S R AND COMPANY Vs. STATE OF TAMIL NADU
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
S. R. AND COMPANY
STATE OF TAMIL NADU
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P. Govindan Nair, C.J. -
(1.) THE question arising in this appeal from an order of the Board of Revenue under S. 37 of the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act is whether the three publications styled as "Indian Overseas Bank Review", "Ninth Annual Number 1967-68 published by the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and the Souvenir in relation to the 14th Annual Sports Meet, 1968 of the T.I. Cycles Sports and Recreation Club, Ambattur, will fall under item 22 of the Schedule to the notification issued under S. 17 of the said Act to be effective from the 1st day of April, 1958. THE Appellate Assistant Commissioner held that the books are covered by item 22 of the schedule. THE Board of Revenue in suo motu revision set aside the decision of the Appellate Asst. Commissioner and held that the books will not fall within that item.
(2.) IT is unnecessary to refer to S. 17 which grants the power to the Government to exempt any class of goods from tax, either wholly or partly for nothing turns on the wording of that section. The preamble to the notification is also unimportant because it does not use any expression therein which can throw light on the meaning to be given to the words appearing in item 22 of the schedule. We shall, therefore, extract only item 22 of the schedule to the notification. "(22) Sales of reading books including text books by any dealer"
The expression used in the various notifications in this regard have not been uniformly worded and the decisions turning on the words used in a particular notification also ranges from a liberality of attitude as seen from the pronouncement of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in the decision in Govindaswamy Binding Works vs. State of A.P. to a very narrow view that has been expressed by the Kerala High Court in the decision in Swaraj Printers vs. State of Kerala. The Andhra Pradesh High Court had to consider the words" * all books and periodicals occurring a notification and the question was whether account books note books would fall under that expression. The Andhra Pradesh High Court held that the expression "book" itself is comprehensive enough to take in all kinds of books and the word "all" will make it abundantly manifest and plain that the notification was issued to cover all cases of sales of books of literally material or other kinds of reading material.
(3.) WE will now turn to the decision of the Kerala High Court in Swaraj Printers vs. State of Kerala, wherein it was considered whether the catalogue of sale by auction of products like tea dust, annual report of Indian Chamber of Commerce and annual statements of accounts and a publication called "Tea Review" would fall within the ambit of the expression
"books meant for reading and reference" occurring in the notification under S. 10 of the Kerala General Sales Tax Act and it was held that the publications to will not fall within that expression. The view was expressed that the expression "books meant for reading or reference" used in the notification must be meant for reference for the public for education, knowledge, enlightment or recreation. WE are not called upon to decide about the correctness of this decision though, with great respect we are inclined to think that a very narrow view had been taken by the Kerala High Court in construing the words "books for reading and reference" in the particular notification. There is a decision of this Court in State of Madras vs. M. P. Rajan and Company, dealing with the particular words and the particular notification with which we are concerned. It was held therein that copying books will not fall within the expression 'reading books including text-books"
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