1. This is a second appeal from the decision of the Additional Subordinate Judge of Benares. The point raised is an interesting, one concerning the right of the Municipality of Benarea to levy octroi duty on goods entering the Municipal boundaries under the rules in force at the date of the plaint. The plaintiffs are dealers in electrical goods and similar articles. They were in the habit of importing electric fans into Benares. On one occasion they thought fit to declare the value of some Seimen ceiling fans at Rs. 20 each. The Municipality not unnaturally thought that this was a wholly inadequate value to declare, with the result that the goods were detained in the octroi barrier and the Municipality refused to allow the plaintiffs to take possession of them until payment of duty. The plaintiffs then considered their position and, no doubt under legal advice, discovered the schedule of octroi rates of the Benares Municipality. It was there discovered that electric fans were not included among the various articles upon which the Municipality was entitled by sanction of the Governor-in-Council to charge octroi duty. Thereupon the plaint was filed by the electrical suppliers claim-sag the return of the octroi duty they ventually had paid to obtain possession of the fans and damages for the detention of the goods. The Municipality in the lower Courts have relied upon Article 82 in the schedule as giving them authority to charge octroi duty on the fans in question. Article 82 includes the word 'hardware.' In the lower Courts and here it has been contended that the word 'hardware' covers electric fans. Thus the construction of this word is the sole question now in issue which I have to decide.
2. It is to be noted that the schedule is dated 1922. In that year there was no electricity in Benares and both the Courts below have laid stress upon this point. It is said that as there was no electricity in Benares, the framers of the schedule Quid not possibly have meant hardware la include electric fans. On this point I am not in agreement with the lower Courts. Apart from the fact that electricity was in a great many other towns in the Province, the sole question on the construction of the word 'hardware' would be whether the word did in fact include electric fans. We cannot investigate the mind of a body like the Benares Municipal Council. I am satisfied however that both the Courts below are right in the decision at which they arrived. Among the articles specifically exempted from duty in the Extracts from the, Benares Municipal Accounts Code are carriages, vehicles of all sorts including motor cars, bicycles, tricycles and machinery and component parts thereof. The word 'hardware' in my opinion cannot possibly be applied to an article like an electric fan. An investigation of various dictionaries makes this to my mind clear that hardware includes pots, pans and domestice appliances of that sort and simple articles made of metal. It cannot include complicated machinery such as electric motors and articles of that type into which of course a certain amount of metal must necessarily enter. An electric fan comes much more nearly under the term 'machinery' which is by the Code itself exempt from duty. The Benares Municipal Council has by sanction of the Governor-in-Council added in May 1932 as Subject to octroi duty 'all forms of electric goods including electric lights and fans.' This has been published in the Local Government Gazette. The position is now beyond doubt, but I have merely to consider the position before this addition.
3. I am satisfied that the word 'hardware' cannot include an electric fan and I therefore dismiss this appeal with costs. As the matter is of importance to the Municipality and the citizens of Benares, leave to appeal in Letters Patent is allowed if it is thought fit to appeal.