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State Representative Before Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal Vs. Sanicons - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberTax Revision Case No. 77 of 1977
Judge
Reported in[1980]45STC234(AP)
AppellantState Representative Before Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal
RespondentSanicons
Appellant AdvocateThe Government Pleader for Commercial Taxes
Respondent AdvocateP. Venkatarama Reddy, Adv.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....is used only to measure or record the consumption of water by a consumer, cannot be treated as a water supply fitting. therefore, it is outside the ambit of item 102. 6. as we have already stated, it may be 'machinery'.it is operated by the movement of water just like some other machinery is moved or propelled either by electrical power or by power generated by oil. 9. even supposing for argument's sake that water-meters are not machinery simpliciter, since we have held that they are not 'water supply fittings',they would come under the category of 'general goods'.once they are outside the ambit of item 102, it is immaterial both for the revenue as well as for the assessee whether water-meters are treated as machinery or as general goods, since both of them are liable to tax only at..........at the instance of the revenue. the respondent is a dealer in sanitary goods. he also deals in water-meters. for the assessment year 1974-75, there was a disputed turnover of rs. 66,245.82 and that amount represented the sales of water-meters. here we are concerned only with that part of the assessment. the assessing authority treated water-meters as 'water supply fittings' under item 102 of the first schedule, which prescribes the rate of 6 per cent as sales tax. the contention of the assessee, who is the respondent, is that water-meters are 'machinery' within the meaning of item 83 of the same schedule. he preferred an appeal to the assistant commissioner, who did not accede to the contention of the assessee but upheld the view of the assessing authority. thereupon, the assessee.....
Judgment:

A. Sambasiva Rao, C.J.

1. The question raised in this tax revision case, though a very short one, is quite interesting. It is: 'Whether water-meters come within the ambit of item 102 or item 83 of the First Schedule to the A.P. General Sales Tax Act?

2. This is a revision at the instance of the revenue. The respondent is a dealer in sanitary goods. He also deals in water-meters. For the assessment year 1974-75, there was a disputed turnover of Rs. 66,245.82 and that amount represented the sales of water-meters. Here we are concerned only with that part of the assessment. The assessing authority treated water-meters as 'water supply fittings' under item 102 of the First Schedule, which prescribes the rate of 6 per cent as sales tax. The contention of the assessee, who is the respondent, is that water-meters are 'machinery' within the meaning of item 83 of the same schedule. He preferred an appeal to the Assistant Commissioner, who did not accede to the contention of the assessee but upheld the view of the assessing authority. Thereupon, the assessee carried the matter to the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal. That Tribunal accepted the contention of the assessee and held that water-meters are to be treated as 'machinery' or 'general goods'. In either case, they are exigible to tax only at 4 per cent. The Tribunal was clear that water-meters do not come within the ambit of item 102 of the First Schedule.

3. Sri Parthasarathy, the learned Government Pleader for Commercial Taxes, urges before us that water-meters come squarely within the meaning of 'water supply fittings' as stated in item 102. According to him, even though these water-meters do not supply any water they are used in the course of water supply and, consequently, they can be called 'water supply fittings'.

4. It is difficult to accept this argument of the learned Government Pleader. The words 'water supply fittings' indicate those fittings or things which are used for water supply. Anything and everything which are connected with water supply cannot be called 'water supply fittings'. Take for instance, a motor and pump which are used to lift water to higher portions of a building. A motor, whether it is propelled by electrical power or oil, is certainly used in the process of water supply. But it cannot be treated as water supply fitting. On the other hand, it is clearly 'machinery' within the meaning of item 83 of the First Schedule. Though that item has been recast by Act 49 of 1976, we are, for the purpose of the present case, concerned with the item as it stood at the time of the relevant assessment year 1974-75. It then read:

Machinery, spare parts and accessories.

5. Continuing the analogy of the motor used for pumping the water to higher portions, a motor is clearly within the ambit of 'machinery'. Likewise, a water-meter which does not supply water but is used only to measure or record the consumption of water by a consumer, cannot be treated as a water supply fitting. A pipe-line may be a water supply fitting; a tap and a tap-head may be water supply fittings. But water-meter, which merely records the quantum of consumption, cannot be understood as a 'water supply fitting'. In our view, a fitting which is used for the purpose of water supply alone comes within the ambit of the words 'water supply fittings'. Going by that understanding of the words 'water supply fittings', water-meter cannot be treated as a water supply fitting. Therefore, it is outside the ambit of item 102.

6. As we have already stated, it may be 'machinery'. It is operated by the movement of water just like some other machinery is moved or propelled either by electrical power or by power generated by oil. Thus, it has the features of 'machinery'.

7. This view of ours gains support from a Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court in Shyam Enamel Works v. Commissioner of Sales Tax [1975] 35 S.T.C. 489. There, the Division Bench held that water-meters are machinery because they work on account of the transmission of energy caused by the movement of water in them.

8. In fact, this decision was noticed by the lower Tribunal.

9. Even supposing for argument's sake that water-meters are not machinery simpliciter, since we have held that they are not 'water supply fittings', they would come under the category of 'general goods'. Once they are outside the ambit of item 102, it is immaterial both for the revenue as well as for the assessee whether water-meters are treated as machinery or as general goods, since both of them are liable to tax only at the rate of 4 per cent.

10. In the light of the above discussion, we hold that water-meters do not come within the ambit of 'water supply fittings' and, consequently, within the ambit of item 102 of the First Schedule. Whether they are machinery or general goods, tax only at the rate of 4 per cent is exigible on them. We, therefore, agree with the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal and dismiss the tax revision case preferred by the revenue. Since we are told that there is no decided case of this Court on this aspect of the matter, we direct the parties to bear their own costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 150.


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