R.L. Narasimham, C.J.
1. The following question has been referred to this Court for opinion by the Member, Sales Tax Tribunal:-
If gold ornaments of the manufacture of the dealer, set with a few imitation stones of negligible value of 0-4-0 to 0-8-0 can be taxed under the Act under the head 'jewellery' when not despatched outside the State, to dealers registered in other States by virtue of Government Notification No. 8728-CT-66/49F dated the 1st July, 1949, issued from the Finance Department.
2. The opposite party is carrying on the business of a goldsmith and jeweller of Berhampur town. He is a registered dealer. In his returns for the quarters from 30th June, 1950, to 31st March, 1952, he claimed exemption in respect of gold ornaments set with imitation stones of small value. The Sales Tax Authorities disallowed his claim for exemption on the ground that such gold ornaments were 'jewellery' within the meaning of that expression as used in item 24 of Government of Orissa Notification of the Finance Department, No. 5028 dated 28th July, 1947, as amended by Notification No. 8728-F dated 1st July, 1949. By virtue of the amended notification sales of jewellery other than gold ornaments in Orissa were taxable, whereas sales of gold ornaments when sold by the manufacturer who charges separately for the value of gold and the cost of manufacture, were exempted. As both the expressions 'jewellery' and 'gold ornaments' occur in the same notification issued by the Government they must be given two distinct connotations. The learned Member, Sales Tax Tribunal, rightly oberved that the dictionary meaning should prevail in the absence of any definition of the words in the said notifications. But he seems to have consulted an abridged dictionary in which, according to him, the distinction between 'jewellery' and 'gold ornaments' was said to lie in the fact that in the former the ornament should be set with precious stones, He therefore thought that as imitation stones of low value did not come under the category of precious stones, gold ornaments set with imitation Stones were not 'jewellery' within the meaning of the aforesaid notifications.
3. If the learned Member of the Tribunal wanted to follow the dictionary meaning of the expression 'jewellery' he should have consulted the standard Oxford Dictionary. That dictionary shows that the expression 'jewel' though ordinarily meaning an ornament containing precious stones has also a secondary meaning as follows: 'applied to imitation in glass or enamel of a real gem.'
The word 'jewellery' has also been defined as follows:-
gems or ornaments made or sold by jewellers, especially precious stones in mounting ; jewels collectively or as a form of adornment.
Thus the dictionary meaning seems to indicate that though ordinarily precious stones must be an essential ingredient of the ornament in order to make it 'jewellery' there is no invariable rule that an ornament containing imitation stones must on no account be treated as jewellery. The value of the imitation stones set is wholly immaterial in deciding this question. Thus, the dictionary meaning given to that expression shows that the interpretation put by the learned Member, Sales Tax Tribunal, is incorrect.
4. This view is further strengthened if we scrutinise the subsequent notifications issued by the Government of Orissa-vide Finance Department Notification No. 10085-F dated 3rd July, 1951, which came into force on 15th July, 1951, in which the rates of sales tax leviable in respect of various specified articles were notified. The material portion of that notification is as follows :
Jewellery including precious stones; unset precious stones and pearls real or cultured; imitations of gold ornaments made of specie, jewellery, precious stones and pearls.
The aforesaid notification makes it absolutely clear that even imitation stones and imitation jewellery were taxable. There may be an ornament consisting of pure gold set with imitation stones, or made of imitation gold set with imitation stones. Though there might have been some doubt prior to the issue of the aforesaid notification, as to whether an ornament made of imitation gold and set with imitation stones was jewellery or not, that doubt was set at rest by the aforesaid notification. In the present case, it is admitted that the ornaments were made of pure gold though set with imitation stones. That would bring them within the dictionary meaning of the expression 'jewellery'. Moreover, it appears that the notification was issued only by way of clarification and was not meant to enlarge the meaning of the expressions 'ornaments' and 'jewellery' occurring in the earlier notifications.
5. I would therefore answer the question referred to this Court by the Tribunal in the affirmative, and further add that the value of the imitation stones set in the jewellery is wholly immaterial. There will be no order for costs.
G.C. Das, J.
6. I agree.