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Delta Engineering Co. Private ... vs Commissioner Of Sales Tax

High Court Of Judicature at Allahabad|18 April, 1963


1. The Judge (Revisions) has submitted to this Court a statement of case and has formulated the following question :-
Whether centrifugal water pumps used for pumping water from tube well are exempt from tax on the ground that they are 'agricultural implements' within the meaning of item No. 18 of Notification No. S.T. 119/X-928 of the U.P. Government issued under Section 4 of the U.P. Sales Tax Act ?
2. The assessee, at whose instance the question has been referred is a dealer in centrifugal water pumps and other iron goods. The question is whether the turnover of sale of water pumps is exempt from sales tax under Notification No. S.T.119/X-928-1948, dated 7th June 1948, item No. 18, "agricultural implements" The assessee contended that since centrifugal water pumps may be used for drawing water from wells for purposes of irrigation they are agricultural implements within the meaning of the notification. The notification does not define "agricultural implements". "Implements" means, according to Murray's dictionary, "the apparatus, or set of utensils, instruments, etc. employed in any trade or in executing any piece of work." Accordingly "agricultural implements" means the apparatus or instruments employed in agriculture. Merely because water pumped out from wells by means of the water pumps can be used for irrigation, it cannot be said that they are instruments employed in agriculture. In Bharat Engineering and Foundry Works v. The U.P. Government [1963] 14 S.T.C. 262, we dealt with the meanings of "agriculture" and "agricultural implement" and stated that any implement that is used in an agricultural process is an agricultural implement. Pumping water from a well is not by itself an agricultural process. We concede that irrigating agricultural land is an agricultural process or operation, but merely because water pumped out from a well by means of a water pump may be used for irrigation it cannot be said that pumping out water by means of a pump is itself an agricultural operation or process. Actually agricultural process or operation will start after water has been pumped out and stored ; it will start when it is taken out from the storage tank towards the land to be irrigated. The case of a persian wheel may be different because there it may be used direct, i.e., without being stored or collected for irrigating land. A persian wheel may be worked out at one end and without anything being done a field may be irrigated at the other end; the working of the persian wheel directly and automatically results in the irrigation. But the position with a centrifugal water pump is different. It is not used like a persian wheel directly for irrigating land ; it is used solely for lifting water out from a well. Water pumped out may be used for any purpose and not exclusively or even predominantly for irrigation. In the case of Bharat Engineerins and Foundry Works1, this Court held that a cane crusher is not an agricultural implement within the meaning of the notification because it is used in preparation of gur after an agricultural process has come to an end. Similarly in the instant case a centrifugal water pump cannot be said to be an agricultural implement because it is used before an agricultural process stSections. Irrigating agricultural land is an agricultural process but it starts when water is diverted towards the agricultural land to irrigate it. A centrifugal water pump is used before this process commences and is, therefore, not an agricultural implement. A persian wheel itself directs water to the land to be irrigated. It is also used exclusively for irrigation.
3. In Corpus Juris Secundum, Vol. 42, page 404, "implement" is interpreted to mean "an instrument, tool or utensil used by man to accomplish a given work; a thing necessary to any trade, without which the work cannot be performed", and "implements of husbandry" are construed to mean those things necessary for carrying on of the business of farming etc. without which the work cannot be done. It cannot be said that agricultural land cannot be irrigated except with the help of a centrifugal water pump and consequently according to the test laid down in the Corpus Juris also centrifugal water pumps are not agricultural implements.
4. Sri C.S.P. Singh referred us to In re Burma Nand Iron Works [1956] 7 S.T.C. 282, in which a Financial Commissioner held that a persian wheel is an agricultural implement. We have pointed out the distinction between a persian wheel and a centrifugal water pump and the Financial Commissioner was influenced to some extent by the fact that the State Government by a subsequent addition expressly exempted persian wheels from sales tax. From the express exemption the Financial Commissioner inferred that the Government had an intention to include them among agricultural implements exempted under the original Government notification. Another case that was referred to us is Udharam Dalumal v. Rozi Shambe (A.I.R. 1939 Sindh 96), in which an agriculturist's water pumping engine was exempted from attachment under Section 60, proviso 1(b), Civil Procedure Code. Under this provision "implements of husbandry" belonging to an agriculturist judgment-debtor are exempt from sale and attachment. A water pump belonging to an agriculturist and used by him for irrigating his agricultural land may be an agricultural implement within the meaning of the provision but it does not follow that every water pump is such an implement. What was to be interpreted in that case was not "agricultural implement" simpliciter but "agricultural implement belonging to an agriculturist." While interpreting the latter phrase the use to which the water pump was actually put was necessary to be considered and if it was used for irrigation it had to be held to be an agricultural implement. The same cannot be said when a dealer in water pumps sells them without regard to the ultimate purpose for which they are to be used.
5. In the State of Mysore v. Santoomal Kishnomal [1962] 13 S.T.C. 313, a crow-bar was held to be an agricultural implement within the meaning of a similar notification issued by the Mysore State Government but it was not denied in that case that a crow-bar is an agricultural implement. What was contended before, but not accepted by, the High Court of Mysore was that crow-bars, though agricultural implements, were not within the notification because they could be used for other purposes also. All agricultural implements are within the notification ; if an article is an agricultural implement it is within the notification regardless of the actual use to which it might be put and this is all that was decided by the High Court of Mysore. When Hegde and Husain, JJ., observed on page 314 that "the question whether it is predominantly used as such an instrument, to our mind, appears to be an irrelevant question", they only meant that once it was conceded that it was an agricultural implement it was irrelevant to consider whether it was predominantly used for this purpose or not. When it was irrelevant to consider whether an agricultural implement could be used for another purpose or not it was also irrelevant to consider whether it could be predominantly used for another purpose or not. None of the cases relied upon by Sri C.S.P. Singh supports him in his contention that centrifugal water pumps are agricultural implements.
Our answer to the question is "no".
6. We direct that the copies of this judgment shall be sent to the Judge (Revisions), Sales Tax, U.P. and the Commissioner, Sales Tax, U.P., under the signature of the Registrar and seal of the Court as required by Section 11(6) of the U.P. Sales Tax Act.
7. We further direct that the Commissioner, Sales Tax, U.P., shall be entitled to his costs of this reference from the assessee which we assess at Rs. 100. Counsel's fee is assessed at Rs. 100.
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Delta Engineering Co. Private ... vs Commissioner Of Sales Tax


High Court Of Judicature at Allahabad

18 April, 1963
  • M Desai
  • K Asthana