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Orient Tools and Gauges Ltd., Through Its Director, N. Alagappan Vs. the Assistant Collector, Custom House and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCustoms
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberW.P. No. 3854 of 1974
Judge
Reported in1979CENCUS158D; 1979(4)ELT255(Mad)
ActsTamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act, 1959 - Sections 3(3)
AppellantOrient Tools and Gauges Ltd., Through Its Director, N. Alagappan
RespondentThe Assistant Collector, Custom House and ors.
DispositionPetition allowed
Cases ReferredIn State of Tamil Nadu v. Binny Engg. Works Ltd.
Excerpt:
.....part of the machinery, that the same cannot be used for the normal purpose of illumination, and that without the projection lamps with its cooling filter arrangement, the grinding machine cannot be put to use effectively......the bulbs are of low voltage and its peculiar shape makes it quite unfit for use as mere lighting bulbs.item 72(3) of the import tariff is as follows --------------------------------------------------------------------------item nature of article nature standard preferential rate duration no. of rate of of duty if the of protective duty duty article is the rate of produce or duty manufacture of the a burma united british kingdom colony--------------------------------------------------------------------------72(3) component parts of revenue 40% ... ... free ... machinery as defined in ad item nos. 72, 72(1) and valorem 72(2) and not otherwise specified, namely, such parts only as are essential for the working of the machine or apparatus and have been given for that purpose some special.....
Judgment:

Ramanujam, J.

1. The petitioner imported a consignment of 24 numbers of projection lamps as spares for use in projection form grinding machine. In respect of that consignment, he claimed that the lower rate of duty under item 72(3) of the Customs Tariff is leviable as those bulbs are essential part of 'Petewe' projection form grinding machine model P-7-S-3D. However, the goods were treated by the first respondent as electric lighting bulbs and classified under item 60(2) of Indian Customs Tariff. The goods were cleared under protest after paying the duty demanded by the first respondent.

2. Subsequently, the petitioner filed a petition for refund of the difference in duty between the one paid under item 60(2) and the one payable under item 72(3) on the ground that the projection lamps imported by him will squarely fall under item 72(3) and not under item 60(2). This claim for refund was rejected by the first respondent on 17-11-1972, stating that the assessment originally made classifying the goods as coming under item 60(2) of the Customs Tariff was in order. The petitioner filed an appeal, to the second respondent. It was however rejected on 12-6-1973. Thereafter, the petitioner took the matter in revision to the third respondent, but without success.

3. Thereafter, the petitioner has filed the present writ petition seeking a writ of certiorari to quash the various orders of respondents 1 to 3. According to the petitioner, the consignment of projection lamps imported by him is indispensable for the working of the grinding machine, that it has got certain special shape and characteristics for use as projection lamps in the grinding machine and that it cannot be used for any other purpose. It is also pointed out that the bulbs are of low voltage and its peculiar shape makes it quite unfit for use as mere lighting bulbs.

Item 72(3) of the import Tariff is as follows -

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Item Nature of Article Nature Standard Preferential rate Duration

No. of rate of of duty if the of protective

duty duty article is the rate of

produce or duty

manufacture of

The A Burma

United British

Kingdom Colony

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

72(3) Component parts of Revenue 40% ... ... Free ...

machinery as defined in ad

Item Nos. 72, 72(1) and valorem

72(2) and not otherwise

specified, namely, such

parts only as are essential

for the working of the

machine or apparatus and

have been given for that

purpose some special

shape or quality which

would not be essential

for their use for any other

purpose but excluding

small tools like twist

drills and reamers, dies

and taps, gear cutters and

hacksaw blades : Provided

that articles which

do not satisfy this condition

shall also be deemed

to be component parts

of the machine to which

they belong if they are

essential to its operation

and are imported with it

in such quantities as may

appear to the Collector

of Customs to be reasonable.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

According to the petitioner, the projection lamps imported by him are component parts of the grinding machine and they are essential for the working of the said machine and the projection lamp has got some special shape and quality which is not essential for its use for any other purpose much less for use as lighting bulb.

4. Item 60(2) under which the projection lamps imported by the petitioners have been assessed, refers to electric lighting bulbs not otherwise specified. According to the revenue, though the bulbs may have a special shape and quality still they can be used as electric lighting bulbs.

5. The question is under which of the two items the projection lamps imported by the petitioner will fall. As already stated, the petitioner's case is that the projection lamps imported by him are essential for use in the grinding machine as a component thereof and that the grinding machine cannot be used without this projection lamp. It is also stated that though it is of low voltage i.e. 100 watts, its price is about Rs. 113 exclusive of customs duty and other charges, and that this shows that the projection bulb is of a special character with a special shape and quality. The case of the petitioner as to the special characteristic of the projection lamp has been accepted even by the appellate and revisional authorities.

The appellate authority in his order dated 30-7-1973 says --

'The appellants have produced drawings and the extracts taken from the technical instructions of the projection grinding machine in support of their contention...The bulbs in question though of a special nature to suit a particular requirement are only projection lamps providing illumination. The bulbs for safety mining lamps are assessable under item 60(2) I.C.T.'

The revisional authority, the third respondent, also says --

'They have produced a sample drawing and an extract from technical instructions of the machine. They contend that the goods are specially designed for use in the grinding machine and are not required for general illumination and satisfy the conditions of item 72(3) I.C.T. Government observes from the evidence produced that the impugned goods are used for illumination in the grinding machine so that the magnified projection of the work piece on the screen is compared with the inserted magnified specified form in the grinding machine. Though the goods may have some special characteristics, nevertheless. they remain projector lamps and are correctly classifiable under item 60(2) I.C.T. The goods, therefore, cannot get the benefit of lower assessment under item 72(3) I.C.T.'

Thus, the petitioner's case that the projection bulbs in question have some special characteristics and are being used for illumination in the grinding machine so that the magnified projection of the work piece on the screen is compared with the inserted magnified specified form in the grinding machine, seems to have been accepted by the appellate and revisional authorities, but they seem to proceed on the basis that nonetheless they continued to remain projective lamps and, therefore, they have to be classified under item 60(2) of I.C.T. According to them the projection lamps, whatever be its special characteristics, have to be classified as item 60(2) in view of the tariff advices from the Central Board of Excise and Customs.

6. It is true that the bulbs have been called projection lamps. But it is not possible to say that all projection lamps should be taken to come under item 60(2) as has been held by the respondents. Projection bulbs can be of several kinds. The projection bulbs in this case are specially prepared for use as a component or essential part in a grinding machine and therefore, they cannot be treated as coming under item 60(2) which refers to electric lighting bulbs. The projection bulbs may come under item 60(2), if they are not otherwise provided. Item 72(3) refers to component parts of machinery. If a projection bulb is a component parts of machinery, it is not possible to separate the projection bulb from the machinery and classify the same as coming under item 60(2). Therefore, the main test is to find out whether the projection bulb is a component part of the grinding machine and whether it has been given some special shape and quality which would not be essential for its use for any other purpose. In this case, even the revisional authority finds that the projection bulbs are of special characteristics and they are to be used only in the grinding machines. If the projection bulb is not a component part of the machinery, then it can be treated as an electric bulb coming under item 60(2). But if the projection bulb becomes a component of a machinery, it will fall under item 72(3).

The learned counsel for the petitioner has produced the technical instruction given by the manufacturer of the projection form grinding machine, for which the projection bulbs imported by him are claimed to be the component parts. From these instructions, it is seen that the projection lamp is not used purely for illumination purposes but for a special purpose. In paragraph 8 of the instructions, it is stated that a blower is provided to cool the projection lamps that the blower sucks up fresh air from the small filter at the bottom left hand side of the ventilation door and then the air is blown directly into the lamp housing to cool the projection lamp. Under the head 'Optical equipment' in paragraph 9 it is stated that the projection lamp is part of the optical equipment fitted into the grinding machine and the optical part of the machine is composed of lighting device. The lighting device substantially consists of a projection lamp of 100 watt voltage special projection lamp, which has a concentric coil for high light density and that is fitted into a housing which is provided with cooling ribs. The projection lamp housing also contains the condenser and the light is projected workpiece by a mirror. These instructions set out above clearly indicates that the bulb is of a special nature specifically made for use as a component part of the machinery, that the same cannot be used for the normal purpose of illumination, and that without the projection lamps with its cooling filter arrangement, the grinding machine cannot be put to use effectively.

In State of Tamil Nadu v. Binny Engg. Works Ltd., 35 S.T.C. 260 the question arose as to whether fuse switch boxes are component parts of electrical goods and fall under item 41 of the First Schedule to the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act, 1959, in that case, sales of fuse switch boxes to registered dealers for being used as component parts of electrical goods manufactured by them were held liable only to the concessional rate of tax under Section 3(3) of the Act.

7. In the case on hand item 72(3) uses the expression 'component parts of the machinery'. It also uses the words 'use of the article as component parts should be essential.' Almost all the factors referred to in item 72(3) are present in this case. The projection bulbs are not only component parts of the machinery and they are also found to be of a special shape and quality which . would not be essential for their use for any other purpose. Therefore, in view of the findings given by the third respondent in his order dated 11th April, 1974, the projection bulbs have to be taken to be covered by item 72(3) and hence they cannot come under the residuary clause under item 60(2). The writ petition is therefore allowed. There will be no order as to costs. The result is, that the petitioner is entitled to the refund claimed by him.


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