(1.)THIS is a revision application against the order of the Deputy Commissioner, Commercial Taxes (Appeals) in which he held that 'roll Registers' being covered by the definition of 'books' are not taxable.
(2.)THE short question for decision before us is whether Roll registers are 'books' within the meaning of sec. 4 of the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act and therefore exempt from taxation under the Act. Sec. 4 of the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act read with the Schedule attached to the Act contains a list of goods exempted from the payment of sales tax. S. N. 10 of the Schedule mentions the following goods which are so exempted : "books, exercise books, Slates, slate pencils and periodical journals. "
It has been contended on behalf of petitioners that Roll registers are not 'books' and are, therefore, not exempt from the payment of sales tax. In this connection reliance has been placed on 1963 S. T. C. 299 in which the Allahabad High Court held that 'diaries' are not 'books'. The learned counsel for the respondents has laid great emphasis on the dictionary meaning of the word "books" and has referred to page 147 of the Law Lexicon published by the Madras Law Journal, 1940 Edition and to the Standard Dictionary of Funk and Wagmalls. These authorities define book as any collection of sheets of paper, blank or written or printed, which are strung or bound together. Our attention has also been drawn to 23 Indian Cases 893 and 1940 A. I. R. Patna 613.
We have considered the arguments advanced by the learned counsel on both sides and have also perused the record. The dictionary meaning of the word "books" does not help us in coming to a decision in this case in view of the observations made by their Lordships in 1963 S. T. C. 299. The facts of the two other authorities cited by the learned counsel for the respondents are different and do not guide us. In 23 Indian Cases 893, the Nagpur Judicial Commissioner was dealing with the evidentiary value of an entry in the books of accounts regularly kept in the course of business. Similarly in 19490 AIR Patna 613, the Patna High Court was considering the scope of the word 'book' under the Press and Registration of Books Act.
The authority cited by the learned counsel for the petitioners in 1963 S. T. G. 299 is more applicable to the facts of this case. Their Lordships of the Allahabad High Court were considering whether 'diary' is covered by the definition of the word 'book' under the U. P. Sale Tax Act under which 'books' were exempted from sales tax. After examining the definition of the word 'book' as given in standard dictionaries, their Lordships observed as under - "it will be noticed that the word 'book' has got several meanings; in its wider sense, it means writing and a collection of sheets of paper, blank, written or printed strung or bound together and a diary would come within this meaning. In the restricted sanse it means that which may be read and find instructions or lessons, a literary composition. A diary would not come within this restricted meaning, because primarily it is meant to be written on and not to be read. That there is some writing printed on it which is intended to be, and can be, read does not make it a book because it is not primarily intended to be read like a book. The diaries in question are primarily meant for keeping a daily record and have spaces with printed dates for daily memoranda and jottings. "
Their Lordships, further, observed that it seems that the word 'book' in sec. 4 is used not in the wider sense but in the restricted or popular sense. Popularly a book is what one can read for education, knowledge, enlightenment or recreation, what one would find in a literary or in a book-seller's shop. In this sense, the word does not cover diaries. Their Lordships went on to observe that the Legislature evidently intended to exempt articles of universal necessity and daily use like milk, water, food, salt etc. and when it included books among them it must have meant books of such universal necessity and daily use as books required for education, knowledge, enlightenment or recreation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ".
It was, further, observed by the Allahabad High Court that "where the meaning of a particular word is doubtful or obscure, being capable of wide import, the intention should be ascertained by looking at adjoining words. The words take their colour from each other and the more general is restricted to a sense analogous to the less general. "
Although these observations were made while distinguishing a diary from a book, these are equally applicable in the present case, to distinguish a Roll Register from a book. As in the case of the U. P. Sales Tax Act so also in the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act goods which are of common use like cereals, pulses, fresh milk, salt, charcoal, firewood, water etc. are exempt from the payment of sales tax. It is in this context that we have to interpret the meaning of the word 'books' used under S. N. 10 of the Schedule. Following the Allahabad High Court, we, therefore, hold that Roll registers are not books. We have to interpret the word 'books' in its restricted or popular sense, and not in its wider sense. In this sense, the word does not cover Roll Registers.
The intention of the Legislature seems to be to exempt articles of universal necessity and daily use, and when it included books among them it must have meant books of common or universal use and not 'roll Registers which are of restricted utility and are needed by the University for maintaining certain record of examinees. Accordingly, Roll Registers are not exempt from the payment of sales tax. We, therefore, accept the revision and quash the order of the learned Dy. Commercial Taxes (Appeals ). .