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Yasin Bone Mills vs State Of U.P. And Anr.

High Court Of Judicature at Allahabad|25 January, 1980


JUDGMENT R.R. Rastogi, J.
1. These two revisions, filed by the assessee, may conveniently be disposed of together. They relate to the assessments for 1973-74 and 1974-75 under the Central Sales Tax Act. The assessee carries on business in manufacture and sale of crushed bones. The accounted version was accepted by the assessing authority. The assessee's claim was that crushed bones come in the category of fertilisers, the turnover of which is exempt from sales tax, and so no tax could be imposed on the assessee. This contention was not accepted by the assessing officer nor by the appellate and the revising authorities.
2. The question that thus falls for consideration is as to whether crushed bones come within the category of fertilisers. It may be noted that the crushed bones which the assessee manufactures and sells range in size between |" to f". In other words, as I would have occasion to show later, the assessee does not deal in bone-meal but deals in crushed bones.
3. Entry No. 11 of the First Schedule under Section 3-A of the U. P. Sales Tax Act makes sales of bones if sold to consumer liable to tax. So far as fertilisers are concerned they are exempt from tax, the first notification being ST-3470/X dated 16th July, 1956. That was a notification issued under Section 4 of the Act and fertilisers, other than chemical fertilisers, were exempted from payment of sales tax. By a subsequent Notification No. ST-1805/X-900(71)/69 dated 10th March, 1970, with effect from 1st March, 1970, the sale of chemical fertilisers was also exempt from payment of tax under the Act.
4. According to the learned counsel for the assessee, the term "fertiliser" is of a wide import and it may be taken to include every commodity which is sold as fertiliser and that all along it has been the assessee's case that he has been making sales of crushed bones for the purpose of fertilisers. On the other hand, Sri V. D. Singh, the learned counsel for the department, has submitted before me that there is a basic difference between bone-meal and crushed bones and that crushed bones are not fertilisers but they are only bones, the sales of which are liable to be taxed under entry No. 11 of the First Schedule aforesaid. He has placed reliance on a Full Bench decision of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in the case of Ratlam Bone and Fertilizer Co. v. State of Madhya Pradesh [1975] 35 S.T.C. 132 (F.B.). Entry No. 9 of Schedule II to the Madhya Pradesh General Sales Tax Act, 1958, makes "bones of animals including powdered bones, horns and hoofs" taxable at two per cent. Section 13 of that Act makes provision for recovery of licence fee in lieu of sales tax from the dealer who carries on business in any of the goods specified in Schedule III and whose yearly turnover does not exceed ordinarily Rs. 50,000. Entry No. 2 of that schedule provides "bones of animals including powdered bones, horns and hoofs". Section 10 of that Act refers to tax-free goods and entry No. 22 of Schedule I provided under that section exempts "fertiliser other than oilcakes" from sales tax. It was in the context of this apparent conflict between entry No. 22 of Schedule I and entries Nos. 9 and 2 of Schedules II and III respectively that a question arose before the Full Bench as to whether powdered bones can be considered to be fertiliser. The view taken in that case was that the word "fertiliser" is more general than the expression "powdered bones". Within the word "fertiliser" come all types of manures, natural and artificial, and standing alone the word is wide enough to include powdered bones. But as powdered bones have been separately mentioned in entry No. 9 of Schedule II and entry No. 2 of Schedule III of the Madhya Pradesh General Sales Tax Act, showing a clear intention that their sales are liable to tax, the word "fertiliser" in entry No. 22 in Schedule I must be construed to mean manures other than powdered bones. The rule of harmonious construction was applied to resolve the aforesaid apparent conflict between these provisions of the same Act.
5. Reference was made in that case to the report issued by the Directorate of Marketing and Inspection, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Government of India. According to that report, four products are obtained from bones and they are : (1) Bone sinews, (2) Crushed bones, (3) Bone grists, and (4) Bone-meal. For the purposes of the present revisions, reference to crushed bones and bone-meal alone would be relevant. According to the aforesaid report, the characteristics of these products are as follows :
Crushed bones : These are small pieces of bones less than 2 inches in length but not smaller than 3/16th inch. Crushed bones are mainly exported and find a ready market abroad for use as raw material in the manufacture of glue and gelatine. These industries are not developed to any appreciable extent in India. According to the trade there are no factories in India that produce bone glue of proper quality. In India generally glue is manufactured on cottage industry scale from hide fleshings and trimmings and bone sinews.
Bone-meal: This is obtained as a powder on crushing of bones and can pass through 3/32 inch mesh. There are some mills particularly those situated in South India that crush all bones into bone-meal by re-crushing the crushed bones and grists. Bone-meal finds use only to the country as export of it is totally banned. It is used as a fertiliser .both by itself and also in fertiliser mixtures.
6. In Standard Cyclopedia of Modern Agriculture, Volume II (page 185), a distinction has been drawn between bone-meals and bone-dusts, and bone-dusts are described as coarse particles which are too slow in action to be really of much value as manure. On the basis of this information, the view taken in Ratlant Bone and Fertilizer Co. [1975] 35 S.T.C. 132 (F.B.) was that all powdered bones properly so called can be described as bone-meal and used as fertiliser and further that all crushed bones of size less than 3/32 inches fall under the description of bone-meal.
7. As noted above, in the instant case, the assessee is dealing in crushed bones and not bone-meal. The distintion between the two commodities is quite clear on the basis of the information contained in the report of the Directorate of Marketing and Inspection, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Government of India, and the Standard Cyclopedia of Modern Agriculture, referred to above. It is not possible, therefore, to hold that crushed bones are fertilisers. Apart from this, the assessee himself does not appear to have been making sales of crushed bones as fertilisers. This commodity is not sold by the assessee in the country and the turnover of the years under consideration goes to show that almost the whole of it was in the form of exports to foreign countries. As noted above, crushed bones are meant for use as raw material in the manufacture of glue and gelatine, the industries which have not developed to any appreciable extent in India and, hence, this commodity has to be exported to countries outside India.
8. On behalf of the assessee, reliance was however placed on the opinion of some expert to establish that crushed bones are fertilisers. These are annex-ures II to IV to this revision application. According to Sri Swaraj Prakash, State Level Leather Officer, Punjab Khadi and Village Industries Board, Chandigarh, raw bone is as good a fertiliser as bone-meal and there is no difference in the properties of raw bones and crushed bones. Sri K.V. Raman, Head of the Department of Soil Science College of Agriculture, U.P. Agricultural University, Pantnagar, has however not gone so far and has confined himself to bone-meal while Sri Zaidi, Director of Regional Rice Research Station, Kapurthala, opines that cattle bones form good fertiliser and by crushing no change takes place in their chemical composition.
9. In my opinion, the information contained in the report of the Directorate of Marketing and Inspection, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Government of India, and Standard Cyclopedia of Modern Agriculture is more creditworthy and bone-meal and not crushed bones can be treated as fertilisers.
10. It has been also submitted before me that this term may be taken in the sense in which it is used in common parlance. It is now settled law that in finding out the true meaning of entries mentioned in a Sales Tax Act what is relevant is not the dictionary meaning but how those entries are understood in common parlance, specially in commercial circle, vide Ganesh Trading Company v. State of Haryana A.I.R. 1974 S.C. 1362. Thus, the words used by the legislature must be given their popular sense meaning, "that sense which people conversant with the subject-matter with which the statute is dealing would attribute to it" : see Deputy Commissioner of Sales Tax v. Pai & Co. [1980] 45 S.T.C. 58 (S.C.) Also see Goyal Industries (P.) Ltd. v. Commissioner of Sales Tax 1971 U.P.T.C. 697. The fact, however, remains that no evidence has been given by the assessee to show how these entries, that is, of bones and fertilisers, are understood in common parlance. Further, it may not be necessary to deal with this aspect because, as noted above, the assessee has been exporting these commodities to foreign countries and that the use to which this commodity can be put is as raw material for manufacture of glue and gelatine. In my opinion, therefore, crushed bones cannot be treated as fertilisers but they are to be treated as bones described in entry No. 11 of the First Schedule to the Act.
11. The revisions are hence dismissed. The Commissioner of Sales Tax is entitled to costs, which are assessed at Rs. 200, but of one set only.
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Yasin Bone Mills vs State Of U.P. And Anr.


High Court Of Judicature at Allahabad

25 January, 1980
  • R Rastogi