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Commissioner of Sales Tax Vs. Dhingra and Company - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.T.R. No. 23 of 1974
Judge
Reported in[1979]43STC268(All)
AppellantCommissioner of Sales Tax
RespondentDhingra and Company
Appellant Advocate The Standing Counsel
Respondent Advocate K.B.L. Gaur, Adv.
Cases ReferredChandan Metal Products Private Ltd. v. State of Gujarat
Excerpt:
- - 4. the english translation of the above would run something like the following :he also claimed that iron trestles were an unclassified article which were liable to sales tax at only 2 per cent, because in them there are only four vertical iron angles which are crossed by two strips and it is open on all four sides. as a matter of fact, an analogy can be had with cycle-stand kept at public places like cinemas, etc. a movable article like trestles which is used in either armouries, gunsmith's shop or some homes for convenient stacking or storing of guns is certainly an article of furniture......taxed the turnover of the dealer at the rate of six per cent which was the rate of tax on sales of furniture. the assessee appealed. the appellate authority treated trestles as an unclassified item and not as an article of furniture, and reduced the tax to 2 per cent which was the tax payable on sales of unclassified items. the appellate authority held that the trestles were not articles of furniture. the commissioner of sales tax filed a revision but it was dismissed. the additional revising authority confirmed the finding of the appellate court.2. the commissioner of sales tax filed an application under section 11(3) of the u.p. sales tax act for reference. the application was allowed and the additional revising authority has referred the following question of law to this.....
Judgment:

B.N. Sapru, J.

1. This reference arises out of assessment proceedings for the year 1968-69. The assessee deals in sale of trestles (tressels) which are used as a stand for resting guns. The assessing authority taxed the turnover of the dealer at the rate of six per cent which was the rate of tax on sales of furniture. The assessee appealed. The appellate authority treated trestles as an unclassified item and not as an article of furniture, and reduced the tax to 2 per cent which was the tax payable on sales of unclassified items. The appellate authority held that the trestles were not articles of furniture. The Commissioner of Sales Tax filed a revision but it was dismissed. The additional revising authority confirmed the finding of the appellate court.

2. The Commissioner of Sales Tax filed an application under Section 11(3) of the U.P. Sales Tax Act for reference. The application was allowed and the additional revising authority has referred the following question of law to this Court for its opinion :

Whether trestles fall under the classification of furniture and liable to tax as furniture

3. The article sold by the assessee has been thus described in the assessment order:

Unhonne yah bhi dava kiya ki lohe ke trestles ek avorgikrat vastu hain, jispar bikrikar kewal do pratishat se hi deya hai, kayonki isme kewal lohe ke khare char angle hota hai jinme do pattiyan cross karti hain aur yah charon taraf se khula rahta hai.

4. The English translation of the above would run something like the following :

He also claimed that iron trestles were an unclassified article which were liable to sales tax at only 2 per cent, because in them there are only four vertical iron angles which are crossed by two strips and it is open on all four sides.

5. It is common ground between the parties that the article manufactured by the assessee is used for resting guns and was in effect a gun-stand. The supply had been made to the Military Engineering Services.

6. The additional revising authority while confirming the order of the appellate authority noted that the word 'furniture' is not defined in the Sales Tax Act or in the notification. He, thereafter, quoted the definition of 'furniture' in the Webster's Dictionary, which defines furniture as :

That with which any thing is furnished or supplied and articles used for convenience or decoration in a house or apartment.

7. The definition in Chambers's 20th Century English Dictionary was also noted by the additional revising authority, where the word was defined as :

movables either for use of or ornaments with which a house is equipped.

8. The additional revising authority has held that:

Whether an article-can be described as furniture or not depends upon its use in relation to the daily needs of convenient living in a dwelling place or any other apartment.

9. But, at the same time, every such article, which can be essential for the daily needs of convenient living would not become furniture. The test is whether the article in question is 'ordinarily' so used and can be accepted as such, 'according to the general or popular 'notion' as furniture'.

10. The additional revising authority went on to hold that trestles 'are not articles which are employed for the purpose of convenient living or for decoration in a dwelling house or apartment. They do not supply the daily convenience of common man in relation to the place where he lives'. He further found :

The use of trestles has no relation to the daily needs of convenient living but that its use is mostly in the armoury which are not used as an apartment for the purposes of dwelling or as an office. As a matter of fact, an analogy can be had with cycle-stand kept at public places like cinemas, etc., which are not articles of furniture.

11. Having come to this conclusion, the additional revising authority has, as mentioned above, confirmed the finding of the appellate authority and dismissed the revision.

12. The relevant entry in the notification runs as follows :

Iron and steel : 9(a) Furniture other than steel almirahs and safes.

13. The Shorter Oxford Dictionary mentions the meaning of the word furniture, inter alia, as follows :

Movable articles in a dwelling house, place of business, or a public building.

14. If that meaning is given to the word 'furniture', the test applied by the additional revising authority that, before an article can be described as an article of furniture, it must be used for the purpose of convenient living or for decoration in a dwelling house or an apartment breaks down. The further finding of the additional revising authority that trestles are articles that are mostly used in armoury and not in an apartment for the purpose of dwelling or in an office would also not be decisive of the matter.

15. It is not disputed that trestles are movable articles which are used for resting guns. It is an article which is used mainly in armouries or shops by gunsmiths for convenient stacking or storing of guns. A movable article like trestles which is used in either armouries, gunsmith's shop or some homes for convenient stacking or storing of guns is certainly an article of furniture.

16. The test applied by the additional revising authority that before a commodity can be treated as furniture it must be shown that it was meant for convenient living in a dwelling house or an office or used for decoration is not determinative of the matter. This view has not been accepted by the Gujarat High Court in the case of Chandan Metal Products Private Ltd. v. State of Gujarat [1969] 23 S.T.C. 29. There it was held that shelving racks and binstak manufactured from iron and steel were iron and steel furniture within the meaning of entry 44H of Schedule C to the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1959. This is what the Gujarat High Court observed :

Therefore, so far as the dictionary meaning is concerned, all articles of convenience or decoration used for the purpose of furnishing a place of business or an office are articles of furniture. So far as shelving rack is concerned, it is used in an office or an industrial organisation for the purpose of keeping files, papers, etc., and, therefore, is an article of convenience, which is used for furnishing a place of business or an office. It is, therefore, an article of furniture, and since it is manufactured from iron and steel, it is an article of steel furniture within the meaning of entry 44H of Schedule C.

17. In the result, trestles manufactured by the assessee must be held to be articles of furniture.

18. The question is, therefore, answered in the affirmative, in favour of the department and against the assessee. The Commissioner of Sales Tax is entitled to his costs, which is assessed at Rs. 100. Counsel's fee is assessed at Rs. 200. Order accordingly.


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