G.K. Misra, C.J.
1. The question referred to this court under Section 24(1) of the Orissa Sales Tax Act is as follows :-
Whether on the facts and circumstances of the case, the appellant is entitled to exemption of sales tax in respect of sales on chillies to Messrs Ramchandra Beharilal, having registration certificate No. BA-56 on account of the fact that the term 'grocery' includes chillies.
2. Facts relevant to the question may be stated in brief. Ramchandra Ramniwas (petitioner) carries on business in grocery articles. He sold chillies (red pepper) on 2nd January, 1960, for Rs. 1,837.78 to Messrs Ramchandra Beharilal of Bhadrak, having registration No. BA-56. The Sales Tax Tribunal, Mr. P.C. De, who heard the second appeal, held that chillies do not come within the meaning of the word 'grocery' and as such the purchasing dealer was not entitled to purchase chillies free of sales tax and consequently the selling dealer (petitioner) was liable to pay sales tax.
3. On a reference to the registration certificate of the purchasing dealer, it would be clear that his business consists of wholesale distribution of grocery. Many articles come within the ambit of the expression 'grocery', but the purchasing dealer was not entitled to purchase all those articles free of sales tax. Only in respect of the articles referred to in column 3, he was entitled to purchase them free of sales tax for the purpose of resale in Orissa. These goods include spices. The short question that arose for consideration before the Tribunal, therefore, was whether chillies would come within the meaning of 'spices'. In the Oxford English Dictionary, the expression 'chilly' carries the following meanings:
The dried pod of a species of capsicum or red pepper ; the pods which are acrid, pungent and of a deep red colour when ripe are largely used as condiment and when reduced to powder form the basis of Cayenne pepper; the shrub which bears chillies.
The expression 'spices' carries the following meanings :
One or other of various strongly flavoured or aromatic substances of vegetable origin, obtained from tropical plants, commonly used as condiments or employed for other purposes on account of their fragrance and preservative qualities.
Comparing the definition of 'spices' with that of 'chillies', it would be clear that chillies can also come within the ambit of spices. By the very mention of the expression spices in the registration certificate as coming within the definition of grocery no point of law arises as to whether chillies are included within the meaning of 'grocery'. The question should have been framed as to whether chillies would come within the definition of spices. We accordingly reframe the question.
In view of our holding that chillies come within the definition of spices and as spices were entered in the registration certificate of the purchasing dealer for being purchased tax-free, the petitioner is entitled to sell chillies to the purchasing dealer free of sales tax.
The question, as reframed, is answered as indicated above.
The reference is accepted, but in the circumstances, without costs. Reference fee deposited be refunded.
S. Acharya, J.