Decided on October 31,2011

Saitronik Electric Equipments Appellant


K. Ashok Babu, Chairman - (1.) THE short point that arises for consideration in this appeal is whether 'Stick Type Master Controller' used in Electric Engines could be classified as an essential part of Rail Coaches, Engines or Wagons and parts thereof, covered by Sl. No. 51 of IV Schedule to the APVAT Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act), as contended by the appellant, or is it exigible to tax @ 14.5% as an accessory under V Schedule to the Act, as clarified by the Authority for Clarification & Advance Ruling? Relying on decisions reported in Vithal Chhagan & Sons Vs. State of Gujarat (1966) 17 STC 96), The State of A.P. Vs. M/s. A.R.K. Industries, Hyderabad : (1988) 7 APSTJ 75) & Mehra Bros. Vs. Joint Commercial Tax Officer : (S.C.) (1991) 80 STC 233), the ld. Counsel for the appellant has contended that 'Stick Type Master Controller' manufactured by the appellant used on 25 KV, 50 Hz, single -phase electric locomotive of Indian Railways, is a part of the locomotive which is not covered by residuary Schedule V of the Act as clarified by the ld. Authority for Clarification & Advance Ruling as it squarely falls within the ambit of Serial No. 51 of IV Schedule to the Act.
(2.) THE only reason given by the ld. Authority in the impugned order clarifying that 'Stick Type Master Controller's used in Electric Engines are taxable @ 14.5% under V Schedule to the Act is that since the Controller obviously increases the efficiency of the functioning of the locomotive, it can only be called an 'accessory' but not an essential part of the locomotive and that in -as -much -as Serial No. 51 takes into its ambit only parts of the Railway Engines but not accessories, the 'Stick Type Master Controller' will not fall under Serial No. 51 of IV Schedule to the Act. As held by the Apex Court in Mehra Bros. Vs. Joint Commercial Tax Officer : (1991) 80 STC 233), whether the articles in question contribute to convenience or effectiveness in the use of the car as a whole, is not the correct test to determine whether the articles are "accessories" of motor vehicles. The correct test is whether the article or articles in question would be an adjunct or an accompaniment or an addition for the convenient use of another part of the motor vehicle, or add to the beauty, elegance or comfort for the use of the motor vehicle or supplementary or secondary to something of main or primary importance. Whether an article or part is an "accessory" cannot be decided with reference only to its necessity to the effective use of the motor vehicle as a whole. General adaptability may be relevant but is not by itself conclusive. Thus the Apex Court has held that car seat covers or upholstery are accessories as an addition; an adjunct; an accompaniment for comfortable use of the motor vehicles or for adding elegance to the seat and they are exigible to sales tax @ 13% under Item 3 of Schedule I read with Sec. 3(3) of the TNGST Act.
(3.) IN the instant case, as is reflected by three colour prints of 'Stick Type Master Controller', they cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be classified as an 'accessory' in view of the decision of the Apex Court cited supra. On the other hand, as is clear from the technical specification of 'Stick Type Master Controller for 25 KV AC Electric Locomotive issued by the Research, Designs & Standards Organisation, Lucknow, under the control of the Government of India, Ministry of Railways (Railway Board), in December, 2005, 'Stick Type Master Controller (STMC)' shall be based on Modular Concept for Micro Processor and Non -Microprocessor 25 KV AC Electric Locomotives, as it has added advantages over the earlier system, such as, substantially lesser in weight (Approx 20 Kg) in comparison to conventional 'wheel type Controller of 40 Kg' and acquire lesser space approximately (485 mm length x 250 mm width x 160 mm height), making it comfortable for driver to operate Controller in a sitting posture and the operational aspect of "Stick Type Controller' should be similar to conventional wheel type controller.;

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