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

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax/VAT
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.B. Civil Sales Tax Case (Reference) Nos. 50, 151, 218, 220, 221 and 227
Judge
Reported in1976WLN632
AppellantCommercial Taxes of Officer and ors.
RespondentBharat Krishi Yantralaya and ors.
Cases ReferredMadras v. Sri Venkatesh Mills Ltd
Excerpt:
.....what is function of legal fiction; & what is effect of notification are questions of law--revenue board was not justified in refusing id state a case.;there can be no doubt that disc-borrows and cultivators are agricultural implements but that that does not solve the problem. various question arise. whether the list in column 3 is merely illustrative or exhaustive? what is the, precise function of the legal fiction in columns? what is the effect of the notification under section 4(2)? there 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.;in our opinion, the order of the board of revenue, therefore does give rise to, a question of law. the poard was not justified..........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 in as much as discs borrows 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 end held, that their sale was exempt from tax, tri 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 in as much as discs borrows 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 end held, that their sale was exempt from tax, tri 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 discs-harrows and cultivators were nothing but agricultural implements as they were id the nature of a plough and therefore entitled to exception from tax.

3. There upon, 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, discs borrows and cultivators are agricultural implements under Clause (b) of item 8 of the Schedule. The Board of Revenue declined to State the cafe 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 faxes Officer has accordingly applied under Section 15(2)(b) against the refusal of the Board to state a case.

4. In dealing with an application 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 (be decision in Central Talkies Circuit v. Commissioner of Income-Tax : [1939]7ITR628(Bom) where Beaumount, 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 Chetandas v. Commissioner of Income Tax 1942 (10) ITR 384 and Commissioner of Wealth-tax, Madras v. Sri Venkatesh Mills Ltd : [1965]56ITR384(Mad) .

5. We are unable to appreciate the reasoning of the Board of Revenue that because1 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 few arises out of the code 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 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 purchases 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 to official Gazatte 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.

Clause (b) of item 8 to the Schedule, as it now stands, reads,-

S. No. Description of goods Conditions and exceptionssubject towhich exemption is allowed1. 2. 3.3. (b) Agricultural The following shall bemachinery deemed toand implements be agricultural machineryinclud- and imple-ing parts of such Ments for the purpose ofmachi- this item,nery and namely:implements(1) Ploughs,(2) The teeth of theplough,(3) Spade,(4) Pick, i.e. Khudeli,(5) Chaff cutter,(6) Khurpi,(7) Axe,(8) Khanta,(9) Persian wheel & spareparts,(10) Belcha,(11) Gandasa,(12) Patela.

Column 3, which relates to conditions and exceptions subject to which exemption is allowed, was, inserted by Act 9 of 1958 w.e.f. 1-4-1958. Column 2 was substituted by Act 11 of 1969 w.e.f. 8.3.1969, for the following I--

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

8. It is accepted by the Revenue before us that discsharrows 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.

9. 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 goads That was the reason why the State Government were required to issue a notification under Section 4(2) to the effect-

In exercise of the Dowers conferred by Sub-section (2) for 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 gale or purchase of the under mentioned goods on the condition that the goods are recorded id the registration certificate of the dealer claiming the exemption as being so exempted, namely-

I. 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;.

This, it is said, supports the construction that the list in column 3 is not merely illustrative but is exhaustive. The purpose of the legal fiction in column 3, it is urged, is that even through same of the articles listed therein may not be exclusively used for agricultural purposes, they shall be for the purpose of item 8 (b), treated to be so. Reliance is placed in Stoud's Law Dictionary Vol, II p. 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 is meaning 'shall be treated to be'.

10. The contention on behalf of the assessee on the other hand, is bat column 3 is merely illustrative. It is urged that if the list was meant to 3e exhaustive it should have been inserted in column 2 preceded by the words that is to says. 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 discsharrows and cultivators when exclusively used for agricultural purposes.

11. 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 (he list is exhaustive, and the word 'only' should be read therein in the context in which it appears, it is suggested that discsharrows and cultivators are nothing but a modernised version of a 'plough'. Out attention was drawn to the literature on the subject

12. On behalf of the assessee our attention was also drawn to the objects and reasons of Ac 2 of 1958 and it was suggested that column 3 was inserted with a view lo 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 user, i.e., other thin for agricultural purposes alone,

could still be considered to be agricultural machinery and implements for the purpose of Item 8 (b). The Legislature, therefore; by enacting Act 9 of 1958, inserted a legal fiction by which such articles even through not exclusively used for agricultural purposes, were treated to be so.

13. There can be no doubt that discsharrows 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.

14. 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.

15. 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 discsharrow and cultivators are 'agricultural implements' under Clause (b) of item 8 of the Schedule to the Rajasthan Sale-Tax Act and are exempt from tax?


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