IT : Normal dress worn by employees in office is not 'uniform' for the purposes of exemption uniform allowance u/s 10(14)(i)
As per dictionary meaning or even as otherwise understood in common parlance, "uniform" is an identifying outfit or style of dress which is identical or consistent without variations in details. Examples are uniform of police personnel, armed forces, canteen staff etc. Uniform may change as per rank and designation of group of employees concerned. If appellant's interpretation of 'uniform'(that it's a standard style of dress and not uniformity of dressing style) were to be accepted, in every office, any dress worn by the employees' would qualify as 'uniform'. The prescribed uniform was done away in ONGC (appellant) way back in 1995. No 'uniform' was prescribed in ONGC during the period under consideration. Therefore, it cannot be said that the allowance was towards purchase or maintenance of uniform. Since the payment in question was not towards purchase or maintenance of "uniform', it cannot be exempted from tax in the hands of employees under Rule 2BB(l)(f)read with section10(14)(i) and appellant (ONGC) was liable to deduct TDS from uniform allowance.