Narayana Pai, J.
1. For the period 9th November, 1961 to 28th October, 1962, the petitioner was assessed to sales tax although her total turnover was much below Rs. 7,500. In the ordinary course, by virtue of the provisions of sub-section (5) of section 5 of the Mysore Sales Tax Act, she would not have been liable to tax at all. But on the admitted facts that she was a registered dealer under the Central Sales Tax Act and had purchased goods on declarations under section 8(4) thereof, the assessing authority applied sub-section (2) of section 5 to the case and imposed tax. On appeal, the Appellate Assistant Commissioner took a different view and set aside the assessment. The Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, in exercise of his suo motu powers of revision, has set aside the order of the appellate authority and restored that of the original assessing authority. This appeal is directed against the said order of the Commissioner.
2. The question turns exclusively on the interpretation of sub-section (2) of section 5, because it is common ground that unless the case could be brought within it, the petitioner would be entitled to exemption under sub-section (5).
3. Sub-section (2) as in force during the relevant period read as follows :-
'Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (5), a dealer registered under the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956, shall, whatever be the quantum of his total turnover, be liable to pay tax at the rate specified in this Act, on the sale of any goods in respect of which he has furnished a declaration under sub-section (4) of section 8 of the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956.'
4. The main difficulty is that a declaration under section 8(4) of the Central Sales Tax Act being a declaration given by the purchaser in this State to the seller in another State, no occasion will arise for a person in the position of the petitioner to furnish such a declaration when he comes to sell the goods. The tax under the statute is a tax imposed on a transaction of sale or purchase. When, therefore, tax is imposed on a sale of a particular description, the argument is that the declaration mentioned in the sub-section should necessarily be regarded as a declaration in connection with or in respect of the sale sought to be taxed, and that, so understood, the sub-section becomes wholly ineffective because a sale cannot be taxed unless it is a sale in respect of which a declaration must be given and the declaration is said to be a declaration under section 8(4) of the Central Act and no declaration thereunder is possible in connection with a sale.
5. The answer made on behalf of the department to this contention is that we cannot start with the presumption that the Legislature has deliberately passed a totally ineffective provision and that although a subject can be taxed only if he comes within the letter of the statute and it is not open to strain the language to get at what may be regarded as the spirit of the statute, if on a fair reading of the relevant provisions of the statute the subject becomes liable or comes within the scope of the charge, there is no way of his escaping the liability.
6. The question therefore is whether the interpretation of the sub-section by the Commissioner places any strain on the language or may be regarded as a fair way of reading the sub-section.
7. The foundation for the Commissioner's interpretation is that the clause reading 'in respect of which he has furnished a declaration under sub-section (4) of section 8 of the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956' is a clause which qualifies the goods and not the sale. A declaration under section 8(4) of the Central Act is given by the purchaser of goods in the course of inter-State trade. When therefore a dealer in Mysore State purchases goods in the course of inter-State trade and in connection with such purchase he makes a declaration under section 8(4) of the Central Sales Tax Act and subsequently sells those goods in the State of Mysore, then, according to the interpretation of the Commissioner, he is bound to pay tax on the sales made by him within the State irrespective of whether his turnover is less or more than Rs. 7,500.
8. That such was the object of the provision is also the view of the Appellate Assistant Commissioner. But he thought that the object has not been sufficiently expressed in the language of the provision, as it originally appeared in the Bill, was clear, but has been rendered difficult or vague in the sub-section as actually enacted.
9. On behalf of the department, the learned Government Pleader has analysed the sub-section as follows : He states that the first step is that the sub-section makes a dealer liable to pay tax on certain sales; secondly, that the sales so made liable are of a particular category of goods, and thirdly, that that category is a category in respect of which the dealer has made a declaration under section 8(4) of the Central Act. He points out that the declaration under section 8(4) by the Mysore dealer is made only when he purchases goods from a seller of another State. When the sub-section refers to the provision of the Central Act under which a declaration is to be made, the Government Pleader states, the sub-section must be regarded as taking in by reference the exact circumstances in which the declaration is required to be made by sub-section (4) of section 8 of the Central Act. So understood, he states, no difficulty or absurdity can arise, but that, on the contrary, the difficulty arises only if we attach the clause to the sale, and that it is not logical or possible to attach the clause to the sale because reference to the sale is a necessary statement of the taxable event, viz., the sale of certain goods within the State of Mysore.
10. It appears to us that both from the point of view of the ideas furnished by section 8(4) of the Central Act and necessarily imported into section 5(2) of the State Act and from the point of view of the fixing of liability to tax on the event of a sale within the State of Mysore, the interpretation suggested on behalf of the department is a reasonable one and must be regarded as a result of a fair reading of the section and not of any particular straining of the language.
11. The appeal is therefore dismissed. There will be no order as to costs.
12. Appeal dismissed.