Skip to content


Kamal Biscuit Factory Vs. Commissioner, Sales Tax - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.T.R. No. 278 of 1984
Judge
Reported in[1985]60STC344(All)
AppellantKamal Biscuit Factory
RespondentCommissioner, Sales Tax
Advocates:Ahmed, Adv.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....the cereals and pulses processing industries and therefore, the booklet issued by the aforesaid board, does not lead to the conclusion that manufacture of bread and biscuits is included in item no......the words : 'thrashing (kutayee), sifting (chhatayee) and cleaning (safayee)', etc., preceding the word 'processing' occurring in item no. 10 of hindi version, holds an important clue as to the correct meaning of the word 'processing'. in short, the argument was that the word 'processing' occurring in item no. 10 of hindi version, cannot be generalised and following the principle of ejusdem generis it must be read subject to the specific preceding words and that the word 'processing' should have the same shade which the specific preceding words have. it is argued that the specific preceding words are : 'thrashing, sifting and cleaning' and such words can, by no stretch of imagination, be read to include manufacturing. it is said that that in such a case the rule of ejusdem generis will.....
Judgment:

Om Prakash, J.

1. This is a revision by the assessee against the order of the Sales Tax Tribunal, Aligarh Bench, Aligarh, dated 25th May, 1984.

2. The only question for consideration in this revision is : whether the turnover of bread and biscuits relating to the assessment year 1980-81 is liable to tax. The assessee claims to be an institution certified by the U. P. Khadi and Village Industries Board, Kanpur, for manufacture and sale of biscuits and as such the claim is that it has been exempted by Notification No. S. T. II-5025/X-6(12)-79 dated 30th June, 1979 published in U. P. Gazette, Extraordinary, 1979. The assessing officer, however, took the view that manufacture of bread and biscuits was not exempt under the aforesaid notification, and therefore, the turnover of bread and biscuits was brought to tax. On appeal the Assistant Commissioner (Judicial) [briefly the AC (J)] accepted the contention of the assessee. On appeal by the Revenue, the order of the AC (J) was reversed by the Tribunal. The view taken by the Tribunal was that according to the Notification No. 5025 dated 30th June, 1979 exemption could be claimed only in regard to processing of cereal and pulses and not in regard to manufacture of bread and biscuits. This is how the order of the assessing officer was restored by the Sales Tax Tribunal.

3. Aggrieved the assessee has come up in revision to this Court against the order of the Sales Tax Tribunal. Notification No. 5025 was issued by the U. P., Government in Hindi and exemption was provided thereunder for as many as 21 items. Item No. 10 of the Hindi notification is as follows :

Anaj avem dal ki, kutayee, chhatayee aur safayee adi (processing).

4. The said notification was translated in English by the U. P. Government and item No. 10 in English version is as follows:

Processing of cereals and purses ;

5. The argument on behalf of the assessee is that manufacture of bread and biscuits is nothing but a processing of cereals. It was argued that manufacture of bread and biscuits is the result of several treatments given to cereals and that processing may ultimately result into manufacture. So the question for consideration is : what is the proper construction of the notification, issued by the U. P. Government. The argument of the Revenue is that the words : 'thrashing (kutayee), sifting (chhatayee) and cleaning (safayee)', etc., preceding the word 'processing' occurring in item No. 10 of Hindi version, holds an important clue as to the correct meaning of the word 'processing'. In short, the argument was that the word 'processing' occurring in item No. 10 of Hindi version, cannot be generalised and following the principle of ejusdem generis it must be read subject to the specific preceding words and that the word 'processing' should have the same shade which the specific preceding words have. It is argued that the specific preceding words are : 'thrashing, sifting and cleaning' and such words can, by no stretch of imagination, be read to include manufacturing. It is said that that in such a case the rule of ejusdem generis will apply and manufacturing of bread and biscuits cannot be said to be ejusdem generis with the specific preceding words, namely, 'thrashing, sifting and cleaning'.

6. On the other hand, the contention of the assessee is that manufacture of bread and biscuits is also a result of processing and exemption having been provided to the processing of cereals and pulses, the assessee is entitled to exemption with regard to manufacture also of bread and biscuits. It was also argued that principle of ejusdem generis will have no application in this case, as in English version the words : 'kutayee, chhatayee, safayee' are absent. The argument is that when Hindi and English versions are at variance, then the English version will prevail. Reliance was placed on a Full Court decision in the case of Jaswant Sugar Milk Ltd. v. The Presiding Officer, Industrial Tribunal (III), U. P., Allahabad : AIR1962All240 . The question is : whether the Hindi and English versions of the Notification No. 5025 are at variance. If they are at variance, then only the assessee can successfully rely on the case of Jaswant Sugar Mills Ltd. : AIR1962All240 . In my opinion, both, the Hindi as well as the English versions, refer to processing and therefore, there is no conflict between the two versions. The only question for consideration is : as to what is the correct meaning of the word 'processing' occurring in item No. 10 of the aforesaid notification. Only to find out the correct meaning of the word 'processing' occurring in item No. 10 of the notification the Revenue urged that the principle of ejusdem generis be involved. Thrashing, sifting and cleaning are the modes of processing and therefore, it cannot be said that there is a conflict between the Hindi and the English versions of the notification. In my view, the Revenue is right in submitting that on the aforesaid fact principle of ejusdem generis can and must be applied. When specific words precede the words 'etc.' and 'processing' in the Hindi version then the word 'processing' will be controlled by such specific words and this is what was held in the case of Rajagopala Pandarathar v. Thirupathi Pillai AIR 1923 Mad 511. The Madras High Court dealt with a question of construction of a mortgage-deed on which the suit was based. It was conceded before the Madras High Court that the decree directed to the sale of property, described in the mortgage-deed. The first defendant contended that his residence or the buildings constituting the palace are not included in the description contained in the decree, and cannot, therefore, be sold under it. On the other hand, the plaintiff argued that those buildings should not be excluded from the sale. So the question was: whether the buildings were included in the properties described in the mortgage-deed. The description of the property as given in the mortgage-deed was re-produced by the Madras High Court in the judgment. The material words in the description are :..the remaining lands and all the rights and privileges I possess in the waste lands, poramboke and other lands attached thereto, all kinds of trees, topes, wells, ponds, tank-bunds, fruit trees, wood trees, footpaths, elevated and low portions, etc.,....

7. On these facts the Madras High Court observed as under :

It is admitted that the palace buildings are in the village of Kovilur and are within the four boundaries mentioned above. But the general words in the body of the document are qualified by the description given at the foot of it. There is a clear enumeration of what the village of Kovilur within the aforesaid four boundaries consists of. There is no mention of the palace buildings. Although no doubt the village of Kovilur was stated in the document to be the subject of the mortgage, the parties went further and described what according to them was the village of Kovilur which was intended to be mortgaged and it seems to me that the words in the body of the document must be read subject to the more precise description given which must be taken as controlling the general words occurring in the earlier portion.... But the only argument advanced is that the palace building must be regarded as included in the expression 'the remaining lands' or 'poramboke and other lands' or 'poramboke and other lands attached thereto (remaining lands)' can be regarded as included the residential building of the Zamindar.

Turning to the words 'etc!, they follow an enumeration of specific things beginning with 'all kinds of trees' having some characteristic, and the words should be restricted to things of the same nature as those which have been already mentioned. In such a case the rule of ejusdem generis will apply and the residential building cannot be said to be ejusdem generis with the things already enumerated.

8. I fully agree with the view taken by the Madras High Court and in my opinion, the authority : Rajagopala Pandarathar v. Thirupathi Pillai AIR 1923 Mad 511 is squarely applicable to the instant case. When the words 'etc.' and 'processing' occurring in item No. 10 of the Notification No. 5025 follow an enumeration of specific words, then they will be controlled by those specific words and wider meaning to the word 'processing' cannot be given. Construing the word 'processing' so, I hold that the word 'processing' occurring in item No. 10 of the notification may embrace only such processing which are in the nature of thrashing, sifting and cleaning or the likewise. Surely this type of processing will not include manufacture of bread and biscuits.

9. Then the question is: whether processing includes manufacturing. The Supreme Court in the case of Union of India v. Delhi Cloth Mills : 1973ECR56(SC) specifically rejected the contention that processing and manufacture can be equated. At page 794 of the report, Das Gupta, J., speaking for the Court observed:

To say this is to equate 'processing' to 'manufacture' and for this we can find no warrant in law. The word 'manufacture' used as a verb is generally understood to mean as 'bringing into existence a new substance' and does not mean merely 'to produce some change in a substance', however minor in consequence the change may be. This distinction is well brought about in a passage thus quoted in Permanent Edition of Words and Phrases, Vol. 26, from an American judgment. The passage runs thus :'Manufacture' implies a change, but every change is not manufacture and yet every change of an article is the result of treatment, labour and manipulation. But something more is necessary and there must be transformation, a new and different article must emerge having a distinctive name, character or use.

10. In the case of Additional Commissioner of Income-tax, Kanpur v. Farrukha-bad Cold Storage (P.) Ltd., Farrukhabad 1976 UPTC 646, this Court considered a question: whether the assessee-company which was running three cold storages in two districts of Uttar Pradesh, could be said as an industrial company within the meaning of Section 2(7)(d) of the Finance Acts, 1966 and 1967. The assessee claimed that it was industrial company and was, therefore, entitled to concessional rate of taxation. Section 2(7)(d) of the Finance Acts, 1966 and 1967 defines 'industrial company' meaning as a company which is mainly engaged in the business of generation or distribution of electricity or any other form of power or in the construction of ships or in the manufacture or processing of goods or in mining. The Revenue contended before this Court that the word 'processing' occurring in the sub-section contemplates a process which results in a finished article, i.e., it must be in a nature of manufacture. To answer this question this Court observed on page 651:.that the processing of goods need not lead to manufacture of a new article.

11. From these authorities, it is clear that the processing cannot be equated with manufacture and that processing will not necessarily lead to manufacture. So the question is : whether in item No. 10 of the notification the word 'processing' has been used so as to include or lead to manufacture. There is nothing in the notification to show that the word 'processing' includes manufacture. Learned counsel for the assessee relied on the case of Deputy Commissioner of Sales Tax (Law), Board of Revenue (Taxes), Ernakulam v. Pio Food Packers [1980] 46 STC 63 (SC). In this case, the Supreme Court observed on page 65 as under:

Commonly, manufacture is the end result of one or more processes through which the original commodity is made to pass. The nature and extent of processing may vary from one case to another, and indeed there may be several stages of processing and perhaps a different kind of processing at each stage. With each process suffered, the original commodity experiences a change. But it is only when the change, or a series of changes, take the commodity to the point where commercially it can no longer be regarded as the original commodity but instead is recognised as a new and distinct article that a manufacture can be said to take place.

12. The authority does not help the assessee in any way. In substance what the Supreme Court ruled down is that a manufacture is the end result of one or more processes. It means that several processes precede a manufacture. It, therefore, clearly shows that all types of processing do not amount to manufacture. So, merely from the word 'processing', occurring in item No. 10 of the notification, no inference can be drawn that that word includes manufacture. The inference drawn from the word 'processing' by the assessee that it means manufacturing is absolutely without justification. In short, a manufacture is the result of one or more processing but processing does not include manufacture always and everywhere.

13. Lastly, learned Counsel for the assessee heavily relied on a booklet bearing the caption 'Sahaita Subidha Marg Darshika' published by the U. P. Khadi and Gram Udyog Board, Lucknow. My attention was drawn to Chapter XII of the said booklet. In the said Chapter, the Board has stated that cereals and pulses processing industries are mainly based on village products and there being no processing industry for cereals and pulses in the village, the village products are sold in raw form to the intermediaries who get them processed in the urban area and then sell at a very high price. This deprives the villagers of employment and suitable price of their products. With a view to providing employment to the villagers and the appropriate price of their products, the U. P. Government devised a scheme to provide an incentive by way of allowing tax exemption to the villagers to set up cereal and pulses processing industries in the village. From this Chapter also it is clear that the idea was to encourage the villagers to do processing, namely, de-husking, thrashing, sifting, cleaning, polishing, assortment of their rice, pulses, etc., and thereby providing employment to more and more villagers and realising the appropriate price of their products. No doubt, this Chapter goes to show that Khadi Commission started registering the village industries engaged in cereals and pulses processing, manufacture of biscuits and bread, etc., manufacture of species, Layee, Cheora, Papar, Chips, Bari, Mangauri, etc. Simply because Khadi Commission registered the Units, engaged in the manufacture of bread and biscuits, inter alia, it does not mean that item No. 10 of the notification includes manufacture of such items. A taxing statute has to be construed very strictly without importing any foreign words into it. Neither from the language of item No. 10 of the notification, nor from the underlying idea, as set out in the booklet, relied on by the assessee, an inference can be drawn that item No. 10 of the notification includes manufacture of bread and biscuits. Under the caption of Cereals and Pulses Processing Industries, the Khadi and Gram Udyog Board, Lucknow, refers to manufacture of spices as well, but in no case can the manufacture of spices be said to be a part of the cereals and pulses processing industries and therefore, the booklet issued by the aforesaid Board, does not lead to the conclusion that manufacture of bread and biscuits is included in item No. 10 of the notification.

14. For these reasons, I agree with the view taken by the Tribunal that the word 'processing' occurring in item No. 10 of the notification falls short of manufacture and that the word 'processing' does not include manufacture. The assessee is, therefore, liable to tax on the turnover of bread and biscuits.

15. In the result, the revision fails and is dismissed. The parties shall bear their own costs.


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