Skip to content


Commercial Taxes Officer Vs. Bharat Krishi Yantralaya and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberD.B. Civil Sales Tax Case (References) Nos. 50, 151, 218, 220, 221 and 227 of 1975
Judge
Reported in[1977]40STC451(Raj)
AppellantCommercial Taxes Officer
RespondentBharat Krishi Yantralaya and anr.
Appellant Advocate S.C. Bhandari, Adv.
Respondent Advocate S.M. Mehta and; B.R. Arora, Advs. for Respondent No. 1
Cases ReferredMadras v. Sri Venkatesa Mills Ltd.
Excerpt:
- - -(1) no tax shall be payable under this act on the sale or purchase of any of the exempted goods if the conditions specified in column 3 of the schedule are satisfied. 11. the contention of the revenue is that no tax shall be payable under section 4(1) on the sale or purchase of any of the exempted goods if the conditions specified in column 3 are satisfied......they are disposed of by this common order.2. the short question for consideration is whether the board of revenue was or was not justified in refusing to state a case. the question involved in all these cases was whether the list of agricultural implements given in clause (b) of item 8 of the schedule to the rajasthan sales tax act was exhaustive and inasmuch as disc-harrows and cultivators were not included in the list and, hence, these articles were liable to tax under general rate. that was the view of the commercial taxes officer, but, in appeal, the deputy commissioner (appeals) treated them to be agricultural implements and held that their sale was exempt from tax. in revision, it was submitted on behalf of the commercial taxes officer that the list was exhaustive but the board.....
Judgment:

A.P. Sen, J.

1. These six reference applications filed by the Commercial Taxes Officer, Jaipur, under Section 15(2)(b) of the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act, 1954, for requiring the Board of Revenue to state a case, involve a common question and, therefore, they are disposed of by this common order.

2. The short question for consideration is whether the Board of Revenue was or was not justified in refusing to state a case. The question involved in all these cases was whether the list of agricultural implements given in Clause (b) of Item 8 of the Schedule to the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act was exhaustive and inasmuch as disc-harrows and cultivators were not included In the list and, hence, these articles were liable to tax under general rate. That was the view of the Commercial Taxes Officer, but, in appeal, the Deputy Commissioner (Appeals) treated them to be agricultural implements and held that their sale was exempt from tax. In revision, it was submitted on behalf of the Commercial Taxes Officer that the list was exhaustive but the Board rejected that contention and held that the list given in column 3 of Clause (b) of Item 8 was illustrative. The Board of Revenue was further of the view that disc-harrows and cultivators were nothing but agricultural implements as they were in the nature of a plough and, therefore, entitled to exemption from tax.

3. Thereupon, the Commercial Taxes Officer applied under Section 15(1) for a reference of the question of law, namely, whether, on the facts and circumstances of the case, disc-harrows and cultivators are 'agricultural implements' under Clause (b) of Item 8 of the Schedule The Board of Revenue declined to state the case on the ground that the question was already decided by an earlier Division Bench of the Board and had later been followed by another Division Bench and, therefore, no question of law arose from the order of the Board. The Commercial Taxes Officer has accordingly applied under Section 15(2)(b) against the refusal of the Board to state a case.

4. In dealing with an a pplication under Section 15(2)(b), we are not concerned with the correctness of the decision of the Board of Revenue on merits of the appeal which was disposed of by the Board; but we are only concerned with the correctness or otherwise of the order of the Board that no question of law arose out of this order warranting a reference under Section 15(1) of the Act. Reference may be made to the decision in Central Talkies Circuit v. Commissioner of Income-tax [1939] 7 I.T.R. 628, where Beau-mount, C. J., in delivering the judgment of the Bombay High Court, held that the ultimate decision on a point of law, whether for or against the Commissioner, can have no bearing on the question whether there was a point of law upon which a case should have been stated. That decision of his has been followed in Dhanrajmal Chatandas v. Commissioner of Income-tax [1942] 10 I.T.R. 384 and Commissioner of Wealth-tax, Madras v. Sri Venkatesa Mills Ltd. [1965] 56 I.T.R. 384.

5. We are unable to appreciate the reasoning of the Board of Revenue that because the Division Bench of the Board has taken a particular view, therefore, there is no need to refer a case to the High Court. That is against the very scheme of the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act. Under Section 15(1) of the Act if a question of law arises out of the order of the Board of Revenue, the Board is bound to refer the same to the High Court for its opinion. Now, in the instant case, the order of the Board of Revenue itself states that there is a common point of law involved in these cases. The Board was, therefore, not justified in refusing to state a case.

6. There can be no doubt that the order of the Board of Revenue does give rise to a question of law. The construction of Clause (b) of Item 8 of the Schedule of the Act is not free from doubt or difficulty.

7. Section 4 of the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act, in so far as material, enacts:

4. Act not to apply in certain sales.-(1) No tax shall be payable under this Act on the sale or purchase of any of the exempted goods if the conditions specified in column 3 of the Schedule are satisfied.

(2) Where the State Government is of opinion that it is necessary or expedient in the public interest so to do, the State Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, exempt from tax the sale or purchase of any goods or class of goods or any person or class of persons on such conditions and on payment of such fee as may be specified in the notification.

8. Clause (b) of Item 8 of the Schedule, as it now stands, reads:

_______________________________________________________________________

S. No. Description of goods Conditions and exceptions subject to which

exemption is allowed

_______________________________________________________________________

1 2 3

_______________________________________________________________________

8.(b) Agricultural machinery The following shall be deemed to be agri-

and implements includ- cultural machinery and implements for the

ing parts of such machi- purpose of this item, namely:-

nery and implements. (1) Ploughs,

(2) The teeth of the plough

(3) Spade,

(4) Pick i.e., Khudali,

(5) Chaff-cutter,

(6) Khurpi,

(7) Axe,

(8) Khanta,

(9) Persian wheel and spare parts,

(10) Belcha,

(11) Gandasa,

(12) Patela.

9. Column 3, which relates to conditions and exceptions subject to which exemption is allowed, was inserted by Act 9 of 1958, with effect from 1st April, 1958. Column 2 was substituted by Act 11 of 1969 with effect from 8th March, 1969, for the following:

Fertilizers and manures, agricultural machinery and implements including parts of such machinery and implements.

10. It is accepted by the revenue before us that disc-harrows and cultivators are agricultural implements but that, according to the revenue, is not sufficient to attract the exemption under Section 4(1) of the Act, unless the conditions set forth in column 3 are fulfilled.

11. The contention of the revenue is that no tax shall be payable under Section 4(1) on the sale or purchase of any of the exempted goods if the conditions specified in column 3 are satisfied. The list of agricultural implements given in Clause (b) is said to be exhaustive. We are asked to read the word 'only' therein. The contention on behalf of the revenue really is that column 2 is controlled by column 3 and, therefore, column 3 is exhaustive list of exempted goods. That was the reason why the State Government was required to issue a notification under Section 4(2) to the effect:

In exercise of the powers conferred by Sub-section (2) of Section 4 of the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act, 1954 (Rajasthan Act 29 of 1954), the State Government being of the opinion that it is expedient in the public interest to do so, hereby exempts from tax the sale or purchase of the undermentioned goods on the condition that the goods are recorded in the registration certificate of the dealer claiming the exemption as being so exempted, namely:-

1. Cultivators, harrows, seed drill, disc-ploughs, tiller with or without seeding attachment and land-levellers worked or operated exclusively by animal power and the parts thereof, which are ordinarily not used otherwise than as such parts;....

12. This, it is said, supports the construction that the list in column 3 is not a merely illustrative but is exhaustive. The purpose of the legal fiction in column 3, it is urged, is that even though some of the articles listed therein may not be exclusively used for agricultural purposes, they shall be for the purposes of Item 8(b), treated to be so. Reliance is placed in Stroud's Law Dictionary, Volume II, page 716. It is urged that the word 'deemed' has different shades of meanings and in the context in which it appears in column 3, it must be read as meaning 'shall be treated to be'.

13. The contention on behalf of the assessee, on the other hand, is that column 3 is merely illustrative. It is urged that if the list was meant to be exhaustive it should have been inserted in column 2 preceded by the words 'that is to say'. It is further urged that column 3 is nothing but illustrative. That is particularly so after the deletion of Item 13 thereof, viz., 'tractor when exclusively used for agricultural purposes', by Act 13 of 1963. It is said that tractors undoubtedly are nothing but agricultural machinery and the deletion of this item makes the list illustrative. At any rate, the deletion of tractors from the ambit of Item 8(b) would not take out their accessories such as disc-harrows and cultivators when exclusively used for agricultural purposes.

14. It is further urged on behalf of the assessee that the word 'only' cannot be read in column 3 as suggested by the revenue. The court must interpret Clause (b) of Item 8 as it exists. Even assuming that the list is exhaustive and the word 'only' should be read therein in the context in which it appears, it is suggested that disc-harrows and cultivators are nothing but a modernised version of a 'plough'. Our attention was drawn to the literature on the subject.

15. On behalf of the assessee, our attention was also drawn to the objects and reasons of Act 9 of 1958 and It was suggested that column 3 was inserted with a view to remove doubts. It was said that the assessing authorities were faced with the difficulty as to whether agricultural machinery and implements, which could be put to other uses, i. e., other than for agricultural purposes alone, could still be considered to be agricultural machinery and implements for the purposes of Item 8(b). The legislature, therefore, by enacting Act 9 of 1958, Inserted a legal fiction by which such articles, even though not exclusively used for agricultural purposes, were treated to be so.

16. There can be no doubt that disc-harrows and cultivators are agricultural implements, but that does not solve the problem. Various questions arise. Whether the list in column 3 is merely illustrative or exhaustive What is the precise function of the legal fiction in column 3 What is the effect of the notification under Section 4(2) These are the considerations to be kept in view. We refrain from expressing any opinion thereon. Suffice it to say, the construction of an entry raises a question of law.

17. In our opinion, the order of the Board of Revenue, therefore, does give rise to a question of law. The Board was not justified in refusing to state a case.

18. We, accordingly, direct the Board to state a case and refer to the High Court for its opinion the following question, namely :

Whether, on the facts and circumstances of the case, disc-harrows and cultivators are 'agricultural implements' under Clause (b) of Item 8 of the Schedule to the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act and are exempt from tax ?


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //