Orissa H.C : Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Tribunal was justified in holding that the assessee is entitled to investment allowance under s. 32A on data processing machine for the asst. yrs. 1981-82 and 1982-83 ?

High Court Of Orissa

CIT vs. Vinay Kumar Sigtia

Section 32A

R.K. Patra & L. Mohapatra, JJ.

Special Jurisdiction Case No. 1 of 1994

12th July, 2001

Counsel Appeared

A. Mohapatra, for the Revenue : A. Agrawala, B. Agrawala, U. Agrawala, S.C. Lal, for the Assessee

JUDGMENT

R.K. PATRA, J. :

The Tribunal, Cuttack Bench, Cuttack, at the instance of the Revenue has under s. 256(1) of the IT Act, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”), referred the following question of law as arising out of the orders dt. 11th April, 1989, and 12th April, 1989, in ITA Nos. 198 (CTK) of 1986 of 199 (CTK) of 1986, respectively :

“Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Tribunal was justified in holding that the assessee is entitled to investment allowance under s. 32A on data processing machine for the asst. yrs. 1981-82 and 1982-83 ?”

The opposite party is a small scale industrial unit as per the certificate granted by the Director of Industries, Orissa. It manufacturers coal briquettes and lime as well as engaged in computer business. For the asst. yrs. 1981-82 and 1982-83 investment allowance claimed by the opposite party under s. 32A of the Act on data processing machine was allowed by the ITO in the assessment order dt. 17th Jan., 1984, and 23rd Jan., 1984, respectively.

The CIT by invoking the power vested in him under s. 263 of the Act, examined the opposite party’s record and held that investment allowance was not admissible on data processing machinery as it did not manufacture any article or thing. He was of the view that the assessments for the years 1981-82 and 1992-83 were erroneous and prejudicial to the Revenue. He accordingly set aside both the assessments and directed the ITO to make fresh assessment in accordance with law subject to the observations made by him in the order. Aggrieved by the orders of the CIT, the opposite party filed appeals before the Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as “the Tribunal”). The appeal filed for the asst. yrs. 1981-82 was allowed in part by order dt. 11th April, 1989. The Tribunal in para 3 of the order held as follows : “Ground No. 2 pertains to the allowance of investment on data processing machine. In this respect it would be sufficient to rely on the judgment of the Bombay High Court in the case of CIT vs. IBM World Trade Corporation (1981) 130 ITR 739 (Bom), wherein the Bombay High Court has held that investment allowance on data processing machine is allowable. Sri Agarwala has also relied on several other decisions as cited by him at p. 1 of the paper book in support of this contention. However, the (?) did not make any investigation regarding computation of investment allowance on data processing machine. He has also placed that on record. We have taken the statement of working of investment allowance on record. We are not required to compute the investment allowance and it is the duty of the ITO. The investment allowance is allowable and computation of the same on data processing machine requires to be made by the ITO. In the result, the assessee succeeds partly. The ITO is directed to make computation of investment allowance after allowing an opportunity of being heard to the assessee.”

The appeal filed by the opposite party for the asst. yr. 1982-83 was also partly allowed by the Tribunal in its order dt. 12th Jan., 1989, for the self-same reason.

The CIT moved the Tribunal to refer the following question to this Court : “Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case and on a correct interpretation of s. 32A(2)(iii) and Item No. 22 of the Eleventh Schedule investment allowance is admissible on date processing machine for the asst. yr. 1981-82 (1982-93) ?” According to him, as per s. 32A(2)(iii) of the Act and Item No. 22 of the Eleventh Schedule investment allowance is not admissible on machinery if installed in office premises for data processing. The Tribunal, on consideration of the matter, however, has posed the question in a different form as indicated at the threshold of this order.

The CIT’s objection to the admissibility of investment allowance on data processing machine is that it does not manufacture any article or thing. It is, therefore, necessary to examine the correctness of his stand with reference to the facts of the case and the question posed by the Tribunal.

Let us, therefore, first look at the statutory provision. Sec. 32A of the Act deals with investment allowance. Sub-s. (1), thereof, whose relevant portion quoted hereunder lays down as follows : “In respect of….machinery.specified in sub-s. (2), which is owned by the assessee and is wholly used for the purposes of the business carried on by him, there shall, in accordance with and subject to the provisions of this section, be allowed a deduction, in respect of the previous year in which…..the machinery……was installed or, if the……..machinery…….is first put to use in the immediately succeeding previous year, then in respect of that previous year, of a sum by way of investment allowance equal to twenty five per cent of the actual cost of the………machinery……to the assessee.” Sec.32A(2) read as follows : “……..machinery……..referred to in sub-s. (1) shall be the following, namely : (b) any new machinery or plaint installed after the 31st day of March, 1976 : (ii) in a small-scale industrial undertaking for the purposes of business of manufacture or production of any article or thing; or….”

The opposite party is a small scale industrial unit. Iin order to get investment allowance, it has to show that the machinery, i.e., the data processing machines, have been installed for the purpose of business of manufacture or production of any article or thing mentioned in s. 32A(2)(b)(ii) of the Act. It has been held by the Bombay High Court in CIT vs. IBM World Trade Corporation (1981) 130 ITR 739 (Bom), that data processing machines are not office appliances and as such are eligible for allowance of development rebate under s. 33(1) of the Act.

We may now proceed to examine the meaning of the word “manufacture” appearing in the aforesaid provision. The expression “manufacture” has not been defined in the Act. It has been held by the Supreme Court in Rajasthan State Electricity Board vs. Associated Stone Industries (2000) 4 Scale 663 : AIR 2000 SC 2382, that in the absence of the definition of the word “manufacture” in a taxing statute, it should be understood in its commercial sense. The definitions of “manufacture” given in other enactments such as the Factories Act, the Industrial Disputes Act or the Excise Act cannot be applied while interpreting the expression “manufacture” in relation to the provisions of the Act. In Union of India vs. Delhi Cloth and General Mills Co. Ltd. AIR 1963 SC 791, the Supreme Court has observed as follows (page 794) : “The word ‘manufacture’ used as a verb is generally understood to mean as ‘bringing into existence a new substance’ and does not mean merely ‘to produce some change in a substance’, however minor in consequence the change may be. This distinction is well brought out in a passage thus quoted in permanent edition of Words and Phrases, Vol. 26, from an American judgment. The passage runs thus : ‘Manufacture’ implies a change, but every change is not manufacture and yet every change of an article is the result of treatment, labour and manipulation. But something more is necessary and there must be transformation; a new and different article must emerge having a distinctive name, character or use.” Para 17 of the same judgment reads thus (page 795) : “These definitions make it clear that to become ‘goods’ an article must be something which can ordinarily come to the market to be bought and sold.”

In Aditya Mills Ltd. vs. Union of India (1989) 73 STC 195 : AIR 1988 SC 2237, it has been held by the Supreme Court that “manufacture” is complete, as soon as by the application of one or more process, the raw material undergoes some change and a new substance or article is brought into existence. The new substance or article must have a distinct name, character or use. The new commodity must be a commercial separate and distinct commodity having its own character and use.

In Narne Tulaman Manufacturers (P) Ltd. vs. Collector of Central Excise (1990) 183 ITR 577 (SC), the Supreme Court observed that manufacture implies a change, but every change is not manufacture and yet every change of an article is the result of treatment, labour and manipulation. But something more is necessary and there must be transformation; a new and different article must emerge having a distinctive name, character or use.

It has also been held by the Supreme Court in CIT vs. Shaan Finance (P) Ltd. (1998) 231 ITR 308 (SC) that an exemption provision in a taxing statute (like s. 32A) is a beneficial one and full effect has to be given to the language used in the said section.

Before the Calcutta High Court in CIT vs. Sew Wallace and Co. Ltd. (1993) 201 ITR 17 (Cal), the question that came up for consideration was whether the business carried on by the assessee in its computer division with the aid of computer system is an industrial undertaking which satisfies the conditions mentioned in s. 32A(2)(b)(iii) of the Act. On consideration of a large number of cases, it held that the assessee was an industrial company engaged in the manufacture or processing of goods. “Data processing” means the converting of raw data to machine- readable from and its subsequent processing by a computer. “Computer” means one that computes; specifically a programmable electronic device that can store, retrieve and process data. Therefore, there cannot be any doubt that raw data cannot be equated with the result derived. It is different in form and substance.

The specific case of the opposite party is that it is a small scale industrial unit and on feeding of data into the data processing machine, balance-sheet, P&L a/c, computations and other statements emerge. In other words, raw data on being fed into the data processing machines, balance-sheets, P&L a/c and other statements are manufactured with distinct name, character or use.

In view of what has been stated above, we have no hesitation to hold that the Tribunal was justified in allowing investment allowance on the opposite party’s data processing machines.

The question in this reference is, therefore, answered in the affirmative and in favour of the assessee.

L. Mohaptra, J. :

I agree.

[Citation : 262 ITR 686]

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