and labour aids the growth and development of the trees, though of spontaneous origin, I do not see why the process involved therein should not fulfill the test laid down by their Lordships. It is also important to notice that the learned Judges there did not question the correctness of the Calcutta decision in Jagadish Chandra Deos case, or the correctness of the decision of this Court in Jyotirindra Narayan Sinha Chaudhuris case. These cases were distinguished merely on the facts.

With reference to the decision of this Court their Lordships observed that the case proceeded on the finding that the forest trees as they existed at the time when the question of assessment of the income from those trees arose, were the result of operations in forestry that were undertaken for their growth and regeneration, and were not the original trees of spontaneous growth, and that it was an admitted fact that the forest trees had to be protected and fostered in growth by the application of human labour and skill, and that regular operations were being under taken for their growth, preservation and regeneration.

The decision, therefore, in my opinion, does not help the learned counsel. It is a decision on its own facts. So far as the principle if concerned, it does take the view that agricultural process may not consist merely in tillage or cultivation of the soil, but may take different other shapes.

After we had heard arguments and reserved judgment in the case, the Advocate-General, Mr. Lahiri, who represented the assessee before us, intimated that there had been a recent decision of the Calcutta High Court also on the point and that we should defer judgment until we had considered the case. Copies of this judgment, which was delivered on 27th May, 1953, in Raja Benoy Kumar v. Commissioner of Income-tax, West Bengal, were produced before us, and we heard the parties again in the matter. The question arose on a reference under Section 66 (1) of the Income-tax Act.

The facts showed that the forest was of spontaneous growth - not a forest grown by the aid of human skill and labour - and that it had been in existence for about 150 years. The area was occasionally parcelled out for the purposes of sale, but the trees sold were so cut as to leave stumps of about 6 inches in height, from which fresh off-shoots came out growing into big trees in course of time, and when the trees were cut down from a particular section of the forest, the area was guarded by forest guards in order to protect the off-shoots. Thus a considerable amount of human skill and labour was being employed year after year to keep the forest alive, as also for reviving the portions that got denuded as a result of destruction by cattle and other causes. The operations performed by the staff maintained by the assessee were pruning, weeding, feeling, clearing, cutting of channels to other destructive elements, and sowing seeds after digging up the soil in denuded areas. Some of the contentions which have now been raised before us on behalf of the department were also raised before that Court, but the learned Judges repelled those contentions.

Chakravartti, C.J., who delivered the judgment, emphatically observed that the cultivation or tillage was not the only form of agricultural process but that there could be many different forms of it. It is better to reproduce the language of the learned Chief Justice himself :-

"I do not think that when the Privy Council said that there must be some measure of cultivation on the land, some expenditure of skill and labour upon it, their Lordships intended to say that the expenditure of skill and labour must always be in the form of cultivation. The word or introduced by the Allahabad High Court between the two phrases does not occur in the original, but I think it is implied. The idea, it seems to me, is that if the land has been left to the forces of nature to grow what products such forces could there is no agriculture, and that there can be agriculture only if the labour and skill of man has operated on the land to cause or aid the growth of certain products. All that is necessary is that the land should be actively exploited with a view to procuring growths or better growths from the soil, but it does not seem to be also necessary that the exploitation should be by tillage".

This decision, therefore, on principle, reiterates the same view which was taken in the earlier case of Jagadish Chandra Deo though it seems to doubt the correctness of the decision on the facts. So fact as the case before them was concerned the held that the operations founds to exist in the case amounted to agricultural operations. They were necessary for the maintenance did keep up of a forest of which growth and if such a forest be subject to operations of frostier, which involve agriculture, then the fact that originally the trees had grown spontaneously would not prevent the income from being agriculture income. They held that the operation of weeding, cutting of channels to help the flow of rain-water and showing of seeds after digging up the soil of denuded area, was agriculture operation. The process of weeding, it as held, was an operation carried out on the land in order to free the soil of its burden and make it a better feeder of the trees or plants preserved or grown. This case supports my own viewpoint and the principles stated by me.

The Tribunal, as also the learned counsel for the Department, have laid stores upon the word "raised" occurring in some of the clauses of the definition section of "agriculture" in the income-tax law. In my opinion, the word carries no other significance except with reference to the growth and development of the produce for the land by artificial operation thorough human agency. Such operations can be equally turn of trees standing on the land, and if the growth of the trees has been aided by such operation, which, in effect, amount to sending the tress and nursing them on the soils, the word "raised" can with equal force be applied to such cases.

I am more concerned with the principle then with the application thereof. It may be that in a particular case the principle may have been misapplied; but so long as it is clearly understood that the term "agriculture" as used in the income-tax law is not confined merely to titling the earth, or plaguing of the soil, but is a term of much wider amplitude and comprehends all the various processes under which human man skill and labour is harnessed to the raising of the produce growing on the island, whether germination spontaneously and broadcast or by regular plantation, titling and sowing, it makes no difference whether on the facts of a particular case, certain Judges have or have not correctly applied those principles.

The facts found in the in the present cases which I have stated above show that regular operations in "forestry" are being carried on by the assessees. There is, of course, no tilling of the soil or planting of seeds or saplings which germinates spontaneously, but the other processes are conducive to the growth and development of the trees with a view to make them better marketable commodities. The division of the lands into blocks with a view to give better attention to the tress in each block, the cutting of the creepers and climbers which retard the growth of the young saplings, the destruction of old, dried and diseased tress which unnecessarily consume the sap from the land to the detriment of healthier ones, the prohibition of grazing during special periods for the protection of the off-shoots and the permission to allow grazing of the graces and wides to give better feed to the tress - to mention only some of the processes - are all, in my opinion, calculated to nurse and foster the trees. That these operations ar undertake by the assessee in respect of forests in questions is neither challenged in the statement of case nor disputed in arguments before us, and we have no reason to question the correctness of these facts. They involve in assignees expenditure of human skill and labour on the land itself to rear the tress in these forests. As such, the operations are, in my opinion, "agricultural operations" and the land on which the forts stand is being used for "agricultural prepossess". The only concluding, therefore, which inevitably follow from the above discussing it that the income so earned by the assessee is agricultural income under the Income-tax Act and is entitled to exemption on that account. The answer to the question submitted to us must, therefore, be in the affirmative.

I do not propose to number this judgment with a long discussion to two other subsidiary points which Mr. Iyengar has urged. The point that "forest" is placed under a separate hear as distinguished from "agriculture" in the Lists of the Constitution and, as such, they ar entirely distinct subjects having nothing to do with each, other, has been answered more that once in previous decisions. The division of subjects in the Legislative lists, though independent in one sense, is not always scientific and the subject arranged under different heads have been very often found to overlap. The fact that the State Legislature has been given the power to legislate on "tax on agriculture" brings us back to the problem as to what the term "agriculture" denotes. Therefore, not much light can be thrown on the solution of the question by a reference to the arrangement in the Legislative Lists.

The other point about the competency of the application in one of the cases is equally without substance. All the cases have been disposed of by one judgment of the Appellate Tribunal covering all the different erodes of assessment, and there is one consolidated reference before us. Therefore, the answer given by us will naturally govern all the cases in respect of the periods in question. The cases relied upon by the learned council are clearly distinguishable and a technically of this kind cannot be allowed to prevail when there is no substantial violation of the statute or rules farmed thereunder.

RAM LABHAYA, J. - This consolidated reference arises from one appellate order of the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal (hereinafter called "the Tribunal") dated 2nd November, 1050. Only one question of law common to all the cases has arisen out of the aforesaid order. The question is as follows :-

Whether on the facts and in the circumstances of this case, the receptor from the sales of sal tress can be said to be agricultural income under Section 2(1) and exempt from taxation under Section 4(3) (vii) of the Income-tax Ac ?"

The facts bearing on the question, as contained in the statement of the case are as follows : applicants Nos. (1) to (3) are some of the co-shares of the zamindari known as Mechpara Estate. Applicant No. (4) is a cashier in the zamindari known as Mechpara Estate. Applicant Nos. (5) to (7) and (8) are co-sharers in both the Mechpara and Parbatjoar Estate. The two estates are in the Goalpara District in the State of Assam. They are assessed to land revenue.

These estates have vast areas under forests, considerable portions of which are covered mainly by sal tress. The gross receipts from the sale of sal tress were roughly stated at Rs. 1,70,000 in the case of Mechpara Estate and Rs. 3,32,414 in the case of the Parbatjoar Estate.

Forest establishments ares maintained in the both the estates. The annual cost incurred by the Mechpara Estate is Rs. 15,000 while the cost of the Parbatjoar Estate comes to about Rs. 14,000.

The Tribunal stated that it was admitted by the assessees that the trees in the forest were of spontaneous growth. The representative of the assesses explained that what was meant was spontaneous germination, not growth. There was admittedly no plantation sowing, nor was any human agency employed for the purpose of tilling the soil. It was further found that "from all that was done to the trees, it was clear that the tress sold were those standing for a considerable number of years during which the soil had remained untouched. In the production of the income, the applicant made no contribution by way of cultivation."

The Tribunal further pointed out that the case of the assessees was that there had been employment of human skill and labour in the forest. It was asserted that apart from the fact of the maintenance of a forest establishment, human skill and labour had been employed for the maintenance, preservation, nursing, improving and rearing of the forts, so that the quality and the general condition of the forest might be improved. The Tribunal held that whatever the assessees had done with regard to the maintenance and improvement of forests, their activity was not agricultural in character.

It would appear that the statement of the assessees as to the manner of the employment of human labour and skills is not disputed.

In would appear that the statement of the assessee as to the manner of the employment of human labour and skill is not disputed.

In a petition dated 22nd June, 1951, put in by the applicant in answer to the draft statement of the case a detailed description of the operations carried on in the forest was given. These operations were said to include -

(a) reservation of blocks of forest commonly known as jhars and their operation in these blocks by rotation l(cyclic order);

(b) marking of trees fit for felling;

(c) creeper and climber cutting;

(d) thinking and removal of diseased and unsound trees;

(e) clearing of jungles and undergrowth;

(f) allowing grazing from Kartik to Chaitra;

(g) burning of undergrowths in March-April (which clears the jungles and fertilizes the soil);

(h) protection from fire - maintenance of fire lines;

(i) closer of all forests to men and cattle during rainy season Basic to Aswin; and

(j) preservation of mother tress.

The actual cost with reference to each activity could not be found from the books of the assessees. The total cost for all the operation incurred in each estate has been stated above.

In regard to the contention of the assessees that operations carried on by them constituted agriculture in the wider sense of the expression and that the land for which the income in question was derived was used for agricultural purpose, the Tribunal came to the concluding that the wood "agriculture" in Section 2(1) of the Indian Income-tax Act should be interpreted in its narrower sense so as to include within its ambit only cases where plantation or sowing was done or where human skill and labour we employed in the actual cultivation of the soil and decided that only one question arose from its order and has reefed that question to this Court for its answer.

The applicants had relied on a Division Bench decision of this Court in Jyotirindra Narayan v. State of Assam. An attested copy of the judgment was produced before the Tribunal at the appellate stage. The decision was on a reference under the Assam Agricultural Income-tax Act. The question related to income received from the sale of sal trees in both the estates. It was found that the receipts constituted income as distinguished from capital and were covered by the expression "agricultural income" as used in the Assam Agricultural Income-tax Act.

The Tribunal declined to follow that decision on the ground that the controversy in that case manly centered round the question as to whether the receipts from the sale of sal threes were capital or revenue. When the receipts were held to be covered by the expression "revenue" it was profitable for the assessees to agree to being taxed under the Agricultural Income-tax Act of the State rather than under the Indian Income-tax Act and they did not seriously contend on that income was not agricultural. In the essence of any real contest on that point the Tribunal declined to place "too much importance on the judgment of this Court".

The judgment in Jyotirindra Narayan v. State of Assam disposed of 9 references (Nos. 1 to 9 of 1949). Of these applicant in the first 6 references were co-sharers in Parbatjoar or Mechpara Estate or in both. Five out to six reference related to 3 years so assessment, i.e., 1946-47, 1947-48 and 1948-49. Reference No. 1 covered by the present reference also deal with the same 3 years of assessment, viz., 1946-47, 1947-48 and 1948-49, though not in each case.

The consolation arrived at in Jyotirindra Narayan v. State of Assam was based on facts which have been incorporated in the present consolidated statement of the case. The decision has no distinguishing features. No attempt has been made by the Tribunal or by Mr. Iyengar to distinguish it on facts. The soundness of the decision on the facts on which it is based is however challenged.

Mr. Iyengar has very a by supported the view that the Tribunal decided to take. His argument, stated briefly, was that the expression "agriculture" in Section 2(1) of the Income-tax Act, though left undefined, has been used in its narrow sense in which it involves as its essential feature the cultivation of the soil. Without cultivation of the soil, there could be no agriculture in his view. From the trend of his argument, it appeared that he was using the word "cultivation" also in the limited sense of village or some other similar treatment of the soil. He urged that his view was supported by the test laid down by their Lordships of the Privy Council in Raj Mustafa Ali Khan v. Commissioner of Income-tax and challenged as unsound the agreed interpretation put on this test by no less than five High Courts. For interpreting it in his own way he relied on Maharaja of Kapurthala v. Commissioner of Income-tax, Central and United Provinces and the decision of the Nagpur High Court reported in Beohar Singh Raghubir Singh v. Commissioner of Income-tax.

He also tried to drive support for his contention from the words "cultivation" and "produce raised" used in Section 2(1) (b) (ii) and (iii) as also in Rule 23 of the Income-tax Rules farmed under Section 59 of the Income-tax Act. Entries Nos. 14 and 19 in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution were also relied on for showing that "agriculture" would not include "forests" pr even "operations in forestry". His point was that the expression "agriculture" should be taken to have been used in its ordinary carried on to help regeneration and fresh growth of tress for making income.

Agricultural income for the purpose of the Income-tax Act must be rent or revenue derived from land which is used for agricultural purposes or income derived from such land by agriculture. The land must be assessed revenue or subject to a local rate. Both the clauses of Section 2(1) require that the land should be used for agricultural purposes. It has, therefore, to be found out when land can be said to be used for agricultural purpose. This takes us to the meaning of the word "agriculture". This controversy centers round the sense in which the expression "agriculture" is used in the Income-tax Act.

The word "agriculture" has not been defined. It should bear its ordinary meaning. So far there is no dispute. The question is what is its ordinary meaning. A reference to dictionaries and other standard works would be one way of ascertaining its ordinary meaning. Mr. Iyengar, however, is distrustful of these dictionaries. He has referred us to page 151, para. 2 of "Craies on Statute Law" where the proposition stated is that ordinary dictionaries are somewhat delusive guides in the construction of statutory terms.

But this is not all that Craies has to say on the subject. On the next page, he has clarified the position. It is conceded there that reference to better dictionaries does afford by definition or illustration some guide to the use of a terms in a statute. Observations of Lord Coleridge in R. v. Peters, are quoted in support of the proposition. These observations are as follows :-

"I am quite aware that dictionaries are not to be taken as authoritative exponents of the meanings of words used in Acts of Parliament, but it is a well-known rule of Courts of law that words should be taken to be used in their ordinary sense, and we are, therefore, sent for instruction to these books".

It may thus be stated that whenever there is a conflict of opinion as to the ordinary import of an expression used in a statute, standard dictionaries may form useful guides in ascertaining the meaning of such an expression. They may not be completely discarded.

The etymological meaning of the expression "agriculture" is no doubt limited. "Ager" means a field and "cultura" is cultivation Taken literally, it will have a very restricted meaning. It would simply cultivation of a field or an open space. Mr. Iyengar would like the word to be interpreted in this etymological sense. Dictionaries, however, give it a much wider meaning. The scope of the meaning in the efficient dictionaries does vary. But it may be said that no dictionary limits the meaning to its etymological sense.

The meaning assigned to "agriculture" in Websters Dictionary is "farming, horticulture, forestry, butters and cheese-making etc." Both farming and forty are included within the scope of the expression. Bouviers Law Dictionary defines it as "the cultivation of soils for food redacts or other useful or valuable growth of the field or garden, village, husbandry; also by extension, farming including any industry practiced by a cultivator of the soil in connection with such cultivation, breedings are rearing of livestock, dairying, etc., the science that treats of the cultivation of the soil".

This definition also includes farming and allied industries within the scope of expression "agriculture".

Oxford Dictionary also includes within its ambit the rearing of livestock, village, husbandry and farming in the wider sense. The dictionaries would incline one to interpret the expression "agriculture" in a wider sense which would not limit its connotation to mere cultivation.

Mr. Iyengar has contended with very great vigour that the key to the solution of the difficulty lies in the expression "agricultural income" itself. It has got intrinsic evidence pointing to the intention of the legislature. He has claimed that this intrinsic evidence has escaped the notice of all the Court which from time to time had the occasion to determine the significance and the import of the expression "agriculture" as used in Section 2(1) of the Income-tax Act. The originality of the contention is undeniable. The point is that both in clauses (ii) and (iii) of Section 2(1) (b) of the Act, the word "cultivator" and "the produce raised" are used. These words also occurred in Rule 23 of the Income-tax Rules farmed under Section 59 of the Act. He argues that the these words indicated that the legislature had the primary or the etymological meaning of the expression "agriculture" in mind.

These words, according to him, would control and groan the interpretation of the expression "agricultural purposes" used in Section 2(1) (a) and the expression "agriculture" used in Section 2(1) (b). The argument is fallacious. The expression relied on occurs in Section 2(1) (b) (ii) and (iii). These clause extend the conception of "agricultural income" to income even in the hands or a receiver of rent in kind. They cannot be utilised power whether it is derived from one entry or from more than one entry.

In some cases, however, it becomes important to determine under which entry the legislature derives its power to pass a particular Act, for example, when legislation under one entry is subject to certain restrictions from which it would be free if it came under another entry. This contingency arose in that case. The learned Judges held that the provisions of entry No. 36 in List II limited the extent of entry No. 18 in the same list and the meaning to be attached to the latter entry was held to be such as to exclude from its scope what was mentioned in the former. We are not concerned with these entries in the present case. Besides it may be said that entry No. 46 which deals with agricultural income limits the extent of the meaning of entry No. 19 relating to forests which appears in the same list. The word "agriculture" is entry No. 46 and in entry No. 14 ought not to have any different connotation. Whatever is within the scope of entry No. 46 should be outside the scope of the word "forest", for the expression "forest" has not been defined while "agricultural income" is defined. The definition therefore should have full scope and effect. Seen in this light the Allahabad decision is of no assistance to Mr. Iyengar.

In United Provinces v. Mt. Atiqa Begum relied on by Mr. Lahiri it was held by their Lordships of the Federal Court that :-

"None of the items in the lists (Lists II and III of Schedule VII of the Government of India Act, 1935) is to be read in a narrow or restricted sense. Each general word should be held to extend to all ancillary or subsidiary matters which can fairly and reasonably be said to be comprehended in it".

These observations will apply to the interpretation of matters enumerated in the three lists of Schedule VII of the Constitution of India. The decision would justify giving an extended meaning to the expression "agriculture".

In Meghraj v. Allah Rakhia also, their Lordships of the Federal Court observed that no reason had been suggested by counsel for the appellant why "agricultural land" in entry No. 21 of List II of Schedule VII should be limited to what was been described in the case as the narrower meaning of the expression.

On the same basis it may be urged with great force that there is no reason why a restricted meaning should be given to the expression "agriculture" and "agricultural purposes" in List II of the Constitution or in the definition given in the Income-tax Act. The expression "agricultural land" in List II of Schedule VII to the Constitution Act of 1935 was given a wide interpretation on the ground that Parliament could not have intended that the particular circumstances under which the cultivation was carried on or the nature of the produce raised on the land should determine the law which governs the nature of the land or the law that applies to it.

For reasons given above, I do not think there is any force in the contention that the effect of entry No. 19 is that forests of all description including forests or plantations where regular operations of forestry are carried on and where human labour and skill are employed on the solid with a view to promoting and fostering growth are excluded from the ambit of the expression "agriculture" or "agricultural purposes".

Mr. Iyengar has addressed us at great length on the distinctive character of the forests. He has referred us to the provisions of the Indian Forests Act and also to some passages from Bakers Principles of Sylviculture. He has also pointed out that we have separate arrangements for education in subjects pertaining to forests. The idea was to show that forests and forestry were distinct subjects and in their popular sense, they were quite different from "agriculture".

All this, however, is compatible with the expressions "agriculture" and "agricultural income" having been used both in the Constitution and in the Income-tax Act in a wider sense. Nature forests of spontaneous growth which have grown not by employment of human labour and skill but by inaction on mans part would not be included in the expression "agriculture", but such forests or plantations where trees at one time grew spontaneously but which are utilised for growing timber by means of operations of forestry would constitute land used for agricultural purposes. The Constituent Assembly and the legislature have not indicated that the expressions were being used in an extremely narrow or etymological sense which requires actual cultivation or tillage of open and enclosed spaces.

Agricultural income is exempt from taxation under the Income-tax Act. Any income that falls within the scope of the definition of "agricultural income" has been expressly exempted from taxation under Section 4 (3) (viii) of the Income-tax Act. It is a well recognized principles of the construction of statutes that where exemption from taxation is conferred by statute, the provision has to be interpreted liberally and in favour of the assessee, but without doing any violence to the language used.

Viswanatha Sastri, J., held in Commissioner of Income-tax v. Sundara Mudaliar that :-

"exemption from tax granted by a statute should be given full scope and amplitude and should not be whittled down by importing limitations not inserted by the legislature".

The same view prevailed in Commissioner of Agricultural Income-tax, West Bengal v. Raja Jagadish Chandra Deo Dhabal Deb where it has been held that the present day view (in England and in India) seems to be that where an exemption is conferred by statute, the clause has to be interpreted liberally in favour of the assessee but it must always be without any violence to the language used. A liberal interpretation of the provision thus is justified. There is no justification for reading into the definition what is not contained there and yet the whole point in the argument of Mr. Iyengar has been that the expression "agriculture" should be reduced in effect to "cultivation". If the legislature had so intended, it was extremely easy to use the word "cultivation" instead of "agriculture". If the expression was meant to be used in a restricted and narrow sense when it had acquired a wider meaning in English speaking countries, the legislature would have indicated the meaning meant to be given to it.

The object of the exemption also points to the conclusion that the expressions "agriculture" and "agricultural purpose" should carry a wider meaning. Exemption of agricultural income derived from land assessed to land revenue has been a constant feature of the law of income-tax from 1867 onwards. Before 1935 when the Central Legislature could levy a tax on agricultural income, the Income-tax Acts passed by the Central Legislature from time to time exempted from income-tax the agricultural income of lands assessed to land revenue. It seems that the legislature regarded as inequitable the burdening of that income again with liability to taxation under the Income-tax Act.

It is only income from land that is assessed to land revenue that can enjoy the exemption. The wider meaning given to agricultural purpose when land is assessed to land revenue would be in consonance with the intention and the object of the legislature. The etymological meaning of the expression "agriculture" has been considerably extended in common parlance.

"The element of human effort in the process of cultivation may vary from the art of mowing and ploughing to the art of spray-watering or pipetting of chemical solutions, not necessarily related to land or field. It may extend from the production or promotion or preservation of the giant lords of the forest to the raising or tending of the delicate mimosa. It would include horticulture, arboriculture and sylviculture" : (Vide the Income-tax Act, Vol. 2, by A. C. Sampath Iyengar at page 68). I think this statement of the position is in accord with the trend of recent authorities.

Some earlier decisions which go to support the view that the expression "agriculture" should be given a wider meaning may now be referred to. In Sarojini Devi v. Sri Krishna Patanjali Sastri, J., (as he then was) held, when interpreting the terms "agricultural land" occurring in Legislative List in Schedule II (Government of India Act, 1935), that in the context in which it had been used it must receive the widest meaning.

In Murugesa Chetti v. Chinnathambi Goundan it has held that a lease for raising a betel garden was a lease for agricultural purpose. Shepherd, J., held that the term "agriculture" was capable of being applied to tillage of the soil in the widest sense and after considering the context in which the expression "agricultural purposes" is used in the Transfer of Property Act (in Sections 37, 106 and 108), he could not say that it was intended to limit its denotation in any way.

In Pavadai Pathan v. Ramaswami Chetti it was held that the lease of land for growing casuarina trees was a lease for agricultural purpose within the meaning of Section 117 of the Transfer of Property Act. Spencer, J., expressed his view in the following terms :-

"In my opinion agriculture connotes the raising of useful or valuable products which derive nutriment from the soil with the aid of human skill and labour; and thus it will include horticulture, arboriculture and sylviculture in all cases where the growth of trees is effected by the expenditure of human care and attention in such operation as those of ploughing, sowing, planting, pruning, manuring, watering, protecting etc".

Ramesam, J., also was opposed to placing a narrower interpretation on the expression. He thought that "to give a narrower interpretation to the terms and confine it to the raising of products used as food for man and beast will exclude all cultivation of fibrous plants such as cotton, jute and linen and all plants used for dyeing purposes, such as indigo, etc., and all timber trees and following plants".

In Chandrasekhara Bharathi Swamigal v. Duraiswami Reilly, J., struck a dissentient note. He did not favour the idea of including in the definition of agriculture the planting of timber or firewood trees as they stand on the land for a considerable number of years. He thought that inclusion of such plantations in the terms "agriculture" was opposed to its very idea. But this case was under the Estates Land Act and the learned Judge was influenced to a very considerable extent by the provisions and the policy of the Act in holding that casuarina plantation was not an agricultural purpose and that a person who held the land for that purpose was not a ryot within the meaning of the Estate Land Act. In spite of this fact the correctness of the general observations has not gone unchallenged.

In Secretary to the Chief Commissioner of Income-tax, Madras v. Zamindar of Singampatti, it was observed that the word agriculture, which is sometimes used in the narrow sense of art or science of cultivating the ground, is also used in a much wider sense so as to include "forestry" according to Webster.

The decision of their Lordships of the Privy Council in Mustafa Ali Khan v. Commissioner of Income-tax marks a stage in the history of law on the point. Their Lordships had an occasion to lay down a test for finding out when land could be said to be used for agricultural purposes. The question before their Lordships was whether income from the sale of forest trees growing on land naturally and without the intervention of human agency, even if the land is assessed to land revenue, is "agricultural income" within the meaning of Section 2, sub-section (1) (a) or (b) of the Income-tax Act.

Their Lordships observed that it appeared from the form of the question that income was derived from the sale of trees described as forest trees growing on land naturally and the case had throughout proceeded on the footing that there was nothing to show that the assessee was carrying on any "regular operations in forestry" and that the jungle from which the trees had been cut and sold was of spontaneous growth. It was held that the primary condition which had to be satisfied was that the land in question was used for agricultural purposes. The was necessary for both the clauses (a) and (b) of sub-section (1) of Section 2.

The case of an assessee claiming exemption would fail if land was not utilised for agricultural purposes. On this point, their Lordships concurred with the views which had been expressed in the Chief Court of Oudh, in the High Court of Madras in Yuvarajah of Pithapuram v. Commissioner of Income-tax, in the High Court of Allahabad in Benoy Ratan Banerji v. Commissioner of Income-tax and elsewhere in India.

Mr. Iyengar has argued that the one case that their Lordships had in mind when they referred to the other High Courts was Beohar Singh Raghubir Singh v. Commissioner of Income-tax. It is noteworthy that these cases were referred to with approval on the first proposition that their Lordships laid down. This proposition was that the land for the purposes of clause (a) and (b) of sub-section (1) of Section 2 must be used for agricultural purposes. In some Indian decisions, it had been claimed that income derived from land assessed to revenue was meant to be exempted. Their Lordships laid it down in terms clear and emphatic that it was necessary that land should be used for agricultural purposes before exemption could be claimed under Section 2(1) (a) and (b). The question that remained was how to determine whether land was used for agricultural purposes.

Their Lordships observations are that :- "The question seems not yet to have been decided whether land can be said to be used for agricultural purposes within the section, if it has been planted with trees and cultivated in the regular course of arboriculture, and upon this question their Lordships express no opinion. It is sufficient for the purpose of the present appeal to say (1) that in their opinion no assistance is to be got from the meaning ascribed to the word "agriculture" in other statutes and (2) that, though it must always be difficult to draw the line, yet, unless there is some measure of cultivation of the land, some expenditure of skill and labour upon it, it cannot be said to be used for agricultural purposes within the meaning of the Income-tax Act".

Since the finding in the case was that the income had been derived from the sale of trees growing on land naturally and without the intervention of human agency, it was enough for the disposal of the case to hold that the land was not used for agricultural purposes inasmuch as there was no cultivation of the land; nor was there any expenditure of human skill and labour on it.

Whether the existence of these conditions would convert land which has been planted with trees and cultivated in the regular course of arboriculture into land used for agricultural purposes was not necessary for the decision of the case and was left open. A test however was laid down for finding out when land may be said to be used for agricultural purpose. The test requires that there must be some measure of cultivation of the land; some expenditure of skill and labour on it.

It has however to be borne in mind that their Lordships when stating the facts did point out that the case had proceeded on the footing that there was nothing to show that the assessee was carrying on any regular operations in forestry. This statement has an important bearing on the interpretation of the test. Such operations in forestry are carried on in forests. They involve the use of human labour and skill on the soil. They aim at stimulating growth and could easily satisfy the requirements of the test evolved by their Lordships. Due importance therefore has to be given to the absence of operations in forestry in Raja Mustafa Alis case when interpreting the test laid down therein.

In Commissioner of Agricultural Income-tax, West Bengal v. Raja Jagadish Chandra Deo Dhabal Deb the test laid down by their Lordships of the Privy Council in Mustafa Ali Khan v. Commissioner of Income-tax was interpreted in the following terms :-

"It is, therefore, incontrovertible that income from a virgin forest or forest of spontaneous growth is not agricultural income. The view that tilling of the soil was the since qua non for bringing within the term agriculture has also been exploded. If there is actual tilling of the soil for producing the product, it is the unquestionable result of agricultural pursuit".

On page 444 the learned Judges left no doubt as to what they meant to convey. They observed as follows :-

"Not that there must always be some measure of cultivation of the land and some expenditure of skill and labour upon it but that the proof of either would be sufficient to bring the case within either clause (a) or (b) of Section 2 (1) of the Act".

This was the view I took of the test in Jyotirindra Narayan v. State of Assam. The judgment was delivered by me. My view was that "some measure of cultivation of land" had been placed on a par with "some expenditure of skill and labour on it". If either of the two conditions existed, the land could be said to have been used for agricultural purposes. "Tillage or actual cultivation was not an essential pre-requisite of agriculture in its wider implication". The same interpretation was placed on the observations of their Lordships of the Privy Council in Commissioner of Income-tax v. Sundara Mudaliar a decision of Division Bench of the Madras High Court. Satyanarayana Rao, J., observed that the recent decision of the Privy Council in Raja Mustafa Ali Khan v. Commissioner of Income-tax had to some extent paved the way to evolve a clear definition of the expression. In his connection he referred to the interpretation placed on the test in Raja Jagadish Chandra Deos case with approval.

Viswanatha Sastri, J., observed on page 275 that "it has now been held by the Judicial committee that the word agriculture involves some measure of cultivation of the land or some expenditure of skill and labour upon it. The extent and intensity of the cultivation and the quantum of the effort and labour spent vary with varying soils and the plants or crops raised thereon, and no particular or fixed standard can be prescribed as applicable to all cases".

It is obvious that both the learned Judges fully agreed with the interpretation placed on the test (laid down by their Lordships of the Privy Council) in Commissioner of Agricultural Income-tax, West Bengal v. Raja Jagadish Chandra Deo Dhabal Deb.

In Pratap Singh Balbeer Singh v. Commissioner of Income-tax also the learned Judges placed exactly the same interpretation on the dictum of their Lordships of the Privy Council. They observed on page 10 as follows :-

"It is quite clear that their Lordships were of the view that, for income to be agricultural income, the essential element that must exist is that there should be some measure of cultivation of the land or some expenditure of skill and labour upon it."

In Mahendralal v. Commissioner of Income-tax, C. P. & Berar, Nagpur, Bose A. C.J., (as he then was) held that tilling or cultivation of the ground was only one aspect of agriculture. The other was the rearing and the management of the live-stock. Hidayatullah, J., disposed of the case on a difference of opinion between Bose, A. C.J., and Mudholkar, J., and held that in the test laid down by their Lordships of the Privy council the expenditure of skill and labour need not necessarily be in cultivation of the land. He emphasized that their Lordships had nowhere stated that expenditure of skill and labour upon the land must be in cultivation it.

In Raja Benoy Kumar v. Commissioner of Income-tax, West Bengal, a Division Bench decision of the Calcutta High Court, the learned Chief Justice, when interpreting the test formulated in Raja Mustafa Ali Khans case, held that all the was necessary was that land should be actually exploited with a view to procuring growths or better growths from the soil, but it does not seem to be also necessary that the exploitation should be by tillage, though it was emphasized that human skill and labour must be expended on the land itself and not merely on the growth from the land. The learned Chief Justice agreed with the view that tillage was not necessary to constitute agriculture. But this is the first case since the decision of Raja Mustafa Ali Khans case in which emphasis has been shifted in express terms from the employment of human labour and skill to its employment on the land as distinguished from its employment on the growths such as trees or plants growing on the land.

This is an improvement on the formula evolved in Raja Mustafa Ali Khans case. Their Lordships did state no doubt that the employment of human labour and skill has to be on the soil. This is natural. Operations in forestry are carried on in the forests and therefore they are on the soil, even though all processes which form part of these operations may not necessarily involve direct human contact with the soil. None the less the operations as a whole would be regarded as on the soil.

Their Lordships when laying down that the employment of human labour and skill has to be on the soil, did not have this aspect of the question in mind. The undisputed facts before them were that the jungle was of spontaneous growth. There was no intervention of human agency in any form. No operations in forestry even were being carried on. On these facts they held that the income from the sale of trees could not be agricultural. The essence of agriculture according to them was cultivation of the soil or employment of human labour or skill on it for obtaining the produce of the soil. How and in what manner labour and skill may be employed on the soil apart from cultivation or tillage was a question that did not arise as there were no operations of any kind being carried on in the forest in that case. The emphasis therefore was on raising the produce from the soil by human labour or skill. Its employment has to be on the soil, as the labour and skill have to be utilised for exploding the soil. The exploitation may take a large variety of forms.

It would be noticed that the learned Chief Justice when justifying the need for employment of human labour and skill on the land as distinguished from the growths on it, referred to the etymological meaning of the expression "agriculture". This would be giving the expression "agriculture" a very restricted meaning, which profound respect, I feel that the learned Chief Justice has read into the test more than what their Lordships meant to convey.

In all the cases decided after the decision in the case of Raja Mustafa Ali Khan the test laid down in that case has been uniformly interpreted to mean that it does not require tillage as an essential ingredient of agriculture. Mr. Iyengar considers this interpretation unsound. He urged that the meaning of their Lordships of the Privy Council was lost on the High Courts in India. All that their Lordships intended to lay down was that some measure of cultivation of land or some expenditure of skill and labour on its cultivation was essential in order that land could be said to be used for agricultural purposes. He relied in support of his contention or, Maharaja of Kapurthala v. Commissioner of Income-tax, Central and United Provinces, and Beohar Singh Raghubir Singh v. Commissioner of Income-tax in particular. Both these cases were decided before the decision of their Lordships of the Privy Council in Raja Mustafa Ali Khans case.

In the case of Maharaja of Kapurthala, the second question was whether the income from the sale of forest trees of spontaneous growth growing on land which is assessed to land revenue is agricultural income within the meaning of Section 2(1) (a) of the Income-tax Act. It is clear from the words in which the question is formulated that the receipts were from the sale of forest trees of spontaneous growth. The answer on the simple statement of facts was that income from the sale of trees was not agricultural. The question whether when trees were grown and cut by the owner of the land according to the strict botanical principles was agriculture or not, was left open.

The learned Judges made this clear in the following terms :-

"But it is not necessary for us to determine in this case whether, when trees are so grown (viz., according to strict botanical principles), the land is being used for agricultural purposes, because admittedly the trees under consideration were of spontaneous growth."

The assertion of the agent of the estate that there was "maintenance, preservation, nursing, improving and rearing of the forest and there was regular planning for the improvement of the quality and the general condition of the forest" was regarded as an exaggeration. The case in these circumstances is merely an authority for the proposition that income from trees growing spontaneously in a forest is not agricultural income.

Mr. Iyengar, however, has relied on observations of the learned Judges in the last paragraph of the judgment which are to the following effect :-

"But we do not feel any doubt that the expression land used for agricultural purposes in the Income-tax Act does not extend to forests of spontaneous growth, where nothing is done to prepare the soil for trees to be planted therein, and where the growth of the trees is not fostered by tillage. We should not be justified in giving the taxpayer the benefit of the dictionary definition when it is not disputed that the meaning of the term agricultural cannot be extended for the purpose of the Income-tax Act to all the secondary implications therein suggested. We, therefore, construe the term in its primary sense. We hold accordingly that income from the sale of forest trees of spontaneous growth growing on land which is assessed to land revenue is not agricultural income".

All that is held is that the primary sense of the expression would not include within its ambit trees of spontaneous growth growing on land assessed to land revenue. It is difficult to read into these words what Mr. Iyengar attributes to the learned Judges, viz., that in their view the expression "agriculture" was used in the Income-tax Act in the etymological sense necessarily implying actual cultivation or tillage of the land.

In view of the concessions made in the course of the argument by the counsel for the assessees it was held that the mere fact that an industry had some connection with or was in some way dependent on land was not sufficient to bring it within the scope of the expression "agriculture". This seems to be the limit they placed on the primary meaning of the term. They could not agree to extending it to all industries merely on the ground that they had some connection with or were in some way dependent on the land. The need for drawing the line was felt but no definite line of demarcation was drawn.

Their Lordships of the Privy Council with full awareness of difficulty of laying down a precise test did not hesitate to lay down a workable test. In interpreting the test no assistance can be derived from the case of Maharaja of Kapurthala. The decision must be taken to be limited to the facts of the case. But if it contains any observations which militate against the view taken by their Lordships of the Privy Council, to that extent its authority must be held to have been shaken by the decision of their Lordships of the Privy Council.

In Beohar Singh Raghubir Singh v. Commissioner of Income-tax a positive approach has been made to the question as to whether "forestry" is included within the expression "agriculture". It was held (vide paragraph 23) that whatever else may be necessary it was "essential that the income should be derived from some activity which necessitates the employment of human skill and labour and which is not merely a product of mans neglect or inaction except for the gathering in of the spoils. Not only must he labour to reap the harvest... but he must also labour to produce it." Agriculture was described as the art or science of cultivating the ground. It was held to include forestry as distinguished from forests.

The essence of agriculture, it was held, even when extended to include forestry, was the application of human skill and labour without that it could neither be an art or a science. What appears to have been emphasized in this case is that income must be derived from land by some activity which necessitates the employment of human skill and labour. Mr. Iyengar has relied on this case. He has referred to observations in paragraph 14 which are top the effect that :-

"So far as forests are concerned the definition we have adopted making actual cultivation with the aid of human skill and labour the dividing line, reconciles, as far as we can see, the various cases which have been cited on the matter of forests."

These observations conflict with subsequent pronouncements in Raja Mustafa Ali Khans case and to this extent they lose their value as precedent. Their effect is also whittled down by the remarks in paragraph 23 of the judgment.

Mr. Iyengar has also relied on the decision reported in Province of Bihar v. Maharaja Pratap Udai Nath. In this case one question was whether income derived by the assessee from trees was agricultural income. The assessee was taxed on income from Bankar and Phalkar. Income under the head Bankar was derived from virgin jungle land not actually cultivated. A few forest guards were employed to protect the property. Trees were found to have grown naturally in the jungle without the intervention of human agency and the growth of the trees could not be said to have been the result of cultivation of the soil. In fact, it was the absence of cultivation that permitted the area to develop into a jungle. Phalkar was income derived from wild jungle fruits and it could not be said that they grew by cultivation. On the facts of the case it was held that the item did not constitute agricultural income.

This case is merely an authority for the proposition that where the growth is entirely spontaneous and there is no employment of human labour and skill, the income cannot be agricultural. This proposition is undisputed, and the case is therefore of not much assistance for determining the point now in controversy. Mr. Iyengar has also pointed out that Rankin, J., in Emperor v. Probhat Chandra Barua, doubted whether the legislature wanted to include "forestry" in the expression "agriculture". He did not go into the matter fully nor did he give any considered decision. Apart from this expression of doubt and the observations of Reilly, J., there is no decision which lays down definitely anything contrary to the test evolved in Raja Mustafa Ali Khans case. The doubts of Rankin, J., and the observations of Reilly, J., have all lost their importance by reason of the test laid down by their Lordships of the Privy Council.

After the decision of their Lordships of the Privy Council the question whether if the trees were planted on the land and cultivated in the regular course of arboriculture, the land could be said to be used for agricultural purposes arose for decision in Commissioner of Income-tax v. Sundara Mudaliar.

The question referred was whether income derived from casuarina plantations is agricultural income within the meaning of Section 2(1) of the Income-tax Act. It was undisputed that in order to raise casuarina plantation it was necessary to prepare the soil, raise seedings, cultivate the land and plant them. The question was whether planting of such trees and their cultivation was an agricultural purpose. It was held that income derived from casuarina plantations was agricultural income.

Whether regular operation in forestry converts forest lands into land used for agricultural purposes is the next question.

Dealing with regular operations in forestry in Commissioner of Income-tax v. Sundara Mudaliar Satyanarayana Rao, J., observed as follows :-

"There were regular operations of forestry in the case and on an exhaustive review of the decision bearing on the point Mookerjee, J., with whom Das, J., agreed, laid down the test (in Commissioner of Agricultural Income-tax, West Bengal v. Raja Jagadish Chandra Deo Dhabal Deb) as follows :- It is, therefore, incontrovertible that income from a virgin forest or forest of spontaneous growth is not agricultural income. The view that tilling of the soil was the sine qua non for bringing within the term agriculture had also been exploded. If there is actual tilling of the soil for producing the product, it is the unquestionable result of agricultural pursuit."

Viswanatha Sastri, J., did not feel driven to the necessity of attributing to the Indian Legislature a precise adherence to the classical origin of an English word in common use throughout the word. In his opinion the word "agriculture" was used in Section 2(1) of the Income-tax Act in a wide sense so as to denote the raising of useful or valuable products which derive nutriment from the soil with the aid of human skill and labour. The expression according to him would include horticulture, which involves intensive cultivation of land as garden in the production of fruits, flowers or vegetables. It would also include growing of trees or plants whose growth is effected by the expenditure of human effort, skill and attention in such operations as those of ploughing, sowing planting, pruning, manuring, watering, protecting, etc. He held further that the word "agriculture" applies to the cultivation of the soil for food products or any other useful or valuable growth of the filed or garden and is wide enough to cover the rearing, feeding and management of livestock, which live on the land and draw their sustenance from the soil.

He did not think it legitimate to confine the word "agriculture" to the cultivation of an open filed with annual or periodical crops or other produce of the land like cotton, wheat, etc. His conclusion was that irrespective of the nature of the produce or product of the land, whatever is grown on land aided by human labour and effort, whatever does not grow wild or spontaneously on the soil without human labour or effort, would be an agricultural product and the process of producing it would be "agriculture" within the meaning of Section 2 of the Income-tax Act.

In Pratap Singh Balbeer Singh v. Commissioner of Income-tax also income was derived from the sale of forest tress. It was assumed in that case that the expression "agricultural purposes" would include forest where some operations on the soil were carried on, where skill and labour is used for the purpose of ploughing the soil, manuring it, plating the trees or some other similar processes. Mere weeding care and preservation of trees which grow spontaneously, however were not considered as agricultural operations on the soil. What amount of labour and skill must be employed for converting the land into land used for agricultural purposes is a question on which the decision does not lay down any definite rule of general application. The decision reported in Jyotirindra Narayan v. State of Assam was referred to with approval though it was distinguished on facts. Regular operations in forestry which were held to have been a usual feature of the forests in the Assam case were found to be processes which justified the finding that the land in the forest was being used for agricultural purposes.

In Mahendralal v. Commissioner of Income-tax G. P. and Berar, Nagpur the test laid down in Raja Mustafa Ali Khans case was applied to pasture land where the grass was growing spontaneously. No agricultural operation was being undertaken on the land for the growth of this grass. In the opinion of Hidayatullah, J., the expenditure of skill and labour on the land was in relation to the rearing of the cattle pastured upon it and this he thought would satisfy the test laid down by their Lordship of the Privy Council. Income derived from letting out of pasture meadows was regarded as agricultural income to the extent that it was derived from agricultural animals pastured on the land.

In Commissioner of Agricultural Income-tax, West Bengal v. Raja Jagadish Chandra Deo Dhabal Deb and Raja Benoy Kumar v. Commissioner of Income-tax, West Bengal income from the sale of forest trees was found to be agricultural by reason of the fact that employment of human labour and skill was involved in the operations that were being carried on in each case. In Jyotirindra Narayan v. State of Assam also the test formulated by their Lordships of the Privy Council was applied to forests which were originally of spontaneous growth. Such operations in forestry as were being carried on were found to involve employment of human labour and skill on the soil.

The foregoing review of decisions goes to show that the expression "agriculture" in Section 2(1) of the Income-tax Act was not used in its limited or narrow sense and an extended meaning was meant to be given to it. The test for finding out whether the land was used for agricultural purposes is whether income was derived from land by expenditure of human skill and labour on the soil. Actual cultivation or tillage would only be one form of employment of human labour. The test is applicable to forests which are planted : vide Commissioner of Income-tax v. Sundara Mudaliar. It is also applicable to forests of spontaneous growth where human labour and skill is employed on the soil for aiding, stimulating or fostering growth of trees.

My learned brother Deka, J., had observed that :-

"Their Lordships expressed nowhere the view that forest operations or regular operations in forestry would come within the scope of agriculture for the purpose of the Income-tax Act and this omission though tentatively seems to be given in the head note in Raja Mustafa Ali Khan v. Commissioner of Income-tax does not really arise from the text of the judgment."

What my learned brother appears to have meant is that the head note in Raja Mustafa Ali Khan v. Commissioner of Income-tax was misleading and their Lordships did not express the view that regular operations in forestry would convert forest into land used for agricultural purposes.

With great respect to my learned brother I feel that the basis of the Privy Council decision was that the forest was of spontaneous growth and there were no regular operations of forestry in it. The positive and the negative parts of the statement complete the picture. There was no trace of any employment of human agency in the case. A possible form which the employment of human labour and skill may take is compendiously described as regular operations in forestry. Absence of such operations was referred to as showing that human agency was not employed in any form or shape. Where human endeavour takes the form of regular operations in forestry on the soil, it cannot be said that there is no employment of human labour and skill. The absence of regular operations in forestry was therefore the foundation of the decision, and is a very relevant and important factor in cases where forests are of spontaneous growth and it is claimed that income derived from the sale of trees is agricultural income.

In all the cases relating to forests where trees grew spontaneously, decided after the decision by their Lordships of the Privy Council in Raja Mustafa Ali Khan v. Commissioner of Income-tax the test laid down there was applied and in some of them regular operations in forestry were found to satisfy the requirements of the test.

The next question is what form the employment of human labour and skill should take in forests originally of spontaneous growth in order that income derived from these forests may be regarded as agricultural. It is settled law that cultivation of the soil or tillage is not necessary Beyond this I feel that it is not possible to lay down a general rule which should cover all cases. The decision on the question whether human labour or skill had been employed on the soil for producing income must depend on the facts of each case.

Decided cases bearing on the point cannot all be reconciled. In Moolji Sicka and Co., In re, pruning of the tendu shrubs was held to be cultivation of the soil in the technical and the legal sense. Guarding of new shoots from being trampled under foot or being browsed by animals, the removing of under growth or fallen leaves by the villagers by permission accorded to them and removal of trees of certain description according to the plan were held regular operations in forestry and the utilisation of land for regular operations in forestry was held to be an agricultural purpose in the wider sense of term in Commissioner of Agricultural Income-tax, West Bengal v. Raja Jagadish Chandra Deo Dhabal Deb. There was admittedly no tilling of the soil or sowing of seeds or grafting or watering.

In Mahendralal v. Commissioner of Income-tax, C. P. and Berar, Nagpur, Hidayatullah, J., held that in the test laid down by their Lordships of the Privy Council, the expenditure of skill and labour need not necessarily be connected with the cultivation of land. He emphasised that their Lordships had nowhere stated that expenditure of skill and labour upon the land must be in cultivating it. He was of the view that if the product grows naturally and the agriculturist does nothing more than trim the place and put a thorn fencing, there was some expenditure of skill and labour upon the land. It was not necessary that the expenditure of labour and skill should be in the direction of cultivation.

The words "agricultural purposes" mean, according to him, something more than mere agriculture and cannot be taken to be an equivalent of cultivation though agriculture implies something which is achieved with the aid of human agency.

In Commissioner of Income-tax v. Sundara Mudaliar "agriculture" was held to connote the raising of useful or valuable products which derived nutriment from the soil with the aid of human skill and labour. It would include horticulture, arboriculture and sylviculture in all cases where the growth of trees is effected by the expenditure of human care and attention in such operations as those of ploughing, sowing, planting, pruning, manuring, watering, protecting etc.

In Beohar Singh Raghubir Singh v. Commissioner of Income-tax it was recognized that the essence of agriculture, even when it is extended to include "forestry", is the application of human skill and labour.

In Raja Benoy Kumar v. Commissioner of Income-tax, West Bengal weeding, cutting of channels for distribution rain water and occasional sowing of seeds coupled with other subsidiary arrangements were held sufficient for granting exemption from liability under the Act to income derived from sale of trees in the forest.

In Pratap Singh Balbeer Singh v. Commissioner of Income-tax it was conceded that such operations of forestry as were being carried on in the forests in Jyotirindra Narayan v. State of Assam were sufficient to convert forest into land used for agricultural purposes. Cultivation in the limited sense of ploughing or tillage was not insisted on.

In the light of these decisions it has to be seen whether there has been such employment of human labour or skill which would satisfy the requirement of the tests laid down in Raja Mustafa Ali Khans case. The interpretation most favourable to the taxing authorities is the one which prevailed with the learned Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court. Even if that interpretation is applied I have no manner of doubt that on the facts and in the circumstances brought out in the statement of the case the receipts from he sale of sal trees is agricultural income within the meaning of the definition of agricultural income given in Section 2 (1) of the Income-tax Act and they are exempt from taxation under Section 4 (3) (viii) of the Income-tax Act.

The facts on which the question referred to the Court is to be answered are contained in paragraph 5, 6 and 7 of the statement of the case. In paragraph 5 it is stated that the trees were admittedly of spontaneous growth. But the assessees explanation that spontaneous germination and not spontaneous growth was meant is made part of the statement of the case, though it is emphasized that the trees stood for a considerable number of years in the forests and during this period the soil remained untouched. The assessees case that there had been employment of human labour and skill with respect to these forests is also incorporated in the statement.

According to the assessees skill and labour were being employed for the maintenance, preservation, nursing, improving and rearing of the forest in order that the quality and the general condition of the forest might be improved. The processes to which recourse was being had in the forests are also detailed in paragraph 6 of the statement. The issue before the Appellate Tribunal was stated in paragraph 8 and it was whether agricultural income in Section 2 (1) of the Income-tax Act referred to agriculture in its wider sense, so as to include income derived from the forests.

The Tribunal answered this question on the basis that such operations in forestry on which the assessee relied were being carried on notwithstanding the absence of details as to expenditure in the account books. The question was what meaning the expression "agriculture" should bear. As stated in paragraph 9 of the statement of facts the answer was given in the following terms :-

"After considering all the facts and circumstances, the Tribunal were of the opinion that the word agriculture should not be taken in its wider sense, but should be interpreted in its narrower sense to cover within its ambit cases where planting or sowing is done or where some human skill and labour are employed in the actual cultivation of the soil".

The basis of the finding of the Tribunal was that there was no actual cultivation of the soil and in its absence mere operations in forestry on which the assessees were basing their contention were not enough to convert their receipts into agricultural income. It is on these facts that the question referred to this Court has to be answered. My learned brother Deka, J., has treated these forests as more or less of spontaneous growth. He was not impressed apparently by the processes employed by the assessees in these forests. He referred to the affidavit of the assessees to which reference has been made in the statement of facts and seemed to be of the opinion that the statements contained in the affidavit could not be taken as proved or as part of the statement. Having held that the receipts were from the sale of trees virtually of spontaneous growth without any intervention of human agency, he has answered the question in the negative.

I have given my reading of the statement of the facts. It seems to me that if the taxing authorities could find that receipts were from trees of spontaneous growth and that there was no employment of human labour and skill in these forests, no question of law would have arisen. The income then would not be agricultural, for it is concluded by authority that income from virgin or natural forest where trees grow spontaneously without any effort or aid from human agency in any manner is not agricultural income.

The view of the department is that actual cultivation of the soil is necessary for agriculture and it is for this reason that they have intentionally included in the statement of the facts of the case such operations in forestry on which the assessees relied. This is also indicated by the fact that the decision in Jyotirindra Narayan v. State of Assam was not distinguished on the ground that facts found as existing in that case have not been proved by the assessees in these cases. That decision was not followed as it was given in a case under the Assam Agricultural Income-tax Act to which the Income-tax Department was not a party. Its viewpoint was not before the Court and it was to the advantage of the assessee to get assessed under that Act. Without disputing the facts on which the decision in Jyotirindra Narayan v. State of Assam was based, therefore, the Tribunal has presented its view of the matter. It is also the view of the taxing authorities. Mr. Iyengar has therefore urged that the decisions in Jyotirindra Narayan v. State of Assam and Commissioner of Agricultural Income-tax, West Bengal v. Raja Jagadish Chandra Deo Dhabal Deb require reconsideration as they give a very extended meaning to the expression "agriculture" which in his view must be limited to the actual cultivation of the soil as held by the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal.

In this case though there is no planting or sowing, or any tilling of the soil, still human labour and skill were employed for the maintenance, preservation, nursing, improving and rearing of the forests in order that the quality and the general condition of the forest may improve. A detailed list of the processes is found in paragraph 6 of the statement of the case. These processes include planned exploitation requiring skill which aims at obtaining from the forest a recurring annual yield by rearing and preservation, maintaining the forest in a condition that growth of trees is promoted, by clearing of undergrowth, removal of diseased and unsound trees, climber cutting, burning of undergrowths with a view to fertilization of the forests, protection from fire; closure of all forests to men and cattle during rainy season and preservation of mother trees. All these processes taken together constitute regular operations in forestry.

On the processes which formed part of the operations of forestry in the forests in question, creeper and climber cutting, thinning and removal of diseased and unsound trees and clearing of jungles and the removal of undergrowth are all processes which can be carried on only on the soil. They involve direct human contact with the land. They involve expenditure of human labour and skill on the soil in the sense in which the test has been understood by the learned Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court. Permitting grazing from Kartik to Chaitra involves the use of human skill for purposes of weeding. Burning of undergrowths at certain times of the year is also an operation on the land. It clears the jungles and also fertilises the soil. Other operations like closure of forests to men and cattle during rainy season in order to allow germination, preservation of mother trees, reservation of blocks of forests and marking of trees fit for felling, felling of trees at a certain age and their cutting in a particular manner are all subsidiary processes on the soil though direct treatment of the soil may not be involved in all. They have to be resorted to on the soil and by human agency.

These processes are prototypes of processes employed in agriculture understood in its narrow sense. They have to be magnified in order to suit forests. Fencing for instance has been recognized as an agricultural process. Forests could not be fenced like a field. That would be an uneconomic and uncertain mode of protection. To protect the forests from the predatory excursions of human beings and animals, a contingent of watchmen or forest guards will be necessary. That is how the Government protect their forests.

Employment of forest guards is a substitute for fencing in forests where fresh growth is fostered and aided by human agency. Operations of blocks of forests by rotation, marking trees fit for felling and cutting the trees of certain age and at a certain height from the ground, leaving the stump to grow again into a tree serve the same purpose as pruning in the case of tendu leaves. Creeper and climber cutting, thinning and removal of diseased and unsound trees, clearing the jungle of debris and of useless undergrowth are processes which in forests take the place of weeding. Allowing grazing at a certain time of the year is also a part of the process of clearing the forests. The grass hinders the growth of trees sought to be fostered or aided in their growth. Burning of the undergrowth is believed to fertilize the soil. Maintenance of fire-lines is a special need of the forests. Forest fires ar a common phenomenon. Preservation of mother trees and closure of all forests to men and cattle during the rainy season (Baisak to Aswin) correspond to planting or sowing in agriculture taken in its limited sense. No planting is necessary in sal forests. The trees propagate themselves. The mother tree broadcasts the seeds and does the sowing. The closure of the forest is for ensuring germination.

These processes correspond to the different processes of cultivation. They undergo a change in appearance when applied to forests, but they retain their characteristics in essence. Taken together they bear the compendious name of "operations in forestry". They constitute sylviculture. They involve employment of human labour and skill on the soil on a scale vaster than is necessary in agriculture taken in its narrow sense. These processes give an unending life to the forests. It is by these measures that they have been made a source of recurrent and inexhaustible source of income to the assessees. The operations in this case would satisfy the requirements of the test, even if it is held that operation on the soil must be on the land and not on the growths on it. The facts in this case are not the same as in Raja Jagadish Chandra Deos case.

The correctness of the decision in that case has been doubted. Viswanatha Sastri, J., in Commissioner of Income-tax v. Sundara Mudaliar expressed the view that the decision in Raja Jagadish Chandra Deos case had undoubtedly extended the scope of the test laid down by their Lordships of the Privy Council. Chakravartti, C.J., in Raja Benoy Kumar v. Commissioner of Income-tax, West Bengal, also doubted whether Raja Jagadish Chandra Deos case has been rightly decided. He observed that "save and except occasional removal of the undergrowth by third parties with the permission of the assessees, there were no operations on the land at all".

I have found it difficult to share these doubts. According to Viswanatha Sastri, J., agriculture connotes the raising of useful or valuable products which derive nutriment from the soil with the aid of human skill and labour. Sylviculture was included in agriculture in his view. He went further and observed that in all cases where growth of the trees was effected by the expenditure of human care and attention in such operations as ploughing, sowing, pruning etc. land could be said to be used for agricultural purposes. The list of processes is not exhaustive. The test as stated by him is that there should be some expenditure of human skill and attention in certain operations which are employed for raising useful products from the soil.

This test is even wider in scope than that laid down by their Lordships of the Privy Council. Chakravartti, C.J., also considered employment of human labour and skill on the soil as distinguished from its employment on the growths on the soil as satisfying the essential requirements of agriculture. Seen in the light of these tests the income derived from the sale of sal trees in Raja Jagadish Chandra Deos case could not be said to be income derived from the sale of trees of spontaneous growth. It was in no sense the result of inaction. It was the result of human effort expended on the soil. The regular removal of undergrowth by third parties with the permission of the assessees was a process similar to weeding. There were other processes also employing the use of human labour and skill on the soil. In any case the operations in the present case include processes which involved to a substantial and impressive extent employment of human labour and skill on the soil. If regular operations in forestry had not been a normal feature of these estates the forest would have surely disappeared long age. It is the process of regeneration helped and aided by human agency that results in a substantial recurring yield to the assessees. The processes employed satisfy the requirements of the expression agriculture and my conclusions is that the receipts in question constitute agricultural income and are exempt from taxation under Section 4(3) (viii) of the Income-tax Act.

The Tribunal in this case declined to follow the decision reported in Jyotirindra Narayan v. State of Assam on the ground that the view of the Income-tax Department was not before the Court. This may be correct but the question whether income from the sale of sal trees in these forests was agricultural or not had been referred to this Court and was decided on its merits on the material made available. The decision did not rest only on any concession made by the assessees or on their behalf. The Tribunal in these circumstances was bound to follow the decision. In declining "to attach much importance to the decision" the Tribunal has not acted properly.

The proper course was to follow the decision and then to refer to question at the instance of the Commissioner if he felt aggrieved by the decision.

Mr. Iyengar has also contended that in the case of Jyotirindra Narayan Sinha Choudhury (in No. 4), there were there assessments. He put in only one petition and paid a fee of Rs. 100 whereas under the law there should have been three applications and each one should have been accompanied by a fee of Rs. 100. He relies on the provisions contained in Section 66(1) of the Income-tax Act. The section provides that within sixty days of the date upon which the assessees are served with notice of an order under sub-section (4) of the Section 33 the assessees or the Commissioner may, by application in the prescribed form, accompanied where application is made by the assessee by a fee of one hundred rupees, require the Appellate Tribunal to refer to the High Court any question of law arising out of such order.

It appears that the Appellate Income-tax Tribunal disposed of appeals of all the assessees who are parties to this reference by one order, dated 2nd November, 1950. All the years of assessments in the case of Jyotirindra Narayan Sinha Choudhury were covered by that order. It was for this reason that one consolidated reference was made covering all the assessments of all the assessees. The Commissioner in his reply to the demand for a reference pointed out (vide Exhibit E at page 98) that Jyotirindra Narayan Sinha Choudhury had put in only one application though three appeals were involved and therefore it was a point for consideration whether her applicant in the circumstances of the case had any right to claim a reference in respect of more than one appeal of his choice.

Mr. Iyengar urges that since only one fee has been paid, it is open to Jyotirindra Narayan Sinha Chowdhury to have the reference limited to only one of his appeals. He has in support of his contention relied on Calcutta Insurance Ltd. v. Commissioner of Income-tax, and Commissioner of Income-tax, Madras v. Mothey Ganga Raju.

In Calcutta Insurance Ltd. v. Commissioner of Income-tax, the position was that appeals for there different assessment years were heard together and one consolidated order was passed. Against that order the applicant filed one application for reference and deposited one fee of Rs. 100. At the hearing of the application for reference the learned advocate for the assessee was specifically asked to indicate in which case he wanted to have the reference. He stated that the application might be restricted to one particular year (1939-1940). This was practically a consent arrangement made at the hearing of the application. The Court did not give any decision on the interpretation of Section 66(1) on which the learned counsel has relied. Besides no authority has been cited for the proposition that the Court when exercising its advisory jurisdiction after the reference is under any obligation to give the assessee an option to select one year of assessment for purposes of the reference.

In Commissioner of Income-tax, Madras v. Mothey Ganga Raju the assessees were separated members of a family. They were also separately assessed. They put in one application accompanied by a fee of Rs. 100 under Section 66 (2) of the Income-tax Act for the statement of a case by the Commissioner of Income-tax. This case is clearly distinguishable on facts and is of no assistance.

There is thus no direct authority on the point that Mr. Iyengar has raised. In spite of the fact that the Commissioner drew the attention of the Tribunal to the omission on the part of Jyotirindra Narayan Sinha Choudhury the Tribunal did not give him the option of limiting his application of his reference to any particular year. The reference covers all three years of assessment. Presumably, the Tribunal did not consider the course adopted by Jyotirindra Narayan Sinha Choudhury contrary to the requirements of Section 66 (1). It has not been specifically alleged either by the Commissioner in his statement which he submitted to the Tribunal or by Mr. Iyengar before us, that separate notices in regard to these assessments were issued to the assessees as required by Section 33(4) of the Income-tax Act. It only one notice was issued the application for reference with one fee would seem to be in order.

In these circumstances and as at present advised I am not satisfied that it is obligatory on this Court to put the assessee to an option to limit his application for reference to one year. Without giving any decision on the question whether separate applications are necessary even where the appeals before the Appellate Tribunal are consolidated and one consolidated order is passed, I would decline to force Jyotirindra Narayan Sinha Choudhury to select one year for the purposes of this reference.

Mr. Lahiri has contended that the decision reported in Jyotirindra Narayan v. State of Assam is binding on the Special Bench as the Special Bench is no more than a larger Division Bench. He urges that if one Division Bench differs from another Division Bench on a question of law or usage having the force of law, the case must be referred to a Full Bench. I am not quite sure if it would be necessary to adopt the course suggested by him in case this Bench or a majority of the Judges composing it differ from the previous decision of this Court. But it is clear that so far as this Court is concerned a reference to a Full Bench in the way suggested by Mr. Lahiri will not result in any practical advantage. For, the Full Bench again will consist of the same Judges who are members of the Special Bench. It will be a reference by this Bench to itself for all practical purposes unless the decision of the case is held up till the appointment of a fourth Judge - a contingency the occurrence of which is extremely remote. In these circumstances this Special Bench may if it be found necessary differ from the previous decision without making a formal reference to a Full Bench, assuming that a formal reference is required by the rules.

My answer to the question referred to this Court is in the affirmative.

DEKA, J. - These are eight references under Section 66(1) of the Indian Income-tax Act and the point referred to us is as follows :-

"Whether on the facts and in the circumstances of this case, the receipts from the sale of sal trees can be said to be agricultural income under Section 2(1) and exempt from taxation under Section 4(3) (viii) of the Income-tax Act".

The years of assessments in case of late Jyotirindra Narayan Sinha Choudhury (since substituted by his heirs) are 1946-47, 1947-48 and 1948-49; - 1946-47 - in case of Sm. Jyotikana Chowdhurani, Kamal Krishna Chowdhury, Birendra Narayan Choudhury, Sourindra Narayan Choudhury and Sm. Sulochona Choudhurani; 1947-48 and 1948-49 in case of Sourindra Narayan. There is only one reference case with respect to three assessment cases on the part of the heirs of late Jyotirindra Narayan Choudhury, which has been objected to by the learned advocate for the Income-tax Commissioner and he requested the Court to ask the assessee to pick up assessment for one particular year, he having deposited only one hundred rupees under Section 66 of the Indian Income-tax Act.

This objection will be considered later. There was an earlier decision of this Court reported in Jyotirindra Narayan v. State of Assam in connection with nine reference cases under Section 28(2) of the Assam Agricultural Income-tax Act made at the instance of those assessees as are concerned with these references and others too and there was a consolidated hearing and one judgment covering all the cases. Those cases also dealt with the question as to whether the sale proceeds of sal trees from the forests owned and possessed by these zamindars were agricultural income, in case they were considered to be revenue receipts of the proprietors. Whether the sale proceeds from sal forests or forest trees represented revenue receipts of the proprietors or capital receipts has been an old question and is covered by numerous decisions of the Courts in India and of the Privy Council and to mention a few amongst those authorities :-Commissioner of Income-tax, Madras v. Manavedan Tirumulpad, Yuvarajah of Pithapuram v. Commissioner of Income-tax, Maharaja of Kapurthala v. Commissioner of Income-tax, Central and United Provinces, Kamakshya Narain Singh v. Commissioner of Income-tax, Bihar and Orissa, Commissioner of Agricultural Income-tax, West Bengal v. Raja Jagadish Chandra Deo Dhabal Deb, Maharajadhiraja of Darbhanga v. Commissioner of Agricultural Income-tax, west Bengal, Raja Mustafa Ali Khan v. Commissioner of Income-tax, Benoy Ratan Banerjee v. Commissioner of Income-tax, Province of Bihar v. Maharaja Pratap Udai Nath, Beohar Singh Raghubir Singh v. Commissioner of Income-tax, Pratap Singh Balbeer Singh v. Commissioner of Income-tax, and it was in keeping with this line of decisions that this Court held in Jyotirindra Narayan v. State of Assam, that the receipts from the sale of the sal trees were revenue receipts of the proprietors and in answer to the point No. 2 under reference it was held that the amounts so received were to be treated as "agricultural income" assessable under the Assam Agricultural Income-tax Act.

Mr. Lahiri for the assessees contends that this decision should be treated as final, so far as this Court is concerned and the present Special Bench as now constituted cannot revise that order nor sit in judgment over it. He further refers to the Appellate Side rules of the Calcutta High Court which till now mostly govern the affairs of this Court, that the constitution of the Full Bench is not authorised unless there be a reference to it by another Division Bench which does not agree with an existing decision or ruling of another Division Bench. That may be the case when a Full Bench is formed but the constitution of a larger Bench or a Special Bench is not covered by the rules for forming a Full Bench and the former is purely at the discretion of the Chief Justice, and this Bench has accordingly been rightly formed or constituted. As regards the finality of the judgment, as it stands, nobody disputes it, - but that is a decision not adjudicating certain claims inter partes - but is given in an advisory capacity in a reference (or references) under the Assam Agricultural Income-tax Act.

The only relevant objection is, whether the parties will be subjected to double taxation for the same income - once as agricultural income-tax and for the second time as income-tax under the Indian Income-tax Act. Mr. Iyengar for the Commissioner of Income-tax, Assam, so far I under-stood him to say, assured us that there will be no pressure for realisation of income-tax from the assessees for the years under reference even if found liable, in case the assessees have already paid agricultural income-tax to the authorities concerned, but the Income-tax Department only asks for a ruling as to whether the receipts from the sale of the sal trees grown within the estates of the assessees were really products of agricultural operation and exempt from assessment under Section 4 (3) (viii) of the Indian Income-tax Act for their future guidance.

My learned colleagues, however, say that there was no such assurance - and something that was said to this effect had subsequently been abandoned by Mr. Iyengar. If that be so, the principle of double taxation cannot be supported, and the ruling of the Assam High Court above referred to being in the filed has to be respected even by the Income-tax Department though not a party thereto. But I am prepared to discuss the points under reference for its own sake.

It is admitted that the definition of "agricultural income" is identical both for the purpose of the Assam Agricultural Income-tax Act and the Indian Income-tax Act. The point in dispute has to be decided on the facts given in the statements of the case and I reproduce below the three relevant paragraphs, they being paragraphs 5, 6 and 7 :-

"5. It was admitted that the trees in the forest were of spontaneous growth (which is now stated by the representative of the assessees that it meant of spontaneous germination), there was no planting or sowing nor were any human agency employed for the purpose of tilling the soil. From all that was done to the trees, it was clear that the trees sold were those standing for a considerable number of years during which the soil had remained untouched. In the production of the income, the applicants made no contribution by way of cultivation.

6. The applicants case, however, was that there had been employment of human skill and labour with respect to the forests. Apart from the facts of the maintenance of a forest establishment, it was claimed that human skill and labour were employed for the maintenance, preservation, nursing, improving and rearing of the forest, so that the quality and general condition of the forest might be improved. It is claimed by the applicants in their petition which was filed before the Tribunal on 22nd June, 1951, in reply to the draft statement of the case, that the following activities with reference to the forest were taken recourse to :

(a) reservation of blocks of forest commonly known as jhars and their operation in these blocks by rotation (cyclic order);

(b) marking of trees fit for felling;

(c) creeper and climber cutting;

(d) thinning and removal of diseased and unsound trees;

(e) clearing of jungles and undergrowth;

(f) allowing grazing from Kartik to Chaitra;

(g) burning of undergrowths in March-April (which clears the jungles and fertilises the soil);

(h) protection from fire - maintenance of fire lines;

(i) closure of all forests to men and cattle during rainy season, Baisak to Aswin; and

(j) preservation of mother trees.

7. In order to establish these facts, and affidavit was filed before the Tribunal at the time of hearing of the appeal. But the actual costs with reference to each activity could not be found from the books of the assessees. We have already stated the total of such costs came to Rs. 14,000 in respect of Parbatjoar Estate and Rs. 15,000 in respect of Mechpara Estate. It is not disputed that no sum was contributed towards cultivation".

The contention on behalf of the assessees is that agriculture is a wider term than cultivation and regular forest operations are also included within the terms "agriculture" as used in the Indian Income-tax Act. Raja Jagadish Chandra Deo Dhabal Debs case (a reference under the Bengal Agricultural Income-tax Act) is cited as an authority on the point and so is the decision of this Court in the case reported in Jyotirindra Narayan v. State of Assam, which followed the line of reasoning given in the above Calcutta decision. The contention for the respondent is that that is not good law. In my opinion, the respondents contention is correct.

It is admitted by both parties that now it is a settled law that income from the sale of forest trees of spontaneous growth growing on the land naturally and without the intervention of human agency is not agricultural income within the meaning of Section 2 (1) (a) of the Indian Income-tax Act. This is the view held by the Allahabad High Court in Benoy Ratan Banerjis case, by the Madras High Court in Yuvarajah of Pithapurams case and in Manavedan Tirumulpads case, by the Oudh Chief Court in Maharaja of Kapurthalas case and in Nawab Nawazish Ali Khan v. Commissioner of Income-tax, C. P. & U. P., and this view had the seal of approval of the Privy Council not only in Maharaja of Kapurthalas case but also independently in Raja Mustafa Ali Khan v. Commission of income tax, which also was an appeal from the decision of the Chief Court of Oudh in an income-tax reference case. This was also the view held by the Punjab and Patna High Court (refer to Province of Bihar v. Maharaja Pratap Udai Nath) and they were also placed before the Judicial Committee in course of the argument in Mustafa Ali Khans case. It was held by the Judicial Committee in Mustafa Ali Khans case that it is not necessary to consider any other difficulty which may stand in the way of the assessee.

In the words of their Lordships :

"His case fails if he does not prove that the land is used for agricultural purposes. Upon this point their Lordships concur in the views which have been expressed not only in the Chief Court of Oudh but in the High Court of Madras (see Yuvarajah of Pithapuram v. Commissioner of Income-tax) and the High Court of Allahabad (see Benoy Ratan Banerji v. Commissioner of Income-tax) and elsewhere in India".

Their Lordships expressed no opinion as to whether land could be said to be used for agricultural purpose within the section, if it had been planted with trees and cultivated in the regular course of arboriculture. Much of the controversy has centred round the following observation in their Lordships judgment :-

"that, though it must always be difficult to draw the line, yet, unless there is some measure of cultivation of the land, some expenditure of skill and labour upon it, it cannot be said to be used for agricultural purposes within the meaning of the Income-tax Act".

Their Lordships expressed nowhere the view that "forest operation" or "regular operations in forestry" would come within the scope of "agriculture" for the purpose of the Income-tax Act, and this impression though tentatively seems to be given in the head-note in Raja Mustafa Ali Khan v. Commissioner of Income-tax does not really arise from the text of the judgment. Whether regular operations in forestry or arboriculture would be considered as agriculture is completely left out. All that their Lordships say is :-

"As appears from the form of the question, the income under the first head was derived from the sale of trees described as forest trees growing on land naturally, and the case has throughout proceeded upon the footing that there was nothing to show that the assessee was carrying on any regular operations in forestry and that the jungle from which trees had been cut and sold was a spontaneous growth".

I must say with utmost respect that Raja Jagadish Chandra Deo Dhabal Debs case was decided on an assumption that their Lordships included "operations in forestry" within the terms "agriculture" as given in the Income-tax Act and that "some expenditure of skill and labour" by itself was enough to constitute agriculture and that it had no relation to cultivation of the land or investment in the shape of labour and skill on the soil for the production of the article from which the income arises.

There are recent Calcutta High Court decisions doubting the correctness of the view held in Jagadish Chandras case and the latest pronouncement is that of Chakravartti, C.J., sitting with Lahiri, J., in Raja Benoy Kumar v. Commissioner of Income-tax, West Bengal, a certified copy of which was placed before us, the judgment being delivered on 27th May, 1953.

In Commissioner of Income-tax v. Sundara Mudaliar Viswanatha Sastri, J., towards the conclusion of his judgment discusses Jagadish Chandras case and while doubting its authority, says that :-

"It seems to rest on an undue extension of the principle laid down by the Judicial Committee in Mustafa Ali Khans case."

In Jyotirindra Narayan v. State of Assam Ram Labhaya, J., after reviewing the authorities pertinent to the point under reference, including Mustafa Ali Khans case and Raja Jagadish Chandras case expresses his view in the following words :-

"Regular operations in forestry necessarily involve expenditure of skill and labour. Where, therefore, such operations take place, the income from the sale of trees in the forest would be within the ambit of agricultural income as defined in the Assam Act".

My learned brother, thereafter, discusses the statement of the case and the finding as to the character of the forest produce sold. The gist of the view and the reasons therefore, however, appear from the following paragraph :-

"The learned counsel for the assessees accepts these findings of fact and has stated that if receipts from the sale of forest trees are treated as income as distinguished from capital receipts they would be covered by the expression agricultural income. We have no manner of doubt that though no actual tilling of the soil is necessary for the growth and regeneration of sal trees in these forests, it is obvious that elaborate operations in forestry are necessary for the maintenance of the forests and for the growth and regeneration of new trees in place of those cut every year. The exploitation of these forests clearly conforms to working plans. Blocks of trees are sold in rotation. New trees take root and grow. In the case of all the assessees, there have been receipts from sale of sal trees in all the years of assessment. The operations, which are considered necessary by the assessees with a view to being able to sell trees from these forests periodically involve both skill and labour. The expenditure of this skill and labour is of a substantial and impressive character. The different processes described by the Appellate Assistant Commissioner and by the Member, Assam Board of Agricultural Income-tax, indicate without any doubt that the extensive operations in forestry are being employed. In these circumstances there cannot be any manner of doubt that the income derived by the assessees in all these cases by the sale of sal trees during the years in question was agricultural income and was correctly assessed".

With due respect, I must say that the learned Judges deciding that case considered that extensive operations in forestry if employed made the income from forest produce an agricultural income - a view to which I cannot subscribe.

We have to confine ourselves, so far as facts are concerned, to the statement of the case. What is claimed to have been done to the trees in the present case (vide paragraph 6 of the statement) does not amount to an "operation in forestry" assuming it comes within the scope of agriculture. The trees are admittedly of spontaneous growth, not only in matters of germination alone but no treatment is done to the trees, neither pruning, weeding, nor planting, nor fencing. All that is claimed to have been done is for preservation of the forest which may be said to be "conservation" as observed in Maharaja of Kapurthalas case. In a recent decision of the Allahabad High Court, Pratap Singh Balbeer Singh v. Commissioner of Income-tax, Malick, C.J., and Bhargava, J., have come to the decision that what their Lordships held in Mustafa Ali Khans case was that the expenditure of skill and labour must be upon the land and not merely on the trees which were already growing on it as a result of spontaneous growth.

They held that mere regeneration and preservation of trees by human agency cannot be said to be expenditure of skill and labour upon the land itself. They further held that planned and scientific exploitation of a forest of spontaneous growth, though it might yield regular income, would not be income from agriculture as no operations were carried out and no human skill or labour was expended in such a case on the land itself. The Madras High Court also held a similar view in a recent case (vide Commissioner of Income-tax v. Sundara Mudaliar) where the case of casuarina plantation was considered. Chakravartti, C.J., in Raja Benoy Kumar Sahas Roys case referred to above expressed the view that it is correct to say that to constitute "agriculture" human skill and labour must be expended on the land itself and not merely on the growths from the land.

In his words :-

"The true position therefore is that when income is derived from natural growths from the soil, it is derived from land, but not derived from land by agriculture. It is derived from land by agriculture, as the definition requires, when the land is subjected to the labour and skill of man, whether in the form of cultivation or otherwise, in order to the production or the improvement of the produce which yields the income".

Judged according to the above test, in the present case, there was, assuming even the assessees claims to be true, no agricultural operation on the land or the land was not used for agricultural purposes and the income arising from the sale of sal trees in the forests were not agricultural income as defined in the Indian Income-tax Act, Section 2(1) (a) or (b) and the question referred to us should be answered in the negative.

Much time of the Court has been taken by Mr. Sampath Iyengar in arguing whether "agriculture" should be given a wide connotation or a narrow one - as to whether dairy business would come under agriculture or not, or whether the dictionary meaning of "agriculture" should be resorted to or not - but what we were really concerned with was what was intended to be within the scope of "Agriculture" within the scheme of the Indian Income-tax Act. To my mind "agriculture" might have a wider implication than cultivation, as it is commonly understood, or something more than tillage, but it must have some relating to the growth or improvement of the plants by some sort of operation (involving expenditure of skill and labour) in relation to the earth or the soil on which the plants grow.

In Moolji Sicka & Co., In re, Derbyshire, C.J., considers pruning to be an operation on the shrubs in relation to the earth helping to grow more leaves on the tendu plants, and directs that so much of the items........ is to be deemed agricultural income .... as the assessee can show to be profit derived from...... tendu eaves produced by the pruning of the tendu shrubs".

Here, nothing is shown as to what was the addition to the natural growth of the trees of spontaneous growth on virgin soil assuming the claims of the assessees to be correct, due to the investment of human labour and skill.

The subject was dealt with by the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal and in paragraph 6 of its judgment, we find that Mechpara Estate showed expenses on forest establishment including temporary hands at Rs. 15,000 a year, the gross receipts being about Rs. 1,70,000. With regard to Parbatjoar Estate, the gross receipts came to Rs. 3,32,414 and the total sum spent was Rs. 14,057 on the following heads :

8 Forest Officers and 18 Barkandajes

..

Rs. 5,219 32

Forest Guards

..

Rs. 4,838

Proportionate salary of the Head Officers

..

Rs. 4,000

 

Rs. 14,057

We cannot go behind the statement of the case. There is no evidence as to the claims made by the assessees nor can we accept the statements made on affidavits without having any means to test them. This is a view held on good authorities like Benoy Ratan Banerjees case. It will be wrong to assume that Mr. Iyengar accepted any other set of facts or argued on any other hypothesis. We can see for ourselves that the forests covered huge areas extending over several thousand acres in both the zemindaries, and it is doubtful whether Barkandazes (peons or orderlies) or forest-guards could do any operation whatsoever for the growth, preservation or regeneration of the trees standing on the vast areas as alleged. Assuming even the claims to be correct there was no operation on the land in this case which we might call agricultural.

Mr. Lahiri raised another objection to the proposed assessment on the ground that the Income-tax Department having never assessed income-tax on the proceeds of sal trees, could not ask for it now, their own previous orders being against it - and the non-user of the now claimed right to assess forest produce only indicates the real intention of the Income-tax Act, 1922, - which under its own "Manual" directed nor to assess tax on the proceeds from the forest produce. This objection is not tenable -there being a number of cases all over India where forest produce was taxed to income-tax - and non-assessment in previous years does not give exemption from assessment if it is otherwise due. This point has been considered in Raja Kamakshya Narayan Singhs case, by the Privy council : vide Commissioner of Income-tax, Bihar and Orissa v. Kamakshaya Narayan Singh, and the same view has been accepted by the Calcutta High Court in Raja Jagadish Chandras case. This contention must therefore fail.

Mr. Lahiri further contended that exemption from tax granted by a statute should be given full scope and amplitude and should not be whittled down by importing limitations not imported by the legislature. These are propositions sufficiently familiar and need no special examination. His further contention was that the onus was on the Income-tax Department to show that the assessee is not entitled to the exemption. This contention, however, cannot be accepted as will appear from the decision of the Privy Council in Raja Mustafa Ali Khans case.

Mr. Iyengar tried hard to show that forestry cannot come within agriculture and he drew our attention to the Constitution of India and the 1935 Government of India Act and to the schedules thereto. But for the purpose of this case, we need not examine those contentions, the simple point for investigation being whether the land was used for agricultural purpose which, in my decision, was not, even giving full credit for the assertions made by the assessees. Here selling timber in blocks of forests or the mature trees therein was a pure business deal for the assessees - a money earning operation - and it had nothing to do with the art or science of forestry, regular or otherwise, nor of agriculture - in spite of all that they might urge in their legal contentions in the appellate stage or thereafter or state in their affidavits without any support from their book entries.

In the present circumstances, I need not go into Mr. Iyengars contention as to whether relief could be give to the heirs of late Jyotirindra Narayan Sinha Choudhury in one reference covering three assessments for three consecutive years though, in my opinion, that might have been a good ground for Income-tax Appellate Tribunal for refusing to make a reference under Section 66 of the Income-tax Act. In my opinion, therefore, the point under reference should be answered in favour of the Department and the assessees should be made liable for costs.

Per Curiam :- It is hereby ordered that the question under reference should be answered in the affirmative. In other words it is held that on the facts and circumstances of this case the receipts from the sale of sal trees are agricultural income under Section 2(1) and are exempt from taxation under Section 4(2) (viii) of the Income-tax Act. The applications under reference are allowed with costs. There will be a consolidated hearing fee of Rs. 250 (Rupees two hundred and fifty only).

Reference answered accordingly.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //