R. M. Sahai, J. - The following question has been referred for the opinion of this court :
Whether Mehandi was a cosmetic item taxable at 10% or an unclassified goods taxable at 2% in the year 1967-68 ?'
2. The assessee a manufacturer of Mehandi powder used by the women folk for clouring, claimed before the Assessing Authority that it was liable to tax as unclassified item. His plea was accepted but in appeal the Assistant commissioner (Judicial) was of the opinion that it is used for beautifying ones person and therefore it was covered by the entry, 'cosmetic and toilet requisite' and was taxable at 10%. Aggrieved by the decision of the appellate court the assessee filed a revision which was allowed and the order of the assessing authority was restored. The assessee has not appeared in this court but from the statement of case it appears that his case in the court below was as follows :
'Mehandi is a product of nature and has medical effect. The use of Mehandi by women folk is only incidental and its primary purpose is ceremonial.'
3. It has been held in series of decisions by the Supreme Court that while interpreting words or entry in the S.T. Act, what has to be considered is the popular meaning of such words as understood in the commercial circle or in popular parlance. The decisive factor cannot be the use to which a particular commodity is capable of being put to, but how it is commonly used. It may be, that Mehandi is used on ceremonial occasions, but in popular parlance it is understood as an article which is used to improve a womens appearance and to make her look more attractive.
4. The entry cosmetic and toilet requisites came up for interpretation before a Full Bench of this court and following the decisions of the Supreme Court it has been held in Commissioner of Sales Tax vs. M/s. Jai Shri Products Varanasi (1974 U.P. Tax Cases 146) that cosmetic means a preparation to beautify hair, skin or complexion or to alter appearance of the body or for cleaning. colouring, conditioning or protecting skin, hair, nails, eyes or teeth.
5. In view of the above interpretation of aforesaid entry by Full Bench, there is no room for doubt that Mehandi powder, being an item for beautification of the women folk, comes within the entry cosmetic and toilet requisites.
6. In view of what we have stated above, our answer to the question referred to us is that Mehandi is a cosmetic article taxable at 10%.
7. As no body has appeared for the assessee there shall be no order as to costs.