Skip to content


The Consolidated Tea and Lands Co. (India) Ltd., Calcutta Vs. the Commissioner of Wealth-tax, West Bengal Ii, Calcutta - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWealth-Tax Reference No. 86 of 1967
Judge
Reported inAIR1970Cal335,[1970]76ITR589(Cal)
ActsWealth-Tax Act, 1957 - Sections 2 and 5(1)
AppellantThe Consolidated Tea and Lands Co. (India) Ltd., Calcutta
RespondentThe Commissioner of Wealth-tax, West Bengal Ii, Calcutta
Appellant AdvocateD. Pal, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateB.L. Pal and ;A. Sengupta, Advs.
Cases ReferredPunjab Province v. Dr. Lakhmi Dass
Excerpt:
- sabyasachi mukharji, j. 1. the assessee in this case is a limited company. the relevant valuation dates are november 30, 1957 and november 30, 1958 for the wealth-tax assessment years 1958-59 and 1959-60. it appears that the assesses claimed exemption under section 2(e)(ii) of the wealth-tax act, 1957 on the value of certain alleged dwelling houses, store houses and out-houses belonging to the company. it had also claimed exemption under section 5(1)(ix) of the same act in respect of certain items of machinery alleged to have been used for agricultural operations conducted by the company for the purposes of growing and maintaining tea bushes as well as in respect of the values of lorries and cars claimed to have been used in connection with the raising of agricultural produce which is tea.....
Judgment:

Sabyasachi Mukharji, J.

1. The assessee in this case is a limited company. The relevant valuation dates are November 30, 1957 and November 30, 1958 for the Wealth-tax assessment years 1958-59 and 1959-60. It appears that the assesses claimed exemption under Section 2(e)(ii) of the Wealth-tax Act, 1957 on the value of certain alleged Dwelling houses, Store Houses and Out-houses belonging to the company. It had also claimed exemption under Section 5(1)(ix) of the same Act in respect of certain items of machinery alleged to have been used for agricultural operations conducted by the company for the purposes of growing and maintaining tea bushes as well as in respect of the values of lorries and cars claimed to have been used in connection with the raising of agricultural produce which is tea leaves in this case.

2. In both the assessment years, the Wealth-tax Officer summarily rejected the claim of the assessee under both the sections. Being aggrieved, the assessee preferred appeals before the Appellate Assistant Commissioner. Before the Appellate Assistant Commissioner the assessee furnished a break up of the different categories of assets for both the years in respect of which exemption had been claimed. Regarding the assessee's claim for exemption under Section 2(e)(ii) of the Act, the Appellate Assistant Commissioner held that certain items of buildings were to be exempted under that section. In respect of the five different items, mentioned in the order the Appellate Assistant Commissioner was of the opinion that since the structures of items 1 to 3 were entirely used for agricultural purposes, the entire values should be exempted; but so far as items 4 and 5 mentioned in the order of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner, he found that these were used both for keeping tractors and other cars and hence he allowed 50% of the value of the garages and sheds as being exempt Under Section 2(e)(ii) of the Act. In respect of the other category of buildings appearing in the break-up statement filed by the assessee, the Appellate Assistant Commissioner held that these could neither be treated as Dwelling Houses nor as Store Houses for the purpose of exemption under Section 2(e)(ii). In respect of those machinery which were used exclusively for agricultural purposes, the Appellate Assistant Commissioner was of the view that those were tools and implements used by the assessee for raising agricultural produceand as such, must be exempt under Section 5(1)(ix) of the Act. But so far as other items of machinery, such as motor cars, lorries etc., he held that those were not governed by the provisions of Section 5(1)(ix) of the Act for the purpose of exemption.

3. Against the order of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner, both the Department as well as the assessee preferred appeals before the Tribunal. It was contended before the Tribunal on behalf of the assessee that the expression 'dwelling house' as used Under Section 2(e)(ii) of the Act could be equated with the term 'residence'. The Tribunal, however, held that the phrase 'dwelling house' is of narrower connotation than the word 'residence' and 'dwelling house' could only mean the place of residence of human beings. The Tribunal also rejected the alternative contention put forward on behalf of the assessee that the Manager's bungalow and other staff quarters, even if they could not be treated as 'dwelling houses' might be classed as cut-houses' within the meaning of the proviso to Section 2(e)(ii) of the Act. It was also observed by the Tribunal that the existence of an out-house is closely associated with a dwelling house and since in the present case it has been held that a limited company could not have a dwelling house, the question of treating any place as out-house to such dwelling house did not arise. As an off-shoot of the same issue, the Tribunal held against the company that neither the balance of 50% in respect of the garages and sheds partly used for agricultural operations, as found by the Appellate Assistant Commissioner, nor the value of kitchens and shops etc., utilised by the labour population engaged in both agricultural and manufacturing operations would be exempt under the category of 'out-house' within the meaning of Section 2(e)(ii) of the Wealth Tax Act, 1957. But as regard certain general store houses for the purpose of storing rice, fuel, tea-chests etc., the Tribunal found that these store houses were required for both purposes and in the absence of any clear-cut demarcation or allotment, it allowed 60% of the value of such store houses as being exempt under the proviso to Section 2(e)(ii) of the Act. This was in addition to what had been found to be exclusively used for storing agricultural implements, manure and as stables for cattle utilised for agricultural operations. As regards the assessee's claim for exemption under Section 5(1)(ix) of the Act, the Tribunal found that none of the items of machinery included in the list of 'machinery used for or in connection with agricultural and other purposes', nor the lorries and motor cars alleged to have been used both for agricultural and manufacturing operations, could be treated as 'tools and implements' within the meaning of Section 5(1)(ix) of the Act.

4. On an application being made, the Tribunal has referred to this Court under Section 27(1) of the Wealth Tax Act, 1957 the following questions :

'1. Whether on the facts and in the circumstances of the case the manager's bungalow, staff quarters and labour lines belonging to the assessee company could be treated as 'dwelling house' within the meaning of Section 2(e)(ii) of the Wealth Tax Act, 1957 and as such the sums of Rs. 24,39,772 and Rs. 29,55,925 being the value of such buildings and premises could be excluded from the wealth-tax assessment of the company for the years 1958-59 and 1959-60 respectively?

2. Alternatively, whether the above buildings and premises along with garages, sheds for tractors, kitchens, shops etc., could be treated as 'out-houses' within the meaning of Section 2(e)(ii) of the Wealth Tax Act, 1957 and as such exempted from wealth-tax?

3. Whether on the facts and in the circumstances of the case the Tribunal was justified in allowing exemption under Section 2(e)(ii) of the Wealth Tax Act in respect or only 60% of the value of the Store houses admittedly used for both agricultural and non-agricultural purposes, the entire value of such store houses being Rs. 1,37,871 and Rs. 1,48,624 for the assessment years 1958-59 and 1959-60 respectively?

4. Whether on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the value of electrical machinery, batteries, transmission lines, grinding machinery etc., and motor cars and lorries could be treated as 'tools and implements' used by the company for raising agricultural produce within the meaning or Section 5(1)(ix) of the Wealth Tax Act, 1957, and if so, whether the total values of such machinery and vehicles or any part thereof could be excluded from the wealth-tax assessments for 1958-59 and 1959-60?'

5. So far as Q. 1 referred to this Court is concerned, we find that the question is covered by a decision of this Court in the case of Kanan Devan Hills Produce Co., Ltd. v. Commr. of Wealth-tax, West Bengal : [1968]67ITR823(Cal) . In view of the said decision of this Court, the question No. 1 is answered in the negative and against the assessee.

6. So far as Q. 4 is concerned, in view of the decision of this Court in the case of Commr. of Wealth-tax, West Bengal v. Anglo American Direct Tea Trading Co., Ltd. : [1968]69ITR260(Cal) , it must be held that the assessee is not entitled to exemption of the motor cars and lorries under Section 5(1)(ix) of the Act. So far as electrical machinery, batteries, transmission lines, grinding machinery etc., are concerned in view of the aforesaid decision and the decision in the case of : [1968]67ITR823(Cal) , we answer it by saying that these may satisfy the description of 'tools and implements' under Section 5(1)(ix) of the Wealth Tax Act, 1957, but their eligibility for deduction under that section will depend upon the further finding that they are used exclusively for the purposes of raising agricultural produce. We have not been able to find a definite finding on this aspect of the matter by the Tribunal

7. So far as Q. 3 is concerned, Dr. Pal appearing on behalf of the assessee, did not press for an answer to that question in this Reference. In the premises, we decline to answer that question.

8. The only question that was really canvassed before us is Q. 2. This question is directed to the consideration whether the manager's bungalow, staff quarters and labour lines belonging to the company could be treated as 'out-houses' within the meaning of Section 2(e)(ii) of the Wealth Tax Act, 1957 and as such can be exempted from Wealth Tax even though they do not merit exemption on the ground that they are dwelling houses. Section 2(e) of the Wealth Tax Act, 1957 defines 'assets'. It is an inclusive definition of assets. Section 2(e) of the Wealth Tax Act, 1957, so far as is material for our present purpose, is in the following terms :

'2 (e) 'assets' includes property of every description, movable or immovable, but does not include--

(i) .....

(ii) any building owned or occupied by a cultivator or receiver of rent or revenue out of the agricultural land :

Provided that the building is on or in the immediate vicinity of the land and is a building which the cultivator or the receiver of rent or revenue by reason of his connection with the land requires as a dwelling house or a store house or an outhouse;

(iii) .....

(iv) .....

(v) .....

9. Our attention was drawn to the observations of Banerjee, J. in the case of : [1968]67ITR823(Cal) , to the effect that a company cannot be a cultivator under Section 2(e) of the Act. It was however contended that the aforesaid observations of Banerjee J., in that case were obiter. In the view I have taken of the expression 'outhouse' I do not think it necessary for me to express any views on this controversy in this case. The question then that requires our consideration is, can these buildings be considered as outhouses? The expression 'outhouse' has not been defined in the Act.

10. Our attention has been drawn to the meaning of the expression 'outhouses' as appearing in the Oxford Dictionary as 'house or building or shed belonging to and near or built against main house'. Reliance was also placed on the Stroud's Judicial Dictionary, Vol. III, page 2050 onthe meaning of 'out-house'. Mr. Pal, counsel for the Revenue, also drew our attention to a decision in the case of Rex v. Haughton (1833) 172 ER 1096. In that case, Taunton J. at page 1098 observed as follows :

'It is true that the word 'outhouse' occurs in the Act of Parliament; but I apprehend it has been settled from ancient times that an outhouse must be that which belongs to a dwelling house, as in some respects parcel of such dwelling house. This building is not parcel of any dwelling house and does not appear to be connected in any way, either with the premises of Mr. Sparrow or of the prosecutor.'

11. In Burrows Words and Phrases, Vol. IV page 125 it has been observed that 'out-house means something annexed to an in-house.' In view of the fact that there is no definition in the Act itself, and in the context the expression has been used, it appers to me that the expression 'outhouse' must be understood in the common dictionary meaning in the sense that it must be connected with or near or built against a main house. It has to be borne in mind that in order to merit exemption under this head it has to be (a) building which is (b) on or in the vicinity of land and (c) that building the cultivator or the receiver of rent or revenue requires by reason of his connection with the land either as (d) dwelling house or a store house or an outhouse. A house simpliciter even if it fulfills the other requirements would not merit exemption unless it qualifies either as a dwelling house or a store house or an out-house. In that context 'an out-house' must be considered in contradistinction with and in relation to an in-house. An out-house may be a separate house from a dwelling house but it cannot be independent of or unconnected with either a dwelling house or a main building. Dr. Pal, counsel for the assessee, contended before us that the Tribunal has proceeded on the view that inasmuch as the company was incapable of having a dwelling house, on the same reason it was incapable of having an outhouse. Dr. Pal may be right in his contention that the limitations or the judicial interpretations which prevent a company from having a dwelling house are not applicable in the case of the expression 'outhouse'. If there is a dweling house or a main building and there is a house near that building or adjacent to that building that will qualify for the expression 'out-house' as contemplated by the section. It may also be that the main building may not be the dwelling house of the person who is entitled to exemption of the outhouse in view of the language of the section; but the difficulty in this case is that there is no finding by the Tribunal that these buildings in respect of which exemptions have been claimed as being outhouses were connected with any main building or any building at all or adjacentto any other building. In that view of the matter and in view of the language used in Section 2(e)(ii) of the Wealth Tax Act, 1957 we are or the opinion that question No. 2 must be answered in the negative and against the assesee.

12. In the facts and circumstances of this case each party will pay and bear its own costs.

P.B. Mukharji, J.

13. I agree with the answer proposed by my learned Brother.

14. This reference has caused me some anxious moments. At the same time I do not feel that my anxiety and hesitation need be pressed to a dissent. In the facts and circumstances I agree with the answers given.

15. It is, however, necessary to state the reasons which caused me this anxiety in this reference. Two main points arise on this reference for decision. One relates to the interpretation and meaning of the words 'out-house' and 'cultivator' under Section 2(e)(ii) of the Wealth Tax Act 1957. The other relates to the meaning of the words and expression 'tools and implements' under Section 5(1)(ix) of the Wealth Tax Act.

16. On the meaning of the word 'outhouse' in Section 2(e)(ii) of the Wealth, Tax Act there is hardly any authority and this case appears to be the case of first impression. Obviously on a plain reading of the word 'out-house' one is tempted to have the image that it is a house which is 'out' in relation or with reference to something. The whole chain of association of ideas operates in the concept of an 'outhouse' suggesting that there is a main house or an inner house to which either the out-house is attached or which is nearby. Whether this popular concept of an outhouse or even the feudal concept of an outhouse in a manorial compound should be introduced in finding a meaning of the same expression used in a totally different context like a modern statute such as the Wealth Tax Act of 1957, is a matter of some thought and consideration.

17. Mr. Pal for the Revenue has relied on certain English authorities and some dictionary meaning of the word 'out-house'. The Oxford Concise Dictionary, 5th Edition, gives the meaning of 'out-house' as 'house or building or shed belonging to and near or built against the main house.' The dictionary meaning suggests that there is a main house and the out-house is with reference to the main house. Stroud's Judicial Dictionary of Words and Phrases, Third Edition, Vol. III, gives the same indication of the meaning of the word 'outhouse.' It quotes the decision of Taunton J, in (1833) 5 C &P; 555 (559), corresponding to 172 ER 1096, where the learned Judge at page 1098 expressed the view: 'I apprehend that it has been settled from ancient times that an out-house must be that whichbelongs to a dwelling house, and in some respects parcel of such dwelling house. That decision means that there cannot be an out-house unless there is a 'dwelling house.' Burrows' Words and Phrases, Vol. IV, 1944 Edition, quotes inter alia the observations of Baron Alderson in R. v. Hammond, (1884) 3 LT (OS) 342 at p. 342 saying, 'an out-house means something annexed to an in-house'.

18. This line of thought does not appear to me very appropriate in construing the meaning of the word 'out-house' as used in the context of the Wealth Tax Act, 1957 which I shall presently quote. Before I do so I would only indicate that the observation of Taunton J., was made in connection with the interpretation of the word 'out-house' in a criminal case for arson and that under a specially old British Parliamentary Statute of 1833 and not in the context of a taxing statute. Similarly the observation of Baron Alderson was made in connection with a criminal case under Malicious Damage Act, 1861. In this trend of thought words or similar words used in the Bengal Tenancy Act do not also appear to me very appropriate in this context of interpreting the meaning of the word 'outhouse' or the word 'cultivator' in Section 2(e)(ii) of the Wealth Tax Act to which also I shall make a reference later on in the judgment.

19. It is well-settled principle of interpretation of statutes that the interpretation given to the word used in one statute should not be applied to interpreting that word or a similar word used in a different statute with a different purpose and a different context. Words like ideas have a certain association which is provided by the context, the object and the purpose of the statute in which it is used. One of the main and basic objects of the Wealth Tax Act is the 'valuation of assets' and consideration of 'assets'.

20. The language and the text of Section 2(e)(ii) of the Wealth Tax Act, 1957, read as follows :

'Any building owned or occupied by a cultivator or receiver of rent or revenue out of agricultural land; provided that the building is on or the immediate vicinity of the land and is a building which the cultivator or the receiver of rent or revenue by reason of his connection with the land requires as a dwelling house or a store house or an out-house.'

This is a section of the statute or provision providing for exemption of such a building mentioned there. On a plain reading of this provision the three different types of buildings are, 'dwelling house, 'store house,' and 'out-house.' All these three are disjunctively put, namely, dwelling house or a store house or an out-house. Sufficient attention has not been paid in my view to that aspect of the interpretation which raises the question whetherthere can be an out-house independently of dwelling house in this context of the statute. The ancient notion of an 'outhouse' as always an appanage of a dwelling house need not have been expressed in the manner and in this way done in the section. The question is, whether there can be an out-house even where there is no dwelling house. Why can there be no 'out-house' in respect of a business house engaged in cultivation of agricultural lands? Notionally I find it difficult to accept the theory that there can be no outhouse without a dwelling house. In that case the section might very well have said immediately after dwelling house 'including any out-house.' Even regarding an outhouse in its popular connotation or even in its popular sense, and even on the basis that it is with reference to some other house, it is possible that a store house or any other kind of house or a office house to have an out-house. If an out-house was always to be regarded as a part and parcel of, or always with reference to, a dwelling house, then the three different categories of (a) dwelling house (b) store house and (c) an out-house need not have been put expressly and separately and with the word 'or'. There is an Indian decision in the Punjab Province v. Dr. Lakhmi Dass reported in AIR 1944 Lah 149, where Din Mohammad J., came to the conclusion: 'An out-house means a house or building, belonging to and adjoining a dwelling house, and used for some subsidiary purpose, e. g., stable, barn, wash-house, tool-house or the like. It includes servants' quarters as well, inasmuch as separata quarters have to be supplied for every servant like a cook, butler, bearer or khidmatgar employed in a respectable Indian household.' This again is an observation not in connection with the interpretation of the word 'out-house' in a taxing statute like the Wealth Tax Act.

21. My other hesitation relates to the interpretation of the word 'cultivator' in Section 2(e)(ii) of the Wealth Tax Act

22. I shall plainly put my hesitation in this respect. In order to do so I shall quote the following observations from the judgment of B. N. Banerjee J., in the Division Bench decision in : [1968]67ITR823(Cal) putting forward this view:--

'The definition fits in with the description of a human being who is capable of doing manual work and is blessed with a family the members of which co-operate with him in tillage and cultivation. A juristic person, like an incorporated company, does not fit in with the description of a cultivator. It cannot conceivably cultivate either by itself or lay members of its family. It may only cause cultivation by labourers and staff employed by itself. Thus, a natural born person can only qualify as a cultivator and not an artificial person. An incorporated company may runthe industry of agriculture or of cultivation by legal fiction. But just as by carrying on a business, a commercial company does not become a businessman, so also a company does not become a cultivator merely because its business consists of agriculture. We are inclined to hold that the assessee does not fulfil the condition set out above and is not a cultivator. But in the circumstances of this case we do not propose to base our decision on that aspect of the matter because there is another aspect of the matter which negatives the claim of the assessee in a more forceful manner.'

Left to myself I find it difficult to accept this view. I find it difficult to accept that a cultivator must always be a human being and not a company. If the word 'his' in Section 2(e)(ii) of the Wealth Tex Act is meant to indicate the gender, then I would say that the legal gender does not follow necessarily the biological gender. It is well known in Interpretation Acts, General Clauses Act and as a principle of construction that the masculine includes the feminine and vice versa. Surely, the word 'his' would not confine the 'cultivator' under Section 2(e)(ii) of the Act only to a male cultivator to exclude a female cultivator. In such circumstances, pronouns such as this, even if they be in a masculine form, would include a feminine and necessarily a neuter like an artificial person or company.

23. There is more cogent reason to include a company in the interpretation of the word 'cultivator' in that section of the Act. That reason is that a company or an incorporated company is an assessee and its assets are liable to be taxed under the Wealth-tax Act. But this kind of an interpretation confining 'cultivator' to a human cultivator and excluding a non-human cultivator, like an artificial person such as a company would be to retain its liability to the tax and deprive it of the claim to get the exemption. Normally, no construction should be put on a taxing statute which will deprive a legally liable assessee to make a claim for exemption. Liability to tax and exemption should be co-related as far as possible, unless there is any specific provision in the statute, expressly or by necessary implication to justify their separation. It is a kind of deprivation which the Court should be slow to adopt by a process of construction and interpretation,

24. Section 3 of the Wealth-tax Act, which is the charging section in the statute, uses the word 'company' expressly as a possible unit of taxation. Section 2(c) itself, clause (e) (ii) of which is under consideration, expressly defines an assessee to mean a person by whom inter alia the Wealth-tax is payable under the Act. A person includes a company or any Corporation under Section 3(39) of the General Clauses Act. Then again the principle underlying this Wealth-tax Act is to be read in the light of the basis of exemption. The principal basis of exemption is that the agricultural land is exempted by the definition of assets under Section 2(e)(i) and (ii). If the interpretation quoted above were to be accepted, the position then will be that while the agricultural land owned by the company is exempted, its dwelling house is not, on the view that a company cannot have a dwelling house in the sense that a human being can. I shall not travel into the modern development in the leading cases of recent times, specially in the area of conflict of law where the theory is fast growing that the company can also dwell as much as a human being does and various tests have been laid down in some leading authorities where a company is supposed to dwell. It is enough to say that the word 'cultivator' used in the proviso of Section 2(e)(ii) of the Wealth-tax Act and the word 'his' there should not be construed in the feudal context, in which this word 'cultivator' originally came to be used in law, but in the modem context where many companies, corporations and co-operative societies are formed and specially in India with co-operative societies, which are also body corporate in many instances, whose main objects often are to cultivate lands. The Wealth-tax Act is a modem statute of 1957. It follows some of the essential modern notions on the subject, not only in India but elsewhere in, the world. The interpretation, therefore, must be made in that context. In that view, to confine 'cultivator' to a human being would be, in my mind, to put the clock back. Left to myself, I would hold that a cultivator would include an incorporated company whose business is agricultural cultivation. The observations quoted above, being those of a Division Bench, would have compelled us normally to refer this question to a Full Bench for a decision. But, fortunately, the learned Judge making those observations expressly said that we do not propose to base our decision on that aspect of the matter.' Therefore, those observations were obiter. They do not form part of the ratio decidendi of that case to be binding on this Division Bench.

25. It is needless to point that the word 'cultivator' has not been defined in the Wealth-tax Act. An appropriate meaning should therefore be given to the word 'cultivator' in the whole context of the Act. I am not unmindful of the consideration that in the Indian context what is normally or popularly known as cultivator. But this context has to be read in the further context of the statute which expressly includes companies or corporations as units of assessment and the Wealth-tax is being imposed on certain assets and where expressly certain other assets are excluded. I do not think it is possible in such a context to exclude modern ideas. I am, therefore, unable at present to associate myselfwith the view that the word 'cultivator' under Section 2(e)(ii) of the Wealth Tax Act is invariably associated with a natural person and that an artificial person like a corporation or a company, though liable to wealth tax on its assets, cannot claim exemption on the ground that it is not a human cultivator. These observations, to my mind, are essential in the present Reference before us because if they were a part of the ratio of that case or were binding, then the further question whether it is an 'outhouse' or not would never arise. In my opinion, under Section 2(e)(ii) of the Wealth Tax Act, the question of 'outhouse' and its meaning are integrally and inseparably connected with 'agricultural land'. For it is not enough to hold that it is an outhouse in this case, if it is not also in respect of a cultivator in relation to agricultural land within the meaning of Section 2(e)(ii) of the Act, because in that case it will not be qualified for exemption, thereunder.

26. As pointed out by my learned Brother, in this case, however the answer given by my Lord can be justified on the simple ground that this case was never made by the assessee that the present buildings were 'outhouses'. It is a new case made in the argument before us. An outhouse is primarily a question of fact and those facts are not before us nor have been found or investigated. Secondly, this very house, which failed in its claim as a dwelling-house, is now turned in argument to be an outhouse, a course which I do not think is permissible in the facts and circumstances of this case. On that short point, I agree with the answer as given.

27. In conclusion, I need only say this upon the point that in construing the word 'dwelling-house' or 'outhouse' or 'cultivator' under Section 2(e)(ii) of the Wealth Tax Act, ordinary dictionary meaning cannot be decisive. Interpretation of Statutes and words used therein is not only lexicographic. There are, however, three major conditions laid down in the statute which must, of course, be satisfied under Section 2(e)(ii). The first is that the building must be on or in the immediate vicinity of the agricultural land, which I call the condition of vicinage. The second condition is that 'reason of his connection with the land', which I call the condition of connection. The third is that it must be required as such on those conditions and which I call the condition of requirement. Provided those conditions are satisfied, the question will depend thereafter on the facts of each case.

28. On the fourth question relating to electrical machinery, batteries, transmission lines, grinding machinery, etc., and motorcars and lorries and how far they can be treated as 'tools and implements , I agree with what has been said already on this point by my learned Brother. The learnedcounsel for the assessee has not pressed motor-cars and lorries to be a part of the tools and implements under Section 5(1)(ix) of the Wealth Tax Act. His argument was confined mainly to the rest of the items concerning electrical machinery, batteries, transmission lines, grinding machinery, etc. The relevant decision on this point is in : [1968]69ITR260(Cal) .

29. The language of Section 5(1)(ix) of the Wealth Tax Act exempts 'the tools and implements used by the assessee for the raising of agricultural produce'. In order to be tools and implements qualifying for such exemption, the two express conditions are that they must be used by the assessee, in the first place, and, secondly, for raising of agricultural produce. There is an explanation to this provision in the statute which provides: 'For the purposes of this clause, tools and implements do not include any plant or machinery used in any tea or other plantation in connection with the proceeding of any agricultural produce or in the manufacture of any articles from such produce'. That means that on the terms mentioned therein, plant or machinery or the type mentioned is excluded from tools and implements'. Now, these conditions, to my mind, are questions of fact.

30. It may not be inappropriate to refer to another view which is creeping into some of the judgments, almost unnoticed on this point. The question has arisen whether the use mentioned in Section 5(1)(ix) of the Wealth Tax Act has to be exclusively for agricultural purposes. The statutory provision there does not use the word 'exclusive' or 'partial'. In the case of : [1968]67ITR823(Cal) , an argument was raised that because of the user of the implements for both agricultural and non-agricultural operations, that part of the value of the implement used for agricultural purpose should be excluded from computation of the wealth of the assessee. The Court rejected that argument and observed at pp. 836-837 (of ITS) (at p. 304 of AIR) as follows:

'Tools and implements, which may include modern scientific and mechanised implements like transformers or switchgear, may qualify for exemption if used for raising agricultural produce. But implements which are collaterally or partly used to energise agricultural tools or implements will not so qualify.'

Without further consideration I am not to be understood as associating myself with this observation. My doubt remains that if a motor tractor or motorized agricultural tractor is to be operated by a battery which is energizing the agricultural tool or implement, how can that battery be excluded from exemption on the ground that such an implement (sic) 'collaterally or partly used to energise agricultural tool' within the meaning of the observation just quoted? Nor am I prepared to hold in an unqualified manner that motor cars and lorries cannot be said to be used for raising agricultural produce even if they carry manures, seeds and other fertilizers to the land to produce the agricultural crop.

31. With these observations and reservations, I agree with the order proposed and answers given by my learned Brother. Reference answered accordingly.


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