P. Chandra Reddy, C.J.
1. The question that is posed by this revision case is whether wheat is a millet for purposes of Schedule III of the Andhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act, 1957.
2. The revision case relates to the assessment year 1957-58. In the return submitted by the assessee, he claimed that the turnover represented by the sale of wheat was not exigible to tax as it has already suffered tax at the first purchase point. Overruling the objection, the department levied tax on the purchase of wheat in the view that Schedule III is inapplicable to wheat. Hence the revision.
3. Schedule III catalogues the commodities in respect of which a single point purchase tax only is leviable under Section 5(3) of the Andhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act, 1957. One of the articles included in the Schedule is 'millets'. The point for consideration is whether the expression 'millets' comprehends 'wheat'. The department thought that wheat is outside the pale of the expression 'millets'. On the other hand, the contention pressed upon us by Sri Seshapani for the petitioner is that the word 'millets' is comprehensive enough to cover wheat. It is urged by him that the Legislature would not have thought of excluding wheat when the Schedule takes in several articles consumed in the State and so we have to attribute an intention to the Legislature to comprehend 'wheat' within the ambit of the word 'millets'. We find it difficult to accede to this argument. The various dictionaries which we have consulted seem to exclude wheat from the meaning of 'millets'.
4. In Chambers Encyclopaedia, Volume VII, 'millet' is described, among other things, as :
It is a native of the East Indies, but is extremely cultivated in the warmer parts of Europe and other quarters of the world. The grain, which is very nutritious, is only about one-eighth of an inch in length. It is used in the form of groats, or in flour mixed with wheat-flour, which makes a good kind of bread ; but bread made of millet alone is brittle; and full of cracks. Poultry are extremely fond of millet...
5. This statement indicates that millets and wheat are different commodities and that the former thrives only in the warmer parts of Europe. It is common knowledge that wheat grows all over Europe and Central Asia and is not confined to Southern Europe and it is better grown in cooler climates, the temperature required for it being 55 degrees (farenheit). Nor could it be posited that wheat is used as food for poultry.
6. Turning now to the Imperial Dictionary, Volume II, it says :
Millet is the common name given to the two British species of plants of the genus Milum..The stalk of all the species resembles a jointed reed, having at every joint a long broad leaf which embraces the stalk with its base. An abundance of small grains are set round a compact spike at the top of the stalk. The stalk itself is filled with a Saccharine juice. Millet is cultivated largely in the southern parts of Europe, but it is grown most extremely in the East Indies, China, Arabia, Syria, Egypt and Nubia, where it is used as food for men ; but in this country, it is used chiefly for feeding poultry and domestic animals.
7. It is difficult to apply this description to wheat. Wheat is used in England chiefly for human consumption and not for feeding poultry and domestic animals.
8. What is stated about 'millets' in the Oxford Dictionary, Volume VI, also seems to be in consonance with this. There, it is stated :
'Millet' is a graminaceous plant, panicum miliaceum, native of India but extensively cultivated as a cereal in the warmer parts of Europe, growing three or four feet high and bearing on a terminal spike or panicle a large crop of minute nutritious seeds.
9. The meaning given in Sir James Murray's 'A New English Dictionary', Volume VI, is also the same.
10. Similar is the meaning given of the word 'millets' in the Century Dictionary Encyclopaedia and Atlas. It says :
It is a grain which is one of the best for fowls cultivated in East and in Southern and Central Europe.
11. In the World Book Encyclopaedia (Volume II), it is stated inter alia:
In Canada and the U. S., different kinds of millet are grown mostly for hay, to enrich the soil and to produce seed. But, in large areas of Europe and Asia, millet is grown for human food.
12. This statement does not fit in with the one, namely, that wheat is grown in Canada and other parts in U. S. for human consumption.
13. The meaning of 'millets' as given in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 15 (1953 Edition) is in accordance with that mentioned above.
14. In the Encyclopaedia of India, Volume II (I885 Edition), this is what is stated of 'millets' :
Millets are known as petitmais, or tropical crops. In India, they form a great part of the food of the labouring people everywhere but on sea-board, in the valleys and on the banks of rivers perhaps as much as rice, and more than wheat, and in Egypt, perhaps, surpass all other crops in importance.
15. It is seen that the distinction is between rice and wheat and that wheat is not a kind of millets.
16. Sankaranarayana's Dictionary seems to restrict the meaning of millet to a kind of jonna or korra. So also the Brown's Dictionary. It is unnecessary to refer to the other dictionaries which give the same meaning to the word 'millets'.
17. The Oil Seeds Expert also gives a list of commodities which go in the name of 'millets', namely, (1) maize (mokka jonna), (2) grain sorghum (jonna), (3) finger millet (raghulu), (4) pearl millet (sajja) and (5) fox tail millet (korra). Wheat is not included in the list.
18. In the light of the meanings given in the various dictionaries mentioned above, we are inclined to think that the expression 'millets' does not include wheat. In common parlance also the word millet is used with reference to grains : Grain sorghum (jonna), finger millet (raghulu), pearl millet (sajja) and fox tail millet (korra). Therefore, the dealers in wheat cannot have the benefit of the single point tax contemplated by Schedule III of the Andhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act, 1957. Hence wheat is subject to multiple point tax.
19. In the result, the order of the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal, which confirmed those of the Deputy Commissioner of Commercial Taxes and the Deputy Commercial Tax Officer is confirmed and the revision case is dismissed with costs.