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Deputy Commissioner of Sales Tax (Law), Board of Revenue (Taxes) Vs. Anand Wire and Allied Industries - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case Number T.R.C. Nos. 79 and 80 of 1977
Judge
Reported in[1979]43STC273(Ker)
AppellantDeputy Commissioner of Sales Tax (Law), Board of Revenue (Taxes)
RespondentAnand Wire and Allied Industries
Appellant AdvocateThe Government Pleader
Respondent Advocate Chacko George and; Charles George, Advs.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredAnnapurna Carbon Industries Co. v. State of Andhra Pradesh
Excerpt:
- - we should think, unaided by authorities or decisions, that as a matter of construction and in the light of our common knowledge and experience, it is difficult to regard electric posts as electrical goods within the meaning of the expression used in the entry and in accordance with the well-understood canons of interpretation. 301, it is neither possible nor desirable to embark on a preparation of an exhaustive list of what constitute 'electrical goods' within the meaning of entry 41. but we are not satisfied that the tribunal, in the view it took, was erroneous......that in order to constitute an 'accessory' electricity must have actually passed through the goods in question. the question here is whether the stay-wires which are used for supporting electric posts can pass as 'other accessories' within the meaning of the above entry. on a conspectus of the entry we think that what is regarded as accessory must be so in relation to the 'electrical goods', and the primary and essential question would therefore be whether the electric posts can pass as 'electrical goods' within the meaning of the entry. we should think, unaided by authorities or decisions, that as a matter of construction and in the light of our common knowledge and experience, it is difficult to regard electric posts as electrical goods within the meaning of the expression used.....
Judgment:

Gopalan Nambiyar, C.J.

1. The point debated in these tax revision cases is whether the assessment to sales tax has to be made at 7 per cent under item 26 of the First Schedule to the Kerala General Sales Tax Act or should be done under the more favourable rate of taxation to the asses-see under the multi-point scheme of taxation sanctioned by Section 5 of the Act.

2. The Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal, reversing the decisions of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner and the Sales Tax Officer, found in favour of the assessee that the assessment should be under Section 5 of the Act. The department has filed these tax revision cases.

3. As stated by the Tribunal, the commodity in question, the assess-ability to tax of which arises for consideration is stay-wire manufactured by the assessee. As stated by the Tribunal, again, this is a some sort of stranded wire manufactured by the assessee which is also sold by them. It does not appear to have been disputed by the assessee that this wire is used for giving support to electric post. It was contended by the assessee that entry 26 of the First Schedule would not be attracted to the taxation of the commodity in question as electricity is not passed through the stay-wires. The Tribunal seems to have accepted this contention and it was on this footing that it held that the stay-wires cannot be held to be accessories within the meaning of the entry. Therefore, in the view of the Tribunal, the assessment could only be under Section 5 of the Act.

4. We may quote item 26 of the First Schedule to the Act and the same reads:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------SI. No. Description of the goods Point of Rate of taxlevy (1) (2) (3) (4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------------26. All electrical goods, other than At the point 9 per cent, those specifically mentioned in of first sale in this schedule, instruments, ap- the State by a paratus, appliances and all such dealer who is articles the use of which cannot liable to tax be had except with the applica- under sec-tion of electrical energy, includ- tion 5. ing fans and lighting bulbs, electrical earthenwares and porcelain and all other acces-sories and component parts either sold as a whole or in parts.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In the face of the above entry, it is not correct or decisive to accept the view of the Tribunal that in order to constitute an 'accessory' electricity must have actually passed through the goods in question. The question here is whether the stay-wires which are used for supporting electric posts can pass as 'other accessories' within the meaning of the above entry. On a conspectus of the entry we think that what is regarded as accessory must be so in relation to the 'electrical goods', and the primary and essential question would therefore be whether the electric posts can pass as 'electrical goods' within the meaning of the entry. We should think, unaided by authorities or decisions, that as a matter of construction and in the light of our common knowledge and experience, it is difficult to regard electric posts as electrical goods within the meaning of the expression used in the entry and in accordance with the well-understood canons of interpretation. The judicial decisions to which our attention has been drawn only support this conclusion. Counsel for the assessee drew our attention to four decisions: Deputy Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, Madurai Division, Madurai v. Ravi Auto Stores [1968] 22 S.T.C. 172, State of Andhra Pradesh v. Indian Detonators Ltd., Hyderabad [1971] 28 S.T.C. 84, Commissioner of Sales Tax v. Bharat Traders, Bareilly [1974] 33 S.T.C. 3, and J. B. Advani-Oerlikon, Electrodes, Pvt. Ltd. v. Commissioner of Sales Tax, Madhya Pradesh [1972] 30 S.T.C. 337. Practically the same principle runs through these decisions. The entry construed under the taxing statutes in those decisions was practically on the same terms as what we are concerned with in the present case. For instance, in the first mentioned Madras decision1, the entry was: 'All electrical goods, instruments, apparatus and appliances, including fans and lighting bulbs, electrical earthenware and porcelain and all other, accessories.' The position argued may be understood with respect to the following paragraph in the judgment:

It is contended for the revenue, which is the petitioner before us, that, since welding electrodes cannot be used except with the application of electrical energy, they should be regarded as electrical goods attracting entry 41. In our view, the argument lays too much stress on the user of the article with electrical energy. That, no doubt, is a test for purposes of entry 41, but is not the only test. Before applying that test, the goods must be capable of classification as electrical goods. Though the words are easily understood in common parlance, it is one of those cases which are more easily understood than defined satisfactorily. Also, as pointed out by this court in William Jacks and Co. Ltd. v. State of Madras [1955] 6 S.T.C. 301, it is neither possible nor desirable to embark on a preparation of an exhaustive list of what constitute 'electrical goods' within the meaning of entry 41. But we are not satisfied that the Tribunal, in the view it took, was erroneous. In William Jacks and Co. Ltd. v. State of Madras [1960] 11 S.T.C. 340, this court held that a lathe fitted with electrical motor which could not be used except with electrical power was not by itself 'electrical goods'. Intrinsically, the goods in question must be electrical goods and, secondly, their use cannot be had without electrical energy. Merely because an article cannot be used without electricity, it may not be decisive. It is necessary that, apart from that fact, the article, by its very nature, answers the description of 'electrical goods'. For instance, the use of a motor car cannot be had without batteries or a dynamo fitted to it. But on that account, can it be said that motor car is 'electrical goods' The answer, it seems to us, should be in the negative. Likewise, in electroplating, solution of silver or gold particles is used through which electricity is passed in the process of electro-plating. In our view, because electroplating by that process cannot be had without the use of electricity, it cannot be said that the silver or gold particles are electrical goods by themselves. In the same way, electrodes, though cannot be used without electrical energy in welding process, do not appear by themselves to be electrical goods. What, after all, is the difference between silver or gold particles in the solution used in the process of electro-plating and welding electrodes except that, in the latter case, instead of electrodes being in the form of particles, they are in the form of solid rods These copper rods styled as electrodes are conductors of electricity and electricity is used for the purpose of heating up the pointed ends of the rods in the process of welding, so that in the very process the copper rods gradually disappear. We do not say that this phenomenon by itself entirely contributes to testing whether electrodes by themselves are electrical goods. What we have in mind is that electrodes are but copper rods which are melted by electrical power in welding. Looked at from that point of view, it seems to us that welding electrodes are not by themselves electrical goods. That is the view the Tribunal has taken and, in any case, we are unable to say that it is incorrect.

The same principle was accepted by the other decisions. We think this represents a correct approach to the consideration of the question and we are of the opinion that, judged in the light of this principle, electric posts to which the stay-wires act as support, cannot be regarded as electrical goods within the meaning of the entry.

5. Counsel for the assessee drew our attention to the Supreme Court decision in Annapurna Carbon Industries Co. v. State of Andhra Pradesh [1976] 37 S.T.C. 378 (S.C.). But the facts disclosed and the entry which fell for consideration are quite different and the decision as such has no application. What was observed by the Supreme Court was that the term 'accessories' was used in the schedule to describe goods which may have been manufactured for use as an aid or addition. A sense in which the word 'accessory' is used was given in Webster's New International Dictionary. This was relied on by the court. It was pointed out that accessories are not necessarily confined to particular machines for which they serve as aids. Even with this ruling of the Supreme Court, at the utmost we may be able to hold that stay-wires can be regarded as 'accessories'. But we still are unable to hold that they are accessories to 'electrical goods', as we cannot regard the electric posts as such.

6. In view of the facts noticed, we are of the opinion that the decision of the Tribunal does not disclose any error of law or any omission to consider and decide any question of law. We affirm the judgment of the Tribunal and dismiss the tax revision cases with no order as to costs.


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