G.P. Singh, C.J.
1. This is a reference made by the Wealth-tax Appellate Tribunal referring for our answer the following question of law :
' Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the value of the combine harvester machine, belonging to the assessee, was exempt under the provisions of Section 5(1)(ix) of the Wealth-tax Act from being included in the total wealth of the assessee for the assessment year 1973-74?'
2. The facts stated are that the assessee owned a combine harvester which he gave on hire to others who may or may not have used it for harvesting. The exemption was claimed by the assessee under Section 5(1)(ix) of the W.T. Act, which reads as follows :
'5. (1) Subject to the provisions of Sub-section (1A) wealth-tax shall not be payable by an assessee in respect of the following assets, and such assets shall not be included in the net wealth of the assessee--.........
(ix) the tools, implements and equipment used by the assessee for the cultivation, conservation, improvement or maintenance of agricultural land, or for the raising or harvesting of any agricultural or horticultural produce on such land.
Explanation.--For the purposes of this clause, tools, implements and equipment do not include any plant or machinery used in any tea or other plantation in connection with the processing of any agricultural produce or in the manufacture of any article from such produce. '
3. The argument of the learned counsel for the assessee is that it is notnecessary that the tools, implements and equipment should have beenused by the assessee himself for the cultivation .of agricultural land or forthe raising or harvesting of any agricultural or horticultural produce onsuch land and that as the harvester must have been used for harvestingagricultural produce, the assessee was entitled to exemption. In ouropinion, the argument put forward by the learned counsel gives no importance to the words ' by the assessee ' as they occur in Clause (ix). The tools,implements and equipment must have been used by the assesses for the purposes mentioned in that clause. In the instant case, the assessee hired outthe machine and, therefore, so far as the assessee is concerned, the machinewas used for hiring out and not for harvesting of agricultural produce onany land. May be that the persons who took the machine on hire used itfor purposes of harvesting of agricultural produce on land but the use somade was not by the assessee and, therefore, the assessee was not entitledto any exemption. What is material to be seen is the use of the machinemade by the assessee and not by the person to whom it is given on hire.The object behind the grant of exemption under Clause (ix) appears to us tobe the encouragement of agriculture and to grant exemption to agriculturists who use tools, implements and equipment for agricultural purposes.This object also is consistent with the interpretation which we are inclinedto put on Clause (ix).
4. For the reasons given above, we answer the question in the negative, in favour of the department and against the assessee. There will be no order as to costs.