1. The petitioners, who are manufacturers of foot-wear purchased rubber from certain dealers residing in the State of Cochin. In their assessment for sales tax for the period from 1st April, 1954, to 31st March, 1955, these purchases were subjected to tax on the ground that they came within the purview of section 10(a) of the Bombay Sales Tax Act of 1953. The petitioners' contention before the Sales Tax Authorities was that section 10(a) had no application to the transactions in question because they were purchases made from dealers outside the State and clause (a) of section 10 could only apply when the transactions were from unregistered dealers within the State of Bombay. According to the petitioners the only provision in the Sales Tax Act of 1953, which could have application to the present transaction was the provision of section 10C, but since rubber was not one of the items of goods specified by the State Government by notification as required by the said section, section 10C also could not apply to the case. This contention was negatived by the Sales Tax Authorities. Another contention which was raised by the petitioners was that the transactions in the present case had taken place outside the State of Bombay and were, therefore, not taxable. This contention also was negatived by the Sales Tax Authorities. In the revision application before the Sales Tax Tribunal both these contentions were again urged but were negatived by the Tribunal as well. Then at the instance of the petitioners the Tribunal drew up a statement of the case and referred to this Court the following two questions under section 34 of the Sales Tax Act of 1953 :
(1) Whether on the facts and circumstances of the case the property in the rubber consignments passed to the applicant in Cochin, i.e., outside the State of Bombay
(2) Whether the purchase tax under section 10(a) is leviable in respect of the purchases in dispute
2. Now, the facts found in connection with the first question are that the Cochin sellers had their agents in Bombay, who had taken the applicant's order and arranged for the shipping of the goods. In accordance with these orders goods were shipped by the Cochin sellers from Cochin to Bombay. The bills of lading were in the name of the sellers as consignors and consignees. The invoice, however, showed that the goods were shipped at the 'risk and on account of M/s. Carona Sahu and Company (P.) Ltd.' The insurance charges were borne by the buyers and they also paid the freight and other charges. The bills of lading were sent by the sellers through the bank to be delivered to the buyers in Bombay on payment of the price of the goods. In view of these facts the Tribunal's conclusions were that since orders were accepted on behalf of the sellers in Bombay, the contracts had been entered into in Bombay and since the bills of lading were in the name of the sellers as consignors and consignees and delivered to the buyers in Bombay on payment through the bank, the property in the goods was intended by the parties to pass in Bombay. The indorsement in the invoice that the goods wore being shipped 'on account of and at the risk of the buyers' did not, according to the Tribunal, mean anything more than that the insurance charges were to be paid by the buyers. In our opinion, the conclusion arrived at by the Tribunal on the facts found by it is correct and no error of law can be said to have been committed by it. Since the property in the goods, as correctly held by the Tribunal, passed in the State of Bombay, the answer to the first question must be in the negative.
3. Coming now to the next question, the argument of Mr. Donde, the learned Advocate appearing for the petitioners, is that section 10(a) can have no application to the purchases in question because the purchases are not made from a person such as contemplated by the said provision. Section 10 in so far as is material provides :
'Subject to the provisions of section 7, there shall be levied a purchase tax on the turnover of purchases of goods specified in column 1 of Schedule B, at the rates, if any, specified against such goods in column 4 of the said Schedule, -
(a) where such goods are purchased from a person who is not a registered dealer;
4. According to Mr. Donde 'a person' referred to in clause (a) must be a person who is resident in the State of Bombay and who has also a place in the State of Bombay where he carries on his business of buying and selling. In other words, according to Mr. Donde, a person referred to in the said sub-clause must be a dealer within the definition given in section 2(6) of the Act, but who is not registered either because he has failed to get himself registered or because his turnover is less than the specified limits. According to Mr. Donde, persons, who are not residents within the State of Bombay and who have no place of business within the State of Bombay for carrying on their business of buying and selling are not intended to come within the purview of section 10(a) of the Act. He points out that the subject of taxation of purchases of goods which have been purchased from outside sellers and which have been brought and delivered in the State of Bombay as a direct result of the purchase for consumption therein has been dealt with in section 10C of the Act and sales in the present case being of the nature of the sales dealt with under the said provision of section 10C are not intended to be covered by the provisions of section 10(a). He argues that if section 10(a) was to apply to sales of the nature which were covered by section 10C also, the provision of section 10(a) would be rendered redundant.
5. We do not think that there is any substance in the submissions which have been urged by Mr. Donde. There does not appear to us any reason whatsoever to import any qualifications in interpreting the word 'person' which occurs in section 10(a). When the meaning of the provision of a statute is plain and clear, we cannot give it a different meaning than what its language on its plain construction yields unless there are any good and strong reasons why a meaning different from the one to which the language yields on its plain construction must be given to the provision. The section states plainly that purchases made by a dealer from a person, who is not a registered dealer, will be subject to a purchase tax. The petitioners in the present case are dealers. They have made the purchases in question from their sellers, who are not registered dealers. The provision of the sub-section, therefore, is clearly satisfied in the present case and the purchases in question are liable to tax. Mr. Donde says that the person from whom the purchases have been made has to be a dealer within the Act. We do not see why that must be so, because the section does not say anything to that effect. Mr. Donde wanted to argue that he had to be a dealer and, therefore, a resident within the State of Bombay and having a place of business in the State of Bombay because otherwise the State Legislature would not have power to tax. It is difficult to understand the relevancy of this contention, because what is sought to be made subject to tax under section 10(a) is the purchase made by a dealer who is within the State of Bombay and has his place of business where he carried on his business of buying and selling. Why the person from whom he has made those purchases must also have similar qualifications in order that the purchases made by the dealer within the State of Bombay should be liable to tax is not understandable.
6. The next contention of Mr. Donde is that the provisions of section 10(a) cannot apply to the transactions of purchases where the purchased goods have been brought from outside the State of Bombay into the State because provision for such transactions has been made in another section, viz., section 10C of the Act, and, therefore, the subject of such transactions has been exhaustively dealt with in the said provision. We do not think that there is any substance in that contention either. Section 10C is a provision which applies to every buyer whether he is a registered dealer or not, who has purchased goods from outside the State which are amongst the specified items notified by the Government and which goods, as a direct result of the purchase, have been delivered in the State of Bombay for consumption therein. Section 10(a), on the other hand, relates only to the tax payable by registered dealers liable to pay tax on their purchases and not any buyers as under section 10C. The argument, therefore, that section 10C would be rendered redundant if section 10(a) were interpreted in the manner in which the Sales Tax Authorities and the Tribunal have done is not correct.
7. In our opinion, therefore, the decision of the Tribunal regarding the application of the provisions of section 10(a) of the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1953, to the purchases in question is also right and our answer to the second question, therefore, must be in the affirmative. We answer accordingly. The petitioners will pay the costs of the respondent quantified at Rs. 250.
8. Reference answered accordingly.