State Agro Industrial Corporation Ltd Vs. Kisan Upbhokta Parishad & Ors
 Insc 1237 (7
K. Mathur & Markandey Katju
APPEAL NO. 7285 OF 2001 MARKANDEY KATJU, J.
This appeal has been filed against the impugned judgment of the Allahabad High
Court dated 22.2.2000 in Writ Petition No.23662 of 1999.
Heard learned counsel for the parties and perused the record.
respondent in this appeal, which is a Union
of cane growers and looks after the interest of sugarcane farmers in Meerut
District, was the petitioner in the writ petition before the Allahabad High
Court. It was alleged in the writ petition that cane growers of the area
require implements and other equipments for agriculture. For this purpose it
purchases Animal Driven Vehicles (hereinafter called ADV carts) in
order to transport the sugarcane from the agriculture fields to the sugar
factories or other places where it is required to be sent. The State Government
from time to time has provided a subsidy on the purchase of ADV carts and other
appears that the State Government issued an order dated 20.11.1996 stating that
all kinds of agricultural implements driven by hand operation or animal power
should be purchased from the U.P. State Agro Industrial Limited. The short
question in the writ petition before the High Court was whether the ADV carts
are agricultural implements. If, they are then in order to get subsidy,
purchases had to be made only from the Corporation and not from other parties.
Cane Commissioner, U.P. issued a letter dated 5.3.1999, copy of which is
Annexure P-2 to this appeal, stating that in pursuance of the aforesaid
Government order dated 20.11.1996 of the U.P. Government, ADV carts can only be
purchased from the U.P. State Agro Industrial Limited. This order dated
5.3.1999 of the Cane Commissioner was challenged in the writ petition on the
ground that it was in conflict with the Government order dated 20.11.1996.
short question in this appeal is whether ADV carts are also agricultural
Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Tenth Edn.
Revised) defines implement as a tool, utensil or other piece of
equipment used for a particular purpose. The same dictionary defines
`tool as a device or implement, typically hand-held, used to carry
out a particular function.
Webster Comprehensive Dictionary (International Edn.) the word
implement has been defined as a thing used in work, especially
in manual work; a utensil; tool. In the same dictionary the word
tool has been defined as a simple mechanism or implement, as a
hammer, saw, spade, or chisel, used chiefly in the direct manual working,
moving, shaping, or transforming of material.
Advanced Law Lexicon by P. Ramanatha Aiyar (3rd edn 2005) the word
tool has been defined as things designed to help the hand in
work, especially in industrial operations.
One word can have several meanings, and several words can have the same meaning
(synonyms). Thus, for example, the word `ball can mean the spherical
object used in a game, or it can also mean a dance; it can also mean having a
nice time, etc. Similarly, several words can have the same meaning e.g. the
Sanskrit words `pankaj, `jalaj, `kamal, `padma, `saroj,
`sarsij, etc. which all mean `Lotus.
doubt the word implement can have several dictionary meanings.
in interpretation it is well settled that ordinarily the meaning of the word or
expression in common parlance or in common use should be accepted, unless the
statute or order in which it is used has defined it with a specific meaning.
There is no definition of the word implements in the G.O. of the
State Government dated 20.11.1996.
the Mimansa Rules of Interpretation, which is our indigenous system of
interpretation, one of the principles is : :f<+;ksZxeigjfr
The above principle means the popular meaning overpowers the etymological
example, the word `pankaja literally means whatever grows in mud. The word
`panka means `mud, and the suffix `ja means `which is born
in. Hence the etymological meaning of the word `pankaja is that
which is born in mud. Thus literally there can be several things which
could mean `pankaja e.g. worms or insects born in mud, all kinds of
vegetation which are born and found in mud, etc. However, by popular usage the
word `pankaja has acquired a particular meaning in common parlance i.e.
lotus. This shows that we should prefer the popular meaning or the meaning in
common usage to the literal meaning of a word.
The reason behind this principle is that language is a tool of communication
between human beings, and hence that meaning should be given to a word which
helps communication between people. If the speaker of a word uses it in one
sense but the hearer understands it in another sense, there will be a
communication gap. Hence that meaning should be attributed to a word which
everyone would understand as it has acquired a special meaning in common
Keeping the above principle in mind we may now consider whether an Animal
Driven Vehicle can be said to be an agricultural implement. In our opinion it
cannot, for the obvious reasons that in common parlance implements are usually
regarded as tools used by human beings with their hands (and sometimes with
their legs), or driven by animal power. Thus, a plough which is driven by oxen
or horses would be regarded as an agricultural implement. Similarly, a hoe or a
spade would be agricultural implements. However, a bullock cart which is used
for carrying the agricultural produce from the farm to the market or the sugar
factory cannot, in our opinion, be regarded as an agricultural implement,
because in common parlance it would not be regarded by people as an implement.
A bullock cart is surely not a tool, though the plough which it pulls (for
furrowing the land) is certainly a tool and therefore, an agricultural
Learned counsel for the respondent has relied on the decision of this Court in
M/s. D.H. Brothers Pvt. Ltd. vs. Commissioner of Sales Tax, U.P. AIR 1991 SC
1992, in which it was held that sugarcane crushers are not agricultural
implements. In that decision this Court held that a sugarcane crusher is not
used in the agricultural operation, rather it is only when the agricultural
operations have ended and the cane harvested and transported to the cane
crusher that the activity of the cane crusher begins. Learned counsel submitted
that in the present case also the ADV carts which are used for transporting the
sugarcane from the agricultural field to the sugar factory are not part of the
agricultural operations, as these ADV carts begin their activity of
transportation only after the agricultural operations are over.
is not necessary for us to deal with this submission because we have earlier
held that an ADV cart is not an agricultural implement since it is not a tool.
In view of the above we find no merit in this appeal and it is accordingly
dismissed. No costs
Before parting with this case, we would like to say that it is deeply
regrettable that in our Courts of law, lawyers quote Maxwell and Craies but
nobody refers to the Mimansa Principles of Interpretation. Today our so- called
educated people are largely ignorant about the great intellectual achievements
of our ancestors and the intellectual treasury they have bequeathed us. The Mimansa
Principles of Interpretation is part of that intellectual treasury, but it is
distressing to note that apart from a reference to these principles in the
judgment of Sir John Edge, the then Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court, in Beni
Prasad vs. Hardai Devi, (1892) ILR 14 All 67 (FB), there has been almost no
utilization of these principles even in our own country (except by one of us,
M. Katju, J. in some of his judgments delivered at Allahabad High Court and in
this Court vide M/s. Ispat Industries Ltd. vs. Commissioner of Customs, Mumbai
JT 2006(12) SC 379.
may be mentioned that the Mimansa Rules of Interpretation were our traditional
principles of interpretation laid down by Jaimini whose Sutras were explained
by Shabar, Kumarila Bhatta, Prabhakar, etc. These Mimansa Principles were
regularly used by our great jurists like Vijnaneshwar (author of Mitakshara), Jimutvahana
(author of Dayabhaga), Nanda Pandit (author of Dattak Mimansa) etc.
whenever they found any conflict between the various Smritis or any ambiguity
or incongruity therein. There is no reason why we cannot use these principles
on appropriate occasions. However, it is a matter of deep regret that these
principles have rarely been used in our law Courts. It is nowhere mentioned in
our Constitution or any other law that only Maxwells Principles of
Interpretation can be used by the Court. We can use any system of interpretation
which helps us solve a difficulty. In certain situations Maxwells
principles would be more appropriate, while in other situations the Mimansa
principles may be more suitable.
Since we have used a Mimansa principle in this judgment we thought it necessary
to briefly mention about the Mimansa principles of interpretation (the original
works on Mimansa are all in Sanskrit, but there is a very elucidating book in
English on the subject by K.L. Sarkar called The Mimansa Rules of
Interpretation published in the Tagore Law Lecture Series).