Skip to content


Commissioner, Sales Tax Vs. Asha Handloom - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case Number Sales Tax Reference No. 149 of 1970
Judge
Reported in[1972]29STC554(All)
AppellantCommissioner, Sales Tax
RespondentAsha Handloom
Appellant Advocate Standing Counsel
Respondent Advocate R.K. Das, ;Ashok Gupta and ; B.B. Agarwal, Advs.
Excerpt:
- - this proposition of law is now well settled by a series of decisions of the supreme court. 6. the word 'carpet' is a word of every day use and its meaning is well understood. in fact there is a large variety of other materials which are used as coverings for floors and stairs like coir and jute matting and floor coverings made of linoleum and other similar synthetic products. this meaning tallies with the popular meaning of this word as well as with the dictionary meaning. on the material before us we are satisfied that the term 'carpet' in' the notification in question has not been used to include all varieties of material which is used for covering floors and stairs......all points of sale:1...2. carpets.3...4. the act or the rules do not contain a definition of the word 'carpet'. accordingly, the term 'carpet' has to be understood in the popular or the commercial sense. this proposition of law is now well settled by a series of decisions of the supreme court. reference in this connection may be made to ramavatar budhaiprasad v. assistant sales tax officer, akola, and anr. [1961] 12 s.t c. 286 (s.c.) where the supreme court while interpreting the word 'vegetables' held that 'the word vegetables had not been defined in the act and being a word of every day use, it must be construed in a popular sense meaning 'that sense which people conversant with the subject-matter with which the statute is dealing would attribute to it' '. the recent pronouncement of.....
Judgment:

R.L. Gulati, J.

1. At the instance of the Commissioner, Sales Tax, Uttar Pradesh, the Additional Judge (Revisions), Sales Tax, Agra, has submitted this common statement of the case under Section 11(3) of the U.P. Sales Tax Act relating to three assessment years, namely, 1965-66, 1966-67 and 1967-68. In respect of the assessment year 1966-67 there are two references -one under the U.P. Sales.Tax Act and the other under the Central Sales Tax Act-that is why there are four cases relating to three assessment years. The following common question of law has been submitted for the opinion of this court:

Whether under the circumstances of the cases the durrets are carpets and can be taxed at 3 per cent, as per Notification No. ST-1367/X-1045(19)-1960, dated 5th April, 1961, or are taxable as unclassified goods taxable at the rate of 2 per cent, during the years 1965-66, 1966-67 and 1967-68 ?

2. The assessee, M/s. Asha Handloom, Sadabad Gate, Hathras, Aligarh, is a dealer in handloom goods including what are called durrets and gul durries. The assessee claimed exemption from tax in respect of the turnover of these two items on the ground that they were covered by the term 'handloom cloth'. This plea of the assessee was not accepted and the Sales Tax Officer treated durrets to be carpets and gul durries to be durries taxable at the rate of 3 per cent, and 2 per cent, respectively. On appeal the Assistant Commissioner (Judicial) held that durrets were not carpets if they were of the normal bed size but would be so if they are beyond that size. Similarly, he held that gul durries would be durries if they were of normal durry size covering a bed but beyond that size they would be bed cover. The assessee then applied in revision. The Judge (Revisions) did not accept the view of the Assistant Commissioner (Judicial) that the nature of those two articles would depend upon their size. According to him durrets could not be treated to be carpets because of the difference in the process of their manufacturing. While carpets were manufactured by the process of inter-locking and knotting, durrets were prepared by the process of weaving. He also held that durrets were not durries because of the pile on both sides of a durret, whereas a durrie was a plain fabric. He accordingly held that durrets were neither carpets nor durries but an unclassified item taxable at the standard rate prescribed by Section 3 of the Act. Likewise, he held that gul durries were also neither durries nor bed covers. Gul durries were also, therefore, held by him to be unclassified item. The Commissioner in this and the connected references has disputed the correctness of the finding of the Judge (Revisions) with regard to durrets only. His contention is that durrets are carpets within the meaning of notification of 5th April, 1961, referred to in the question.

3. The notification in question has been issued under the second proviso to Sub-section (1) of Section 3 and reads as below :

In exercise of the powers conferred by the second proviso to Sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the Uttar Pradesh Sales Tax Act, 1948 (U.P. Act 15 of 1948), the Governor of Uttar Pradesh is pleased to enhance with effect from 5th April, 1961, the rate of tax in respect of the turnover of the goods mentioned below from two paise per rupee to three paise per rupee, at all points of sale:

1...

2. Carpets.

3...

4. The Act or the Rules do not contain a definition of the word 'carpet'. Accordingly, the term 'carpet' has to be understood in the popular or the commercial sense. This proposition of law is now well settled by a series of decisions of the Supreme Court. Reference in this connection may be made to Ramavatar Budhaiprasad v. Assistant Sales Tax Officer, Akola, and Anr. [1961] 12 S.T C. 286 (S.C.) where the Supreme Court while interpreting the word 'vegetables' held that 'the word vegetables had not been defined in the Act and being a word of every day use, it must be construed in a popular sense meaning 'that sense which people conversant with the subject-matter with which the statute is dealing would attribute to it' '. The recent pronouncement of the Supreme Court on this point is contained in M/s. Sarin Chemical Laboratory v. Commissioner of Sales Tax, U.P. [1970] 26 S.T C. 339 (S.C.) The same view has been taken by a Full Bench (sic) of this court in Avadh Sugar Mills Ltd. v. The Sales Tax Officer [1968] 21 S.T.C. 295.

5. Before we proceed to answer the question, it is necessary to state that a durret, according to the admitted case of the parties, is a thick fabric prepared out of cotton yarn. The process by which it is manufactured is a simple process of weaving except that a durret has a fluffy surface on both sides unlike a durrie which has a plain surface. The fluffy surface or the pile, as it is commonly called, is produced by weaving in extra yarns and cutting them short. In this respect a durret resembles a carpet which too has a pile but on one side only. In the case of carpet, however, the pile is produced by knotting pieces of woollen yarn on to warp threads.

6. The word 'carpet' is a word of every day use and its meaning is well understood. According to the Shorter Oxford Dictionary, the word 'carpet' means 'a thick fabric, commonly of wool, used to cover tables, beds etc.' or 'a similar fabric, generally worked in a pattern of divers colours used to spread on a floor or the ground or to cover a floor or stairs.'

7. In the Reader's Digest Great Encyclopaedic Dictionary, a carpet means 'thick fabric for spreading on floor or stair, commonly of wool, frequently patterned in colours and made by knotting short length of yarn on to the warp threads of a fabric during weaving.' A durrie also is used almost in the same manner as is a carpet, but in common parlance a carpet and durrie are two distinct articles. In fact there is a large variety of other materials which are used as coverings for floors and stairs like coir and jute matting and floor coverings made of linoleum and other similar synthetic products. But these articles are not classed as carpets even though they serve more or less the same purpose. They can be said to be substitutes for carpets. The main feature which distinguishes a carpet or other covering material is the process of manufacture. A carpet is manufactured by the process of weaving a base and then knotting small pieces of woollen or silken yarns on to warp threads. A perusal of the various notifications under the U.P. Sales Tax Act with regard to carpet shows that the word 'carpet' has been used to denote woollen carpet. The following notifications are mentioned by way of illustration :

1. Notification No. ST-117/X- '3. Woollen goods (excluding 923-1948 dt. 8-6-1948 carpets and knitting wool) '2. Notification No. ST-720/X- '1. Durries manufactured on 970-48-1953 dt. 31-3-1954 handloom.2. ...3. ...4. Woollen carpels for export out of India.'3. Notification No. ST-905/X- '46. Woollen goods excluding dt. 31-3-1956. carpets but including knittingwool.'4. Notification No. ST-5059/X- '36. Woollen goods excluding 906(A-B)-56, dt. 22-9-1966. carpets but including knittingwool.'

8. We are of opinion that the word 'carpet' as used in the notification in question has reference to woollen carpets which are manufactured by the process of weaving and knotting, as explained above. This meaning tallies with the popular meaning of this word as well as with the dictionary meaning.

9. As regards a Aurret, it has a texture of a Aurrie, but has the appearance of a carpet. It is an article midway between a durrie and a carpet. As durries and carpets have been separately dealt with under various notifications, it follows that a durret must be treated to be an unclassified article.

10. On behalf of the department a reference was made to Vrajlal Bhukhandas v. The State of Gujarat [1964] 15 S.T.C. 437. The question before the Gujarat High Court was as to whether 'shatranji' fell within the classification of 'hand-loom' cloth of all varieties. It was held in that case that although shatranji was woven on handloom out of cotton yarn, yet it could not be regarded to be 'handloom cloth', because in the popular meaning shatranji was a cotton carpet, even though technically it could be said to be handloom cloth. In the State of Orissa v. Modi Stores, Cuttack [1969] 24 S.T.C. 255 the Orissa High Court held 'shatranji' to be a carpet for the purposes of sales tax of that State. However, that case can be distinguished, because the learned Chief Justice Misra, who delivered the judgment, gave a specific finding that in Orissa, the term 'carpet' was understood to include 'shatranji'. In that case also it was emphasised that a particular word used in the Sales Tax Act must be given its popular meaning. We have already pointed out that so far as the U.P. Sales Tax Act is concerned, the word 'carpet' is confined to a woollen fabric manufactured by the process of weaving and knotting. In this State there is no such thing as a cotton carpet. On the material before us we are satisfied that the term 'carpet' in' the notification in question has not been used to include all varieties of material which is used for covering floors and stairs.

11. For all these reasons, we answer the question by saying that durrets are not covered by the term 'carpets' as used in the notification of 5th April, 1961, set out in the question referred, but should be treated as unclassified goods taxable at the rate of 2 per cent, under Section 3 of the Act. The assessee is entitled to the costs of this reference which we assess at Rs. 100. Counsel's fee is also assessed at the same figure.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //