The Supreme Court in the case of Ramaraju Surgical Cotton Mills Ltd.  63 ITR 478 long back had allowed the claim of the assessee for an exemption for set up of a new unit and in this regard held that setting up is perhaps a stage anterior to the commencement of the factory when the business can be said to be ready to commence operations.
On the question of set up of business the Madras High Court in the case of CIT v. Electron India (2001) 118TAX190 held that the important criterion to hold whether a business is set up or not is the date when the plant and machinery is set up and trial or regular production commenced. It is immaterial if any sale of such production is made during the previous year. In this case it was found that the initial product manufactured was not marketable due to quality factors. The entire loss incurred is therefore found to be admissible in this case.
Further on the similar question the Gujarat High Court in the case of Commissioner of Income-tax v. Sarabhai Sons Pvt. Ltd. (90ITR318) held that obtaining land on lease, placing orders for machinery and raw materials were merely operations for the setting up of the business. It further held that the business will be established when the machinery had been installed and the factory was ready to commence business. Revenue expenditure incurred before that date would not be a permissible deduction.
Also the Calcutta High Court in the case of Commissioner of Income-tax v. Kanoria General Dealers P. Ltd. (159ITR524) held that the Income-tax officer cannot disallow the claim of the assessee for depreciation and deduction of business expenditure on the ground that the assessee had not commenced manufacturing or commercial production and that the production during the period was only on an experimental basis (trial production).