Skip to content


Commissioner of Sales Tax Vs. Colour Chem. Limited - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSales Tax Reference No. 31 and 32 of 1965
Judge
Reported in[1968]22STC90(Bom)
ActsBombay Sales Tax Act, 1959 - Sections 52 and 61
AppellantCommissioner of Sales Tax
RespondentColour Chem. Limited
Appellant AdvocateH.D. Banaji, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateS.P. Mehta, ;V.H. Patil and ;Gaitonde, Advs.
Excerpt:
sales tax - taxable rate - schedules e and c to bombay sales tax act, 1959 - whether after amendment of entry no. 22 of schedule e pigment powders are goods falling within scope of and are taxable at rates specified in that entry or in entry no. 39 of schedule c - 'pigment' is not itself a paint but used in preparation of 'paint' - 'pigment powders' do not fall within term 'paints in entry no. 39 - it falls within residuary entry no. 22. - - 'pigment powders' as well as 'pigment emulsions' are certainly technical terms......escape from the conclusion that neither 'pigment powders' nor 'pigment emulsions' fall within the term 'paints'. 4. turning first to its meaning as a matter of plain language, we may refer to the meaning of the term 'pigment' in the webster's third new international dictionary which defines it as under : 'a natural or synthetic inorganic or organic substance that imparts a colour including black or white to other materials; especially, a powder or easily powdered substance mixed with a liquid in which it is relatively insoluble and used in making paints, enamels, and other coating materials ..............' 5. we are not concerned with the rest of the meanings given in webster's dictionary. having regard to the fact that the word 'pigment', in the context with which we are concerned, is.....
Judgment:

Vimadalal, J.

1. These are two references under section 61 of the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1959, made at the instance of the Commissioner of Sales Tax, in the first of which, viz., Sales Tax Reference No. 31, the two questions which have been referred are as follows :

'(1) Whether after 1st April, 1961, pigment powders are goods falling within the scope of and are taxable at the rates specified in entry No. 22 of Schedule E to the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1959

(2) If the answer to question (1) be in the negative, whether after 1st April, 1961, pigment powders fall within the scope of and are taxable at the rates specified in entry No. 39 of Schedule C to the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1959 ?'

2. The questions referred to us in Sales Tax Reference No. 32 of 1965 are identical in terms, except that they refer, not to pigment powders, but to pigment emulsions. The question that we have to determine, therefore, is under which entry are pigment powders and pigment emulsions taxable under the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1959, after the amendment of the relevant entry on the 1st of April, 1961. Till that amendment was effected, i.e., up to 31st March, 1961, there existed an entry, being entry No. 4 in Schedule C to the said Act, which provided for a certain rate of tax in respect of 'dyes and chemicals other than those specified in any other entry in this or any other Schedule'. There is also to be found as entry No. 39 in the same Schedule an entry which provides for a higher rate of tax in respect of 'paints, lacquers and varnishes'. That entry has subsisted both before and after 1st April, 1961, on which date entry No. 4, to which we have referred above, was deleted from the said Schedule C. In Schedule E to the said Act is to be found entry No. 22 which provides for a certain rate of tax, which is lower than that provided in entry No. 39 referred to above, in respect of 'all goods other than those specified from time to time in Schedules A, B, C and D and in the preceding entries.' It may be mentioned that the said entry No. 22 has also subsisted both before and after the deletion of entry No. 4 which was effected by the amendment made on and from 1st April, 1961. It is the contention of the respondent-assessee that after entry No. 4 was deleted on the said date, pigment powders and pigment emulsions, which are manufactured by them, are not covered by any other entry in any of the Schedules to the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1959, and therefore, fall within the general residuary entry which is entry No. 22 in Schedule E of the said Act and which has been set out above. The taxing authorities, on the other hand, contend that after entry No. 4 was deleted as from 1st April, 1961, 'pigment powders' and 'pigment emulsions' fall within entry No. 39 as being 'paints' within the terms of that entry, and are, therefore, liable to a higher rate of tax than they would be liable if they fall within the residuary entry No. 22.

3. It may be mentioned that the present references have arisen out of an application made by the respondents under section 52 of the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1959. Mr. Banaji for the department has contended that the terms 'pigment powders' and 'pigment emulsions' should not be given a technical meaning, but should be given the meaning that is attributed to them in common parlance as has been laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Ramavatar Budhaiprasad v. The Assistant Sales Tax Officer, Akola, and Another [1961] 12 S.T.C. 286. In laying down the same rule of construction, the Supreme Court has, however, in the later case of Commissioner of Sales Tax, M.P. v. Jaswant Singh [1967] 19 S.T.C. 469 indicated that that rule may not apply to a technical term, or to a term of science or art. 'Pigment powders' as well as 'pigment emulsions' are certainly technical terms. In our opinion, however, whether the matter is looked at from the point of view of common parlance or of technical terminology, there is no escape from the conclusion that neither 'pigment powders' nor 'pigment emulsions' fall within the term 'paints'.

4. Turning first to its meaning as a matter of plain language, we may refer to the meaning of the term 'pigment' in the Webster's Third New International Dictionary which defines it as under :

'A natural or synthetic inorganic or organic substance that imparts a colour including black or white to other materials; especially, a powder or easily powdered substance mixed with a liquid in which it is relatively insoluble and used in making paints, enamels, and other coating materials

..............'

5. We are not concerned with the rest of the meanings given in Webster's Dictionary. Having regard to the fact that the word 'pigment', in the context with which we are concerned, is used in association with the word 'powder', it is the latter of the two meanings given by Webster that would be applicable, and so construed, it is quite clear that it cannot connote 'paint' itself, but is merely an ingredient out of which 'paint' is made by the process of mixing indicated therein. Mr. Banaji has relied upon the meaning that is to be found in the same dictionary in respect of the word 'paint'. The relevant meaning of that term as given there is as follows :

'A mixture of a pigment and a suitable vehicle (as oil, water) that together form a liquid or paste that can be applied and spread (as with a brush, spray gun, roller) to a surface so as to form a thin closely adherent coating that dries opaque and imparts color to the surface and that is often designed to protect the surface (as against weathering).'

6. Mr. Banaji has relied particularly on the second meaning of the word 'paint' given in Webster's Dictionary which is 'the dry pigment used in making this mixture'. On a consideration of that meaning. Mr. Banaji has contended that the word 'pigment' itself is, therefore, used in the sense of being a 'paint'. Turning to the meanings that are given to the same terms in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, it may be stated that. The primary meaning of the word 'pigment' in that dictionary is 'coloring matter or substance'. The next meaning that is given to it is as follows :

'A paint, dye 'colour'; in technical use, a dry substance, usually, in the form of a powder, which, when mixed with a vehicle, constitutes a 'paint'.'

7. Again, having regard to the fact that we have been called upon to construe the term 'pigment' in the context of the word 'powder' it is quite clear that the meaning which is applicable in the present case is the second of these two meanings, viz., 'a dry substance, usually, in the form of a powder, which, when mixed with a vehicle, constitutes a 'paint'.' In our opinion, therefore, as a matter of plain language, the commodity in question, viz., 'pigment powders', does not fall within the term 'paints' in entry No. 39 of Schedule C of the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1959. There is another reason why the said goods, viz., 'pigment powders', should not be construed to fall within that entry, and that is that the term 'paints', as occurring in the said entry No. 39, should be construed ejusdem generis with the words 'lacquers and varnishes' in the context of which it occurs in the said entry. So construed, it is clear that the said entry is intended to apply to liquid substances, which are capable of being used by themselves for applying to other substances for the purpose of imparting colour or shine as the case may be.

8. Even if one construes these expressions in a technical sense, since these are in the nature of chemical substances, the same conclusion follows. Reference may be made in this connection to the book entitled 'Organic Coating Technology' by Henry Payne (Volume II, page 677) in which 'paint' is defined as a pigmented liquid composition which is converted to an opaque solid film after application as thin layer. A 'pigment' is defined as 'the fine solid particles used in the preparation of paint, and substantially insoluble in the vehicle.' The vehicle is stated to be the entire liquid portion of a paint which includes the pigment binder or film former.

9. It is clear from these technical meanings of the term 'paint' and of the term 'pigment', that pigment is not itself a paint, but is used in the preparation of 'paint'. We, therefore, hold that 'pigment powders' do not fall within the term 'paints' in entry No. 39 of Schedule C to the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1959.

10. Turning to the term 'pigment emulsions' which is the subject-matter of Reference No. 32 of 1965, it is common ground that they are not themselves used as paints, but are sold exclusively to textile mills for the purpose of printing textiles in conjunction with binder materials. They are, therefore, not 'paints'. All that we have stated above with regard to 'pigment powders' applies with equal force to 'pigment emulsions' also, and we must arrive at the same conclusion with regard to 'pigment emulsions' to which Reference No. 32 relates.

11. In the result, we answer the questions raised in Reference No. 31 as follows :

Question No. (1) : In the affirmative.

Question No. (2) : In the negative.

12. As far as Reference No. 32 is concerned, we also answer question No. (1) in the affirmative, and question No. (2) in the negative.

13. In our opinion, the questions posed in both the references have been framed in the wrong order, as it is only if an item is held not to fall within a particular entry that the question of its falling within the general residuary entry No. 22 of Schedule E arises. We have, however, answered them in the order in which they have been referred to us.

14. The respondents, having succeeded in both the references, are entitled to their costs. In view, however, of the fact that the two references have been heard together, we fix one set of costs in respect of both of them at the figure of Rs. 250.

15. References answered accordingly.


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