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Commissioner of Income-tax Vs. Vasan Publications P. Ltd. and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberTax Case Nos. 133 to 137, 343, 950 and 951 of 1977 and 755 of 1979
Judge
Reported in(1986)52CTR(Mad)354; [1986]159ITR381(Mad)
ActsIncome Tax Act, 1961 - Sections 2, 5, 9(1), 9(2), 32, 32(1), 143(3), 147, 259(2) and 263; Income Tax Rules, 1962; Post Office Act, 1898; Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867
AppellantCommissioner of Income-tax
RespondentVasan Publications P. Ltd. and anr.
Appellant AdvocateJ. Jayaraman and ;N.V. Balasubramaniam, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateT. Srinivasmurthy and ;S.V. Subramanian, Advs.
Cases ReferredIn P. S. V. Iyer v. Commissioner of Sales Tax
Excerpt:
income-tax act (xliii of 1961), sections 32(1), 263 and appendix xi--expression news papers--meaning of--whether includes magazines like ananda vikatan, kumudam, etc.; the assessees who are publishing weekly and monthly magazines contended that their publications should be treated as newspaper and that they are entitled to higher depreciation allowance, viz., 10 per cent as against the normal rate of 7 per cent. the tribunal accepted the contention of the assessee. at the instance of the revenue the reference was made to the high court.; the question that arose for consideration was whether the interpretation given by the appellate tribunal to the word newspaper used in the depreciation schedule is proper and justified.; held, the expression newspaper has to be construed not in any.....1. freedom of speech and a free press are indispensable prerequisites of a democratic and free society. in fact, democracy without a free press is a contradiction in terms. it is through a free and responsible press that public opinion is moulded and grievances of individuals and groups ventilated. the commanding position of owners managers, editors and publishers of newspapers in a democratic set up has evils of its own.2. the doctrine of rule of law rests on the basic foundation and structure of a country's well-ordered government and its established courts of justice. though it is the legislative wing of the government that makes the law, there is yet a large body of common law based on customs and practices of the society which gives them the sanctity of law. in the ultimate analysis,.....
Judgment:
1. Freedom of speech and a free press are indispensable prerequisites of a democratic and free society. In fact, democracy without a free press is a contradiction in terms. It is through a free and responsible press that public opinion is moulded and grievances of individuals and groups ventilated. The commanding position of owners managers, editors and publishers of newspapers in a democratic set up has evils of its own.

2. The doctrine of rule of law rests on the basic foundation and structure of a country's well-ordered government and its established courts of justice. Though it is the legislative wing of the Government that makes the law, there is yet a large body of common law based on customs and practices of the society which gives them the sanctity of law. In the ultimate analysis, it is the courts of justice that administer all these law and in their interpretative jurisdiction, they take note of the intendment of the legislature and often supply the omissions in the enacted law and sometimes propound even new avenues for the legislature to take note of and regularise them by the enacted law. The legal profession and the litigant public, therefore, look for enlightenment in the law of the country by studying the law reports which contain the decisions of the highest courts of the country. In the federal set up of Bharat, such authoritative decisions emanate only from the Supreme Court at the centre and the High Courts in the States.

3. In T.C. Nos. 133 to 137 of 1977, the applicant is the Commissioner of Income-tax, Tamil Nadu-I, Madras. The respondent is Messrs Vasan Publications Private Limited, Madras. In T.C. No. 343 of 1977, the Commissioner of Income-tax, Tamil Nadu II, Madras, is the applicant and Shri A. Jawahar Palaniappan, Madras, is the respondent.

4. In T.C. Nos. 950 and 951 of 1977, the Commissioner of Income-tax, Tamil Nadu-I, Madras, is the applicant and M/s. Vasan Publications (P.) Limited, Madras, is the respondent.

5. In T.C. No. 755 of 1979, the Commissioner of Income-tax, Tamil Nadu-I, Madras, is the applicant and Shri A. Jawahar Palaniappan, Madras, is the respondent.

6. In T.C. Nos. 133 to 137 of 1977, the case that was actually dealt with by the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, Madras Bench "A", is briefly as follows

7. The assessment years concerned in these references are 1965-66, 1966-67, 1967-68, 1968-69 and 1969-70. The assessee, the respondent herein, is a private limited company deriving income from the following sources :

1. Publication of weekly journal "Ananda Vikatan".

2. Share income from Gemini Films (film producers).

3. Own production of cinema pictures.

8. In T.C. No. 343 of 1977, the respondent, A. Jawahar Palaniappan, is the assessee and he is a minor represented by his father and guardian, Sri S. A. P. Annamalai. Sri S. A. P. Annamalai carried on business of printing two Tamil magazines known as "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu".

9. In T.C. Nos. 950 and 951 of 1977, the respondent, is the very same respondent in T.C. Nos.133 to 137 of 1977 and these references arise out of the assessments made for the years 1965-66 and 1966-67 against the respondent. These cases relate to surtax appeals preferred by the Department for the above assessment years, viz., 1965-66 and 1966-67, against the order of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner directing consequential relief granted by him in the Income-tax Appeal in I.T.A. No. 13 of 1971-72 dated September 22, 1971, which held that these appeals did not survive consequent upon the Appellate Tribunal sustaining the relief granted by the Appellate Assistant Commissioner in I.T.A. Nos. 1527/MDS/1971-72, 1475 and 3078/MDS/1972/73, 2232/MDS/1973-74 and 1528/MDS/1971-72 in the assessee's own case. The question of law that has been referred to us is as follows :

"Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Appellate Tribunal was right in confirming the Appellate Assistant Commissioner's order directing that the consequential relief should be granted in the corresponding income-tax quantum appeal ?"

In T.C. Nos. 950 and 951 of 1977, the following questions of law also arise and they are as follows :

"1. Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Appellate Tribunal was right in holding that 'Ananda Vikatan' a weekly magazine published by the assessee company is a newspaper and depreciation at the rate of 10% was, therefore, admissible on the plant and machinery of the assessee-company ?

2. Whether the finding of the Appellate Tribunal that 'Ananda Vikatan' is a 'Newspaper' is based on valid and proper materials and is a reasonable view to take on the facts and in the circumstances of the case ?

3. Whether the interpretation given by the Appellate Tribunal to the word 'Newspaper' used in the depreciation Schedule is proper and justified ?"

10. This is with reference to the assessment made by the Commissioner of Income-tax, Tamil Nadu-II, Madras, and the respondent herein is Shri A. Jawahar Palaniappan, Madras, who is the respondent in T.C. No. 343 of 1977. The questions of law that have been referred in this reference are as follows :

"1. Whether the finding of the Appellate Tribunal that 'Kumudam' and 'Kalkandu' are 'Newspapers' is based on valid and proper materials and is a reasonable view to take on the facts and in the circumstances of the case ?

2. Whether the interpretation given by the Appellate Tribunal to the word 'Newspaper' used in the depreciation Schedule is proper and justified."

11. Let us briefly state the case that is put forward by the applicant in the above T.C. Nos. 133 to 137 of 1977, 343 of 1977, 95O and 951 of 1977 and 755 of 1979. For the assessment years 1965-66 to 1968-69, the Income-tax Officer, who made the original assessment on the respondent, M/s. Vasan Publications Private Limited, Madras, allowed depreciation on the plant and machinery used by the assessee company at 10%. Later, the Income-tax Officer in the revised assessments made under section 147(b) read with section 143(3) of the Income-tax Act, 1961, added back the entire depreciation that was said to have been wrongly allowed in the original assessments, on the ground that the assessee's weekly magazine "Ananda Vikatan" cannot be equated with a newspaper and, therefore, the rate of admissible depreciation was only 7% as against 10% wrongly allowed. For the assessment year 1969-70, the income-tax Officer disallowed the assessee's claim for depreciation at 10% and held that the rate of admissible depreciation was only 7%. The orders of the Income-tax Officer passed under section 147(b) read with section 143(3) for the assessment years 1965-66 to 1968-69 and the order of the Income-tax Officer passed under section 143(3) for the assessment year 1969-70 are dealt with in these references.

12. On appeal by the respondent, M/s. Vasan Publications Private Limited, Madras, the Appellate Assistant Commissioner accepted the Assessee's contention that its machinery did printing work as in the case of any other newspaper and that the weekly publication of the assessee-respondent herein would come within the meaning of a "Newspaper". He, therefore, held that the assessee was entitled to depreciation at the rate of 10%. The consolidated order of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner passed for the assessment years 1965-66, 1969-70 and 1970-71 dated September 22, 1971, the order of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner passed for the assessment year 1966-67 dated June 30, 1972, the order of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner passed for the assessment year 1967-68 dated December 23, 1973, and the order of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner passed for the assessment year 1968-69 dated October 19, 1973, form part of the case involved in these T.C. Nos. 133 to 137 of 1977.

13. On further appeal before the Tribunal by the Revenue, it was argued that the term "Newspaper" can apply only to daily publication giving all kinds of news without any specialisation like that of the assessee. It was further submitted that the Appellate Assistant Commissioner erred in referring to the definition of the word "Newspaper" in other enactments like the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, etc.

14. On the other hand, on behalf of the assessee-respondent, M/s. Vasan Publications Private Limited, reliance was placed on the orders of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner. It was further pointed out that "Ananda Vikatan" satisfied the definition of newspaper by all standards and it contained news items. It was also pointed out that the printing work relating to the was done in the same manner as in the case of any other newspaper and the assessee's machine was engaged continuously for the production of the newspaper. It was further submitted that in the original assessments made for the first four years, the Income-tax Officer had considered the issue and had correctly granted depreciation at the rate of 10% and since all the facts were available to the Income-tax Officer while original assessments, there was making the original assessments, there was no jurisdiction to revise the said assessment. Attention was invited to the term "Newspaper" under various other enactments such as the Press and Registration of Books Act, the Working Journalists (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, etc. It was also submitted that even under the Sales Tax Act, newspapers were exempt from taxation. Some issues of "Ananda Vikatan" were also produced before the Appellate Tribunal in support of the assessee's plea.

15. The Tribunal considered the issue whether the weekly "Ananda Vikatan" published by the assessee can be called a "Newspaper". The Tribunal found that the order of the Appellate Tribunal, Madras Bench "A", in the case of M. L. J. Press Private Limited v. ITO (I.T.A. No. 1465 of 1971-72 dt. 30-4-1973) relied upon by the Department was distinguishable On the facts. The Tribunal further found that the decision of the Orissa High Court referred to by the Tribunal in that order, viz., P. S. V. Iyer v. CST [1960] 11 STC 608, would not apply to the case before it. The Tribunal then proceeded to decide the issue on the facts and circumstances relating to this case. The Tribunal considered the definition of "newspaper" under the Press Council Act, the Press and Registration of Books Act 1867 the working Journalists (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955 the Indian Post Offices Act, 1898, Parliamentary Proceedings (Protection and Public action) Act, 1956, the Delivery of Books and Newspapers Act, 1954, and the Newspaper (price and Page) Act, 1956. The Tribunal also referred to the power of Legislature of Tamil Nadu to levy sales tax as per entry 54 of List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India. Then, the Tribunal considered the definition of "Newspaper" in "The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary", "Chamber's Twentieth Century Dictionary" and "Law Lexicon of British India" by Shri P. Ramanatha Iyer. After noticing the above definitions and bearing in mind the central point that is stressed in those definitions and also having regard to the readers to whose interest the weekly "Ananda Vikatan" catered, the Tribunal came to the conclusion that "Ananda Vikatan" is a newspaper. The Tribunal derived support for the above findings on a perusal of some of the issues of the "Ananda Vikatan" produced before it. After referring in detail to the editorial and other articles in the said issues of "Ananda Vikatan", the Tribunal observed that it was clear that "Ananda Vikatan" contained publications of current news, comments on news, cinema news, sports news, advertisements, literary matters and many other items of public interest. The Tribunal has also observed that matters having a permanent interest for the purpose of reference in future were not so much available in the publication "Ananda Vikatan" as matters relating to news value. The Tribunal was of the view that in judging whether journal or a magazine was a newspaper or not, due regard had to be given not only to the contents of the magazine but also to the strata of the reading public to which it catered. The Tribunal noticed that it catered to a category of persons, ladies, etc., enjoying leisure, who do not feel the urgency to have knowledge of the news instantly and to them "Ananda Vikatan" had news value. The Tribunal, therefore, was satisfied on facts that "Ananda Vikatan" not only satisfied the requirements of a newspaper by publishing items of current events and political news was but also satisfied the customers who habitually bought this journal by giving the comments about the news and the current events every week. The Tribunal further noticed that the Tamil Nadu Government had exempted newspapers from sales tax, that "Ananda Vikatan" was classified as newspaper by the Indian Posts and Telegraphs Department, that "Ananda Vikatan" was permitted to be posted as "Newspaper", that "Ananda Vikatan" was also registered as a newspapers under the Press and Registration of Books Act and that sales of "Ananda Vikatan" were exempted from payment of sales tax under the Tamil Nadu General Sales tax Act. The Tribunal in the end, held that "Ananda vikatan" is a newspaper and depreciation at the rate of 10% is admissible on the plant and machinery of the machinery of the assessee company. In view of this finding. The Tribunal did not consider it necessary to consider the contention raised on behalf of the assessee-respondent herein about the validity of the reopening of the assessments for the first four assessment years under section 147(b) of the Income-tax Act, 1961. It is on the above facts, the following questions have been referred :

"1. Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Appellate Tribunal was right in holding that 'Ananda Vikatan', a weekly magazine published by the assessee company, is a newspaper and depreciation at the rate of 10% was, therefore, admissible on the plant and machinery of the assessee company ?

2. Whether the finding of the Appellate Tribunal that 'Ananda Vikatan' is a 'newspaper' is based on valid and proper materials and is a reasonable view to take on the facts and in the circumstances of the case ?

3. Whether the interpretation given by the Appellate Tribunal to the word 'newspaper' used in the depreciation Schedule is proper and justified ?"

16. In T.C. No. 343 of 1977, the assessee, Sri A. Jawahar Palaniappan, a minor, represented by his guardian, carried on business of printing two Tamil magazines "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu". For the assessment year 1969-70 (year ending December 31, 1968), the Income-tax Officer allowed depreciation on the plant and machinery employed by the assessee in his printing press at the rate of 10% as provided for under No.2 of item III (iii) of Part I of Appendix I of the Income-tax Rules, 1962.

17. The Additional Commissioner of Income-tax acting under section 263 of the Income-tax Act, 1961, held that the magazines aforesaid cannot be considered as mere newspapers He, therefore, directed the Income-tax Officer to correct the rate of depreciation accordingly.

18. On appeal, the Tribunal perused some (sample) copies of "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu" printed by the assessee during the relevant accounting year and took the view that the above journals fall under the category of newspapers The Tribunal also referred to the notification issued by the Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue), Central Excise, New Delhi, and the treatment of the Government of Tamil Nadu of the said journals as newspapers. The Tribunal, therefore, directed that depreciation at the rate of 10% on the plant and machinery of the assessee should be allowed. The Tribunal accordingly set aside the order of the Additional Commissioner of Income-tax.

On the above facts, the following question of low arises for consideration :

"Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the assessee is entitled to depreciation at the rate of 10% on the plant and machinery employed by the assessee in his printing press for the assessment year 1969-70 ?"

19. In T.C. Nos. 950 and 951 of 1977, for the assessment years 1965-66 and 1967-68, the Income-tax Officer, who made the original assessments, allowed depreciation on the plant and machinery used by the assessee company at 10%. Later, the Income-tax Officer in the revised assessments made under section 147(b) read with section 143(3) of the Income-tax Act, 1961, added back the excess depreciation that was said to have been wrongly allowed in the original assessments on the grounds that the assessee's weekly magazine "Ananda Vikatan" cannot be equated with a news-paper and, therefore, the rate of admissible depreciation was only 7% as against 10% wrongly allowed. For the assessment year 1969-70, the Income-tax Officer disallowed the assessee's claim for depreciation at 10% and held that the rate of admissible depreciation was only 7%. The orders of the Income-tax Officer passed under section 147(b) read with section 143(3) were for the assessment years 1965-66 to 1968-69.

20. On appeal, the Appellate Assistant Commissioner accepted the assessee's contention that its machinery did printing work as in the case of any other newspaper and that the weekly publication of the assessee would come within the meaning of a "newspaper". He, therefore, held that the assessee was entitled to depreciation at the rate of 10%. The consolidated order of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner passed for the assessment years 1965-66, 1969-70 and 1970-71 dated September 22, 1971, the order of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner passed for the assessment year dated June 30, 1972, the order of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner passed for the assessment year 1967-68 dated December 23, 1973 and the order of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner passed for the assessment year 1968-69 dated October 19, 1973, are all relevant in these references.

21. On further appeal before the Tribunal by the Revenue, it was argued that the term "newspaper" can apply only to a daily publication giving all kinds of news without any specialisation like that of the assessee. It was further submitted that the Appellate Assistant Commissioner erred in referring to the definition of the word "newspaper" in other enactments like the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, etc. Attention of the Tribunal was also drawn to another order of the Appellate Tribunal, Madras Bench 'A', passed in the case of M. L. J. Press Private Limited v. ITO in I.T.A. No. 1465 of 1971-72 dated April 30, 1973.

22. On the other hand, on behalf of the assessee, reliance was placed on the orders of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner. It was further pointed out that "Ananda Vikatan" satisfied the definition of newspaper by all standards and it contained news items. It was further pointed out that the printing work relating to the assessee's journal was done in the same manner as in the case of any other newspaper and the assessee's machine was engaged continuously for the production of the newspaper. It was further submitted that in the original assessments made for the first four years, the Income-tax Officer had considered the issue and had correctly granted depreciation at the rate of 10% and since all the facts were available to the Income-tax Officer while making the original assessments, there was no jurisdiction to revise the said assessments. Attention of the Tribunal was also drawn to the definition of the term "newspaper" under various other enactments such as the Press and Registration of Books Act, the Working Journalists (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, etc. It was also submitted that even under the Sales-Tax Act newspapers were exempt from taxation. Some issues of the "Ananda Vikatan" were also produced before the Appellate Tribunal in support of the assessee's plea.

23. The Tribunal considered the issue whether the weekly "Ananda Vikatan" published by the assessee can be called a "newspaper". The Tribunal found that the order of the Appellate Tribunal, Madras Bench 'A' in the case of M. L. J. Press Private Ltd. v. ITO, Madras (I.T.A. No. 1465 of 1971-72 dated April 30, 1973), relied upon by the Department was distinguishable on facts. The Tribunal further found that the decisions of the Orissa High Court referred to by the Tribunal in that order viz., P. S. V. Iyer v. Commissioner of Sales Tax [1960] 11 STC 608, would not apply to the case before it. The Tribunal then proceeded to decide the issue on the facts and circumstances relating to this case. The Tribunal considered the definition of "newspaper" under the various enactments and also considered the aspect relating to the readers to whose interest the weekly "Ananda Vikatan" catered and came to the conclusion that "Ananda Vikatan" is a "newspaper". After referring in detail to the editorial and other articles in the said issues of "Ananda Vikatan", the Tribunal observed that it was clear that "Ananda Vikatan" contained publications of current news, comments on news, cinema news, sports news, advertisements, literary matters and many other items of public interest The Tribunal had also considered the strata of the reading public to which "Ananda Vikatan" catered and found that it catered to a category of persons like pensioners, ladies enjoying leisure, who do not feel the urgency to have knowledge of the news instantly and to them "Ananda Vikatan" had news value. The Tribunal, therefore, was satisfied on the facts that "Ananda Vikatan" not only satisfied the requirements of a newspaper by publishing items of current events and political news but also satisfied the customers who habitually bought this journal by Giving the comments about the news and the current events every week. The Tribunal further noticed that the Tamil Nadu Government had exempted newspapers from sales tax, that "Ananda Vikatan" was classified as "newspaper" by the Indian Posts and Telegraphs Department, the "Ananda Vikatan" was permitted to be posted as "newspaper" that "Ananda Vikatan" was also registered as a "newspaper" under the Press and Registration of Books Act and was exempted from payment of sales tax under the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act. The Tribunal, in the end, held that "Ananda Vikatan" is a newspaper and depreciation at the rate of 10% is admissible on the plant and machinery of the assessee company. In view of this finding, the Tribunal did not consider it necessary to consider the contention raised on behalf of the assessees about the validity of the reopening of the assessments for the first four assessment years under section 147(b) of the Income-tax Act, 1961.

24. In T.C. No. 755 of 1979, Shri A. Jawahar Palaniappan is the respondent. This is with respect to the assessment year 1969-70. The statement of the case has already been incorporated in T.C. No. 343 of 1977.

25. These references in T.C. Nos. 133 to 137, 343 of 1977, 950 and 951 of 1977 and 755 of 1979, relate to a common issue involved in them and as such are consolidated and all these references are disposed of by a common order.

26. Mr. J. Jayaraman, the learned counsel for the applicant-Income-tax Department, submits that the weekly magazines "Ananda Vikatan" and "Kumudam" which are published in Tamil are not newspapers and as such depreciation at the rate of 10% is, therefore, not admissible on the plant and machinery of the assessee company concerned as well as of the proprietary concern. The learned counsel for the Income-tax Department further contends that the finding of the Appellate Tribunal that "Ananda Vikatan" is a "newspaper" has been based on invalid and improper materials and, as such, it is not a reasonable view that can be taken on the facts and circumstances of the case. In other words, the contention of the Income-tax Department is that the interpretation given by the Appellate Tribunal to the word "newspaper" used in the depreciation Schedule is improper and not justified.

27. Mr. J. Jayaraman, the learned counsel for the Income-tax Department, Government of India, submits that the meaning given in the dictionaries to the word "newspaper" as will as the definitions given in various enactments of our motherland do not help the assessees for successfully contending that their publications, viz., "Ananda Vikatan", "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu", are newspapers and as such depreciation admissible for newspaper production plant and machinery is 10% (vide N.Clause 2 of item III(iii) of Part I of Appendix I of the Income-tax Rules, 1962). In other words, the contention of the Department is that the assessees are entitled only for the admissible depreciation for general plant and machinery, viz., 7%. Mr. J. Jayaraman further submits that the weekly magazines published in the assessee's press contained mostly short stories, serialised stories, literary fiction and other articles of historical and cultural importance and as such merely because the editorial or an article here and there published in these Tamil weekly magazines may contain news about the current events, they cannot be construed as newspapers so as to hold that the depreciation has to be worked out at the rate of 10% with regard to the machineries printing them. According to Mr. J. Jayaraman, the learned counsel for the Income-tax Department, since a substantial portion of the issues of "Ananda Vikatan", "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu" do not contain articles relating to political or other news, they cannot satisfy the test of a newspaper and that moreover some of the serialised stories in these journals are detached and bound in volumes and preserved permanently on account of its literary merit and value. It is also contended, on behalf of the Income-tax Department, that some of the serialised stories published in these magazines are also published in the form of books. According to Mr. J. Jayaraman, the learned counsel for the Department, considering the high literary and artistic value these journals, "Ananda Vikatan", "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu" possess, they should not be treated as mere newspapers which are so ephemeral and cease to have any value on the next day of their publication. Mr. J. Jayaraman, therefore, contends that the Income-Tax Appellate Tribunal, Madras, is wrong in holding on the facts and in the circumstances of the case that "Ananda Vikatan", "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu", the weekly magazines published by the respective assessees, are newspapers and depreciation at the rate of 10% was, therefore, admissible on the plant and machinery of the assessees.

28. Mr. Subramaniam and Shri T. Srinivasamurthi, the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the assessees, who are pub] publishing "Ananda Vikatan" "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu", contend that the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal. Madras is perfectly correct in holding in all these references that the weekly magazines are newspapers and this finding of the Appellate Tribunal is based on valid and proper materials and is also a reasonable view to take on the facts and in the circumstances of the case and, therefore, consequently, depreciation at the rate of 10% was properly held to be admissible on the plant and machinery of the respective assessees. In other words, they submit that the interpretation given by the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, Madras, to the word "newspaper" used in the depreciation Schedule is proper and justified.

29. Mr. J. Jayaraman, the learned counsel for the Revenue, pointed out that the term "newspaper" can apply only to a daily publication giving all kinds of news without any specialisation like that of the assessee. further pointed out that the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, Madras Circle, erred in referring to the definition of the word "newspaper" in other enactments like the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, etc. He also drew our attention to the order of the Appellate Tribunal, Madras Bench "A", passed in the case of M.L.J. Press Private Limited v. ITO (ITA No. 1465 of 1971-72 dated April 30, 1973).

30. Mr. Subramaniam and Mr. Srinivasamurthi, the learned counsel for the assessee-weeklies, "Ananda Vikatan", "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu", submit that they are newspapers by all standards and they contain also news items. According to the learned counsel for the assessees, printing work is done in these publications "Ananda Vikatan", "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu" as in the case of any other newspapers and the assessee's machines are engaged continuously for the production of these newspapers. Mr. Subramaniam, the learned counsel for the assessees, referred us to the definition of the term "newspaper" in various other enactments such as the Press and Registration of Books Act, Working Journalists (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, etc. He further urged even under the Sales Tax Act, newspapers are exempt from taxation. He has placed before us some issues of "Ananda Vikatan", "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu" for the respective assessment years in support of his plea.

31. I have carefully considered the facts of the case, the respective submission made on behalf of either side and the records brought to our notice. The point of law referred in all these references before us is quite simple and that is whether the weekly "Ananda Vikatan" published by the assessees, M/s. Vasan Publications Private Limited, and "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu", published by Sri A. Jawahar Palaniappan, can be called as newspapers. If "Ananda Vikatan", "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu" are newspapers, then the respective assessees in these references are entitled to depreciation on the plant and machinery at the rate of 10% in accordance with rule 5 of the Income-tax Rules read with Appendix I, Part I, item III(iii)N. Clause 2.

32. Even at the outset I may state that the order of the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, Madras Bench "A", rendered in I.T.A. No. 1465 of 1971-72 dated April 30, 1973, in M.L.J. Press Private Limited v. ITO Madras, is distinguishable on the facts of that case and the same would not apply to the facts of the instant references before us. The question whether a particular magazine is a newspaper or not can be decided only with reference to the facts of the particular case. In the instant case of "Ananda Vikatan" as well as "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu", it is relevant to note that it is not disputed when it is represented on behalf of the assessees by Mr. Subramaniam that the machineries employed for the publication of the magazines concerned, viz., "Ananda Vikatan", "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu", the very same machineries that are installed for newspapers such as "The Hindu" are employed and utilized for printing of the materials which constitute the publications. In the order of the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, Madras Bench "A", referred to, the Tribunal was concerned with the publication of Madras Law Journal Press Private Limited which publishes Madras Law Journal, Supreme Court Journal, etc. The said press also publishes some Tamil magazines known as "Kalaimagal", "Kannan", "Manjari", etc., most of which are monthly journals. Referring to these journals, the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, Madras Bench "A", held that the first group of legal journals failed to satisfy the test of newspaper and that the second category of periodicals published monthly possessed high literary and artistic value and, therefore, they could not be treated as newspapers. The Tribunal, in its order, has also made a reference to the decision of the Orissa High Court in the case of P. S. V.Iyer v. Commissioner of Sales Tax [1960] 11 STC 608. It was held in that case by the Orissa High Court that "Cuttack Law Times", a non-official monthly law journal, contained inter alia, reports of important decisions of the Orissa High Court, the Orissa Board of Revenue and the Supreme Court. The Orissa High Court, after referring to the judgment of Hood J. in Ex parte Stillwell [1923] 29 VIR 415 at p. 418, observed at page 610 as follows :

"In my opinion, these observations apply with full force while considering whether Cuttack Law Times is a newspaper or book. Its form, its contents and its use all point to the fact that it is primarily meant to be a book of reference to be cited in the law courts. It may contain recent report of decisions, but as it is a monthly publication, the report cannot be said to be so very recent as to amount to 'news' as ordinarily understood. The few comments and the few articles that may appear in the journal section of the monthly do not change the essential character of the publication, viz., to give an accurate report of important decisions for the purpose of being cited in law courts."

33. The Orissa High Court held that the primary purpose of the book was to deal with matters which may have a permanent interest for the purpose of reference in future and it was not meant necessarily to publish news about recent events or occurrences. In those circumstances, the Orissa High Court observed that the petitioner in that case could not rely on the fact that this monthly was registered as a "newspaper" under the Post Office Act and the Press and Registration of Books Act. They, however, held that "Cuttack Law Times" was not entitled to exemption under the provisions of the Orissa Sales Tax Act the question whether a publication can be called a newspaper or not depends upon the facts and circumstances of such case. What is more, it is only the legal interpretation of the relevant provision of the several enactments governing the publication that will have to be taken as guidance for coming to the conclusion regarding a dispute which may involve the question whether the publication is a newspaper or not and it is not on extraneous matters or on a general approach that a conclusion can be arrived at with respect to this aspect and at the same time finding a point of law that arises for determination by a court of law. Of course, the principles of law have to be applied to the facts that are in existence in a case and it is not as if merely on the basis of arguments without evidence available on record that a conclusion can be arrived at. Bearing in mind these salient features regarding judicial and juristic approach, we have no other alternative but to observe that we have to decide these references before us, on the facts and circumstances relating to the cases before us, and that we are only concerned in the instant references with the weekly magazines "Ananda Vikatan", "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu" and whether they can be classified as "newspapers" so as to give the benefit of 10% depreciation contemplated under the relevant rules of the Income-tax Act.

34. The term "newspaper" has not been defined under the Income-tax Act, 1961. We have, therefore, necessarily to refer to other enactments wherein the term "newspaper" has been defined. The Press Council Act (ACT 34 of 1965), section 2(e), reads as under :

"The expressions 'editor' and 'newspaper'have the meanings respectively assigned to them in the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867..."

In the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, "newspaper" has been defined thus;

"'newspaper' means any printed periodical work containing public news or comments on public news."

In the Working Journalists (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955 (Act No. 45 of 1955), the term "newspaper" has been defined in section 2(b) as under :

"'newspaper'means any printed periodical work containing public news or comments on public news and includes such other class of printed periodical work as may, from time to time, be notified in this behalf by the Central Government in the Official Gazette."

Section 9(1) and (2) of the Indian Post Office Act (Act No. 6 of 1898) reads as under :

"(1) The Central Government may make rules providing for the registration of newspapers for transmission by inland post as registered newspaper.

(2) For the purpose of such registration, every publication, consisting wholly or in great part of political or other news, or of articles relating thereto, or to other current topics, with or without advertisements, shall be deemed a newspaper, subject to the following conditions, namely :-

(a) that it is published in numbers at intervals of not more than thirty-one days; and

(b) that it has a bona fide list of subscribers."

Section 2 of the Parliamentary Proceedings (Protection of Publication) Act, 1956, defines "newspaper" as under :

"In this Act 'newspaper' means any printed periodical work containing public news or comments on public news, and includes a newsagency supplying material for publication in a newspaper."

In section 2(aa) of the Delivery of Books and Newspapers Act, 1954, the expression is defined as follows :

"'newspaper' means any printed periodical work containing public news or comments on public news published in conformity with the provisions of section 5 of the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867."

Section 2(b) of the Newspaper (Price and Page) Act, 1956, reads as under :

"'newspaper' means any printed periodical work containing public news or comments on public news appearing at intervals of not more than a week."

The power of the Legislature of Tamil Nadu to levy a sales tax is derived from entry No. 54 of List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India which reads as under :

"Taxes on the sale or purchase of goods other than newspapers, subject to the provisions of entry 92-A of List I."

The term "newspaper" is also defined in dictionaries as under :

In the Law Lexicon of British India by Shri P. Ramanatha Iyer, 1940 edition, at page 871, the following passage appears :

"A newspaper in the ordinary acceptation of the term is a publication in sheet form, intended for general circulation, published regularly at short intervals and containing intelligence of current events of general interest. It follows from this definition that if a publication contains the general current news of the day, it is none the less a newspaper because it is devoted primarily to special interests, such as legal, religious, political, mercantile or sporting.

It is a publication which usually contains, among other things, what is called the general news, the current news or the news of the day."

The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines "newspaper" thus :

"Aprinted, now usually daily or weekly, publication containing the news, advertisements, literary matter, and other items of public interest."

The term "news" is defined as under :

"Tidings; the report on account of recent events or occurrences brought or coming to one as new information. New occurrences as a subject of report or talk."

"Newspaper" is defined in the Chamber's 20th Century Dictionary as follows :

"a. paper published periodically for circulating news".

and "news" is defined as a "a report of a recent event : something one had not heard before : matter suitable for newspaper readers, etc."

In webster, s seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, "newspaper" is defined thus :

"A paper that is printed and distributed most usually daily or weekly and containing news, articles of opinion, features and advertising."

35. The word "paper" is defined in the Press and Registration of Books Act (25 of 1867). The said definition of paper was inserted by Act 55 of 1955. "Paper" means any document, including a newspaper other than a book. The word "document" has been defined in section 3(18) of the General Clauses Act, 1897 (10 of 1897), thus :

"'Document' shall include any matter written, expressed or described upon any substance by means of letters, figures or marks, or by more than one of those means which is intended to be used, or which may be used, for the purpose of recording that matter".

36. Before the insertion of the definition in the Press and Registration of Books Act as mentioned above, there was much controversy with regard to the meaning of paper. In one case, it was held "the word `paper' was really intended to cover all those papers which could not be defined as `books' or `newspapers' but which had historical, cultural or literary value." (State v. Udit, (cases discussed). In another case, it was held :

"The expression paper printed in section 3 could not be construed in its wider sense as meaning any piece of paper upon which anything is printed, or should it be construed as synonymous with `newspaper'. The words `printed paper' must be construed ejusdem generis with `book'. Any paper with a piece of writing, the composition of which has entailed a certain amount of labour and skill and which may be reckoned to be a literary, or a dramatic, musical or an artistic work; or a paper read before an academic, or literary or historical or scientific, or research society, or any printed paper having some substance in it, should come with in the purview of printed paper. An ordinary piece of advertisement, an invitation card, or any piece of writing without any substance in it or a poster about a meeting or a society, or an election poster will be excluded from the purview of printed paper'" (Ramakant A., In re; 1955 NUC 3869). In view of the definition of "paper" inserted in section 1 by Act 55 of 1955, it is no longer open to say that the word "paper" is synonymous with "newspaper" or must contain matter which is of literary or historical or cultural value. Any decipherable information which is set down in it is hit by section

3. Every printed invitation to a dinner or to a party of any sort and even every printed visiting card could be a "paper", which, if printed in this country, has to conform to section 3. The resulting general inconvenience is a matter calling for remedial action under section 21 which empowers the State Government to exclude any class of books and papers from the operation of the Act (Public Prosecutor v. T. Amrath Rao, , and Dattaraya v. Emperor, AIR 1937 Bom 28).

37. Section 1 of the Press and Registration of Books Act (25 of 1867), defines "newspaper" and according to the said definition found in section 1 of the said enactment, "newspaper" means any printed periodical containing public news or comments on public news.

38. On the analysis of the above definitions, the following points clearly emerge : In order to constitute a newspaper, the sine qua non of a newspaper is that it should contain publication relating to news, advertisements, literary matters and other items of public interest. The publications may be daily or weekly.

39. Since the law of the press comprehends the materials printed by a printing press, it would be convenient to state the salient features of the various kinds of such products of printing.

40. Of these, the most important for our purposes is the "newspaper" because the "press" is usually identified with the newspaper when we speak of "freedom of the press" and the like.

41. Though the definition given in section 1(1) of the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, is for the purposes of that Act only, it is a fairly representative definition which gives the outstanding characteristics of a newspaper. It says "'Newspaper' means any printed periodical work containing public news or comments on public news."

When analysed, its requirements are :

1. It must be printed;

2. It must be issued periodically;

3. It must contain news or comments on news;

4. Such news must be public.

42. Since it must be printed, typewritten, duplicated or cyclostyled periodicals are excluded (Rameswar Prasad v. Emperor, AIR 1931 Nag 177). But it need not be issued in a sheet form and would include magazines and even law reports (P. S. V. Iyer v. CST, ).

It must be issued periodically, i.e., at regular intervals.

43. The news must relate to happenings of recent occurrence or new information about past or coming events. It follows that a publication which exclusively publishes legal notes would not be a "newspaper".

44. Subject to the foregoing conditions, it may relate to any subject for the information of the general reader, such as political, social, moral, religious or other matters of public interest, local or foreign.

45. The news which is reported or commented upon in a newspaper must relate to public affairs or matters of public interest.

46. In order to appreciate fully the definition of a "newspaper", it is necessary that we must know as to what we mean by a "book".

47. In its widest connotation, the word "'book' implies anything from which one may learn". (vide Concise Oxford Dictionary).

48. The definition of "book" in section 1(1) of the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, is not descriptive but inclusive; it only adds certain items which might not have been comprehended in the word "book" but for the definition. It says :

"'Book' includes every volume, part or division of a volume, and pamphlet, in any language, and every sheet of music, map, chart or plan separately printed."

49. By reason of this definition, though a "book" excludes a newspaper, it would include a "pamphlet". The word "pamphlet" is a "small unbound treatise specially on a subject of current interest" (vide Concise Oxford Dictionary); "a small book, usually printed in octavo form, and stitched" (vide Wharton's Law Lexicon). From the above dictionary meaning, it has been held that a document printed in a single sheet (Madhusudan Mahanti v. Emperor, AIR 1940 Pat 613) or a document having no literary, historical or cultural value (Manohar Lal v. Emperor, AIR 1943 Lah 1) such as a mere poster (Madhusudan Mahanti v. Emperor, AIR 1940 Pat 613) or notice (State v. Udit Narain, ) would not be a "pamphlet".

50. But so far as the requirements of the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, are concerned, the above interpretation has been rendered otiose, by the insertion of the definition of "paper" in section 1(1) of the Act by the amendment of 1955, which says :

"'paper' means any document, including a newspaper, other than a book."

51. It is clear that any decipherable information which is set down in a lasting form, such as a leaflet, notice, an invitation or even a visiting card would be a document and would be a "paper" irrespective of its literary or other value-Public Prosecutor v. Amrath Rao, and Kishan v. State, ). It must,

therefore, comply (unless exempted by notification under section 21) with the requirements of section 3 of the Press and Registration of Books Act, because it relates to "every book or paper". Hence, it is no longer useful to debate whether a notice or a onesheet paper would constitute a "pamphlet" or a "book" because if it does not come within the definition of a "book", it would fall under the category of a "paper" which includes a newspaper too.

52. Newspapers in common connotation, as understood by a common man, could be only those publications made daily or periodically such as once in a week or fortnightly giving out the news that are taking place, if it is a daily newspaper relating to the news that had been received from the reporters or correspondents by the office of the newspaper which is printed and published or if it is a weekly newspaper then those news which had been collected and required by an editor of a newspaper as matters which have to be given as important news items for the week or if it is a fortnightly with a similar attitude and approach done by the editor of a newspaper so as to give by way of news, the details relating to the various events that had taken place in the said fortnight, etc. Usually, it is the daily newspapers which are printed and published either in English or in any other language that are recognised by the reading public as newspapers. They are published either in the morning or in the evening printed in a paper of the size two feet in length and 1/1/2 feet in breadth. It is such a printed matter in a paper of that size containing the day to day information about the events which form news published through them news to the members of the public. It is these newspapers that are held in common parlance as newspapers but it is to be well remembered that it is only a conception of the common man. It is relevant to note whether the weekly publications consist of not only such news items relating to the politics as well as other subjects that are dealt with and published but also short stories, opinions relating to musical performances, dramas, Bharathanatyam or even cinemas are also to be taken into consideration as newspaper items legally, if they are also eligible to form part of items in a publication which are in accordance with the definition of the statute law. It is not the form or appearance that matters, but it is the substance that is conveyed by way of news to the public that has to be viewed for ascertaining whether a publication is a newspaper or not. In other words, whether the publications "Ananda Vikatan", "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu" come within the purview of the definition of "newspaper" under the provisions of the Income-tax Act, is the object of my discussion.

53. In the instant cases before us, whether the publication known as "Ananda Vikatan" published as a weekly Tamil publication at Madras and "Kumudam", another similar publication published at Madras together with "Kalkandu", another Tamil weekly published by the same proprietary concern and has got wide circulation, are newspapers or not is a matter that will have to be actually considered and discussed. In viewing that aspect into consideration, we find that the three publications which are published in Tamil are registered as newspapers in foreign countries such as Ceylon. The said fact is visible from a printed line on the last page of the wrapper of each journal. So far as our registration of newspaper enactment is concerned, it is seen that the publication have to conform themselves to the provisions of the same in that the very publication can be made only by a due declaration giving the details before the Chief Magistrate so far as the City of madras is concerned. It is not in dispute that these publications were so declared by the concerned editors at the time of the commencement of their publications. Therefore, it has become necessary now to consider whether these three publications, when once having been so declared as publications under the relevant provisions of the enactment concerned, are to be considered as newspapers or not is the point that confronts us. It is taken as a common parlance that these three publications, namely, "Ananda Vikatan", "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu" are considered by the readers as respectable publications dealing with subjects of politics in a respect. able manner and also give out articles and essays on important topics available in literature. It is further relevant in this connection to note that these three publications have got wide circulation throughout the globe wherever there are Tamil-knowing persons living, most of the persons, so living, especially ladies, have got an avidity to read the three publications and the credit of name that they possess in the world of journalism is something unique. People used to purchase these three publications for satisfying their literary taste. Persons who are accustomed to read serial novels (thodarkathai) written by leading novelists and short story writers have got great enthusiasm and aptitude to read these three publications, namely, "Ananda Vilcatan", "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu". These three publications have the good fortune of having great persons among the various fields of knowledge, including judges of High Courts, profesors and heads of the department of various branches of study in various universities as well as persons who have prominent positions in the literary world as contributors of articles, short stories, etc., for being published in them. From the pen of great authoritative writers, most of the short stories as well as novels are published in all the three publications. Some of the contributions of the well known writers became the subject-matter of cinematography and attained very great prominence. The above facts are well known to the public. So the argument advanced on behalf of the publications claiming the same to be Newspapers in order to get depreciation at the rate of 10% for the machineries used for printing publications cannot be said to be without substance.

54. In this regard, it is pointed out that the machineries installed in the printing press of these publications are having the very same equipments and machineries as in the English Daily "The Hindu" and Tamil daily "Swadesamitran". This aspect is also not in dispute. Newsprint meanus a machine-finished paper made chiefly from woodpulp and used mostly for the printing of newspapers.

55. Newspaper, a medium of communication, usually published daily or weekly, by which information on current afairs, opinion and entertaining features are circulated among the people. It differs from other disseminators of news, opinion, and entertainment, such as film, radio, and television, in that it presents its communicated message as reading matter appearing on paper. Traditionally it has been a printed periodical, but modern experimentation with lithography and photography may conceivably introduce newspapers which are not products of the printing press.

56. Newspapers owe their being to the people's desire to know about themselves, their Government, and their economy. Even before devices of mass communication were available, the forerunners of the newspaper f were acquainting the community with the chronicle of its life, with the regulations which governed it, and with the news of its commerce and industry. Throughout journalistic history this threefold demand of the public for news of itself, its Government, and its commerce has given the newspaper its function in society. The persistence of this demand for news is evident among all men and at all times. Stories are told by African explorers of their astonishment at being received expectantly in villages of the deep interior, word of their arrival having been sped ahead of them by drum communication. Aeschylues' Agamemnon; begins with a watchman's seeing the beacon lights which announced the fall of Troy. Strolling ballad singers, word of mouth, the trumpted proclamation, posted notices, private letters - many have been the devices by which society has informed itself of the news of its extraordinary events, its wars, its commerce. (vide Encyclopaedia Americana, 1971 edition, page 286).

57. A late 16th century ballad singer, hawking his tales in the streets or coffee houses of England, telling in full detail of a strangling in Lancashire, or of the movement and cargo of Spanish ships from Cadiz, or of the death of a Henry, was not far off the formula which has served the purveyors of news up to the present time. The most up-to-date front page of the 20th century newspaper still carries the news of crime, fires, disasters, the news from along the traffic lanes of commerce, the news of the acts of Government, as the main burden of its content.

58. This threefold function of the newspaper is rooted deep in history. When the modern newspaper prints a column on parliamentary debate or the details of a pending tax law, it is following a path pioneered by the Acta Diurna of the Roman empire, or by the metropolitan gazettes of China which date to the first centuries of the Christian era, or by the London Gazette which first appeared in 1665. All three were periodicals which appeared to notify the public of its Government. Similarly, the modern newspaper with its market quotations, its reports on industry, labor, and agriculture, its advertisements of available merchandise is no more interesting to its readers than were the gazettes, newsletter, the courants of the 17th century from places like Nurnberg, Venice, Antwerp, Amsterdam, London, the mercantile capitals of Europe. It is significant that the first real appearance of newspapers in the modern sense was simultaneous with the awakening of Europe's mercantile life. There is similar historical precedent for the function of today's newspapr in informing the public of the gossip among its members, of the dramatic, extraordinary events which take place among them. Nathaniel Butter, first English newspaperman, Was challenged in 1605 for the sensationalism of his accounts of murders, and before him the balladeers of the countryside were notorious for the rich detail of their news of scandal and human drama. (vide Encylopaedia Americana, 1971 edn., page 288).

59. The power of the newspaper may also be considered here. The modern newspaper is society's primary instrument for mass communication. It has with greater regularity, over more years and in more places, kept the logbook of human affairs than any other medium of communication. It has been estimated, for example, on the basis of studies of samples of the population, that as many as 95 per cent. of the adult American population reads a newspaper more or less regularly. In a country like Sweden, newspapers circulate an average of 3.9 million copies daily among a population of 7.8 million. Translated into newspaper readership, these figures indicate that almost everybody in Sweden reads a newspaper, and many read more than one. Perhaps with the rise of new audio visual media of communication and electronic means for mass distribution the primacy of the newspaper will be contested, but as of now it is the chief instrument by which the people learn of each other, debate the problems which trouble them, and speak their minds on public issues.

60. The newspaper, as its name suggests, is primarily a disseminator of news-factual reports of what is happening to mankind in its personal and social life, politics, Government, economics, crime, sports, science, and the arts. To the newspaper's news core is added opinion, criticism, comment, interpretation. And a third ingredient of the newspaper's formula is the entertaining feature.

61. Serving such an insistent human demand and upon the basis of this history and this formula, the newspaper has today become a major social institution. It is influential and powerful, although not unlimitedly so. It can destroy and build. It can motivate society or restrain it. So powerful has the newspaper become, that concern is growing over the discharge of its public responsibility. Questions are being raised should this critical instrument of power be left to the caprices of private ownership, or should the public assert some measure of control over it Differing answers to these questions formed the basis of one of the problems of the press in the 1950's and 1960's. The issue has been debated internationally in the United Nations (Subcommission on Freedom of Information and the Press) as it touches upon the worldwide flow of news and the relations among the press of various nations with differing philosophies of press freedom and control. It has also been debated strenuously within nations, as, for example, in Britain and America where separate commissions have made detailed studies of the newspaper's public responsibility and private ownership. Solutions of the problem of maintaining this powerful institution in the public interest range from both extremes of complete control and complete freedom. In some countries the press is made an official arm of the propaganda machine of the ruling classes. In other countries, notably the western democracies, the press is considered a fourth estate, independent, free, responsible, with all other institutions of power within the society for the public order, but not officially a part of the ruling authority. Between these two extremes lie variations of censorship, licensing, denial of news at the source, legal punishment, seizure, unofficial pressure, as evidences that the status of the newspaper as a powerful institution in society is not yet finally determined.

62. Much of the newspaper's power stems from its economic strength and security. Since roughly 1,850 newspapers throughout the world have been extremely lively business organisations, have amassed fortunes for their owners, and have bought independence and influence through their marked financial success. Newspaper income derives from fees paid by subscribers, from sale of services, and pre-eminently from revenue from advertising. Since the first advertisement appeared in the English-language press in 1626, the newspaper has flourished in direct ratio to the size of its advertising content. The function of the newspaper in carrying the news of merchandise and in stimulating trade through its advertising columns is of an importance not to be exaggerated. Here has been the source of the rich publishing empires of Lord Northcliffe, Beaverbrook, and Rothermere, Dr. Alfred Hugenberg in Germany, and James Gordon Bennett, Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hearst, E. W. Scripps, and the Mc. Cormick-Pattersons in the United States. An attempt to publish a newspaper without advertising in the 1930's (PM in New York) was short-lived.

63. The "status" of the newspapers may also be considered here. The exact status of the newspaper is frequently debated. Is it strictly a business, or a profession, or a trade Is it a branch of the Government, or a watchdog of Government, a private enterprise, or a public utility Is it a propaganda tool of an economic class, or a political party, or is it an objective (and what is objectivity ?) chronicler of the facts Whatever the the answers to these questions are, and they vary from place to place and from time to time, it is true that strong forces are at work today toward the professionalisation of the newspaper calling and toward the improvement of its standards.

64. In the early 1950's, an International Press Institute was organised, with headquarters in Switzerland, for research and action on behalf of the press of the world. Publishers have their national and international associations, as do editors. The trade union movement has long contributed to the improvement of the mechanical arts of newspaper production, and has more recently begun organisation of editorial workers. Journalism schools, particularly in the United States, but increasingly in other lands, have been established to enrich the training of newspapermen. We, in India, have diploma courses in journalism conducted in universities. (vide Encylopaedia Americana, 1971 edn., pages 288 and 289).

65. Broadly speaking, regarding its organisation, the newspaper operates with two arms business and editorial. The business arm controls plant and purchasing, payroll and personnel advertising solicitation and display, manufacture, promotion and circulation. The editorial arm produces the content of the newspaper. Careful balance between business and editorial functions of a newspaper produces the most successful operation. Newspaper graveyards are full of the remains of papers with a proud editorial tradition but clumsy business administration and, equally, of papers which became go much a pawn of their financial managers that they lost their editorial voice.

66. The chairman of the board, the president of the company, or the publisher is the organisational head of a newspaper. He may function as Chief Editor or business manager in his capacity as publisher, or he may have subordinates filling those posts. Certainly there will be executives in all newspaper offices with primary responsibilities over the two arms of the operation. The editorial executive may be called the editor-in-chief, or the editor, although this title is nowadays becoming more descriptive of the man who functions as chief of the editorial page and the editorial manager of the paper is more likely to be called the executive editor or managing editor. Under this editorial executive is the battery of brains which creates the editorials, or leaders, the opinion utterances of the newspapers; perhaps a cable editor whose responsibility is preparing the news from overseas for publication; perhaps a telegraph, or wire, editor, who does the same for national news, of non-local origin, a city editor who superintendents the corps of reporters which cover local developments; and the departmental editors - sports, business and finance, women's afairs, religion, education, science, the arts and syndicated features. (Many of the newspaper's divertissements, such as puzzles, comics, quizzes, fiction, cartoons, undated features, are purchased from syndicates in varying states of readiness for printing, ranging from raw text to already plated material that goes directly to the composing room). The newspaper librarian also functions under the editorial arm, as do the copy deskmen, or sub-editors, copy. runners, etc. (vide Encyclopaedia Americana, volume 20, 1971 edition, page 289).

67. Under the business executive of a newspaper are numerous subordinates. One will supervise the newspaper' equipment, which may include a factory thousands of miles away which produces newsprint. One will guide the mechanics of the manufacturing process with the aid of foreman and shop superintendents. One will head a corps of salesmen which keep the advertising rolling in and sees that it is readied for publication. One will be an executive for promotion who keeps his newspaper in the public eye both as a bid to new subscribers and new advertisers, and one an executive, who sells and distributes the finished product. In and around these functionaries are the bookkeepers and accountants who keep the records straight, the newspaper's legal counsel who advise on contracts, guard against libel, and defend the paper when necessary, and various others depending upon the individual newspaper.

68. "The Editorial Process" is an important function. To follow a newspaper account from the event to finished product will give a picture of the editorial process in operation. A fire breaks out in a warehouse in the city. The city desk is "tipped off" when the fire is started. This tip may have been received through one or more of many channels, perhaps it is accidental and anonymous; a lively newspaper has a way of attracting information. Perhaps the newspaper keeps a beat-man at the fire department headquarters. Certainly the tip would be picked up by the district men at police stations. If the initial tipster is one of the newspaper's own beat-men, the city editor will order him to "cover the fire". He may dispatch other reporters to assist. They hasten to the scene, observe for themselves. interview the fire chief, identify the persons involved (for the human element always comes first). As their notes take shape and facts become established, they begin to file their story. Depending on time and the size of the disaster, they may telephone their facts to a rewrite-man in the office, or they may wait until they are convinced of completeness, return to the office, and write the account themselves. By whatever process, there soon appears a typewritten report of the fire. The city editor glances at it briefly to approve its general character and to note it for the spot it will take in the finished paper, a fact he conveys with his recommendation to the managing editor, the final authority on the make up of the newspaper. It is then handed to the copy desk. Here readers go over it carefully but hastily, correcting errors, bringing its style into harmony with the uniform literary policy of the paper, cutting it to a specified number of words, marking it with the necessary instructions for lino typists and compositors, and writing a headline across its top. This done, the manuscript is hurried to the superintendent of the composing room. He records its arrival and sends it to the lino typists. They convert a typewritten manuscript into column-wide lines of type on lead slugs. These are returned to the compositors, who enter the blocks of type in their proper places into page forms. When the page is filled, the form is locked and a forced impression is made of it on a paper mat. This mat, in turn, is placed into a curved mould, and hot metal is poured into it Cooled, the metal plate, bearing an exact impression of the original type, is placed on the rotary drum of a press, the plate is inked, a continuing ribbon of paper is passed over the drum, the pages are printed, cut and folded, and emerge as the finished newspaper. Quantities of the finished product are then picked up and sent by truck, post, train or air to the subscribers, either directly or through carrier boys or news-stand salesmen The newspaper reaches the reader and the account of a warehouse fire is part of the public intelligence. This is the course of a news story whether from a beat reporter in a police station or a foreign correspondent who transmits his text by cable. Much matter in modern newspapers is received from press associations, such as the Associated Press, United Press International. Reuters (of Britain) and others which maintain reporters in all quarters and sell their accounts to many newspapers at one time. Thus, the cost of such reporting to anyone newspaper is shared and minimised (vide Encyclopaedia Americana, 1971 edition. pages 289 and 290). Merely on the ground that important news items received from such news-collecting organisations are epitomised and given in the weeklies which also contain short stories and other items, they cannot be excluded from themselves being considered as newspapers. In the instant case, the weeklies, viz., "Ananda Vikatan", "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu", contain such news received from the well-known news agencies and short stories. They contain advertisements also which give them very appreciable source of income to run them profitably.

69. The "printing processes" of newspapers involve the following features. The mechanics of the newspaper, the process of manufacture by which inked characters are impressed upon paper, has not changed fundamentally from the days of the early Chinese printers or of Johann Gutenberg. All modern printing developments are but refinements of the original. The early Chinese made clay moulds, upon which characters were elevated, inked, and paper was pressed against these inked elevations to receive the printed impression. Gutenberg's printing involved the setting of movable type on a flat bed, whereupon it was inked and brought into contact with paper for the impression. This process was closely akin, to the printing of a flat bed press today. The most important developments of this process came in the nineteenth century with the introduction of power to the operation of the press and with the moving of type over paper rather than paper over type. This latter process saw the printing surface converted to a curved stereotyped plate, which, when affixed to a true cylinder, rotated over a moving band of paper, and the process markedly increased the speed of production. Most newspapers today are printed from rotary presses through which an endless ribbon of paper passes at speeds producing as many as 12,000 copies per hour. Another milestone in the development of printing came with the replacing of hand set type with type set by machine. This operation underwent a further speed up with the introduction of teletypesetting whereby an operator at one master keyboard operates many typesetting machines connected to his by wire. Typesetting by computers is the latest development.

70. The history of the newspaper is very interesting. The rise of the printed, periodically issued newspaper came (1) with the invention of printing roughly 1430-1450 and (2) with the era of expanding commercialism in European life. Before this time, the news-disseminating function had been provided by irregular publications, word of mouth, or by posted notices. The Acta Diurna, Acta Senatus and Act Publica of the late republic and early Roman empire were daily notices handwritten by scribes, and posted in public places to be read or copied by interested parties. Acta Diurna was the generic name for these regularly posted daily notices informing the city and empire. The Acta Senatus recorded legislation, speeches and other happenings in the Roman Senate. The Act

71. Public was of wider interest, gave imperial financial reports and considerable attention to public affairs generally.

72. Creative both mechanically and artistically, the Germans were early pioneers in the production of newspapers. In the half century, following the introduction of printing from movable type in Mainz, a few irregular news sheets appeared in Nurnberg, Augsburg, Cologne, probably the earliest of a type of news record that endured and developed through the next three centuries throughout Europe. There is extant a Newezeytung dated 1502. In 1588, the Cologne Gallo Belgicus appeared, and in 1597 a Historische Relation was printed in Rorschah am Bodensee for an Augsburg editor. With the arrival of the 17th century, more regular newspaper appeared in Germany as in other countries, the Aviso Relation order Zeitung (variously attributed to Nurnberg, Augsburg or Brundswick) in 1609. Egenolf Emmell's Die Frankfurter Oberpostmtzszeitung in 1615, a first German daily in Leipzig in 1660 and the Jenaische Zeitung in 1674, which remained in the same family ownership until modern times. By the end of the 17th century, Germany boasted 30 daily newspapers, and a tradition was begun of a multiplicity of locally circulated dailies which continues to the present day. Other early papers of merit included the Vossische Zeitung in Berlin (1704), the Hamhurger Nachrichten (1792), the Allgemeine Zeitung (1798) which appeared in Leipzig, Tuebingen, Stuttgart, Ulm, and Augsburg as it tried to Keep ahead of the censor. Germany's great newspapers emerged in the days of the empire, became so firmly part of the reading habit of the people that in 1900 Berlin alone was reading 45 daily newspapers. From this era came the Frankfurter Zeitung (1856), one of the world's fine newspapers in its day, the Koelnische Zeitung (1848), the Taeliche Rundschau in Berlin, and others. The German Press was used for propaganda purposes by Bismarck, by the Prussian clique of World War I, vigorously and insidiously by Hitler and his propagandist Goebbels, and by the occupation authorities following both wars. Hence, there is no continuity of individul tradition in German newspapers of today. Following World War II, a whole new crop of dailies appeared under new titles and new management. By the late 1960's, there were over 400 daily papers being published in West Germany (including West Berlin). The only daily with a circulation passing the million mark was the Hamburg Bild Zeitung, with 3.7 million.

73. ln the early 16th century, handwritten news reports were circulated from the commercial port of Venice, and in 1562, a monthly printed newspaper, Notizie Scritte first appeared. It sold for a small coin, a gazetta, a word which soon became synonymous with newspaper. A file of early Venetian newspapers covering 60 years is still maintained in the Magliabecchi library at Florence. Upon these early origins, the press of Italy grew slowly, and as in Germany the political upheavals of modern times upset its continuity and character. The Corriere Della Sera of Milan is the newspaper most widely read in Italy. The Vatican newspaper, L Osservatore Romano, circulates throughout the country and abroad.

74. Also, because of their prominence in trading, the Dutch and Belgians made significant early contributions to the development of the press. Antwerp had its Nieuwe Tijdingen as early as 1616, and in the years 1620 and just thereafter a colony of English puritans in Holland Began publishing in their language in Amsterdam. The Haarlem Courant dates from 1656.

75. The earliest French Journal was the Gazette de France, puhlished in Paris in 1631. French journalism has been marked by strong political opinions of high literary merit. Many Frenchmen of letters had their start on the newspapers and continued to write journalistically throughout their careers. It was France which first developed newspapers for the masses. A few years after it was founded in 1836, Le Siecle had raced to a world record circulation of 38,000 copies per day. France was the first country to have newspaper circulations above a million. In 1903, more than 60 dailies were being published in Paris, a figure which declined to 14 by the late 1960's. Circulations also shrank after the war, and France. Soir became the only newspaper having a circulation of more than a million (vide Encyclopaedia Americana, 1971 edition, vol. 20, page 291).

76. Ballad singers, paid writers of newsletters and occasional printed records of single events satisfied the hunger for news in England for over a Century after the introduction of printing in 1476. Political and religious unrest kept the art of printing under close governmental scrutiny and licensing did not permit the appearance of news sheets. There is record of a printed sheet, News out of Kent as early as 1561, in which the news delivered in doggerel and was probably a printed version of a ballad singer's offering. Another random publication, News containing a short rehearsal of Stukeley's and Morris's Rebellion, was dated 1579. The Parton letters and Sydney papers are examples of hand written correspondence done by hirelings for the information of their patrons during the reign of Elizabeth I.

77. The first regularly published newspaper in the English language was printed in Amsterdam late in 1620. Similar one-sheet, two-page reports of foreign news shifted to London the next year. They were probably reprints of Amsterdam and Frankfurt publications. The earliest extant newspaper printed in England is a Corante, or newes from Italy, Germany, Hungarie, Spaine and Franc dated September 24, 1621, with the imprint of Nicholas Bourne upon it. Bourne, one Thomas Archer and one Nathaniel Butter were a triumvirate of early English journalists. Archer had probably been reproducing Dutch news sheets in London as early as midsummer 1621, because there is record of his having been punished for so doing, although none of the sheets is extant. Butter, who joined the Bourne Archer partnership, was already well known in Britain as a newsmonger and had been mercilessly lampooned by more sedate men of letters. He had a reputation as a sensationalist, had printed accounts of murders as early as 1605, and had tried his hand at the corantos of foreign news in 1611, a single Newes from Spain. On May 23, 1622, Bourne and Archer appeared with their weekly newses novel in that the single sheet format had been replaced by a multi-paged pamphlet. The pamphlet format continued in English journalism until the appearance of the Oxford Gazette, a generation later. A few months after the Bourne Archer weekly appeared, Butter produced a competing journal. Eventual shifts and mergers brought Butter and Bourne together in a weekly periodical. All such, however, were banned by Star Chamber edict in 1632 and did not reappear until 1641. They were then joined by a new development in English journalism, printed records of the proceedings of Parliament. One such was John Thomas, 'Heads of severall proceedings in the present parliament or Diurnal occurrences, first dated November, 1641. Then followed a tug of war between royalists and parliamentarians, each with journalistic spokesmen. Mercurius Aulicus was a leading royalist mouthpiece. Mercurius Politicus was the voice of Cromwell. With the Restoration, strict licensing reappeared, and the newspapers waned. Henry Muddiman and Roger L' Estrange were officially named to issue the only news in the realm. It was Muddiman who published the first issue of the Oxford Gazette, the official organ of the Government. The date was November 16, 1665, and the place was temporarily Oxford as the court had moved there to escape the plague in London. After its 24th issue, it was moved to London and became the London Gazette which continued as a twice weekly official bulletin to this day. Towards the end of the century, newspapers appeared in increasing numbers. The first English daily, the Daily Courant, appeared on March 11, 1702.

78. The first half of the 18th century was a brilliant era in British journalism. Defoe, Swift, Fielding, Samuel Johnson, and the incomparable Addison and Steele left permanent marks upon English journalism and letters. The first Tatler appeared in 1709, and the Spectator in 1711. The last half of the century saw the appearance of some of England's most venerable journals and decisive struggles for press freedom. The London Daily Advertiser, founded 1726, was the vehicle for the celebrated "Letters of Junius", which marked a milestone in the achievement of press freedom.

79. On January 18, 1785, the London Daily Universal Register first appeared and three years later changed its name to the Times, a journal which maintains its prestige to the present day. Other newspapers with their dates of founding, the morning Chronicle(1769), Morning Post (1772), Daily News (1846), Daily Telegraph (1855), Daily Standard (1857) (vide Encylopaedia Americana, 1971 edition, vol. 20, pages 288 to 292).

80. The English newspapers lead the world in circulation. The Daily Mirror and Daily Express each sell over 4 million copies daily and the Daily Mail over 2 million.

81. Provincial papers in Englnd started in Norwich in 1706 and by the middle of the 18th centuiy were scattered widely throughout the country. The Manchester Gardian is famed as a liberal organ. There was a Mercurius Politicus in Leith, Scotland, as early as 1653 and a Mcrcrius Caledonious in Edinburgh in 1660. The Edinburgh Gazette dates from 1699. English language newspapers in Ireland began with the Dublin News-leter (1865) and the Dublin Inellingencer (1690).

82. The press of Scandinavia is influential, read thoroughly throughout the population, and of venerable tradition. The Swedish Post Och Inrikes Tidninger dates from 1646 and is still extant as an official organ of the Government. Dailies in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo command national attention. Finnish newspapers date to the 18th century in both Swedish and Finnish tongues. The chief circulator is the Helsingin Sanomat, the oldest, the Abo Underrattelser. Denmark has numerous journals for a small land, its chief newspaper voices being the Berlingske Tidende and the Politiken Norwegian papers are small but numerous.

83. The Swiss were experimenting with newspapers almost as early as the Germans. The oldest paper still alive dates from 1738 under a different title. The Swiss were among the first to introduce theoretical and practical training for journalists in schools. Berne and Zurich have had university courses for journalists since the turn of the 20th century.

84. The Latin American press has recently been growing in influence, both national and international. La Aurora de Chile dates from 1812, the Diario de Pernanbco (Brazil) from 1825, the Jornal de commercio, Rio de Janeiro, from 1827. Newspapers of Argentina date from 1861. La capital of Rosario was founded in 1867, La Prensa of Buenos Aires (confiscated by the Person Government in 1951), in 1869 and La Nacion also Buenos Aires, in 1870. Maria moors cabot prizes, administered by Columbia University in New York, have recognised distinguished Latin American newspapers and journalists since 1939.

85. In the Orient, newspapers came to India in the 18th century. The Bombay Samachar, first printed in English and now in Gujarati, dates from 1819. The Calcutta Amrita Bazar Patrika was established in 1869. Today over 500 dailies are published in India. The modern press in Japan is almost a phenomenon. Its newspapers are influential and, following Britain and the United States, boast the largest circulations in the world. The three largest papers - Mainichi, Asahi and Yomiuri - have a combined circulation of over 12 million. In the Soviet Union, the two most important papers, both reflecting official party policy, are Pravda, with a circulation of over 6 million, and Izvestia, with more than 4 million (vide Encyclopaedia Americana, vol. 20, 1971 edition, pages 292 and 293).

86. It is relevant in this connection to note that "Auanda Vikatn" "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu" are printed in a kind of paper known as newprint of course, folded and stitched in the size of a magazine, which can be handled like a book. Merely because the same are published in the size and form of a book, though they contain periodical reviews relating to the news that actually occurred during the relevant week or because the said publications contain also reviews of the various arts activities taking place in various parts of the country as well as abroad or that they contain also serial novels "thodakathai" and various other short stories, it cannot be said that they do not come within the purview of definition of "newspaper" so as to get the benefit of exemption as per the provisions of the Income-tax Act, is the question that confronts this court.

87. The Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, Madras, had perused some of the issues of "Ananda Vikatan" produced before it by the assessee's learned counsel. We had also been provided by Mr. Srinivasamurthy, the learned counsel for "Ananda Vikatan", and Mr. S. V. Subramanian, the learned counsel for "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu", the respective issues and we have gone through them. There are several articles in "Ananda Vikatan" relating to current events of Tamil Nadu. The editorial also deals with important events in the political arena. For example, "Mathippkuriya Magarajah" is the heading given for the editorial published in the "Ananda Vikatan" dated May 17, 1964, on the occasion of the assumption of office of Hon'ble Shri Jayachamaraja Udayar. In some of the succeeding pages, current political events are described in an elegant manner by cartoons. Later, the article on the week (indavaram) describes the events of the week. Thereafter, the interview with "Thozhilalar Nala Adhikari", Coimbatore, is printed in two pages. Then comes the cinma news under the heading "pada ulagil". Later, there is a separate item relating to "Magalir Paguthi" in which a description is given about two (women) artistes who have specialised in the art of "Harikatha". In the latter part of the book, there is an article relating to a commentary on "Enakku Piditha Puthakam". Yet at another page, there are articles relating to "Animals in New York". Besides there are advertisements, short stories etc. To take another example, in the issue dated February 1, 1970, the editor has written on te then current political event under the caption of "Jananayagam Kavizhndvidum". There are also articles about cinema news. There are other items of topical news like "Chandranukku Pogakkoodatha", i.e., an interview with Dr. Goplan by the correspondent of "Ananda Vikatan". In this issue, there is also an essay about Mathrubutheswaran temple written by "Bharanidharan" which speaks of the greatness of Ramana Maharishi and his life and teachings. On a perusal of some of these issues, we find that "Ananda Vikatan" contains publications of current events, comments on news, cinema news, sports news, advertisements, literary matters and many other items of public interest. In the said publication, there are matters relating to news value. of course, there are also certain short stories.

88. "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu" have been reistered as newspapers in Ceylon and they were further considered as "newspapers" by the Registrar of Newspapers, Government of India, New Delhi. We have also perused some of the copies of "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu" printed by the assessee during the relevant accounting year. Mr. S. V. Subramaniam, the learned counsel for the assessee, publishing "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu", has also shown the issue of "Kumudam" dated July 16, 1981. In this issue of Kumudam, we find in the last page of the wrapper that Kumudam has been registered as a newspaper in Sri Lanka (Regd. No. CB. 9086 79). he editorial page "Chinthanaikkuriyathu" deals with the visit of Hon'ble Yogendra Makwana, Deputy Minister of Home Department of the Central Government, to Tamil Nadu. It contains review of the films that were released during the time of publication of that issue of Kumudam. It also contains short stories. Some of the copies of Kumudam and Kalkandu that were produced and seen by the Tribunal had expressed the description of the contents of the issues that were produced before it in paragraph 4 of its order dated March 16, 1976, in I.T.A. No. 210 (MDS) 1973-74 for the assessment year 1969-70 as follows : "In the issue of Kumudam, the editor has devoted some pages for printing the editorial with reference to the important events in the State. Besides, in Kumudam, some more pages were separately set apart for giving the current political and other events in the various places of the State under the heading styled as "Nalu pakkam". Besides, the issues of Kumudam contained commentaries about the films that were currently running in the city theatres. There were also news relating to important conferences, and events relating to important personalities with the relevant photographs were published in the issue of Kumudam. Besides the above, there were short stories, political and other articles of general interest. In the copies of the journals produced before us, we find that the same pattern continued. In the subsequent publications also till the date of the hearing of the reference by us, we find uniformity in dealing with several topics constituting the news. In the issue of "Kalkandu" also, there were editorials relating to the important events, both political and otherwise, in the State. Besides, there were other items of news in "Kalkandu" relating to important personalities in the fields of politics, films, sports, etc. No doubt, there are also stories and other articles of general interest in "Kalkandu".

89. It is submitted on behalf of the assessees, the respondents herein, that the notification issued by the Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue), Central Excise, New Delhi, also supports the assessee's contention that these publications, viz., "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu", are newspapers. The Government of Tamil Nadu had treated the assessee's journal "Kumudam "as a newspaper for the purpose of imposing power cut in Tamilnadu during the relevant time.

90. In Madhusudan Mahanti v. Emperor (42 CRILJ 78; AIR 1940 Pat 613) it was held that the Press and Registration of Books Act (XXV of 1867) does not contemplate that a single sheet of paper in which a writer publishes an article relating to some current topic should be regarded as a book of which a copy is required to be delivered to the officer concerned under the Act. The definition of "book" as given in section 1 of the Act of XXV of 1987 is exhaustive. It is wrong to say that the "book" may include documents other than those specifically mentioned in the definition.

91. In P. S. V. Iyer v. Commissioner of Sales Tax , it was held that the main object of a newspaper is to give information about recent events and which is not a record, but is in its nature ephemeral, even though many persons do file their copies for reference. The essential pre-requisites of a periodical in order to make it a "newspaper", is that it must contain mainly public news or comments on public news. It was further held in that case that in the case of the law journal, the "Cuttack Law Time", which publishes verbatim decisions of the High Courts with headnotes, statutes and orders and articles on current legal topics, its form, its contents, and its use all point to the fact that it is primarily meant to be a book of reference to be cited in the law courts. It may contain recent reports of decisions, but where it is a monthly publication, the report cannot be said to be so very recent as to amount to "news" as ordinarily understood. The few comments and the few articles that may appear in the journal section of the monthly do not change the essential character of the publication, viz., to give an accurate report of the important decisions for the purpose of being cited in law courts. Books containing authoritative reports for future reference can, by no strain of language, be said to contain "news" so as to become "newspapers". It was further held in the said decision of P. S. V. Iyer v. Commissoner of Sales Tax , that the publisher of a law journal cannot rely on the fact that his monthly was registered as "newspaper" under the Indian Post Office Act and under the Press and Registration of Books Act. The interpretation put on the expression "newspaper" by the authorities concerned under those Acts will not bind either the High Court or the Sales Tax Department.

Section 2(b) of the Newspaper (Price and Page) Act, 1956, is also referred to in the abovesaid decision which runs as follows :

"'Newspaper' means any printed periodical work containing public news or comments on public news appearing at intervals of not more than a week."

92. In T. V. Ramnath v. Union of India [1975] Lab IC 488, it was held by Ismail J., as he then was, that the expression of "public news" in the definition of "newspaper" in section 2(b) of the Working Journalists (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955, must ordinarily mean news concerning or of interest to the public generally or any section of the public. The expression "public news" is of sufficiently wide amplitude to cover publications containing film news and publications containing reports of the judgments of the courts as well as comments on such judgments.

Ismail J., as he then was, has observed in the above said decision at page 491 as followg :

"I am unable to accept this argument. 'Public news' must ordinarily mean news concerning or of interest to the public generally or any sections of the public. In this particular case, as far as the petitioner in the former writ petition is concerned, all the three publications admittedly contain film news. Film news can certainly be said to be `public news' inasmuch as, though not the entire public, a considerable section of the public, is interested in the same. Similarly, the publications of the petitioner in the second writ petition can be said to contain 'public news' or 'comments on public news' since it contains reports of the judgments of the courts as well as comments on such judgments. Even though the same may be primarily intended for that section of the public which is concerned with law and the administration of law, in the present days, nothing prevents any educated individual taking interest in such publications and the news themselves being of interest to such persons. Therefore, I am clearly of the opinion that the expression 'public news' is of sufficiently wide amplitude to cover the publications of both the petitioners in question. As I pointed out already, the definition of 'newspaper' contained in judgments or other enactments will not be of any value for the simple reason that every statute defines a particular expression, with which it is concerned, for the purpose of the particular statute differently."

93. Thus, on a careful and anxious scrutiny of the publications, "Ananda Vikatan", "Kumudam and "Kalkandu", I am definitely of the opinion that they not only satisfy the requirements of "newspaper" by publishing items of current events, political events but also satisfy the customers who buy these publications by giving comments on the news and the current events every week. The facts and circumstances relating to "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu" are tke same as in the case of "Ananda Vikatan". Bearing in mind, the history of newspapers in various contries as well as the basic principles governing their publications and the other enactments that are connected with the newspaper industry and finally on a juristic approach to the subject, I find that the publications "Ananda Vikatan", "Kumudam' and "Kalkandu" are newspapers and the orders of the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal, Madras, granting depreciation at the rate of 1O% on the plant and machinery of the respective assessees is correct. I accordingly answer the references in favour of the assessee and against the Revenue. In the circumstances, there is no order as to costs.

Balasubrahmanyan, J.

94. In this group of income-tax references, the question is whether the printing process of two Tamil weeklies, Kmudamudam and Ananda Vikatan, are "newspaper production plant and machinery". Till April 1, 1970, newspaper production plant and machiuery enjoyed a special higher depreciation allowance, namely, 10 per cent., as against the normal rate of 7 per cent. This distinction has been erased from April 1, 1970. Thus, from the point of view of depreciation, the question in this case is not topical. But it would seem to hold a debatable iterest on the larger issue whether these two weeklies and other priodicals like them are newspapers. The Tribunal, at an earliar stage, and my learned colleague in his judgment, have spent considerable time looking into this larger aspect. Hence, I shall first have my say on the claim of Kumudam and Ananda Vikatan to newspaper status, before proceeding to examine what I regard as the only pertinent issue in these cases, namely, the issue as to depreciation allowance.

95. The Tribunal and my learned colleague have gone into the wide world to find out what a newspaper is, obviously because we are not favoured with a definition by the income-tax statute. They have consulted dictionaries. They have looked into the definition of newspapers wherever they could discover a definition in special interpretation clauses. With respect, I think, this quest for an outside definition for an inside expression in the Income-tax Rules is not called for; dictionaries are notoriously diffuse, some of them only handmaids for crossword puzles setters. Lexicographers are merely collectors of meanings. Even so, within the limitations of space, they cannot exhaust all the shades of meaning a word might carry. Much less can they truly bring out what is more precious than definition. usage. Ever since the fateful days of Macaulay and the Elbert Bill in 1835, English has become the ruling tongue in this country and the language of our law. After such a long, long, association with this language, our judges at least whose court language is English, must be sparing in the use of the dictionaries as aids to understanding. The vocablary of parliamentary draftsman, not to speak of the style of his compostion, are not only commonplace, but extremely limlted and circumcribed For anyone who is measurably familiar with the English language; there are not words in an Act of Parliament so unfamiliar that he or she should go into consultation with a dictionary. What is more, where ordinary words in ordinary usage are used in statutory enactments, carying no special significance. the dictionary is an instrument of uncertainty, if not downnight confusion. especially when it refers, in staccato style, to a variety of meanings. These tones are often resorted to, not to get at the ordinary meaning of words, which need no dictioaries but to discover some pripheral distant thought. The expresion "newspaper" like motor car, rail, soap, etc., are not only common words of the Englishman, but they have got into the daily speech of our vernacular. This is the reason why it was suggested by the Revenue's learned counsel during argument that an lettered domestic servant in a rural outpost would know the distinction between a newspaper and a non-newspaper to an extent that when asked to fetch a newspaper from the verandah, he would not commit the mistake of fetching Kumudam or Ananda Vikatan or Illustrated Weekly of India. This is not plea for a man in the street approach or a commonsense approach to statutory construction, although a former Master of the Rolls had to remind us that commonsense is not entirely excluded from income-tax dissussions : In re Rose : Rosc v. IRC [1952] Ch 499; 3 EDC 368. My plea, therefore, is to take the words as we find them in the relevant tatutory instrument, without strain, especially when the word are in common peech and there is nothing to indicate that any special meaning at all intended.

96. The Tribunal in their order had gone about searching for news value in the contents of these two weeklies, Kumudam and Ananda Vikatan. They did so by the "sampling method". They took a few issues of each magazine at random and poured over their contents just to find any feature articles which they could interpret as having a news value. After some effort, they were able to find some articles which they could interpret as having a new value. On this basis, they said that these two weeklies are newspapers. They also punctuated their conclusion with the psoer, whether anyone has said anywhere that a newspaper should be a daily publication, and not a weekly or a fortnightly or other periodical. More or legs a similar approach is to be found in the judgment of my learned colleague.

97. With respect, the approach is misconceived. You do not have to put to a rigorous analysis any reading matter in printed literature to know whether what you read is a newspaper. What with headlines, sub-headings and "boxes", the news must fairly stare you in the face, if it is a newspaper. Sometimes, the headlines even scream at you. So if you have to delve into the pages of the periodicals, as the Tribunal did with Kumudam and Ananda Vikatan, to discover if they are newspapers, the need for that very exercise puts them out of the category of the newspaper. Besides, with a weekly or a fortnightly, a week or a fortnight inevitably passes between one issue and the next. The week's news or the fortnight's new, if it can be so called, have no news value; they only have chronicle value or anecdotal value or historical value. If our accredited newspapers were to begin publishing week old news, I am sure they would soon go out of circulation. For, the most important attribute of a newspaper is its immediacy. From this view-point only a daily has the right to call itself a newspaper. This is truer today than ever before in the way the mass media have speeded up the process of news communication. For most of us, yesterday's news is only news by courtesy, for within twenty-four hours it already passes into the limbo. There is a saying that no news is good new. To the newspaper readership, old news is no news. Yesterday's newspaper is just an "old" paper to be sold by weight.

98. The researches of the Tribunal from the dictionaries apparently enabled them to discover that the expression "news" is sometimes used as an equivalent of information, as when a person says about some new information, that it is "news" to him. Surely, however, this special meaning of the expression "news" cannot be carried into the compound expression "newspapers". Newspapers do not carry information merely. They have their eyes and ears all over the world and they report current happenings even while the news is hot, with the wires and wireless equipment always agog in the news editor's office. Even the so-called weekly "news magazines" do not really carry news. They merely chronicle events of the past week or carry anecdotes or indulge in plain gossip. There is thus no "news" value in the pages of even those out and out news magazines. The position is much worse in the case of the two weeklies, Ananda Vikatan and Kumudam. whose contents show a variety of articles, stories, titbits and the like. Some of the articles may be topical, but they cannot be classified as news, in the newspaper sense of the term. The Tribunal were quite aware of the time factor as creating an inherent difficulty in giving newspaper status all to periodical publications, without qualification. They could bring themselves to regard to weeklies and some other periodicals as newspapers, but they drew the line at fortnightlies, and excluded monthlies from the category of newspapers. This logic of "Thus far and no farther" discloses the essential weakness in the Tribunal's reasoning. Why should you draw a line at a monthly for instance If a fortnightly can be a newspaper. why not a monthly or a quarterly or an annual You only have to see that they do not discuss "dead" questions, that they carry an article or two dealing with subjects on which public interest has not waned or completely worn off. All this discussion is only to show that it would be quite a reasonable construction not to stretch the meaning of "newspapers" beyond its ordinary acceptation of a daily newspaper. There are many ways in which a daily newspaper is distinguishable from other publications in circulation periodically but its chief distinction lie in it daily appearance carrying the day's new.

99. I should also dismiss, as purposeless, the collection of special definitions from such enactments as the Working Journalists (Condition of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955, the Press Council Act, 1965, the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, the Newspaper (Price and Page) Act, 1956, and similar enactments, all of which are special legislative measures intended to meet special situations or confer special rights or impose special obligations. We cannot, therefore, draw from day of these special definitions and stuff their special meanings into the expression "newspaper production plant and machinery", which carries no statutory definition in the Income-tax Act and, therefore, must quite certainly set its face against the statutory definitions in other enactments.

100. In the course of argument, it was suggested by learned counsel that a publication carrying news features, even if it appears once a week or once a fortnight, must be regarded as a newspaper provided it is not stitched together either in a centre-stitching or in a side-stitching. This argument does not bring out a proper differentiation between newspaprs and non newspapers, because the basis of the differentiation is made to rest on the format of the publication rather than on the content of the publication, A newspaper is a newspaper not because it is delivered to us unstitched, but because it carries the daily news within the columns of its sheets. Any news magazine appearing weekly or fortnightly in loose sheets of paper without centre-stitching cannot claim the status of a newspaper, because all its so-called news features are second hand and not topical or first hand. In any case, even these periodicals which resemble in their format or their size or their folds, a daily newspaper, will not be regarded by common people as newspapers. Only a daily is fit to be called a newspaper and is being called a newspaper by practically everybody. A non-newspaper cannot hope to put on the appearance of a newspaper by merely avoiding the use of staplers. There is a vital difference between the whale and the fish as living species, although both are aquatic creatures.

101. There is yet another consideration bearing on the question of construction. The Tribunal set about construing the word "newspaper" as though it was all they were called upon to do, when the subject of the inquiry was to get at the meaning of the composite expression "newspaper production plant and machinery" occurring in the depreciation schedule of the Income-tax Rules. In my judgment,. the Tribunal's inquiry ought to have been directed to finding out what the association of these words meant when done into a single expression, and not what one individual word in that association stands for.

102. Where the legislature or other law-making body uses a composite expression, that expression has got to be construed and applied as all of one piece. A proper understanding of the phrase will not be yielded by surrendering its components and by looking up for a dictionary meaning for each and everyone of the constituent words. Even on the best of occasions, as we earlier indicated, giving to a statutory expression the dictionary meaning would not always be a safe interpretation, The caution against the use of the dictionary must be all the greater where what the legislature employ is not a single word, but a composite phrase. In such cases, we must attribute to the draftsman an intention to pack the phrase with a meaning all its own. That meaning cannot be derived by taking the phrase into bits and parts and seeking to apply the dictionary meaning to each and everyone of the word so dissected.

103. In Lee V. Showmen's Guild of Great Britain [1952] 2 QB 392; [1952] I A11 ER 1175(CA) a question arose about a proper meaning to be assigned to the phrase "unfair competition" which was used in the rules of the tribunal. The argument before the Court of Appeal in that case concentrated. on the one or the other of the two words "unfair" and "competition". Somervell L. J., however, condemned this method of construction, observing as follows (at p. 1178 of I All ER) :

"I do not think that, if the words 'unfair competition' stood alone, they are apt to describe what happened here. It is often fallacious in considering the meaning of a phrase consisting of two words to find a meaning which each has separately and then infer that the two together cover the combination so arrived at. The two together may, a here, have acquired a special meaning of their own. In any event, the phrase here has to be read in the contest of the rule..."

104. This ruling by the Court of Appeal has been cited by Maxwell in the Chapter in which the view is expressed that "the utility of dictionary definitions is obviously limited". This is quite an understatement, even for an English text book on law.

105. I, therefore, derive the principle for application to the present case, that the classified item in the depreciation schedule with the description "newspaper production plant and machinery" has got to be construed as conveying a single idea. But this is not enough for the purpose of construction. The expression has also got be viewed in the proper setting under the scheme of depreciation rates set out in the Income-tax Rules.

106. Under section 32 of the Income-tax Act, 1961, depreciation is an allowable deduction at such percentage on the written down value of the plant and machinery as may, in any case or classes of cases, be prescribed by the rule made by the Central Board of Direct Taxes. Rule 5 of the Income-tax Rules, 1962, made by the Central Board of Direct Taxes lays down that depreciation allowance in respect of machinery and plant shall be calculated at thc percentage specified in the second column of the Table in Part I of Appendix I to the Rules, and the rates must be reckoned on the written down value of the asset in question.

107. The depreciation rates in Appendix I have attained an importance far beyond the purpose of taxation of income. The Companies Act, 1956, for instance, compulsorily prescribed the income-tax depreciation rates to be adopted in drawing up company accounts. The depreciation rates are the product of classification and sub-classification and are obvioudy based on a study of the rates of wear and tear of different categories of depreciable assets. The Appendix in the Income-tax Rules, 1962, sets down the rates of depreciation in the form of a table. The table has three columns; the first deals with the class of assets, the second with the depreciation as a percentage allowance, either on the actual cost or the written down value and the third column is devoted to remarks. In the column "class of assets" are to be found, one below the other, several classe of depreciable assets. There are three broad classifications : (I) Buildings, (II) Furniture and fittings, and (III) Machinery and plant. In class III, under the heading "machinery and plant", a general rate is applied under sub-classification (i). The general rate is applicable to machinery or plant for which no special rates are prescribed under sub-classification (ii). Under item (ii), which carries-the heading "Special rates", there are several sub dividons or categories of machinery and plant distinguished one from the other by letters of the alphabet in block capitals, such as A, B, C and so oll. Under each alphabetical category, there are sub categories of machinery and plant.

108. An analysis of these "special rates" under clause (ii) of item III of Appendix shows that in some cases, the rates are made applicable to itemised classes of machinery, such, for instance, as "accounting machines" In certain other cases, the special rates are app1ied to a variety of diiferent macliines brought under one broad heading, such as "Building contrac-tor's machinery". In certain other cases, the special rate is applied to a plant such as "salt works". In some cases, a special rate is prescribed for "plant and machinery" as a whole, as in the present case, where the depreciable asset is "newspaper production plant and machinery". This description must be taken to be a reference to the "plant" as such engaged in newspaper production, to all aspects of that plant in all its comprehensive whole. It does not refer to any itemised machinery such as rotary whieh is a machine employed in printing a modern newpaper. The expression does not even refer to a group of machines of the same eharacter but of different mechanisms such as rotary, flat bed, or treadle, all of which are varieties of printing press. All that the entry does is to bring under one rate all the component items of machinery in the entire plant of a newspaper production unit, which would include not only the printing press, but a host of other machines and mechanical appliances. The whole productive apparatus of a newspaper production plant is taken as a unit. There is all the difference between the wood and the trees. A unit or plant producing a magazine or a journal or other periodical is not the game thing as a plant producing a "newspaper". A newspaper produces a finished product and puts it into circulation every day, sometime twice a day, and even oftener on rare occasions, as if to justify its name. As an industrial unit engaged in the production of printed matter for catering news in this fashion, a newspaper production plant is and ought to be quite different from an organisation engaged in the production of a daily and necessarily includes not only the printing preses, type casting machines, cutting machines, and the like, but also various other appliances commonly to be found in news media organisations, such as, teleprinters, wireless, telephone lines and various other modern devices indispensable for the media to serve it wide and instant coverage. The rate of 10 per cent. is applicable to all items of plant and machinery which go into the whole unit called "newspaper production plant and machinery".

109. In the course of argument, it was mentioned off the record by learned counsel for the assessees that these two weeklies bring out their printed matter by a rotary press on a mass scale, in the same way as the daily press bring out their morning or evening editions. This, in my view, is to mistake the nature of a produetion unit by the character of its mechanical equipment. What the depreciation schedule ask us to do is to apply a special rate for the entire unit. It does not take the several items in the produetive unit as each constituting a depreciable asset in itself for applying the rate of 10%. Ordinarily, a daily newspaper would be printed in a rotary press, especially a newspaper with a large circulation, but it would still be a daily newspaper if it were printed in a treadle or in a flat bed machine. It is not the type of printing machinery which is indicated by the phrase "newspaper production plant and machinery" nor its productive capacity. What is indicated is the whole productive unit. The idea conveyed by this phrase refers to a publication complex eoncerned with a newspaper production as a daily affair. I do not think this phrase is appropriate to convey a printing press engaged in turning out weeklies or other periodicals. There is a vast differenee between the production unit of a periodical and the productive unit of a daily newspaper in outlook. organisation and aetivity. The special rate of 10 per cent. is fixed only by reference to this distinction. In short, we must read the expression "newspaper production plant and machinery" as a hyphenated expression thus : "Newspaper production plant and machinery". What these two Tamil weeklies can claim at best is that they also use in their press rotary machinery or some other mechanical contraption such as might be found in a modern daily newspaper office. In my judgment, that would not convert their printing press as "newspaper production plant and machinery".

110. The conclusion of mine is the exact opposite of that which my learned brother has arrived at. I regret that it should be so. And my regret all the greater, for I have found on a reading of his judgment a novel exeperience, especially those parts of the judgment where the press, past and present, all over the world, is discussed with encyclopaedic information. Much of it news to me if I can say so with respect.

111. My answer to the questions of law in this group of cases is against the assesees and in favour of the Revenue. I would award the costs of these references to the Department. Counsel's fee R. 500 (one set).

By the Courts :

In this group of references, we have delivered judgments which are not unanimous. Neither can there be a majority, because we only form a quorum of two. Under section 259(2) of the Income-tax, Act 1961 where there is no majority in the opinion expressed by a Bench in a tax case, it is provided that the judges must state the point of haw upon which they differ and thereupon the case shall have to be heard on that point of difference by one or more other judges of the same High Court. Further procedure at the later hearing and what is to be done thereafter are all provided for in that sub-section. It, therefore, behoves us to set down the point on which we have differed. These point are as follows :

"1. Whether, on the fact and in the circumstances of the case, the Appellate Tribunal was right in holding that 'Ananda Vikatan', 'Kumudam' and 'Kalkandu ', weekly magazines published by the assessee companies are newspapers and depreciation at the rate of 10% was, therefore, admissible on the plant and machinery of the assessee companies panies ?

2. Whether the finding of the Appellate Tribunal that 'Ananda Vlkatan', `Kumudam ' and `Kalkandu' are newspapers is based on valid and proper materials and is a reasonable view to take on the facts and in the circumstances of the case ?

3. Whether the interpretation given by the Appellate Tribunal to the word 'newspaper' used in the depreciation schedule is proper and justified ?"

112. The papers will now be placed before the learned Chief Justice for appropriate further action in terms of Section 259(2) of the Income-tax Act, 1961.

Ramanujam, J.

113. These matters have been posted before me on a difference of opinion between Balasubrahmanyan J. and Swamikannu J., on the question as to whether the printing presses of Tamil weeklies, "Kumudam" "Kalkandu" and "Ananda Vlkatan" ars "newspaper production plant and machinery" entitled to a special higher depreciation allowance, namely, 10% as against the general rate of depreciation of 7%.

Balasubrahmanyan, J.

114. has taken the view that the plant and machinery which are used for printing the weeklies in question cannot come within the expression "newspaper production plant and machinery" and, therefore, they are not entitled to have a higher rate of depreciation. Swamikkannu J, on the other hand, is of the view that as "Ananda Vikatan" as well as "Kumudam" and "Kalkandu" having been printed in similar machineries as have been installed in a newspaper printing press, the should be taken to fall within the expression "newspaper production plant and machinery", that, even otherwise, Ananda Vikatan, Kumudam and Kalkandu have got news value and, as such, they will come within the expression "newspaper", that the said weeklies have also been registered as newspapers under the Post Offices Act as also the press and Registration of Books Act and, as such, the weeklies could be termed as "newspapers" and that, therefore, the assessees are entitled to claim depreciation on the said plant and machineries at the higher rate of depreciation at 10%.

115. On a due consideration of the matter, I am inclined to agree with the view expressed by Balasubrahmanyan J. Admittedly, the general and normal rate of depreciation leviable under section 32(1)(ii) of the Income-tax Act, 1961, on the plant and machinery during the relevant time was 7%. But a special higher rate of depreciation at 10% has been provided under Appendix I (iii) to "newspaper production plant and machinery". Therefore, before the assessee could sustain a claim for a higher depreciation allowance of 10%, it must be shown that the plant and machinery in respect of which depreciation is claimed comes within the expression "newspaper production plant and machinery". This was the position before April 1, 1970. Admittedly, the assessees in this case are producing weeklies such as Ananda Vikatan, Kumudam and Kalkandu and they are not producing newpapers as such in the strict sense of the term. However, on behalf of the assessees, it is contended that the Tamil weeklies, Ananda Vikatan, Kumudam and Kalkandu, will also come within the expression "newspaper" and, therefore, the plant and machinery used for producing the weeklies should also be taken to be "newspaper production plant and machinery". The further contention is that the weeklies having been registered as "newspapers" under the Post Offices Act and the Press and Registration of Books Act, they should be taken to be "newspapers" for the purpose of the allowance of depreciation. It is also contended for the assessees that even if the weeklies cannot be taken to be newspapers, still as they use substantially the same plant and machinery as have been used for the production of newspapers, they are also entitled to the special higher depreciation allowance provided for under the statute. It is further contended for the assessees that even otherwise, in so far as the contents of the weeklies are of considerable news value, they should be taken to come within the term "newspaper". The question is how far the above submissions are tenable.

116. It is significant to note that neither the Income-tax Act nor the Rules framed thereunder contain a definition of "newspaper." In the absence of any definition, the court has to construe the expression "newspaper" in its popular sense and not in any special and technical sense. As has been pointed out by Lord Denning M. R. in Dyson Holdings Ltd. v. Fox [1975] 3 All ER 1030; 3 WLR 744 (CA), while interpreting the expression "family" occurring in a statute (at p. 747 of 3 WLR) :

"The word 'family' in the l968 Act is not used is any technical sense : but in a popular sense. It is not used in the sense in which it would be used by a studious and unworldly lawyer, but in the sense in which it would be used by a man who is `base, common and popular', to use Shakespeares words quoted by Everhed M. R. in this context in Langdon v. Horton [1951] 1 All ER 60 or in modern words, by the ordinary man in the street."

117. Thus, we have to construe the expression "newspaper" not in any special or technical sense but in a popular sense, a sense in which the ordinary man in the street understands it in the sense in which it would be used by a man who is base, common and popular. This is the approach made by Balasubrahmanyan J. and Swamikkannu J., on the other hand, chose to adopt the dictionary meaning in preference to the popular meaning. I entirely agree with the reasoning of Balagubrahmanyan J. as to why the popular meaning of newspaper should be adopted in preference to the dictionary meaning. In Commissioner of Sales Tax v. Express Printing Press [1983] 52 STC 290, the approach suggested by the Bombay High Court in cases where the statute itself does not give any definition of a term, is to adopt the popular meaning. In that case, the expression which came up for consideration was also "newspaper" which has been excluded from the definition in section 2(13) of the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1959. The question arose as to whether a publication containing astrological and numerological predictions and some stray news could be taken to be a newspaper for the purpose of claiming exemption under the Sales Tax Act. The court held (headnote) :

"In order to be called a newspaper, a paper's main purpose must be to convey news. It may incidentally publish forecasts or advertisements. But if the dominant aim of the publication is to convey news, it will be a newspaper. But an insertion of a stray item of news or advertisement in a paper which predominantly gives merely predictions or forecasts of lucky numbers or figures cannot turn that publication into a newspaper, especially if such stray news item appears to have been inserted merely in order to camouflage the publication as a newspaper. In the absence of any significant news content in the publications, the mere fact that the publications are brought out daily, has no relevance in deciding the question whether such publication is a newspaper or not."

118. The court also held that the publication has been registered as newspaper for the purpose of the provisions of the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, which has been done voluntarily by the assessee, is not material and that the assessee cannot convert the publication which is not otherwise a newspaper into a newspaper by his conduct. In P. S. V. Iyer v. Commissioner of Sales Tax [1960] 11 STC 608 (Orissa), the "Cuttack Law Times" a non-official monthly law journal containing, inter alia reports of important decisions of the Orissa High Court, the Orissa Board of Revenue and the Supreme Court has been held to be not a newspaper as it is primarily meant to be a book of reference to be cited in the law courts and cannot, in any sense, be called a "newspaper" in the popular sense. In that case, the journal has been registered as a "newspaper" under the Post Offices Act, 1898, and the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867. When such registration was relied on for the purpose of claiming exemption for the journal as a newspaper, the court held that such registration will not be of any avail to the assessee and the interpretation put on the expression "newspaper" by the authorities under those Acts would not bind either the High Court or the Sales Tax Department. In that case, the dictionary meaning of "newspaper" was relied on. The court, however, pointed out that the essence of "news" is its "novelty", that is, the close proximity between the time of the event or occurrence and the time when it is reported or talked about, and that the essential pre-requisite of a periodical, in order to make it a newspaper, is that it must contain mainly public news or comments on public news. As pointed out by the Gujarat High Court in CIT v. Satellite Engineering Ltd. [1982] 136 ITR 607, in a matter of tax relief, it is for the Legislature to decide which particular industry producing which particular articles needs special treatment by way of special benefits and that, in such a matter, it would not be possible for the court to place an elastic interpretation and enlarge the scope of the relief, for, in that event, the court will be legislating in fiscal sphere and granting relief which the legislature did not expressly grant by a process of interpretation. If we adopt the popular meaning of the word "newspaper", then the weeklies whose predominant purpose is not to give news cannot be brought under the expression "newspaper", even though they may contain stray items of news value. With respect, I am not inclined to agree with Swamikkannu J., that merely because the weeklies contain some stray items of news value, they should be taken to be newspapers. As already stated, the common man or a man in the street will never take these weeklies for a newspaper. Therefore, these weeklies cannot come within the term "newspaper" notwithstanding the fact that the weeklies contain certain stray items of news value.

119. The learned counsel for the assessees would contend that the plant and machinery used for printing these weeklies are the same or similar to the plant and machinery used for producing newspapers and, therefore, they should also be treated as newspaper production plant and machinery. Thus, the contention of the learned counsel is that the machinery used for publishing the said weeklies are also capable of producing newspaper and, therefore, they should be taken to be newspaper producing machinery. The said contention of the learned counsel for the assessees overlooks the fact that the grant of a higher special depreciation allowance is with reference to the purpose for which the machinery is used and not with reference to its capability or the character of the machinery. As rightly pointed out by Balasubrahmanyan J., newspaper production plant and machinery has got to be construed as referring to a unit engaged in the production of newspaper and a unit or plant producing a weekly or other periodicals is not the same thing as a plant producing newspaper. The expression "newspaper production plant and machinery" must be taken to refer to a plant as such engaged in newspaper production, in all its aspects and in all its comprehensive whole. What that expression does is to bring under one rate all the component items of machinery in the entire plant of a newspaper production unit, which would include not only the printing press, but a host of other machines and mechanical appliances. Thus, the whole productive apparatns of a newspaper production plant is taken as a unit for the purpose of grant of higher depreciation. The fact that more or less similar plant and machinery is used for the manufacture of weeklies or other periodicals will not bring them under the definition of "newspaper production plant and machinery". Further, the fact that the weeklies have been registered as newspapers under other statutes like the Post Offices Act and the Press and Registration of Books Act are not quite relevant, for those Act contain the definition of "newspaper" and it may be that for purposes of those Acts, the weeklies have been treated as newspapers. The definitions in those Acts are not of any avail here. The definition of an expression in one statute cannot be automatically applied to another statue whose object and purpose are entirely different.

120. In this view, I agree with the conclusion arrived at by Balasubrahmanyan J. My answer to the questions referred in these groups of cases is against the assessees and in favour of the Revenue. The Revenue will get its costs from the assessees. Counsel's fee Rs. 500 (one set).

Ramanujam and Swamikkannu, JJ.

121. These petitions having been posted for passing final orders, before the Honourable Mr. Justice Ramanujam and the Honourable Mr. Justice Swamikkannu, the court delivered the following order on March 14, 1985 (The order of the court was delivered by Ramanujam J.).

122. These matters have been posted before us for passing final orders, after the third judge to whom the difference of opinion had been referred to has given his opinion. The third judge has expressed an opinion agreeing with the view taken by Balasubrahmanyan J. In view of the opinion of the majority, the questions in T.C. Nos. 133 to 137 of 1977 and T.C. Nos. 950 and 951 of 1977 are answered in favour of the Revenue. In T.C. Nos. 343 of 1977 and 755 of 1979, the questions referred to us are also answered in favour of the Revenue. The Revenue will get costs from the assessee. The Revenue will get costs from the assessee in T.C. Nos. 133 to 137 of 1977, counsel's fee Rs. 250 and in T.C. No. 343 of 1977, counsel's fee Rs. 250 In other matters, there will be no order as to costs.

123. The learned counsel for the assessees makes an oral application for leave to appeal to Supreme Court against the majority judgment rendered in these cases. However, having regard to the fact that the questions may not recur i view of the subsequent amendment of the depreciation schedule in the Rules, we are not satisfied that this is a fit case for the grant of leave. Therefore, the oral application for leave is rejected


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