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The Collector of Sales-tax, Bombay Vs. Abdul Rehman Alladin - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtGujarat High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSales Tax Ref. No. 1 of 1961
Judge
Reported inAIR1964Guj27
ActsBombay Sales Tax Act, 1953 - Sections 5(1)
AppellantThe Collector of Sales-tax, Bombay
RespondentAbdul Rehman Alladin
Appellant Advocate J.M. Thakore, Adv. General, i/b., Bhaishanker Kanga and Girdharlal
Respondent Advocate K.H. Kaji, Adv.
Cases ReferredG. R. KulKarni v. The State
Excerpt:
(i) sales tax - goods - section 5 (1) of bombay sales tax act, 1953 - whether respondents were 'processors' within meaning of section 5 (1) (b) (ii) - parts of motor-car removed by respondent to be sold as spare parts of motor-car - such act cannot be treated as processing of any goods - question answered in negative. (ii) commodity - whether respondents producers or manufacturers within meaning of section 5 (1) (b) (ii) - respondent separated a part from car for purpose of using it as spare part - cannot be said that respondent is producing anything - spare parts taken out from motor cars have their own separate identity from car - spare parts continue to retain their identity - question answered in negative. - .....respondents herein, consisted of purchasing old motor-cars and dismantling the same and deriving spare parts therefrom and parts which could not be used as spare parts and of selling the spare parts without moulding, repairing or changing them in any way. the respondents also sold motor-cars and scrap. the respondents applied for registration on 11th july 1955 as by that date, according to them their turnover had exceeded rs. 25,000/- the sales tax officer by his order dated 11th july 1955 took the view that the respondents were liable as dealers who processed goods with effect from 1st april 1954 when their turnover was taken to have exceeded rs. 10.000/- the matter went in appeal before the assistant collector of sales tax who set aside the assessment by his order dated 9th july.....
Judgment:

K.T. Desai, C. J.

1. This is a Reference under Section 34(1) of the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1953. The business of Messrs. Abdul Rehman Alladin, the respondents herein, consisted of purchasing old motor-cars and dismantling the same and deriving spare parts therefrom and parts which could not be used as spare parts and of selling the spare parts without moulding, repairing or changing them in any way. The respondents also sold motor-cars and scrap. The respondents applied for registration on 11th July 1955 as by that date, according to them their turnover had exceeded Rs. 25,000/- the Sales Tax Officer by his order dated 11th July 1955 took the view that the respondents were liable as dealers who processed goods with effect from 1st April 1954 when their turnover was taken to have exceeded Rs. 10.000/- the matter went in appeal before the Assistant Collector of sales Tax who set aside the assessment by His order dated 9th July 1356. Thereafter the Additional Collector of Sales tax in exercise of his powers of revision, by his order dated 19th May 1958 held that the respondents were dealers who processed goods and restored the assessment order passed by the Sales Tax Officer. The matter was carned further before the Sales Tax Tribunal. The Tribunal set aside the order of the Additional Collector of Sales Tax and affirmed the order of the Assistant Collector of Sales Tax. The Tribunal observed that in its opinion change of the original goods in some way or the other was the essence of processing and that having regard to the description of the work done by the respondents, it could not be said that the respondents had done any work of processing. At the instance of the Collector of Sales Tax, a Reference has been made to us for the determination of the following questions which arise out of the order of the Tribunal.

'(1) Whether in respect of their business in spare parts the respondents are 'processors' within the meaning of Clause (ii) of the Section 5(1) (b) of the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1953?

(2) Whether in any event in respect of their business in spare parts the respondents are producers or manufacturers within the meaning of Clause (ii) of Section 5(1) (b) of the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1953?

(3) Whether on the facts and in the circumstances of the case the respondents are liable to pay tax under Section 5 of Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1953, with effect from 1st April 1954?'

2. Section 5(1) (b) (ii) of the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1953, which is required to be construed for the purpose of answering the aforesaid questions runs as under:

'5. Incidence of tax: (1) Every dealer whose turnover either of all sales or of all purchases made during-

(a) xx xx xx xx (b) the year commencing on the 1st April 1954, has exceeded or exceeds-

(i) xx xx xx xx (ii) in the case of a dealer who produces, collects,extracts, manufactures or processes any goods, Rs. 10,000/-provided that the value of the goods produced, collected,extracted, manufactured or processed during the said periodis not less than Rs. 2,500; shall be liable to pay the tax under this Act on his turnoverof sales and his turnover of purchases made on or after tooappointed day.'

The question that we have to determine is whether it could be said that the respondents in this case have processed any goods or produced or manufactured any goods. The term process has been used in the Section as a transitive vero. In Webster's New World Dictionary, the meaning of the word 'process' used as a transitive verb has been given as 'to prepare by or subject to a treatment or process'. In Iyer's Law Lexicon that word has been stated to mean 'treatment of substance in transforming or reducing it to a different state'. We have, therefore, to consider whether when a person purchases old motor-cars and dismanties the same and takes out their parts which could be sold as spare parts, he could be said to have processed any goods. Can it be said that when a car is dismantled, it is subjected to a treatment for the purpose of taxing thereout spare parts? The expression 'spare parts' itself indicates that the reference is to such parts of the car which are identifiable by name and which are capable or being removed from a car and replaced in a car me action of removing a part from out of the car in order that it may be used as a spare part for fitting it into another car cannot from any common sense point of view be regarded as 'processing any goods'.

3. The learned Advocate General drew our attention to the case reported In Anwarkhan Mehboob Co. v. State or Bombay, (1960) 11 STC 698: (AIR 1961 SC 213) that was a case in which the Supreme Court had to construe the word 'consumption' as appearing in the Explanation to Article 286(1)(a) of the Constitution which existed before the passing of the Constitution (Sixth Amendment) Act, 1956. A passage in that judgment on which reliance has been placed, which appears at p. 704 (of STC) : (at p. 217 of AIR) runs as under:

'This conversion of a commodity into a different commercial commodity by subjecting it to some processing, is consumption within the meaning of the Explanation to Article 286 no less than the final ad of user when no distinct commodity is being brought into existence but what was brought into existence is used up'.

It is further stated as follows:

'We think it proper and reasonable to say that whenever a commodity is so dealt with as to change it into another commercial commodity there is consumption of the first Commodity within the meaning of the Explanation to Article 286'.

These observations of the Supreme Court do not much assist us in determining the meaning of the expression 'who processes any goods' appearing in Section 5(1) (b) (ii) or the Sales Tax Act, 1953.

4. Another decision on which reliance was placed is the decision in Chrestien Mica Industries Ltd., v. State or Bihar, reported in (1961) 12 STC 150 (SC). In that case the Supreme Court had to consider the meaning of the expression 'production' within the meaning of the Bihar Sales Tax Act, 1947. The Supreme Court held in that case that the process of mining mica is a process of production within the meaning of Section 2(g) of the Bihar sales tax Act, 1947, as amended by Bihar Act VI of 1949. At p. 152 the Supreme Court has observed as under:

'The appellant company is carrying on mica mining operations by which crude mica is taken out of the mine and processed into split mica which is a commercial commodity. What happens Is that there is winning of cruae mica from the earth which is split into thinner plates and cut Ino commercial sizes.'

Thereafter they proceed to state that neither of the words 'production' or 'manufacture' is defined in the Bihar sales Tax Act but according to Oxford English Dictionary 'production' meant amongst other things that which was produced; a thing that results from any action, process or effort, a product; a product of human activity or effort and that in that case there was 'production' within the meaning of the Sales Tax Act under consideration. This decision does not define what constitutes 'processing of goods'.

5. In our view the expression 'who processes any goods' , refers to the subjecting of any goods to a treatment or process adopting the language of Webster's New World. Dictionary. It cannot be said in the present case that when parts of a motor-car are removed so that they may be sold as spare parts, goods have been subjected to a treatment or process. The act of dismantling some parts of a motor-car cannot be treated, as the processing of any goods within the meaning of the said Section. In the result, our answer to the first question is in the negative.

6. That brings us to the second question whether it could be said that any goods are produced or manufactured when some parts from a car are taken out therefrom the learned Advocate General very fairly has not urged before us that any goods are manufactured when parts are taken out from a car. He has confined his case to the question of production of goods when parts are taken out from a motor-car. It is no doubt true that the parts which are taken from the motor-car with the intention of selling the same as spare parts cannot be equated with the car. The spare parts so taken out would have their own separate identity from the car. Even when some of the said parts were fitted into the car, they had retained their identity and when they are taken out of the car, they continue to retain their identity. It is not as if out of one thing another thing is produced. It is the removal of things from a car which contains many other things. In our view, when a part is separated from a car for the purpose of being used as a spare part for fitting into another car, it cannot be said that the person who is doing so is producing anything.

7. Our attention was called to three cases. The first case was the one reported in North Bengal Stores, Ltd., v. Board of Revenue, Bengal, 1 STC 157 (Cal) that was a case of a dispensing chemist and the question there raised was whether when a chemist dispenses a prescription of a doctor, he produces any goods for sale within the meaning of the Bengal Finance (Sales Tax) Act, 1941 me Court came to the conclusion that the chemist was producing goods for sale within the meaning of the said Section. The action of a chemist in producing goods cannot be compared with the action of a purchaser of a secondhand motor-car who dismantles the same for the purpose of obtaining spare parts therefrom.

8. The second case to which reference has been made is the one reported in State of Madhya Pradesh v. Wasudeo, 1955-6 STC 30, (Nag). In that case a person was convicted under Section 24(1) (a) of the C.P. and Berar sales Tax Act, 1947, for dealing in timber cut from Government forests without holding a registration certificate. It was urged that he only cut the trees and made them in a transportable form and that he could not be said to be a dealer, who manufactured or produced goods within the meaning or Section 2(1) (a) of that Act. It was found that he has made the cut trees into logs or rafters and sold them as such. After referring to the dictionary meaning of the Word 'manufacture' as 'the making of articles or material by physical labour or mechanical power' or as 'to work up material into forms suitable for use', it was stated thatlogs or rafters Into which the trees were shaped by the person concerned had a definite commercial value. Without any work of art the trees were liable to be sold only as raw material, whether as fuel or timber, and would nave naturally fetched a low price. As logs or ratters they (sic) liable to be used as beems or further shaped into finer furniture. They had, therefore, assumed a d(sic)erent shape or form which made them fit for use either directly or, if necessary by applying some more labour and skill. It was held that the person concerned was a dealer who manufactured or produced goods within the meaning of the said Section 2(1) (a).

9. The case before us stands on a somewhat different footing from the case cited before us. A carburetor or any other part dismantled from a car for the purpose of being used as a spare part cannot be treated as a part which has been produced out of a car within the meaning of the words used in that connection in Section 5(1) (b) (ii) or the Sales Tax Act, 1953.

10. The third case is the case reported in G. R. KulKarni v. The State, 1957-8 STC 294; (AIR 1957 Madh Pra 45). In that case it was held that the breaking of boulders into metal was 'manufacture' within the meaning of Section 2(1) (a) of the Madhya Pradesh Sales Tax Act, 1947. The extraction of metal from a boulder cannot be put on the same footing as the removal of a part from a car as a spare part. These decisions do not very much help us in considering the case which is before us. We have to read the provisions of the Section as a whole and having so read them consider whether in plain English language one can ever say that a person who removes a part from a car for use as a spare part could be said to have produced that part. In our view it would be straining the language used in the Section if we were to say that the respondents in this case produced any goods when they removed them from a car. In the result our answer to question No. 2 is in the negative.

11. The answer to question No. 3 is purely dependant upon our answer to earlier questions 1 and 2. Our answer to question No. 3 is that the respondents are not unable to pay tax under Section 5(1) (b) (ii) of the Bombay sales Tax Act, 1953.

12. The applicant will pay to the respondents the costsof the Reference.


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