1. This is a petition to revise the order of the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal, Pondicherry. Three points were in dispute before the Tribunal, namely, (1) whether the rejection of the petitioner's accounts was proper (2) whether the assessment of tax on the sales of leather cases for transistors as accessory was proper and (3) whether the assessment of tax on the sales of leakproof battery cells as spare parts of transistors instead of as electrical goods was correct The Tribunal decided all these three points against the petitioners and hence the present tax revision petition.
2. As far as the first point is concerned, having regard to the materials available, the learned counsel for the petitioners does not pursue the same.
3. Consequently, what remains for consideration are points Nos. (2) and (3). As far as the second point is concerned, it is admitted that leather cases were manufactured and sold as suitable for particular transistors. Item No. 5 of the First Schedule to the Pondicherry General Sales Tax Act, 1967, contains the following description of goods :
Wireless reception instruments and apparatus, radios and radio gramophones, electrical valves, accumulators, amplifiers and loud-speakers and spare parts and accessories thereof.
3. The Tribunal has pointed out in its order that in Oxford English Dictionary, Vol. 1 and in Webster's New International Dictionary, Vol. 1 and in Murray's Dictionary, it is stated that the word 'accessory' indicated that it was not essential in itself but it added to the beauty, convenience or effectiveness of something else. It is clear that the leather case is not essential for a transistor because it can be used without such leather case. At the same time the leather case adds to the convenience of the transistor. Therefore, the Tribunal was right in holding that the leather case would constitute an accessory to the transistor and, therefore, fall within item 5 extracted already.
4. That leaves out point No. (3), namely, sale of leakproof battery cells. The Tribunal stated, with reference to this, as follows:
The leakproof transistor batteries come within item No. 5 to the First Schedule to the Pondicherry General Sales Tax Act, 1967, because it is a spare part without which the transistor would not work. The learned counsel for the appellants (petitioners herein) argues that other battery cells also can be put in the transistor and, therefore, the leakproof cells should not be treated as spare parts of the transistor. I am unable to agree with this contention. The normal use of leakproof battery cells is to fix them in the transistors so that the chemical might not come out to them and spoil the transistor mechanism. The leakproof battery cells cannot be treated as mere electrical goods. I find this point against the appellants (petitioners herein).
5. We are unable to sustain the conclusion of the Tribunal that the leakproof battery cells would constitute spare parts of transistors. The meaning of the words 'spare part' is :
a part of a machine ready to replace an identical part if it becomes faulty': Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary-Revised Edition 1976.
6. Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Vol. III, gives the meaning of the words 'spare part' thus :
An extra part of a vehicle or machine kept for use in emergency or replacement.
7. Therefore, the essential thing is, it must be a part of the machine or apparatus, as the case may be. A battery cell which is necessary for the use of a transistor cannot be said to be a part of the transistor itself. Apart from this, the leakproof battery cells cannot be said to be cells exclusively used in transistors. There is nothing to prevent the leakproof battery cells from being used in ordinary battery lights. Equally there is no difficulty in using cells other than leakproof cells in transistors also. The only advantage of the leakproof cells is that the chemical may not come out easily and spoil the apparatus itself. But if a particular person does not want to use the leakproof cells for the working of the transistor and wants to use ordinary ceils by taking care to remove the same, when the apparatus is not in use, there is nothing to prohibit him from doing so. Consequently, it cannot be contended that the leakproof cells are exclusively meant for transistors and other cells are wholly unsuitable for use in transistors.
8. Looked at from any point of view the leakproof cells cannot be said to be spare parts of transistors so as to bring the same within item 5 of the First Schedule to the Pondicherry General Sales Tax Act, 1967. Equally we are of the opinion that the leakproof cells cannot fall within item 31 of the First Schedule to the said Act, which is as follows :
All electrical goods, machinery, instruments, apparatus, appliances, accessories and component parts (either sold as a whole or in parts) including fans, lighting bulbs, electrical earthernwares, porcelain and all other instruments, apparatus, appliances, accessories and component parts, the use of which cannot be had except with the application of electrical energy.
9. The result of that will be, the leakproof battery cells not falling within any one of the items in the First Schedule to the Pondicherry General Sales Tax Act, 1967, they will be liable to multi-point tax under the general taxing provisions of the statute.
10. Under these circumstances, we allow the tax revision case only in respect of the turnover relating to the sale of leakproof battery cells and we hold that the said turnover is assessable at multi-point under the general taxing provisions of the Pondicherry General Sales Tax Act, 1967. There will be no order as to costs.