1. In this reference under s. 256(1) of the I.T. Act, 1961, a question is referred to this court at the instance of the revenue. The question is this :
'Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Tribunal was justified in holding that the assesee was entitled to education under s. 80-I of the Income-tax Act, 1961, for the assessment years 1968-69 and 1969-70, in respect of the profits from machining charges for repairs to machines sold and interest from customers on outstanding sale proceeds of machines manufactured by it ?
2. Section 80-I of the I.T. Act, 1961, at the relevant time read thus :
'80-I. Deduction in respect of profits and gains from priority industries in the case of certain companies-(1) In the case of a company to which this section applies, where the gross total income includes any profits and gains attributable to any priority industry, there shall be allowed, in accordance with and subject to the provisions of this section, a deduction from such profits and gains of an amount equal to eight per cent. thereof, in computing the total income of the company.'
3. Priority industry was defined by s. 80B(7) thus :
'80B, (7) 'priority industry' means the business of generation or distribution of electricity or any other form of power or of construction, manufacture or production of any one or more of the articles or things specified in the list in the Sixth Schedule or the business of any hotel where such business is carried on by an Indian company and the hotel is for the time being approved in this behalf by the Central Government.'
4. It is not in dispute that the assessee, which carries on the business of manufacture and sale of machinery used in the sugar industry, is a priority industry. The assessee claimed for the relevant years deductions under s. 80-I in respect of profits attributable to its priority industry from machining charges for repairs to machinery and from interest on the unpaid sale proceeds of machinery manufactured by it. The ITO and the AAC declined to permit such deductions. The Income-tax Tribunal, following an earlier decision taken by it, held that the assessee was entitled to such deductions. For the assessment year 1968-69, the assessee had produced before the Tribunal a certificate to the effect that the entire machining charges were received by it during that year for reconditioning machinery which was originally manufactured and sold by it. The Tribunal therefore, directed that the aggregate amount thereof should be considered as profit for the purpose of giving relief under s. 80-I. For the assessment year 1969-70., however, since no similar certificate had been produced, the Tribunal apportioned, as it had done in its earlier order, profits from machining charges half and half between repairs to machinery manufactured and sold by it and repairs to machinery of other manufacturers.
5. It will be noted that s. 80-I uses the words 'attributable to', which are words of wide import. In the case of Cambay Electric Supply Industrial Co. Ltd. v. CIT : 113ITR84(SC) , the Supreme Court considered the provisions of s. 80-I (then s. 80E) and observed that the expressions 'attributable to' had been deliberately used by the legislature. It was wider to import than the expression 'derived from'. Since an expression of wider import had been used, the legislature intended to cover receipts from sources other than the actual conduct of the business, in the case before them, of the generation and distribution of electricity. In CIT v. Universal Radiators P. Ltd. : 128ITR531(Mad) , a Division Bench of the Madras High Court considered the decision in Cambay Electric Supply Industrial Co. Ltd. v. CIT : 113ITR84(SC) , and said that the observations therein had to be understood in the sense that s. 80-I envisaged relief being granted in all cases where there was some direct nexus between the income and the priority industry. Again, in CIT v. Ashok Leyland Ltd. : 130ITR900(Mad) , a Division Bench of the Madras High Court applied the Cambay Electricity Supply Industrial Co. Ltd.'s case : 113ITR84(SC) and held that the sale of spare parts by the assesee to purchasers of its automobile trucks for the purpose of servicing the same was intimately bound up with the assessee's priority industry.
6. The manufacture of machinery by the assessee is a priority industry. The carrying out of repairs to machinery manufactured and sold by the assessee is an activity which has a direct nexus to the priority industry. The income derived therefrom must, therefore, be held to be attributable to the priority industry. The income derived from the interest paid by buyers of machinery manufactured by the assessee on deferred payment also has direct nexus to the assessee's priority industry and is attributable to it. The facility of after-sales repairs and of deferred payment are inducements offered to intending purchasers and are intimately linked to the assessee's priority industry.
7. In the result, the question that is posed for our consideration is answered in the affirmative, i.e., in favour of the assessee.
8. The Revenue shall pay to the assessee the costs of the reference.