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Scrabble not a toy: Supreme Court

delhi Updated: Nov 15, 2009 00:45 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times
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Scrabble, the word game, is not an educational toy. Going by the dictionary meaning, the Supreme Court has ruled Scrabble is not a tool of amusement but a “board game”.

With the ruling, a bench headed by Justice SH Kapadia also held that Scrabble was not exempted from Central Excise Duty.

“Thus, going by the dictionary meaning of the word educational toy one finds that ‘educational toy’ remained even today as a tool of amusement,” the bench said. The verdict came on a petition by Pleasanton Product claiming the game was entitled to exemption under the Central Excise and Tariff Act.

The firm’s appeal was against an order of the Commissioner of Central Excise Mumbai-1, demanding over Rs 22 lakh (Rs 2.2 million) and Rs 71,690 for the clearances of the Scrabble made by the company during March 1996 to June 2001.

“The difference between a ‘game’ and a ‘puzzle’ is brought out by three distinct features — outcome, clue-chance and skill. In a puzzle outcome is pre-determined and fixed. It is not so in ‘scrabble’. The two elements of chance and skill are the key elements of a ‘scrabble’,” the bench said.