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The Deputy Commissioner of Agricultural Income-tax and Sales Tax (Law), Board of Revenue (Taxes) Vs. Union Carbide India Limited - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case NumberT.R.C. No. 42 of 1974
Judge
Reported in[1976]38STC198(Ker)
AppellantThe Deputy Commissioner of Agricultural Income-tax and Sales Tax (Law), Board of Revenue (Taxes)
RespondentUnion Carbide India Limited
Appellant AdvocateGovernment Pleader
Respondent Advocate M. Pathrose Mathai and; Joseph Vellappally, Advs.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredGanu Bhai v. Commissioner of Sales Tax
Excerpt:
.....of agricultural income-tax and sales tax..........with cinematographic projectors.6. are the batteries parts or accessories of transistors? are the carbons parts or accessories of cinema projectors whether a typewriter ribbon is a part of a typewriter was considered by the high court of mysore in state of mysore v. kores (india) ltd. [1970] 26 s.t.c. 87 at 88. the court said :the mere fact that a machine cannot be used without some other accessory is not by itself decisive of this question. the point to be considered is whether a typewriter is sold commercially with or without such ribbon. it is clear from the facts presented before us that they are being sold in the market without the typewriter ribbons. that being the position, it must follow that the typewriter ribbon is not an essential part of a typewriter so as to attract tax as.....
Judgment:

T. Kochu Thommen, J.

1. The assessee is the respondent in this tax revision case. It manufactures leakproof or dry-cell batteries, which are labelled as transistor batteries. The assessee also manufactures cinema arc carbons. Two questions arise : Are the batteries spare parts or accessories of radios and transistors so as to fall under item 12 of the First Schedule of the Kerala General Sales Tax Act, 1963 Are the arc carbon parts or accessories required for use with cinematographic equipments so as to fall under item 14 of the said schedule According to the Sales Tax Officer and the Appellate Assistant Commissioner, such batteries and carbons fall respectively under items 12 and 14 of the said schedule. The assessee, however, contended before these authorities that batteries fell under item 26 of the said schedule which relates to 'all electrical goods'. It also contended that carbons came under the residuary provision, namely, Section 5(l)(ii). These contentions were rejected by the Sales Tax Officer and the Appellate Assistant Commissioner. But the assessee succeeded before the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal, Trivandrum. The Tribunal by its order dated 18th July, 1973, held that the dry-cell batteries fell under item 26 and the arc carbons under the residuary clause, namely, Section 5(l)(ii). We shall now read the concerned provisions. Section 5 says :

5. Levy of tax on sale or purchase of goods. -- (1) Every dealer (other than a casual trader or agent of a non-resident dealer) whose total turnover for a year is not less than twenty thousand rupees and every casual trader or agent of a non-resident dealer, whatever be his total turnover for the year, shall pay tax on his taxable turnover for that year, --

(i) in the case of goods specified in the First or Second Schedule at the rates and only at the points specified against such goods in the said schedules ; and

(ii) in the case of other goods, at the rate of four per cent at all points of sale....

The relative entries as they stood at the relevant time are :

S.No. Description of the goods Point of levy Rate of tax1 2 3 412. Wireless reception instruments At the point of 12 per centand apparatus, radios and first sale in the radiogramophones, electrical State by a dealervalves, accumulators, amplifiers who is liable to and loud-speakers and spare parts tax under Section 5.and accessories thereof. 14. Cinematographic equipments do. 12 per centincluding cameras, projectors and sound recording and reproducingequipments, lenses, films andparts and accessories required for use therewith,26. All electrical goods (other than do. 7 per cent those specifically mentioned in this schedule), instruments, apparatus, appliances and all such articles the use of which cannot be had except, with the application of electrical energy, including fans and lighting bulbs, electrical earthenwares and porcelain and all other accessories and component parts either sold as a whole or in parts.

2. The Tribunal found that the batteries manufactured by the assessee could be used for various purposes; the transistors were sold without batteries ; these batteries could not be recharged once they were discharged. The Tribunal, on the basis of such finding, held that the batteries could not be described as spare parts and accessories of wireless reception instruments and apparatus, and that they were electrical goods falling under item 26. As regards the arc carbons, the Tribunal found that they were general appliances, which could be used for various purposes such as special types of printing and processing ; and also where intense brilliance was required, as in the case of search-lights, signalling lamps, cinema projectors and the like. It was therefore held that arc carbons, although called cinema carbons, were general goods falling under Section 5(l)(ii).

3. Various decisions were cited at the Bar on either side. Relying upon Pashabhai Patel and Co. (P.) Ltd. v. Collector of Sales Tax [1964] 15 S.T.C. 32, Commissioner of Sales Tax v. Shetkari Sahakari Sangh Ltd. [1975] 35 S.T.C. 554, and Engineering Traders v. State of U.P. [1973] 31 S.T.C. 456 (F.B.), the counsel for the revenue contended that the test was not whether the batteries or carbons were used exclusively for transistors or projectors, as the case might be, but whether they were ordinarily put to such use. If they were generally and commonly understood in commercial parlance as parts or accessories of transistors in the case of batteries and of projectors in the case of carbons, they would fall under items 12 and 14 respectively.

4. Counsel for the assessee drew our attention to Ramtirth Yogashram v. State of Maharashtra [1968] 22 S.T.C. 76, and submitted that the mode in which a person might choose to advertise his commodity could not be decisive in determining its real nature. He contended that in the commercial sense these batteries or arc carbons could not be considered as parts or accessories of transistors or projectors as the case might be. If that was the case, they would not attract entry 12 or 14. According to him, the batteries fell under item 26 and the arc. carbons under Section 5(l)(ii).

5. Two unreported decisions of the Andhra Pradesh High Court were placed before us by counsel for the revenue. In T.R.C. Nos. 46 and 47 of 1969, the Andhra Pradesh High Court held :

That the goods in question are required for use as accessories in cinematographic equipment is not in dispute. The mere fact that they could also be used for other purposes does not in any way take these goods out of the scope of item 4....Essentially, these goods, as the name itself demonstrates, are used as accessories in cinematographic equipment. The fact that they could be put to use for other purposes makes absolutely no difference.

Their Lordships also referred to an earlier decision of the same court in T.R.C. No. 26 of 1962, where it was held that cinema carbons were accessories required for use with cinematographic projectors.

6. Are the batteries parts or accessories of transistors? Are the carbons parts or accessories of cinema projectors Whether a typewriter ribbon is a part of a typewriter was considered by the High Court of Mysore in State of Mysore v. Kores (India) Ltd. [1970] 26 S.T.C. 87 at 88. The court said :

The mere fact that a machine cannot be used without some other accessory is not by itself decisive of this question. The point to be considered is whether a typewriter is sold commercially with or without such ribbon. It is clear from the facts presented before us that they are being sold in the market without the typewriter ribbons. That being the position, it must follow that the typewriter ribbon is not an essential part of a typewriter so as to attract tax as per entry 18 of the Second Schedule to the Act....

An identical question arose for consideration before the Allahabad High Court in Kores (India) Ltd., Kanpur v. State of U. P.[1970] 26 S.T.C. 126 at 128. Their Lordships said:

In respect of typewriter ribbons, the question is whether they are to be considered as a part of typewriters or merely accessories. It seems to us that a part of a machine is that which contributes to making the machine a complete article. It is a part of the whole. It is a component which together with other components results in a complete article. We find it difficult to hold that in the absence of a ribbon, a typewriter is not a complete machine. It is all that a typewriter should be, and the addition of a ribbon does not make it any the more a complete machine.

It was therefore held that the ribbon was not a part of the typewriter. The question whether the typewriter ribbon, if not a part, would be an accessory of the typewriter was not considered either by the Mysore High Court or the Allahabad High Court. But the question whether printing types are accessories of printing machinery was considered by the Mysore High Court in N.A.V. Naidu v. Commissioner of Commercial Taxes [1970] 25 S.T.C. 381 at 382. The court held that printing types could not be classified as accessories to a printing machinery. Referring to the meaning of the term 'accessory' in Webster's New International Dictionary as 'an article or device that adds

to the convenience of something else, but is not essential as a speedometer on automotive vehicle', their Lordships observed:

The above meaning, in our opinion, is the one that is appropriate in the context of the word 'accessories' occurring in serial No. 20 of the Second Schedule. In order to constitute an accessory to a machinery, the article or device must be one that adds to the convenience or effectiveness of the main machinery, but is not essential. Speedometer in a motor car is an example of an accessory to a motor vehicle. The motor vehicle can be run without a speedometer; but for its convenience, a speedometer is helpful. A printing machinery cannot be worked without printing types. As held by the Tribunal, printing types are essential without which the printing machinery cannot be worked. If printing types are articles which are essential for working the printing machinery, the printing types cannot be considered as something that adds to the convenience or effectiveness of the printing machinery and, therefore, in our opinion, printing types cannot be classed as accessories to the printing machinery.

The principle which can be drawn from the above decisions appears to be that a thing is a part of the other only if the other is incomplete without it. A thing is an accessory of the other only if the thing is not essential for the other but only adds to its convenience or effectiveness. Based on this principle the courts held that a typewriter ribbon was not a part of a typewriter as a typewriter was complete without the ribbon. A typewriter could function even without the ribbon when cutting stencils ; but whether the ribbon could be treated as an accessory was not, as already stated, considered by the courts. In the case of printing types, the court held that they were not accessories of a printing machine, for the machine could not function without the types The types were not accessories in the sense of something which merely added to the convenience or effectiveness of the principal thing, namely, the machinery. Although it was not considered by the Mysore High Court whether the printing types were part of the printing machinery, it would appear that, in the light of its decision in State of Mysore v. Kores (India) Ltd. [1970] 26 S.T.C, 87, it would have, had the question arisen, held that the printing types were not part of the printing machinery, for the machinery was complete without the types.

7. To restate the principle: A thing is a part of the other, if the other is incomplete without it. A thing is not an accessory of the other, if the other, although complete in itself, cannot function without the thing.

8. Looking at the leakproof batteries or the arc carbons, one is not likely to say that they are either parts or accessories. A transistor is complete without the battery ; but, unless the transistor can be connected to the mains, it cannot function without the battery. The batteries are indispensable for the functioning of the transistors. They are not accessories for they do not merely add to the convenience or effectiveness of the transistors, but they make them work. Nevertheless they are not parts of the transistors, for the transistors are complete without them. Same is the position with the arc carbons vis-a-vis the cinematographic equipments.

9. As stated by the Supreme Court in Commissioner of Sales Tax v. Jaswant Singh Charan Singh [1967] 19 S.T.C. 469(S.C.), 'it is now well-settled that while interpreting items in statutes like the Sales Tax Acts, resort should be had not to the scientific or the technical meaning of such terms but to their popular meaning or the meaning attached to them by those dealing in them, that is to say, to their commercial sense'. (See also Deputy Commissioner of Agricultural Income-tax and Sales Tax v. Kerala Premo Pipe Factory Ltd. 1974 K.L.T. 12, and Deputy Commissioner of Agricultural Income-tax and Sales Tax {Law) v. Chandra Corporation 1976 K.L.T. 22). There is no evidence to suggest that the leakproof batteries and the arc carbons are regarded by those dealing in them as accessories or parts of transistors or projectors, as the case may be. Notwithstanding the label or the mode of advertisement, one has to, as stated by the Madhya Pradesh High Court in Ganu Bhai v. Commissioner of Sales Tax [1975] 36 S.T.C. 421, see to what use the commodity in question is normally put. Looked at this way, on the basis of facts found by the Tribunal, one has to conclude that the batteries cannot be regarded as normally used only for transistors. Similarly, the arc carbons also cannot be regarded as normally used only for cinematographic projectors. As stated by the Tribunal these commodities are used for various purposes, apart from transistors or projectors. In such circumstances, and for the reasons stated above, we are of the opinion that the batteries cannot be regarded as parts or accessories of transistors ; nor can the arc carbons be regarded as parts or accessories of cinematographic equipments. With great respect, we do not agree with the reasoning adopted by the Andhra Pradesh High Court in the cases cited above. Consequently, we dismiss the tax revision case, but direct the parties to bear their respective costs.


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