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Bharat Engineering and Foundry Works Vs. the U.P. Government - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSales Tas Reference Nos. 454, 455 and 456 of 1954
Judge
Reported in[1963]14STC262(All)
AppellantBharat Engineering and Foundry Works
RespondentThe U.P. Government
Appellant AdvocateK.C. Agarwal, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateStanding Counsel
DispositionSuit dismissed
Excerpt:
- - there are however other operations which have got to be resorted to by the agriculturist and which are absolutely necessary for the purpose of effectively raising the produce from the land. ..the cultivation of the land does not comprise merely of raising the products of the land in the narrower sense of the term like tilling of the land, sowing of the seeds, planting, and similar work done on the land but also includes the subsequent operations set out above......that arose before the supreme court was whether income from sal and piyasal trees in forest land is agricultural income within the meaning of the income-tax act, which exempts it. the learned judges observed at page 474 that the word 'agriculture' is used in the narro sense of the cultivation of land and in the wide sense of comprising 'all activities in relation to the land including horticulture, forestry, breeding and rearing of livestock, dairying, butter and cheese-making, husbandry etc.' it will be noticed that preparing rah or gur is not included in the activities which are included within the wider meaning of agriculture. at page 507 it was said:agriculture is the basic idea underlying the expressions 'agricultural purposes' and 'agricultural operations' and it is.....
Judgment:

M.C. Desai, C.J.

1. This and the connected references have been made by the Judge (Revisions) Sales Tax under Section 11(1) of the U.P. Sales Tax Act the question referred to being-

Whether cane crushers are agricultural implements within the meaning of the words 'agricultural implements' as mentioned in Government Notification No. S.T. 119/X-928 dated June 7, 1948 made under Section 4, U.P. Sales Tax Act of 1948 and hence exempt from U.P. sales tax.

2. The question referred to in the connected Sales Tax Reference No. 455 of 1954 differs from this question, only in this respect that it includes boiling pans within its scope.

3. The question arises because under notification issued by the State Government on 7th June, 1948, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 4 of the Act 'agricultural implements' have been exempted from the sales tax. The assessees in these references are dealers in cane crushers and boiling pans, and their case is that these articles are agricultural implements within the meaning of the notification and that consequently they are not liable to be taxed on their sale.

4. Cane crushers and boiling pans are used only in the manufacture of gur from sugarcane. Sugarcane is an agricultural produce and the process which results in the production of sugarcane is undoubtedly agriculture, but the production of gur from sugarcane is a manufacturing process and not an agricultural process. The agricultural process comes to an end with the production of sugarcane and when gur is subsequently being prepared it is manufacturing process that commences. Merely because sugarcane is an agricultural produce anything that is done to it after it is produced is not necessarily a continuation of the agricultural process. It cannot be doubted that agricultural produce can be subjected to a manufacturing process; merely because gur is produced out of sugarcane which is an agricultural produce, the process of preparing gur does not become an agricultural process. We respectfully agree with our brother B.L. Gupta, J., when he said in Sardar Jogendra Singh v. Sales Tax Officer, Section 11, Muzaffarnagar and Anr. [1962] 13 S.T.C. 250, that rah or jaggery is not an 'agricultural or horticultural produce' within the meaning of the Sales Tax Act. If rob or jaggery is not an agricultural produce, gur also is not an agricultural produce and if it is not an agricultural produce the process of preparing gur is not an agricultural process and any implement that is used in preparing it is not an agricultural implement. An agricultural implement is an implement that is used in agriculture; any implement that is used after the agricultural process comes to an end and a manufacturing process commences, is not an agricultural implement.

5. What amounts to 'agricultural income' has been dealt with exhaustively by the Supreme Court in Commissioner of Income-tax, West Bengal, Calcutta v. Raja Benoy Kumar Sahas Roy : [1957]32ITR466(SC) . The question that arose before the Supreme Court was whether income from sal and piyasal trees in forest land is agricultural income within the meaning of the Income-tax Act, which exempts it. The learned Judges observed at page 474 that the word 'agriculture' is used in the narro sense of the cultivation of land and in the wide sense of comprising 'all activities in relation to the land including horticulture, forestry, breeding and rearing of livestock, dairying, butter and cheese-making, husbandry etc.' It will be noticed that preparing rah or gur is not included in the activities which are included within the wider meaning of agriculture. At page 507 it was said:

Agriculture is the basic idea underlying the expressions 'agricultural purposes' and 'agricultural operations' and it is pertinent therefore to enquire what is the connotation of the term 'agriculture'. As we have noted above, the primary sense in which the term agriculture is understood is agar-field and cultra-cultivation, i.e., the cultivation of the field, and if the term is understood only in that sense agriculture would be restricted only to cultivation of the land in the strict sense of the term meaning thereby, tilling of the land, sowing of the seeds, planting and similar operations on the land. They would be the basic operations and would require the expenditure of human skill and labour upon the land itself. There are however other operations which have got to be resorted to by the agriculturist and which are absolutely necessary for the purpose of effectively raising the produce from the land. They are operations to be performed after the produce sprouts from the land, e.g., weeding, digging the soil around the growth, removal of undesirable undergrowths and all operations which foster the growth and preserve the same not only from insects and pests but also from depradation from outside, tending, pruning, cutting, harvesting, and rendering the produce fit for the market. The latter would all be agricultural operations when taken in conjunction with the basic operations above described, and it would be futile to urge that they are not agricultural operations at all....

We are of opinion that the mere performance of these subsequent operations on the products of the land, where such products have not been raised on the land by the performance of the basic operations which we have described above would not be enough to characterise them as agricultural operations. In order to invest them with the character of agricultural operations, these subsequent operations must necessarily be in conjunction with and a continuation of the basic operations which are the effective cause of the products being raised from the land....The cultivation of the land does not comprise merely of raising the products of the land in the narrower sense of the term like tilling of the land, sowing of the seeds, planting, and similar work done on the land but also includes the subsequent operations set out above....

The question still remains whether there is any warrant for the further extension of the term 'agriculture' to all activities in relation to the land or having connection with the land including breeding and rearing of live-stock, dairy-farming, butter and cheese-making, poultry- farming, etc....

We are however of opinion that the mere fact that an activity has some connection with or is in some way dependent on land is not sufficient to bring it within the scope of the term and such extension of the term 'agriculture' is unwarranted. The term 'agriculture' cannot be dissociated from the primary significance thereof which is that of cultivation of the land and even though it can be extended in the manner we have stated before both in regard to the process of agriculture and the products which are raised upon the land, there is no warrant at all for extending it to all activities which have relation to the land or are in any way connected with the land. The use of the word agriculture in regard to such activities would certainly be a distortion of the term..Nevertheless there is present all throughout the basic idea that there must be at the bottom of it cultivation of land in the sense of tilling of the land, sowing of the seeds, planting, and similar work done on the land itself. This basic conception is the essential sine qua non of any operation performed on the land constituting agricultural operation. If the basic operations are there, the rest of the operations found themselves upon the same. But if these basic operations are wanting the subsequent operations do not acquire the characteristic of agricultural operations.

6. These observations make it quite clear that the agricultural process finished when sugarcane was harvested and brought home, and that preparation of gur from it was no continuation of the agricultural process, howsoever wide a meaning may be given to the word 'agriculture'. The preparation of gur does not stand on the same footing as poultry-farming, dairying and cheese-making and is not included in agricultural process.

7. It was contended before us that 'agriculture' includes 'husbandry' and that cane crushers and boiling pans have been held to be implements of husbandry by the Bombay High Court in Laxman Mhasu and Ors. v. Narhari Dadasa Gujar (A.I.R. 1924 Bom. 294) and Gujar Singh v. Babu Ram (A.T.R. 1928 Lah. 943). The question arose in these ; two cases whether cane crushers and boiling pans of agriculturists were exempt from attachment and sale under Section 60 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The High Court of Bombay conceded that it was not easy to define the exact scope of the expression 'implements of husbandry' used with reference to an agriculturist, but having regard to the nature of the articles and the use made thereof on the field by the agriculturist, it thought that it would be giving effect to the intention of the Legislature to hold that they were implements of husbandry. In the Lahore case Bhide, J., simply followed the Bombay case. With respect to the learned Judges we find it difficult to accept their vie that cane crushers and boiling pans are instruments of husbandry. We may accept that agriculture includes husbandry but it is husbandry in the sense of farming that is included in the meaning of agriculture. We are at a loss to kno ho cane crushers and boiling pans, which are to be used after sugarcane is produced, can still be said to be implements of farming; they are not to be used at all in farming or in producing sugarcane. They are used in producing gur, but as we pointed out earlier gur is not an agricultural produce, and preparing gur is not agriculture. We may also point out that under Section 60 of the Code of Civil Procedure all agricultural produce is not exempt from sale and attachment; only that much of agricultural produce is exempt as is necessary for the purpose of providing until the next harvest for the due cultivation of land and for the support of the agriculturist and his family. If all the sugarcane produced by an agriculturist is not exempt from attachment and sale the Legislature could not have provided for exemption of cane crushers and boiling pans. The sugarcane that was left with an agriculturist was just sufficient for supplying seed for the next harvest and for his and his family's support and, therefore, could not be used for production of gur. We do not understand why the Legislature should still exempt from attachment and sale cane crushers and boiling pans. If there was no sugarcane left with the agriculturist for production of gur the cane crushers and boiling pans would be useless. We, therefore, reject the contention that cane crushers and boiling pans are implements of husbandry and, therefore, implements of agriculture.

8. We answer the questions in the negative and against the applicant assessee and direct that a copy of this judgment be sent to the Judge (Revisions) Sales Tax and the Commissioner of Sales Tax under the seal of the Court and the signature of the Registrar as required by Section 11(6) of the Sales Tax Act. We further direct that the Sales Tax Commissioner shall get his costs of this reference, which we assess at Rs. 100, from the applicant-assessee.


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