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Collector of Central Excise Vs. Sundram Fasteners Ltd. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtCustoms Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal CESTAT Delhi
Decided On
Reported in(1985)(22)ELT923TriDel
AppellantCollector of Central Excise
RespondentSundram Fasteners Ltd.
1. this appeal is against the order dated 30-9-1982 of the appellate collector of central excise, madras, in which he has held that 32 items of "bolts, nuts and screws" manufactured by the respondents were classifiable under central excise tariff item 68. in doing so, he reversed the decision of the assistant collector of central excise, madras vi division, who had held the articles to be classifiable under t.i. 52.2. the 32 articles in question are distinguished by part numbers as well as descriptions. most of them are described as "con rod bolts" (short for "connecting rod bolts"), or as "bolts". two of them are described as "bolt rear wheel" and "bolt front wheel". however, the arguments before the lower authorities and before us were on the basis that all the articles could generally.....
1. This appeal is against the order dated 30-9-1982 of the Appellate Collector of Central Excise, Madras, in which he has held that 32 items of "bolts, nuts and screws" manufactured by the respondents were classifiable under Central Excise Tariff Item 68. In doing so, he reversed the decision of the Assistant Collector of Central Excise, Madras VI Division, who had held the articles to be classifiable under T.I. 52.

2. The 32 articles in question are distinguished by part numbers as well as descriptions. Most of them are described as "con rod bolts" (short for "connecting rod bolts"), or as "bolts". Two of them are described as "bolt rear wheel" and "bolt front wheel". However, the arguments before the lower authorities and before us were on the basis that all the articles could generally be described as "connecting rod bolts".

3. It is seen from the orders of the lower authorities that the respondents were paying duty on all these items as bolts, nuts and screws, falling under T.I. 52. In a letter dated 8-5-1981, to the Assistant Collector, they sought re-classification of all the 32 items under T.I. 68 as "All other goods, not elsewhere specified". The Assistant Collector rejected their request and re-affirmed the existing classification under T.I. 52. Thereupon the respondents went in appeal to the Appellate Collector. Among other arguments they placed reliance on an order dated 13-3-1980 of the Central Board of Excise and Customs on an appeal filed by Messrs Ashok Leyland Ltd. In that order connecting rod bolts manufactured by Messrs Ashok Leyland were held to be classifiable under T.I. 34A as it then stood. The Appellate Collector considered that the Board's decision was a precedent to be followed. Taking into account the subsequent change in T.I. 34A (which inter alia excluded bolts from the scope of that item) he held that the 32 articles, which he described as "connecting rod bolts" should be classified as unspecified motor vehicle parts under T.I. 68.

4. The present appeal has been filed against the above decision of the Appellate Collector. On behalf of the appellant, a paper book has been filed. In addition to the Board's order dated 13-3-1980, it contains a note by an Assistant Collector regarding the function of the connecting rod bolts of the respondents, as well as a "write-up on the functions of connecting rod bolts" by Shri R. Augustine Manohar, Superintendent (Technical) and Mechanical Engineering Specialist. Photocopies of material from technical publications have also been enclosed. The respondents in their turn have filed a paper book. This contains a note titled "Reply to points referred by Department write-up on con rod bolts" signed by Shri K.R. Subramaniyan, Deputy Manager (Finance) of the respondents, together with photocopies of various publications, and a photocopy of a note dated 5-10-1984 from the Assistant Director, the Automotive Research Association of India.

5. Appearing before us for the Appellant Collector, Smt. Dolly Saxena submitted that all the 32 articles were connecting rod bolts, and they all performed the function of fastening. The respondent's had annexed copies of technical literature to show the specifications required to be met by the connecting rod bolts to be used in automobile engines.

Smt. Saxena submitted that the description in T.I. 52 was quite general, and covered all bolts and nuts. The item was not restricted by reference to specifications or tolerances. She submitted that T.I. 68 was a residuary item, to be resorted to only if the goods did not fall under any other item.

6. Turning to the Appellate Collector's order, Smt. Saxena pointed out that he had wholly gone by the Boaid's order in the case of Ashok Leyland. The reasoning adopted by the Board was contained in paragraphs 2 and 5 of its order. The Board had held that the explanation advanced by the appellants before it clearly showed that the connecting rod bolts had special engineering features and had other functional utility than fastening. The Board, therefore, held that the goods were assessable under T.I. 34A and not under item 52. Smt. Saxena submitted that this decision of the Board should not be followed, in the light of subsequent relevant decisions of the Tribunal.

7. In the case of Sri Ramdas Motor Transport Ltd., v. C.C.E., Madras, (1983 E.L.T. 2067), the Tribunal had considered the classification of hub bolts and nuts used in motor vehicles. After a detailed discussion, the Tribunal had held that the function of the goods as fasteners was patently manifest, and had held that they were correctly classifiable under T.I. 52. Subsequently, in the case of Fit Tight Nuts & Bolts Ltd. v. C.C.E., Rajkot [1985 (21) E.L.T. 717], the Tribunal had considered the classification of hub bolts manufactured by the appellants before it. After referring to a number of decisions of the courts and the Tribunal, these hub bolts had been held as classifiable under T.I. 52.

8. Smt. Saxena then referred to the specific nature and functions of the goods under consideration in this appeal. Arrangements had been made to bring certified samples of some of the articles in dispute. Two of these were examined by the Bench. One was part No. 210 90 8520. This was said to be a connecting rod bolt meant for supply to Kirloskar Oil Engines Ltd., Pune. The other sample was of part No. 210 90 6750. This was described as a con rod bo It for supply to Messrs Sundaram Clayton Ltd., Padi, Madras.

9. Smt. Saxena referred to the "write-up" filed by the Department and the attached photocopy of a drawing from "Automobile Engineering" Volume 2, by Dr. Kirpal Singh. The drawing showed a connecting rod in an automobile. It showed the big end of the connecting rod, consisting of two halves. She explained that the two halves were held together by connecting rod bolts and nuts. According to her, this was clearly a fastening function.

10. As regards the specifications for a particular connecting rod bolt, Smt. Saxena submitted that these would not prevent their use in other articles. She also submitted that the fastening function is one which would embrace a wide variety of requirements and applications. The needs for particular applications could be different, and in order to function efficiently as a fastener, a bolt might have to meet particular specifications or requirements. Even so, so long as the basic function was that of a fastener, the fact that certain refinements had been introduced would not take the article out of the scope of a bolt.

11. Coming to the principles of classification, Smt. Saxena submitted that both sides were agreed that the goods would not be covered by T.I.34A, as it stood at the relevant time. The choice, therefore, was between items 52 and 68. If item 52 could cover the goods, it should have precedence over the residuary item, namely item 68. Smt. Saxena relied upon the observations of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of Dunlop India Ltd. [AIR 1977 S.C. 597] to the effect that "when an article has, by all standards, a reasonable claim to be classified under an enumerated item in the Tariff Schedule it will be against the very principle of classification to deny it the parentage and consign it to an orphanage of the residuary clause".

12. For the above reasons, Smt. Saxena submitted that the Appellate Collector's order should be reversed and the classification under item 52 restored.

13. Shri M. Chandrasekharan, the learned Advocate for the respondents, submitted that there was no support for the Department's argument that the basic function of the goods was fastening. No doubt, they had a fastening function, but it was only incidental. Shri Chandrasekharan referred to the "write-up" given in the Department's paper book and the reply contained in the respondents' paper book. According to the respondents, the connecting rod bolts had a number of special features such as to ensure dowelling action, close squareness of bearing surface with reference to threads, unsymmetrical head shape, manufacturing from alloy steels only, etc. These special features imparted special properties to the goods, such as uniform contact pressure between two halves (of the big end) while delivering the firing loads ; good fatigue properties and taking up cyclic loading ; acting as dowells in the main rod and taking up shear loads arising due to the torsional and pending loads in con rod assembly in dynamic load conditions, and so on.

14. Shri Chandrasekharan submitted that the burden of the Department's case was that if an article looked like a bolt it should be classified under item 52, without regard to its special features, such as the functions performed or why it was manufactured in a particular way. He submitted that the respondents manufactured about 3,000 types of bolts and on the vast majority of these they were paying duty under T.I. 52, since admittedly those bolts had general uses. It was only in respect of the 32 bolts under consideration that they had sought classification under T.I. 68, because these were made for special applications and did not have any other use.

15. Shri Chandrasekharan referred to the note dated 5-10-1984 from The Automotive Research Association of India, Pune. (In the letter-head this has been described as "Research Institution of the Automotive Industry with the Ministry of Industry Government of India". In reply to a question from the Bench as to the exact status of the Association, Shri Chandrasekharan fairly replied that he had no precise information, but apparently the Institution enjoyed recognition, if not aid, from the Government of India in the Ministry of Industry). In the note it has been stated that con rod bolts are intended to do five functions, namely to assist in transmitting the load from the connecting rod to crankshaft, maintain the con rod cap and con rod in the correct juxtaposition while acting as a "dowell pin" ; exert the correct load between the con rod cap and con rod ; bolts made to specific dimensions to suit engine design and therefore not interchangeable (this is not in fact a "function") ; and in certain cases, the head of the con rod bolt is given a peculiar chamfer to assist lubrication. After listing the above five "functions", a comment has been added that "from the above, it is clear that the con rod bolts are custom built component specially designed for use on engines. This item can therefore not be treated as fastener as it carries out more vital functions other than fastening, which is only an incidental aspect". Shri Chandrasekharan submitted that the above note would show that the goods could not be regarded as bolts falling under T.I. 52.

16. Shri Chandrasekharan thereafter referred us to a number of decisions on the principles of classification. He referred to the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Deputy Commissioner of Sales Tax v. G.S. Pai & Co. (AIR 1980 S.C. 611). In para 3 of the judgment it had been observed that while interpreting entries in sales tax legislation the entries must be construed as understood in common parlance ; we must give the words used by the legislature their popular sense, meaning "that sense which people conversant with the subject-matter with which the statute is dealing would attribute to it". Shri Chandrasekharan submitted that persons dealing with motor vehicle parts would construe connecting rod bolts not as bolts but as "motor vehicle parts". Shri Chandrasekharan then referred to the decision of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana in the case of Jiwan Singh & Sons (1979 E.L.T. 265). In that case it had been held that seats manufactured for being fitted in buses were not "steel furniture" falling under item 40 of the Central Excise Tariff.

17. Similarly, in the case of Commissioner of Sales Tax v. The Associated Dental and Medical Supply Co. [1976 (37) STC 336], the Bombay High Court had held that a dental chair was not "furniture" within the meaning of Schedule 'C of the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1959.

Again, in the case of Elpro International Ltd., the Supreme Court had held that operation tables and orthopaedic and fracture tables were not "steel furniture" within the meaning of T.I. 40.

18. In the case of Venkateswara Stainless Steel and Wire Industries (1983 E.L.T. 2217 AP) the Andhra Pradesh High Court had quoted with approval previous judicial pronouncements to the effect that in the absence of a definition in the enactment, the meaning of the term in common parlance or commercial parlance has to be adopted.

19. Shri Chandrasekharan thereafter referred to certain decisions of the Tribunal. In the case of Sarabhai Chemicals, Baroda (1983 E.L.T.161) it had been held that quartz cell set and glass cell set for spectrophotometers had specialised optical functions to perform and therefore could not be put in the general category of laboratory glassware under heading No. 70.17/18 of the Customs Tariff, but were correctly classifiable as parts of a spectrophoto-meter under heading 90.25(1).

20. In the case of M.M. Rubber Co. [1984 (15) E.L.T. 198], it had been held that latex foam sponge cushion seats in an unfinished state could not be classified as motor vehicle parts or accessories under T.I. 34A, but were classifiable under T.I. 16A(1). Shri Chandrasekharan contended that in the present case the bolts had already reached the finished stage and by implication they should be considered as motor vehicle parts.

21. Shri Chandrasekharan thereafter referred to the decision of the Tribunal in the case of Sri Ramdas Motor Transport Ltd. In para 21 of the judgment stress had been laid on the failure of the assessees to produce any evidence or technical literature to show that the hub bolts and nuts under consideration performed any function other than that of fasteners, or that they themselves transmitted or lent motion to the wheels. However, in the present case the respondents had produced sufficient evidence to substantiate the special engineering features of the connecting rod bolts.

22. Shri Chandrasekharan then referred to the Tribunal's decision in the case of Fit Tight Nuts & Bolts Ltd. [1985 (21) E.L.T. 717]. In para 36 of that order, which related to hub bolts, an observation had been made that if the appellants' argument was accepted every screw, bolt or other fastener used in the moving parts of a machine could be deemed to be transmitting power and therefore not a fastener. Shri Chandrasekharan submitted that that observation was with reference to general purpose bolts. In the present case the bolts were specially designed for use in a particular machine. This was an exclusive use and therefore the goods were not ordinary bolts and nuts. Shri Chandrasekharan also referred to the Tribunal's decision in the case of Messrs Purewal and Associates Ltd. (1985 E.C.R. 1032) where the goods under question were screws for use in watches, and where it had been held that the screws fell under T.I. 52. He submitted that in that case the Tribunal had given very close attention to the question whether the screws performed a fastening function, and had come to the conclusion that they did perform such a function of holding together at least two other articles. According to him, this would show that unless fastening was the primary function of the bolt, it would not be classifiable under T.I. 52. Finally, Shri Chandrasekharan referred to the judgment of the Bombay High Court in the case of Simmonds Marshal Ltd. [1984 (2) E.C.C. 42]. Strong reliance on this judgment had been placed by the Tribunal in its order in the case of Fit Tight Nuts & Bolts Ltd. Shri Chandrasekharan argued that Bombay High Court decision would actually be in his favour in the present case. His case was based on two arguments, namely that the fastening function of the connecting rod bolts was only incidental ; and that the bolts had been specially manufactured for use as parts of a motor vehicle. In para 7 of the High Court judgment at page 49, the case of Simmonds Marshal had been distinguished from the case of Gurumukh Singh, where by implication the High Court approved the decision of the Government of India holding the goods to be motor vehicle parts. In this connection the High Court had observed that Gurumukh Singh's case was concerned with U bolts and U clamps which were specially designed for use in automobiles. Therefore, according to Shri Chandrasekharan, the Bombay High Court had by implication held that where a bolt was specially designed for use in automobiles it should be regarded as a motor vehicle part.

23. A question was put by the Bench to Shri Chandrasekharan that in the note of Shri Subramaniyan reference had been made to the possible alternatives of rivetting or welding the two halves of the connecting rod big end. The Bench enquired why these alternatives were not being adopted. Shri Chandrasekharan requested that a reply to this query might be given by Shri M. Paramanandan, Senior Engineer of the respondents and a technically qualified person, who was present. Shri Paramanandan stated that because of the cramped space inside an automobile engine, it was not practicable to join the two halves of the big end by either rivetting or welding. Shri Chandrasekharan amplified the reply by referring to the further submission in Shri Subramaniyan's note, namely that rivetting or welding would not carry the benefits of the 12 special features to which he had referred. Shri Paramanan-dan added that the connecting rod bolt would also help to maintain a film of oil.

24. In the light of his arguments, as set out above, Shri Chandra-sekharan submitted that the Appellate Collector's decision was correct and that the appeal should be rejected.

24A. Replying on behalf of the Collector, Smt. Saxena pointed out that the goods were called connecting rod bolts by the respondents themselves. This would show that they were in fact known as bolts.

Whatever might be the specific functions of a particular bolt, it continued to be a bolt.

25. As regards the Board's decision in the case of Ashok Leyland, Smt.

Saxena submitted that it was not binding on the Tribunal. Further, at that time the choice was between item 34A and item 52, whereas now the choice was between item 52 and item 68. As already submitted by her, an article could not be relegated to item 68 if a specific item was available. The Board had also not given any specific reason as to why the connecting rod bolts were not regarded as bolts.

26. The decisions in the case of bus seats, dental chairs, etc., did not relate to bolts and nuts and were not applicable to the present case. In the order of the Tribunal in the case of Purewal & Associates Limited, it had been held that the screws in question had not been proved to have exclusive use in watches. (This does not seem correct, as we do not find such an observation in that order).

27. Finally, Smt. Saxena submitted that the appeal should be allowed and classification under T.I. 52 restored.

28. We have given our careful consideration to the arguments advanced by the learned representatives on both sides.

29. In para 2 above, we have mentioned that somewhat different descriptions have been given to the goods involved, although both the respondents and the authorities below have treated all the articles as "connecting rod bolts". We take the Annexure to the Assistant Collector's order as containing the basic list of the goods under consideration. In this list Serial Nos. 1 and 2 are described as "bolt rear wheel" and "bolt front wheel" and do not appear to the connecting rod bolts at al 1. A number of other items in the list are described simply as "bolts". The remaining 19 items are described as "con rod bolts" or "C.R. bolts", corresponding to the description "connecting rod bolts". Even among these, Serial No. 16, bearing part No. 210 90 8520, with the description "con rod bolt" has been shown as for supply to Kirloskar Oil Engines Limited, Pune (vide para 8 above). We can take notice of the fact that the abovementioned firm is known for manufacture of stationary engines, and not motor vehicles. It would appear from this that even among the articles described as "con rod bolts", there would be some which are not meant to be used in motor vehicles and therefore even in terms of the respondents' own arguments, could not claim to be called "motor vehicle parts". While the subsequent discussion will proceed with reference to connecting rod bolts for motor vehicles, this being the basis of all the arguments advanced before us, we shall at the appropriate stage take notice of the differences mentioned above.

30. The arguments advanced by Smt. Saxena are mainly that the basic function of the goods was that of fasteners ; that they were squarely covered by the description of T.I. 52 ; and that as between the specific item No. 52 and the residuary item No. 68, the specific item should have precedence over the residuary item.

31. Smt. Saxena had placed reliance among other decisions, on two previous decisions of the Tribunal in the case of Sri Ramdas Motor Transport Limited (1983 E.L.T. 2067) and Fit Tight Nuts and Bolts Limited [1985 (21) E.L.T. 717]. Shri Chandrasekharan has referred to a third decision of the Tribunal in the case of Purewal & Associates Limited (1985 E.C.R. 1032]. All these three judgments held the goods before them as bolts and nuts and they lend support to Smt. Saxena's arguments.

32. Material regarding the goods now under consideration has been given in the "write-up" filed by the Department. We are reproducing below the first two paragraphs of the write-up :- "Connecting rod is used to connect the crankshaft through its big end and the piston assembly through the gudgeon pin at the small end. The big end of the connecting rod is cylindrical and is split diametrically into two at the big end, one half being an integral part of major portion of the connecting rod and the other half just like a half cylinder with flanges and holes on it. The very purpose of having the big end split into two pieces is to facilitate easy assembly. Under assembled condition, the crank pin will pass through the big end hole of the connecting rod. The two halves are fastened together with the connecting rod bolt and its nuts.

The very purpose of the connecting rod bolt and the nut is only to fasten together the two halves of connecting rod big end and such connecting rod bolts are rightly classifiable as bolts under T.I. 52. No other function other than fastening can be attributed to for (sic) connecting rod bolts." 33. All the 32 items are referred to by both sides as "connecting rod bolts". Even the respondents have not said that the term "bolts" is totally inapplicable to the goods. What they have argued is that a more appropriate term is "motor vehicle parts".

34. We find from what is stated above that a prima facie case has been made out by Smt. Saxena for considering the goods in question as bolts falling under item 52. We shall, therefore, now proceed to examine the arguments advanced to the contrary by the learned Advocate for the respondents.

35. The arguments against classification of the goods under item 52 are basically the following :- (i) Though they perform a fastening function, this is not their primary but only an incidental function ; (ii) They have a number of special features (this argument overlaps with the previous one); and (iii) Each of the articles has been specially made for use in a specific vehicle, etc.

36. Before we proceed to examine the above arguments, we consider it desirable to set out the precise point at issue. This is : "Are the goods under consideration more appropriately or specifically covered by the description "All other goods, not elsewhere specified...?" 37. The arguments on behalf of the respondents were devoted to persuading us that the goods could more appropriately be described as "motor vehicle parts'". It appears to us that this approach was somewhat misconceived. It would have been quite relevant prior to 10-5-1979, that is, prior to the amendment of T.I. 34A, because prior to the amendment that item read as "parts and accessories of motor vehicles and tractors (including agricultural tractors) not otherwise specified". There was also an exemption notification exempting from duty all except certain specified parts. Therefore, with reference to goods such as the goods under consideration here, a question could legitimately have arisen as to whether they could more appropriately be called "bolts and nuts" or "parts of motor vehicles". However, as a result of the ' amendment, item 34A has been clearly defined as including only 15 specified parts and accessories of motor vehicles, among which admittedly bolts are not included. It is common ground that item 34A is not applicable to the bolts in question. Therefore, it is irrelevant to seek to apply to them any part of the description found in item 34A. The arguments of the respondents proceed as if the choice was between " bolts and nuts" and "parts and accessories of motor vehicles, not elsewhere specified". But the latter description is nowhere to be found in the Tariff. No doubt, unspecified motor vehicle parts would fall under item 68, if not covered by any other specific item, but even that does not give a warrant for reading item 68 as if it read "All other goods, including parts and accessories of motor vehicles, not elsewhere specified". In the light of the wording of item 52 and item 68, the description "motor vehicle parts" has no relevance.

38. If this basic position is taken into account, the conclusion becomes very clear. The respondents cannot be heard to contend that the goods cannot possibly be regarded as bolts, since they themselves refer to them by that term, no doubt with the addition in some cases of the adjectival phrase "connecting rod". The question then can only be which of the two items, namely item 52 and item 68, is more appropriate or more specific in relation to these articles. Here, the general principles of interpretation, to which reference has been made, leave no doubt. The basic principles are that if two entries are prima facie applicable, that one which is more appropriate or more specific should be preferred ; and that as between a specific entry and a residuary entry, the former should prevail. The second rule has been emphatically set down in the Supreme Court judgment in the Dunlop case, to which Smt. Saxena made reference. The first one is so axiomatic as not to need any authority. If these rules are applied, the case for classification under item 52 in preference to item 68 becomes overwhelmingly strong.

39. We now come to the arguments advanced on behalf of the respondents.

The first one was that the fastening function was only incidental and not the primary function. We have referred to the write-up given by Shri Subramaniyan, Deputy Manager (Finance) of the respondents, in which he has referred to 12 "special features". Most of these features are not in the nature of functions, but only descriptive of the bolts, such as "unsymmetrical head shape", "reduced shank", "manufactured from alloy steels only", and so on. What are called the functions of a connecting rod bolt have been described as below :- "To reduce and avoid one sided lifting of the con rod cap from the con rod at the parting line when the entire firing load on piston is transmitted through the bearings at large end of crankshaft. Con rod bolts are to be tightened to a tensile force more than the minimum of axial forces coming on the bolts to accommodate for the elastic and plastic deformation of bearing shell in order to overcome the interference of the bearing shell.

The con rod bolts are tightened with a precision torque wrench to ensure a lubrication oil film around the crankshaft which has forced oil circulation.

Easy to assemble with con rod bolts inside the crankshaft to form a connecting rod." The first sentence describes the basic function of the connecting rod bolt. A number of technical terms have been used in the above description, but we are unable to find from it that a connecting rod bolt performs any significant function other than the basic function of holding together the two parts of the connecting rod cap or big end.

That the bolts have to be tightened to a particular tensile force does not amount to a separate function, nor that they are easy to assemble.

The only other "function" which emerges from the above extract is that the bolts are so tightened as to ensure a lubrication oil film round the crankshaft. Obviously, this does not mean that the bolt itself performs the function of lubrication, but only that it must be tightened in such a way as not to interfere with the lubrication provided by the forced oil circulation. This also does not amount to a separate function.

39 A. We had pointed out to Shri Paramanandan, the Senior Engineer of the respondents, that reference had also been made to welding or rivetting, which could have been used instead of assembling with connecting rod bolts. Shri Paramanandan had explained that it was not advisable to use welding or rivetting for assembling the big end of the connecting rod inside an engine. He amplified this by adding that the connecting rod bolt would also help to maintain a film of oil. In Shri Subramaniyan's write-up, it has also been stated that "big ends are deliberately cut into two parts since there is no other assembly method for con rod on crankshaft". It is clear from the above that, while the two parts have to be held together, this cannot be done by welding or rivetting. It can be done, and is done, by using the connecting rod bolts. In these circumstances, to say that the fastening function of a connecting rod bolt is only incidental to such functions as lubrication, does not carry conviction. We find it to be quite clear that the fastening function is the most important, if not the only function.

40. What are called the special features are in fact the characteristics or specifications necessary for the connecting rod bolt to perform its basic function efficiently. The respondents have enclosed several pages of extracts from engineering books, setting out the detailed calculations which have to be made in order to design a connecting rod bolt or "bolted con rod connection". We are prepared to accept that very careful calculations may have to be made while designing a connecting rod bolt. But that does not make it any the less a bolt. The fact that an article is of high quality or made to very strict specifications, cannot be an argument to take it out of a tariff description which would cover that article. In the Simmonds Marshal case, it was argued before the Bombay High Court that the nyloc self-locking nuts there under consideration had a number of special features, e.g. "The petitioners' product is three to four times the price of an ordinary nut. It is manufactured from special material and has special specifications and designs, is sued by a separate class of consumers, and is inter alia used for locking and providing seal to any liquid entering a particular area, etc., and is not merely used for fastening as a nut is used". The above are substantially the arguments which have been used in the present case to contend that the connecting rod bolts should not be classified under item 52. However, the Bombay High Court was not convinced by those arguments and held the nyloc self-locking nuts as covered by T.I. 52.

41. It would be relevant in this connection to refer to the observations of the Supreme Court in the case of South Bihar Sugar Mills Ltd. [1978 E.L.T. (J 336) (S.C.)). In para 17(15) of that judgment the Supreme Court had observed that "The fact that the gas so generated has carbon dioxide below 99% and does not conform to the specification of Indian Standards Institution also would not matter for the gas may be sub-standard provided what is produced is carbon dioxide". Therefore, even sub-standard goods which correspond to a tariff entry would be covered by that entry. We see no reason why the converse proposition should not be equally applicable, namely why "super-standard" goods which conform to a particular tariff entry should not be taken as covered by it.

42. The Third argument was that each of the connecting rod bolts was "tailor-made" for fitment in a particular motor vehicle, and therefore could not be treated as a bolt as ordinarily understood. We do not find that the fact of a particular article being tailor-made would take it out of the scope of a tariff item. It has to be appreciated that each tariff item ordinarily covers a range of articles falling within the description of the item. Even such a common item as sugar is accompanied by a definition, which allows for a range of varieties and standards. It would follow that if the product of a particular manufacturer is taken into account, it may not have universal use.

That, however, does not mean that it would not fall within the particular tariff item. If the arguments of the respondents were to be accepted, tyres made for particular motor vehicles might have to be excluded from item 16, internal combustion engines for particular vehicles or machines from item 29, electrical stampings for electric motors of a particular size from item 28A, and so on. We would recall in this connection the observations of the Hon'ble Allahabad High Court in the case of Union of India and Ors. v. Union Carbide India Ltd. (1978 E.L.T. 1), which run as follows :- "The test of general marketability does not appear sound. It would fail in a monopoly product. For such a product, the relevant entry would become nugatory." We are therefore unable to accept that because these bolts are made to particular measurements and specifications for particular uses they should not be considered as "bolts" within the meaning of T.I. 52.

43. Much has been said about the test of common parlance or of the use of words in the sense which people conversant with the subject-matter of the statute would attribute to it. These unexceptionable principles are sometimes sought to be interpreted as if they meant that the tariff description should straight away be applied to the article in question.

The fallacy of such an approach would be obvious if we consider the case of an electric iron with reference to item 33C "domestic electrical appliances". The test of "common parlance" does not require us to enquire whether the common name given by an ordinary person or by a dealer to an electric iron is "domestic electrical appliance". What the test of common parlance would require is that if an ordinary person or a trader conversant with electrical articles is asked whether an electric iron is a "domestic electrical appliance", he should be able to answer with conviction that it is. In fact* it is only by adopting this approach that it could at all be contended that a connecting rod bolt is a "motor vehicle part". Obviously, a person wanting to buy a connecting rod bolt would ask for a "connecting rod bolt" and not for a "motor vehicle part". Still less would be as for "goods not elsewhere specified". Therefore, in applying the test of common parlance, the question is not whether the article under consideration is ordinarily referred to in the words of the tariff description, but rather whether according to common understanding it would be covered by the wording of the tariff description. In the present case of connecting rod bolts, both these questions would be answered in the affirmative. Not only are the articles covered by the generic tariff description "bolts and nuts", but they are in fact referred to as "connecting rod bolts". We do not therefore find any justification for seeking to take them out of the scope of T.I. 52 relating to "bolts and nuts" and treating them as "all other goods".

44. We have considered the note given by the Assistant Director of the Automotive Research Association of India. It is apparent that this note has been given at the request of the respondents and with reference to the present case. But even if it is taken into account, its contents are substantially similar to those of the note of Shri K.R.Subramaniyan to which we have already referred.

45. We do not find it necessary to refer in detail to the various judgments relied upon by the learned Advocate for the respondents, as the above discussion adequately covers the points raised. The decisions relating to "steel furniture" do not help the respondents, because there the question was not of choosing between a specific and a residuary tariff item, but of considering whether the goods fell within a particular description. Further, each of the decisions was with reference to the facts of the particular case. In the Gurumukh Singh case the goods were U bolts and U clamps, which the Government of India held to be specially designed for use in automobiles. (Incidentally, it is not clear whether that case pertained to the period after or before 10-5-1979, when item 34A was differently worded). As regards the Simmonds Marshal case, we have already referred to it in para 40 above, to show that arguments very similar to those now advanced before us were advanced in that case, but the Hon'ble Bombay High Court nevertheless held that the correct classification was T.I. 52.

46. The discussion above primarily has reference to connecting rod bolts designed for use in motor vehicles, since that is the basis on which the entire case has proceeded. We have examined the two representative samples of "connecting rod bolts" shown to us at the hearing. Part No. 210 90 6750, which is stated to be for supply to Sundaram Clayton Ltd., Padi, Madras, appears to be more or less in the conventional shape of a bolt, though we have no reason to doubt that it was made to order. Part No. 210 90 8520, which is described as for supply to Kirloskar Oil Engines Ltd., Pune, seems to be specially made with reference to its fitment in a particular machine. However, apart from our conclusion that this by itself would not take it outside the scope of T.I. 52, it will be seen that if it is for use in a stationary diesel engine, the arguments with reference to a connecting rod bolt being termed a motor vehicle part would become inapplicable to this article. In regard to the rear wheel bolts and front wheel bolts, the basic arguments advanced by the respondents would have no application and prima facie these would appear to be covered by the Tribunal's decisions on hub bolts. While we have taken note of these distinctions, our decision in the present appeal is with reference to arguments based on connecting rod bolts for motor vehicles.

47. In the light of the preceding discussion, we find that the Appellate Collector was wrong in holding that the 32 items covered by this appeal were classifiable under T.I. 68. We accordingly set aside the Appellate Collector's order and restore the Assistant Collector's order holding these 32 items as classifiat le under item 52 of the Central Excise Tariff Schedule.

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