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Sterling Machine Tools Vs. Commissioner of Sales Tax - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.T.R. No. 478 of 1977
Judge
Reported in[1979]43STC72(All)
AppellantSterling Machine Tools
RespondentCommissioner of Sales Tax
Appellant Advocate Bharatji Agarwal and ; R.R. Agarwal, Advs.
Respondent Advocate The Standing Counsel
Cases ReferredEngineering Traders v. State of U. P.
Excerpt:
- - the 'agricultural implements' contemplated by the notification must be contrivance, which when coupled with some other power source are fit for agricultural purposes, like a tiller, cultivator, discploughs, discharrow, etc......referred the following question of law for the opinion of this court :whether diesel engines and pump sets are liable to be taxed as agricultural implements or machinery parts ?2. the assessee manufactures diesel engines and assembles pumping sets by coupling pumps with diesel engines. the pumps are purchased by the assessee and not manufactured by it. the assessee sells diesel engines as such and also diesel engines coupled with pumps. turnover in respect of the sale of diesel engines and pumping sets have been assessed in the hands of the assessee at the rate of 6 per cent. the assessee's contentions that both diesel engines and pumping sets sold by it were agricultural implements and, as such, not liable to be taxed under entry no. 52 of the first schedule, have been negatived.3......
Judgment:

C.S.P. Singh, J.

1. The Additional Judge (Revisions), Sales Tax, Agra Range, Agra, has referred the following question of law for the opinion of this Court :

Whether diesel engines and pump sets are liable to be taxed as agricultural implements or machinery parts ?

2. The assessee manufactures diesel engines and assembles pumping sets by coupling pumps with diesel engines. The pumps are purchased by the assessee and not manufactured by it. The assessee sells diesel engines as such and also diesel engines coupled with pumps. Turnover in respect of the sale of diesel engines and pumping sets have been assessed in the hands of the assessee at the rate of 6 per cent. The assessee's contentions that both diesel engines and pumping sets sold by it were agricultural implements and, as such, not liable to be taxed under entry No. 52 of the First Schedule, have been negatived.

3. The question raised is as to whether diesel engines and pumping sets sold by the assessee are agricultural implements or machinery or spare parts of machinery. The relevant entries in the First Schedule to the Act are:

Entry No. 1:-'Agricultural implements, other than implements worked by human or animal power and water pumps, but including their parts and accessories other than tyres and tubes,' S-43-10

Entry No. 52 .--'Machinery and spare parts of machinery, including water pumps, not being such machinery or spare parts thereof as are taxable under any other item in the schedule.

4. It is apparent that if diesel engines and pumping sets sold by the assessee are taxable under some other entry, they cannot be taxed under entry No. 52. Counsel urged that diesel engines and pumping sets sold by the assessee are taxable under entry No. 1, i.e., agricultural implements and, as such, could not be taxed under entry No. 52.

5. The case relating to pumping sets may be considered first. It has been contended that the pumping sets sold by the assessee consist of a diesel engine, which is coupled with a water pump, and as entry No. 52 includes only water pumps, pumping sets sold by the assessee do not fall within this entry. In the case of Engineering Traders v. State of U. P. [1973] 31 S.T.C. 456 (F.B.), a Full Bench of this Court took the view that water pumping sets are agricultural implements and do not come within the purview of the entry relating to machinery and its spare parts. This decision was given on 21st November, 1972. Subsequently, the entries have been changed, and in the relevant year stood as extracted above. The question is whether pumping sets fall within the description of water pumps, which have been specifically included in the entry relating to machinery and spare parts of machinery. There is a direct decision of a Division Bench of this Court where the amended entry was considered, and it was held that pumping sets fall within the ambit of entry No. 52, as it now stands, and do not fall within the purview of the entry relating to agricultural implements. This decision was given in the case of Basant Industries v. Commissioner of Sales Tax, U. P. [1975] 36 S.T.C. 209 Counsel contended that the decision requires reconsideration. Counsel drew my attention to the passages from Encyclopaedia Britannica and to a book on Elementary Hydraulics by J. C. Dixit, and urged that as the pumping sets sold by him consist of a water pump attached to a diesel engine, they are not water pumps, and the amendment in entry No. 52 of the Schedule to the Act did not fill up the lacuna, which it intended after the Full Bench decision [1973] 31 S.T.C. 456 (F.B.). It is undoubtedly true that if the pumping sets sold by the assessee do not fall within the description of water pumps as used in the notification, the amendment of the notification cannot induce one to hold that pumping sets come within the description of water pumps, even if they are not so. The question, however, remains as to whether pumping sets come within the description of water pumps.

6. The main plank of the arguments is that the pump attached to the diesel engine is a water pump and, as such, the pumping set, which consists of a diesel engine also, cannot be called a water pump. There is a fallacy in this argument. The pump attached to the diesel engine, in scientific phraseology is called a 'centrifugal pump', and not a water pump, although it can pump out water on being attached to a diesel engine or an electric motor. The text-book referred to and the Encyclopaedia relied upon do not indicate to the contrary. This apart, should the word 'water pump' used in the notification be interpreted in its technical sense or should it be given the meaning ascribed to it in common parlance. In common parlance the centrifugal pump attached to the diesel engine is not called a 'water pump' or a 'jal pump' (Hindi version of the notification). It would be called a water pump or a jal pump only in case it is capable of pumping out water. Centrifugal pumps become capable of pumping out water only in case they are attached to a diesel engine or an electric motor. Further, considering the fact that the amendment to the notification was made in the wake of the Full Bench decision1, the legislative intent appears to give the word 'water pump' or 'jal pump', the meaning attributable in common parlance. In common parlance it is the pumping set which would be called a water pump or 'jal pump'. In this view of the matter pumping sets sold by the assessee would come within the purview of entry No. 52, which includes water pumps.

7. The claim regarding diesel engines now requires attention.

8. Counsel for the assessee drew my attention to a decision of the Bombay High Court in the case of Commissioner of Sales Tax v. Shetkari Sahakari Sangh Ltd. [1975] 35 S.T.C. 554, where it was held that oil-engines sold to agriculturists for working pumping sets for drawing water were 'agricultural machinery'. The entry, which the Bombay High Court was called upon to interpret, was in the following terms :

Agricultural machinery and implements....

9. The entry which arises for interpretation in the present case is 'agricultural implements other than those worked by human or animal power....' In the Full Bench decision of this Court in Engineering Traders v. State of U. P. [1973] 31 S.T.C. 456 (F.B.), it was held that 'an agricultural implement' would continue to be 'an agricultural implement' notwithstanding the fact that it may be put to other uses also, provided that the normal use of the implement is for agricultural purposes. Diesel engines are not worked by human or animal power. Thus, they meet one of the tests of this entry that it should not be worked by human or animal power. The question then is as to whether they are agricultural implements. Diesel engines without being attached to some other contrivances cannot be used for purposes of agriculture, as its primary purpose is to impart power for working of another contrivance, which when attached to it can be used for agricultural purposes. There is also inherent indication in the notification that diesel engines do not answer the description of agricultural implements. The 'agricultural implements' contemplated by the notification must be contrivance, which when coupled with some other power source are fit for agricultural purposes, like a tiller, cultivator, discploughs, discharrow, etc., of the heavier type which can be drawn only by a machinery. Machines which provide pulling power for 'agricultural implements' would not be agricultural implements as the notification by using the words 'other than those worked by human or animal power' draws a distinction between the power source used for working the agricultural implement, as distinct from the implement itself. The Bombay case [1975] 35 S.T.C. 554 is distinguishable on the ground that there the entry was 'agricultural machinery', and diesel engines meant for providing power for agricultural implements, would undoubtedly answer the description of agricultural machinery.

10. The question referred is answered by saying that 'diesd engines' and 'pumping sets'* are liable to be taxed as 'machinery' and not as 'agricultural implements'. The question is answered against the assessee and in favour of the department. The department is entitled to its costs, which is assessed at Rs. 200.


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