1. This is a reference under section 61(1) of the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1959 (hereinafter referred to as 'the said Act'), made at the instance of the Commissioner of Sales Tax.
2. The question referred to us for our determination is as follows :
'Whether, on a true and proper interpretation of entry 1 of Schedule E to the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1959, the Tribunal was correct in law in coming to the conclusion that 'platinum' was covered by the scope of the word 'bullion' used in the said entry '
3. The facts giving rise to this question, briefly stated, are as follows :
The respondents are registered as a dealer under the said Act. On 17th June, 1969, the respondents made an application to the Commissioner of Sales Tax under section 52(1)(e) of the said Act for determination of the rate of tax payable on the sales of platinum made by them as shown in a bill dated 28th February, 1969. It was stated in the application that the Fertiliser Corporation of India Ltd. had placed an order with the respondents for fabrication and supply of 90 per cent platinum and 10 per cent rhodium alloy gauzes. The platinum required for the fabrication of the said gauzes was supplied by the respondents and the rhodium was supplied by the said corporation. The cost of supply of the platinum was shown as Rs. 6,40,213.53. After an initial determination by the Commissioner there was an order of remand by the Sales Tax Tribunal. On remand, the Commissioner of Sales Tax held that platinum metal was not covered by entry 1 of Schedule E to the said Act and the entry applicable to platinum was the residuary entry 22 of Schedule E to the said Act and, as such sales of platinum would be liable to tax at 3 per cent sales tax and 3 per cent general sales tax. The respondents appealed to the Sales Tax Tribunal. The Tribunal came to the conclusion that platinum would fall within the expression 'bullion' appearing in entry 1 of Schedule E to the said Act. The question set out earlier arises out of this judgment of the Tribunal. Entry 1 of Schedule E to the said Act reads 'bullion and specie'. It is pointed out by Mr. Jetly and Mr. Patil that the Commissioner of Sales Tax as well as the Tribunal have proceeded to determine the question as to whether platinum is covered by the aforesaid entry 1 of Schedule E merely on the basis of the evidence led to show that platinum is a precious metal, and on the basis of certain dictionary meanings cited before them and that no evidence has been led by either side regarding the common parlance or the trade parlance meaning of the term 'bullion'. This positions also borne out by the record. In view of this, both the counsel submit hat neither the Commissioner nor the Tribunal should have answered the question without any evidence regarding the common parlance or the trade parlance meaning of the term 'bullion'. Both the counsel jointly apply that when the matter goes back to the Tribunal, parties should be allowed to lead evidence in this regard, viz., as to the common parlance or the trade parlance meaning of the term 'bullion'. We have no doubt at all that when the matter goes back to the Tribunal the Tribunal will allow such evidence to be led. In the result, we answer the question referred to us as follows : The Tribunal was not correct in law in coming to the conclusion set out in the question without evidence as to the common parlance or the trade parlance meaning of the term 'bullion'.
4. The matter will now go back to the Tribunal for determination according to what we have stated above. There will be no order as to costs of this reference.
5. Reference answered accordingly.