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Commissioner of Sales Tax Vs. Jugalkishore Badriprasad - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case Number Misc. C. Case No. 237 of 1972
Judge
Reported in[1979]43STC501(MP)
AppellantCommissioner of Sales Tax
RespondentJugalkishore Badriprasad
Cases Referred(S.C.) and Commissioner of Sales Tax v. Dr. Sukh Deo
Excerpt:
.....though presumption against appellant can be raised, it cannot be said that onus shifts exclusively and heavily on him to prove his innocence. conviction of appellant is liable to be set aside. - he has been purchasing tendu leaves from the state government in the forest, as well as from the cultivators, and selling the same after drying and packing them in bundles......for its opinion, namely:whether, under the facts and circumstances of the case, the drying of tendu leaves and packing in bundles does not involve any manufacturing process ?2. the assessee, m/s. jugalkishore badriprasad, bankatnagar, is a dealer in tendu leaves. he has been purchasing tendu leaves from the state government in the forest, as well as from the cultivators, and selling the same after drying and packing them in bundles.3. the short question before the board of revenue was whether the process of drying of tendu leaves and packing them in bundles, comes within the definition of 'manufacture' as contained in section 2(j) of the m. p. general sales tax act, 1958, which reads as follows :'manufacture' includes any process or manner of producing, collecting, extracting,.....
Judgment:

A.P. Sen, C.J.

1. These are two references under Section 44 of the M. P. General Sales Tax Act, 1958, by the Board of Revenue, Madhya Pradesh, Gwalior, at the instance of the Commissioner of Sales Tax, Madhya Pradesh, referring certain question of law, arising out of its composite order in Appeal No. 101-IV of 1969 (State) and Appeal No. 102-1V of 1969 (Central) dated 20th March, 1970, pertaining to the period from 31st July, 1964, to 31st March, 1966, to the High Court for its opinion, namely:

Whether, under the facts and circumstances of the case, the drying of tendu leaves and packing in bundles does not involve any manufacturing process ?

2. The assessee, M/s. Jugalkishore Badriprasad, Bankatnagar, is a dealer in tendu leaves. He has been purchasing tendu leaves from the State Government in the forest, as well as from the cultivators, and selling the same after drying and packing them in bundles.

3. The short question before the Board of Revenue was whether the process of drying of tendu leaves and packing them in bundles, comes within the definition of 'manufacture' as contained in Section 2(j) of the M. P. General Sales Tax Act, 1958, which reads as follows :

'Manufacture' includes any process or manner of producing, collecting, extracting, preparing or making any goods, and in respect of trees which have been severed from the land or which have been felled, also the process of lopping the branches, cutting the trunks or converting them into logs, poles or bailies or any other articles of wood, but does not include such manufactures or manufacturing processes as may be prescribed.

The word 'manufacture' has not been defined in the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956. Rule 2(j) of the M. P. Sales Tax (Central) Rules, 1957, however, provides that words and expressions not defined in the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956, or the Central Sales Tax (Registration and Turnover) Rules, 1957, shall have the meanings assigned to them in the general sales tax law of the State, in so far as they are not inconsistent with the provisions of the Act and the Rules made thereunder. Incidentally, we may observe that Rule 2-A has now been inserted in the M. P. General Sales Tax Rules, 1959, with effect from 15th April, 1968, with a view to clarify that the word 'manufacture' as defined in Section 2(j) of the M. P. General Sales Tax Act, 1958, does not include the following process, namely :

(ix) Plucking, drying, curing and bundling of tendu leaves.

This was done vide Separate Revenue Department Notification No. 1664-148-V-ST dated 6th June, 1966, and another Separate Revenue Department Notification No. 3730-2512-V-ST-68 dated 19th October, 1968.

4. In dealing with the question, the Board of Revenue observed: 'Manufacturing process is involved only if the original commodity, after undergoing the said process, changes its character and use.

Applying that test, the Board of Revenue held that the drying of tendu leaves and packing them in bundles -does not change the intrinsic character of the commodity and they still remain tendu leaves. There is no manufacturing process involved and, therefore, the assessee could not be treated as a manufacturer. In view of Rule 2-A of the M. P. General Sales Tax Rules, 1959, which is clarificatory in nature, the matter is now beyond the ken of controversy. What was implicit in the definition of the word 'manufacture' as contained in Section 2(j) of the M. P. General Sales Tax Act, 1958, is now explicit.

5. Indeed, mere plucking, drying and collecting of tendu leaves can, by no stretch of imagination, amount to 'manufacture' within the meaning of Section 2(j) of the Act. In Commissioner of Sales Tax, U. P., Lucknow v. Harbilas Rai and Sons [1968] 21 S.T.C. 17 (S.C.), their Lordships, while dealing with a similar question, held that the word 'manufacture' as defined in Section 2(h) of the U.P. Sales Tax Act, 1948, has different shades of meaning, and in the context of sales tax legislation, if the goods to which some labour is applied remain essentially the same commercial article, it cannot be said that the final product is the result of manufacture. There, the assessee, who was a dealer in pig bristles, bought bristles plucked by kanjars from pigs, boiled them, washed them with soap and other chemicals, sorted them out according to their sizes and colours, tied them in separate bundles of different sizes and despatched them to foreign countries for sale. Even then their Lordships held that the bristles were not manufactured goods within explanation II(ii) to Section 2(h) of U. P. Sales Tax Act, 1948.

6. Similarly, the Calcutta High Court in Sudhir Ch. Mukherjee v. Additional Commissioner, Commercial Taxes, West Bengal [1976] 37 S.T.C. 554, held that preparation of garlands and bouquets from flowers does not amount to manufacture. We may also notice the Bombay High Court decision in Commissioner of Sales Tax v. Bombay Mercantile Corporation [1975] 35 S.T.C. 505, where hand blending of lubricating oil was held not to be a process of manufacture. In Sudhir Ch. Mukherjee v. Additional Commissioner, Commercial Taxes, West Bengal [1976] 37 S.T.C. 554, the Calcutta High Court has referred to several decisions of the Supreme Court on the point, viz., Union of India v. Delhi Cloth and General Mills A.I.R. 1963 S.C. 791, South Bihar Sugar Mills Ltd. v. Union of India A.I.R. 1968 S.C. 922, Devi Dass Gopal Krishnan v. State of Punjab [1967] 20 S.T.C. 430 (S.C.) and Commissioner of Sales Tax v. Dr. Sukh Deo [1969] 23 S.T.C. 385 (S.C.), and observed :

Thus on a conspectus of all the aforesaid decisions the following ingredients are necessary to constitute manufacture: (a) There must be change in substance and different article must emerge having a distinctive character and use from the raw material by the use of physical labour or by mechanical process ; (b) The articles produced either by physical labour or by mechanical process will be on large scale and will pass as a commercial commodity from hand to hand.

In our view, the Board of Revenue is right in holding that the commodity, i.e., the tendu leaves, remained the same; there was no alteration in the nature and character of the goods. The word 'manufacture' generally means the bringing into existence a new substance and does not mean merely to produce some changes in the substance, however minor in consequence the change may be.

8. The result, therefore, is that the references are answered against the Commissioner. It must accordingly be held that the Board of Revenue was right in holding that the drying of tendu leaves and packing them in bundles does not involve any manufacturing process. The assessee shall get his costs of these references. Hearing fee Rs. 100 in each case.


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