G.G. Sohani, J.
1. By this reference under Section 44(1) of the M. P. General Sales Tax Act, 1958 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'), the Board of Revenue has referred the following question of law to this Court for its opinion :
Whether in common parlance 'chapati' and 'tanduri roti' can be considered as 'bread' and exempted from sales tax under entry 8 of the First Schedule to the M. P. General Sales Tax Act, as held by Board of Revenue in the case ?
2. The material facts giving rise to this reference briefly are as follows :
The assessee runs a restaurant at Indore and was assessed to sales tax for the period from 1st April, 1969 to 31st March, 1970. The turnover of the applicant included sale of 'chapatis' and 'tanduri rotis' and the contention of the assessee was that the sale of these articles was exempt as those articles were included in the expression 'bread' occurring in entry No. 8 of the First Schedule to the Act containing list of goods exempted from tax. That contention was not accepted by the assessing authority. On appeal, the appellate authority affirmed the finding of the assessing authority and held that the entry No. 8 of the First Schedule to the Act included within its purview only 'bread' or 'double roti' and not other kinds of breads. In this view of the matter, the Appellate Assistant Commissioner rejected the appeal. On further appeal, the Tribunal held that the expression 'bread' in entry No. 8 also included 'chapati' and 'tanduri roti'. In this view of the matter, the Tribunal allowed the appeal. Hence at the instance of the department, the Tribunal has referred the aforesaid question of law to this Court for its opinion.
3. The answer to the question referred to this Court turns on the meaning to be assigned to the word 'bread' occurring in entry No. 8 of the First Schedule to the Act, which gives list of goods exempted from tax. It may be noted that entry No. 8 in the First Schedule was amended by the Madhya Pradesh General Sales Tax (Amendment) Act, 1978 (Act No. 25 of 1978). By this Amending Act the expression 'double roti' has been substituted for the expression 'bread* occurring in entry No. 8.
4. Now, the word 'bread' has not been denned in the Act and being a word of every day use, it is well-settled that it must be construed in its popular sense, which people conversant with the subject-matter, with which the statute is dealing, could attribute to it. Now, 'bread' in common parlance, as understood by those who deal in the sale or purchase of 'bread', means 'double roti'. It is true that the expression 'bread' was construed by some High Courts to include within its ambit 'rotis' or 'tanduri rotis'. As that expression is capable of diverse meanings, the change in -the language of entry No. 8 in the First Schedule to the Act can be looked into when the earlier entry is capable of more than one interpretation. In this connection, we may usefully refer to the following observations of the Supreme Court in State of Bihar v. 5. K. Roy AIR 1966 SC 1995 :
It is a well recognised principle in dealing with matters of construction that subsequent legislation may be looked at in order to see what is the proper interpretation to be put upon the earlier Act, where the earlier Act is obscure or ambiguous or readily capable of more than one interpretation (see Ormound Investment Co. Ltd. v. Belts 1928 AC 143 at p. 156).
5. In our opinion, therefore, 'chapati' and 'tanduri roti' cannot be considered as 'bread' and exempted from sales tax under entry 8 of the First Schedule to the M. P. General Sales Tax Act, 1958.
6. Reference answered accordingly. In the circumstances of the case, parties shall bear their own costs of the reference.