(1.)These appeals under Art. 136 arise against separate judgments dated October 15, 1974 and March 3 1, 1975 in Writ Petition Nos. 2106 of 1973 and 716 of 1974 respectively by a Division Bench of the madras High Court. dismissing the writ petitions. The appellant is a registered dealer under Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act 1 of 1959 (for short 'the Act). The appeals relate to the assessment years 1971-72 and 1972 -73. The appellant has been carrying on business in the manufacture and sale of Auto seat covers, upholstery materials etc.,in leather, plastics cloth and other materials. For the year 1971-72 his total turnover was Rs. 3,67,898.21 and the taxable turnover was Rs. 2,61,812.74. Similarly for the year 1972-73 his total turnover was Rs. 2,92,588.74 and taxable turnover at Rs. 1,31,650.05. He claimed car seat covers manufactured and supplied by him to the customers to be chargeable to sales tax at 31/2 per cent. The assessing autohrities levied sales tax under S. 3(3) read with Item 3 of Schedule Ist of the Act at 13 percent and taxed accordingly. This was upheld on appeal; by the Asstt. Commissioner; on a further revision by the Appellate Tribunal and also by the High Court in the writ petitions. Assailing the legality thereof these appeals have been filed. Item 3 of Schedule Ist reads thus:
"Motor Vehicles, Motor Cars, Motor Taxi Cars.......... all articles (excluding batteries) adapted to use generally as parts and accessories of motor vehicles."
The contention of the appellant ably argued by Shri R. P. Bhat, its learned counsel, is that car seat covers and upholstery cannot be considered to be accessories to automobiles. The levy of the tax at 13 per cent at single point rate is, therefore, illegal. According to the learned counsel it is not each and every accessory that falls under entry 3 as it stood in the Schedule I st of the Act is taxable at 13%. Such of those accessories which would be convenient for use in the motor vehicle as a whole for an effective use of the vehicle and not as a part of such vehicle are exigible to tax at 13%. In support thereof he placed strong reliance on Supreme Motors v. State of Karnataka (1983) 54 STC 308: 1984 Tax LR 2908; Commissioner, Sales Tax, U. P. v. Free India Cycle Industries (1 970) 26 STC 428 and Shadi Cycle Industries v. Commissioner of Sales Tax, U. P. (1971) 27 STC 56; Shri Krishnamurthy, learned counsel appearing for the respondent contended that the accessories for motor vehicle must be those that aid or an addition for convenience or use of the motor vehicle and they may also be supplementar or secondary to any one or all the parts of the motor car even without effectiveness to the use of the entire motor vehicle. He also cited in support of his contention Khetty Traders v. State of Madras (1973) 32 STC 346; State of Madras O E.A.N. Meerakasim Carnatic Seat Company (1973) 32 STC 463; S. M. Brothers v. Deputy Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, Hyderabad Division I, Hyderabad and others (1 977) 39 STC 182 and The Commissioner of Sales Tax v. Javesh (India) Agencies (1984) 57 STC 128.
(2.)The question,therefore,is whether car seat covers are articles adapted generally as parts and accessories of the motor vehicle. In Webster Comprehensive Dictionary International Vol. 1 the word 'accessory' has been defined as a thing that aids subordinately; an adjunct; appurtenance; accompaniment such items of apparel as complete an outfit, (2) aiding the principle design, or assisting subordinately the chief agent and (3) Contributory; supplemental; additional. This definition was approved by this Court in Annpurna Carbon Industries Company v. State of Andhra Pradesh (1976) 37 STC 378 at 381; AIR 1976 SC 1418; at p. 1421 of AIR; while examining the question whether "arc carbon" is an'accessory'to cinema projectors or other cinematographic equipment under item 4 of Ist Schedule to Andhra Pradesh General Sales Tax Act, 1957 and laid the rule thus:
We find that the accessories used in the Schedule to describe goods which may have been manufactured for use as an aid or addition. A sense in which the word accessory is used is given in Webster New International Dictionary as an object or device that is not essential in itself but that adds to the beauty, convenience or effectiveness of something else. Other meanings given there are: supplementary or secondary to some thing or greater or primary importance. Any of several mechanical devices that assist in operating or controlling the tone resources of an order. The accessories are not necessarily confined to a particular machine for which they may 'serve as aids. The same item may be accessory of more than one kind of instrument. Thus this Court accepted the' meaning of the accessories as an object or device that is not essential in itself but that adds to the beauty or convenience or effectiveness of something else or is supplementary or secondary to something of greater or primary importance which assist in operating or controlling or may serve as aid are accessories. The 'arc carbon' was held to be an accessory.
(3.)In Black's Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition at p. 13 'accessory' has been defined as anything which is joined to another thing as an ornament, or to render it more perfect, or which accompanies it, or is connected with it .as an incident, or as subordinate to it, or which belongs to or with it, adjunct or accompaniment, A thing of subordinate importance. Aiding or contributing in secondary way of assisting in or contributing to as a subordinate."