Skip to content


Haji Ismail Noor Mohammad and Company Vs. the State of Uttar Pradesh and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectSales Tax
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ Petition No. 4225 of 1971
Judge
Reported in[1974]33STC54(All)
AppellantHaji Ismail Noor Mohammad and Company
RespondentThe State of Uttar Pradesh and anr.
Appellant AdvocateBhartji Agarwal ;and R.R. Agarwal, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateStanding Counsel
DispositionPetition allowed
Excerpt:
- - as well as the central sales tax acts. if the purchasing dealer, subsequent to the transaction of purchase, furnishes to the selling dealer the certificate that he holds a recognition certificate, the requirements of clause (b) are fully satisfied. 6. 15. under sub-rule (4) of rule 25-a, if the sales tax officer is satisfied, after making such enquiry as he thinks necessary, that the particulars contained in the application are correct and complete, the fee of rs. if the sales tax officer is not satisfied that the particulars are correct or complete, he is at liberty to reject the application under sub-rule (7) of rule 25-a after giving the applicant a reasonable opportunity of being heard in the matter. the petitioner challenges the vires of the last sentence 'such certificate.....satish chandra, j.1. this writ petition proceeds on the ground that sub-rule (5) of rule 25-a of the u.p. sales tax rules is ultra vires the rule-making power of the state government. the bench hearing the writ petition felt that in view of the decision of a division bench in messrs. hulas rai tulsi ram oil mills v. state of u.p. civil misc. writ no. 6295 of 1970, decided on 19th may, 1972; since reported at [1974] 33 s.t.c. 47, in which the constitutional validity of this rule was upheld, this case should more properly engage the attention of a full bench. that is how the matter has been laid before this bench.2. haji ismail noor mohammad and company, the petitioner, is a registered partnership firm. it is registered under the u.p. as well as the central sales tax acts. it carries on the.....
Judgment:

Satish Chandra, J.

1. This writ petition proceeds on the ground that Sub-rule (5) of Rule 25-A of the U.P. Sales Tax Rules is ultra vires the Rule-making power of the State Government. The Bench hearing the writ petition felt that in view of the decision of a Division Bench in Messrs. Hulas Rai Tulsi Ram Oil Mills v. State of U.P. Civil Misc. Writ No. 6295 of 1970, decided on 19th May, 1972; since reported at [1974] 33 S.T.C. 47, in which the constitutional validity of this rule was upheld, this case should more properly engage the attention of a Full Bench. That is how the matter has been laid before this Bench.

2. Haji Ismail Noor Mohammad and Company, the petitioner, is a registered partnership firm. It is registered under the U.P. as well as the Central Sales Tax Acts. It carries on the business of manufacturing oils from groundnuts and oil-seeds and sells the oils manufactured by it within the State and also in the course of inter-State trade or commerce. It exports the oils to Nepal, i. e., outside India.

3. Oil-seeds are liable to purchase tax at the rate of 3 per cent under Section 3-D of the U.P. Sales Tax Act on the purchases made by the petitioner-firm either from cultivators or from other unregistered dealers.

4. Section 4-B, U.P. Sales Tax Act, provides for special relief to certain manufacturers of notified goods. The relief is given in the form of concessional rate of purchase tax or exemption from tax, as may be notified by the State Government in respect of individual classes of goods. On 10th February, 1969, the State Government issued a notification notifying oils of all kinds and provided for them a rate of tax at 2 per cent. On 21st March, 1969, the petitioner applied in the prescribed form to the Sales Tax Officer, Kanpur, for the grant of a certificate of recognition under Sub-section (2) of Section 4-B. Although Rule 25-A of the Sales Tax Rules contemplated that the certificate of recognition shall ordinarily be issued within 30 days of the making of the application, yet the Sales Tax Officer granted the requisite certificate to the petitioner on 5th December, 1969. Sub-rule (5) of Rule 25-A, inter alia, provides that the certificate shall take effect from the date of its issue.

5. The petitioner, during the course of its assessment proceedings for the year 1969-70, contended before the Sales Tax Officer that the purchases made by it of oil-seeds from 21st March, 1969, the date of its making the application for the recognition certificate, were liable to be taxed at the reduced rate of 2 per cent under Section 4-B of the Sales Tax Act. The Sales Tax Officer, however, did not accept this contention and by the assessment order dated 31st May, 1971, imposed purchase tax at the rate of 3 per cent on the purchases made by the petitioner between the period 1st April, 1969, till 4th December, 1969, and at the rate of 2 per cent on the purchases of oil-seeds made with effect from the date of the recognition certificate, namely, 5th December, 1969, till 31st March, 1970. He took the view that since under Sub-rule (5) of Rule 25-A, the recognition certificate takes effect from the date of its issue, its benefit in the form of reduced rate was available to the petitioner only from the date of the issue of the certificate and not from any earlier date. The petitioner's case is that Sub-rule (5) of Rule 25-A is ultra vires the powers of the State Government; and it is invalid also for the reason that it conflicts with and contravenes the provisions of Section 4-B of the Sales Tax Act. As a result of the imposition of purchase tax at the rate of 3 per cent instead of 2 per cent for the period 21st March, 1969, till 4th December, 1969, an additional tax liability of Rs. 32,848.61 has been illegally created. The petitioner prays that the sentence in Sub-rule (5) of Rule 25-A, namely, 'such certificate shall take effect from the date of its issue' be declared as void and inoperative.

6. In the case of Hulas Rai Tulsi Ram Oil Mills Civil Misc. Writ No. 6295 of 1970, decided on 19th May, 1972; since reported at [1974] 33 S.T.C. 47, mentioned above, the constitutional validity of Rule 25-A was challenged on the ground that it violated Article 14 of the Constitution. The Bench repelled that plea. I have perused the judgment. The ground of ultra vires in the present case, however, is different and the case of Hulas Rai Tulsi Ram Oil Mills [1974] 33 S.T.C. 47 would not stand in the way.

7. Section 4-B, in so far as it is material for our purposes, provides:

4-B. Special relief to certain manufacturers. -- (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in Sections 3, 3-A, 3-AA and 3-D --

(a) where any goods liable to tax under Section 3-D are purchased by a dealer who is liable to tax on the turnover of his first purchases under that Section and the dealer holds a recognition certificate issued under Sub-section (2) in respect thereof, he shall be liable in respect of these goods to tax at such concessional rate, or be exempt from tax, as may be notified in the Gazette by the State Government in that behalf;

(b) where any goods liable to tax under any other Section are sold by a dealer to another dealer and such other dealer furnishes to the selling dealer in the prescribed form and manner a certificate to the effect that he holds a recognition certificate issued under Sub-section (2) in respect thereof, the selling dealer shall be liable in respect of these goods to tax at such concessional rate, or be exempt from tax, as may be notified in the Gazette by the State Government in this behalf.

(2) A dealer who requires any goods referred to in Sub-section (1) for use as raw material for the purposes of manufacture in the State of Uttar Pradesh of any notified goods, and such notified goods are intended to be sold by him in the State or in the course of inter-State trade or commerce or in the course of export out of India, may apply within such period, and in such form and manner, as may be prescribed, to the assessing authority for the grant of a recognition certificate in respect thereof and if the applicant satisfies such requirements and conditions as may be prescribed, the assessing authority shall grant to the dealer in respect of such goods a recognition certificate in such form and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed.

8. Sub-section (2) lays down the procedure for obtaining a recognition certificate. The recognition certificate has the effect of granting relief to the manufacturer or dealer in his liability to pay purchase tax or sales tax, as the case may be. Section 4-B confers an option on the manufacturer or dealer to apply in the prescribed form for a recognition certificate if he wishes to take advantage of the relief provided by Section 4-B. Under clause (a) of Sub-section (1) of Section 4-B, a dealer liable to purchase tax under Section 3-D is entitled to the concessional rate or exemption from tax, as the case may be, if he holds a recognition certificate. The efficacy of the recognition certificate under clause (a) aforesaid becomes material and relevant at the time of the quantification of the purchase tax, i. e., when the (1) Civil Misc. Writ No. 6295 of 1970, decided on 19th May, 1972; since reported at assessment order is being drawn up. It is in the assessment proceedings that the liability to pay tax at a concessional rate is fructified. A dealer would be entitled to the concessional rate if he holds a recognition certificate.

9. Clause (b) gives relief to a selling dealer of the notified goods. The selling dealer gets the advantage provided the purchasing dealer furnishes to him a certificate that the purchasing dealer holds a recognition certificate in respect of the goods sold. Clause (b) requires the purchasing dealer to 'furnish' the requisite certificate to the selling dealer. The language of clause (b) does not make it a condition precedent or a necessary obligation that the purchasing dealer must at the time of purchase produce the recognition certificate. If the purchasing dealer, subsequent to the transaction of purchase, furnishes to the selling dealer the certificate that he holds a recognition certificate, the requirements of clause (b) are fully satisfied. In my opinion, the selling dealer would be entitled to the concessional rate in respect of the transactions for which he produced a certificate from the purchasing dealer that the purchasing dealer held a recognition certificate in respect of the goods purchased by him.

10. The scheme of Section 4-B is to provide relief in the form of a concessional rate of tax to the classes of dealers mentioned in it. The relief is optional. The dealer has to make his choice. If he wants to avail of the relief, he has to make an application in the prescribed form for the grant of the recognition certificate. The recognition certificate is the document of title entitling him to claim the concessional rate of tax. If he makes his choice of filing the requisite application, he has done all he is required to do by Section 4-B. Sub-section (2) of Section 4-B directs the assessing authority to grant to the dealer a recognition certificate in the prescribed form and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed, if the applicant satisfies the prescribed requirements and conditions.

11. In my opinion, the phrase 'subject to such conditions as may be prescribed' in the sentence 'the assessing authority shall grant to the dealer in respect of such goods a recognition certificate in such form and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed' is intimately and integrally connected with the phrase 'if the applicant satisfies such requirements and conditions as may be prescribed' occurring in the immediately preceding clause of Sub-section (2). The prescribed requirements and conditions which the applicant has to satisfy are the conditions to which the recognition certificate can be made subject under the last clause of Sub-section (2). The Legislature does not seem to intend that the recognition certificate is to be subject to conditions which the applicant may not be required to satisfy.

12. Clause (f) of Section 2 of the Act defines 'prescribed' to mean prescribed by rules made under this Act. Section 24 of the Act confers upon the State Government power to make rules to carry out the purposes of the Act. In view of the provisions of Sub-section (2) of Section 4-B, the rule-making authority could lay down only such conditions to which the recognition certificate may be subject as the applicant is required to satisfy and no other. If the rules require or lay down some other condition, the rules will not be carrying out the object of Section 4-B of the Act, but would be going beyond its purview or may even be contravening the plain object thereof.

13. Rule 25-A is entitled as 'certificate of recognition'. Sub-rule (1) provides that the application for recognition certificate under Sub-section (2) of Section 4-B shall be made to the Sales Tax Officer in form XVIII. It then gives details of the person who should sign the application. Sub-rule (2) provides that where a dealer has more than one place of business, he shall make a single application in respect of those places naming one of them as the principal place. The application is to be submitted to the Sales Tax Officer in whose jurisdiction such principal place of business is situate. Under Sub-rule (3) a fee of Rs. 10 is payable in respect of every application for the issue of a recognition certificate.

14. Form XVIII requires the applicant to fill in 8 columns:

1. Status or relationship with the dealer or the person making the application (e. g., manager, partner, proprietor, director, officer-in-charge of the Government, business, etc.).

2. Name and full address of the principal place of business in the State of Uttar Pradesh.

3. Name(s) and full address(es) of the other place(s) of business in U.P.

4. Particulars of registration certificate issued under the U.P. Sales Tax Act and the Central Sales Tax Act.

5. Particulars of the proprietor(s), all persons having any interest in the business in the form on reverse.

6. Description of notified goods in respect of which recognition certificate is sought.

7. The date on which the manufacture of the notified goods was started.

8. Name(s) of goods or classes of goods required for use as raw material for manufacture of the notified goods mentioned in column No. 6.

15. Under Sub-rule (4) of Rule 25-A, if the Sales Tax Officer is satisfied, after making such enquiry as he thinks necessary, that the particulars contained in the application are correct and complete, the fee of Rs. 10 has been paid and the Security, if any, required to be furnished under Sub-section (3) of Section 4-B has been furnished by the dealer, he shall grant a recognition certificate in form XIX for use at the principal place of business and also furnish, free of cost, an attested copy of such certificate for every other place of business within the State. The Sales Tax Officer is to make an enquiry to satisfy himself that the particulars mentioned in the application are correct and complete. For instance, column No. 7 of the form requires the applicant to mention the date on which the manufacture of the notified goods was started. The Sales Tax Officer can enquire into the correctness of this particular. Most of the other particulars can be checked from his own records, for instance, the particulars of the registration certificate, etc. If the Sales Tax Officer is not satisfied that the particulars are correct or complete, he is at liberty to reject the application under Sub-rule (7) of Rule 25-A after giving the applicant a reasonable opportunity of being heard in the matter. But otherwise he has no option but to grant the requisite certificate in form XIX.

16. Sub-rule (5) of Rule 25-A provides:

(5) The recognition certificate shall ordinarily be issued within thirty days of the presentation of the application to the Sales Tax Officer. If, however, it may not be possible to issue the certificate within the time specified above, the Sales Tax Officer shall obtain the approval of the Assistant Commissioner (Executive) of his range for an extension of time, after stating the reasons for which it is not possible to issue the certificate in time. Such certificate shall take effect from the date of its issue.

17. Under this sub-rule the certificate is ordinarily to be issued within 30 days of the presentation of the application, but it authorises extension of time. The certificate is to take effect from the date of its issue. The petitioner challenges the vires of the last sentence 'such certificate shall take effect from the date of its issue'.

18. Sub-section (2) of Section 4-B authorises the imposition of conditions, subject to which the recognition certificate will operate, to be such as are required to be satisfied by the applicant. No part of Section 4-B or of Rule 25-A requires the applicant for a certificate to commence manufacture or purchase of notified goods only after the issue of the certificate of recognition. In this view, the last sentence of Sub-rule (5) 'the certificate shall take effect from the date of its issue' seems beyond the rule-making power conferred upon the State Government by Sub-section (2) of Section 4-B.

19. In my opinion, the condition that the certificate shall take effect from the date of its issue does not carry out the object of Section 4-B, but is liable to nullify or render it illusory for an indefinite period of time.

20. Under Section 4-B the State Government has been given the discretion to notify goods as and when it deems fit. A particular goods may be notified at any time in the course of an assessment year. Section 4-B has obviously been enacted to give incentive to dealers to engage in the manufacture of notified goods by granting them a concessional rate or exemption from tax. The grant of relief is not automatic, but is dependent upon the dealer exercising his choice by making an application for the recognition certificate. Section 4-B does not require the dealer to do anything else if he has made the requisite application and deposited the fee and security. He has no control over the Sales Tax Officer. The Sales Tax Officer can, for reasons of his own, grant the certificate after the expiry of 30 days mentioned in Rule 25-A(4) provided he gets the extension from the Assistant Commissioner (Executive). The delay in the completion of the procedural proceedings by the Sales Tax Officer may be of an unlimited duration. The grant of the said relief under Section 4-B is liable to be rendered illusory if the availability of the relief at the time of the assessment for a particular year is made dependent upon the actual possession of the recognition certificate by the dealer at the time he made the purchase of the notified goods. In the present case, the Sales Tax Officer took more than 9 months to deliver the recognition certificate.

21. If a particular dealer does not furnish the correct particulars or does not comply with the conditions he is required to fulfil, his application is liable to be rejected. But if he has done all that he is required to do, then he should be deemed to have effectively exercised his option to avail of the relief on the day he has made the application, and he should be deemed to hold the recognition certificate within the meaning of Section 4-B from that date even though the certificate is actually issued and physically handed over to the applicant by the Sales Tax Officer on a later date. Then alone the scheme of Section 4-B in granting relief would be effective.

22. Sub-rule (11) provides that if the original certificate is lost, the applicant may apply for and get a duplicate copy. According to the contention raised by the department, in such an event, the applicant, not being in possession of the certificate, cannot be said to hold it so as to take its benefit for transactions done during the period of the loss of the certificate and the actual issuance of the duplicate. This anomaly would also be resolved if it is held that the word 'holds' in clauses (a) and (b) of Section 4-B(l) is to be construed as including cases where the applicant is deemed to hold the certificate. The last sentence of Sub-rule (5) of Rule 25-A in providing that the 'certificate shall take effect from the date of its issue' violates the plain object of Section 4-B and, for this reason as well, it is beyond the rule-making power of the State Government.

23. In form XIX in which the recognition certificate is issued, the entry in column No. 1 reads: 'The date from which the certificate shall be effective.' In this entry the relevant date to be filled in is the date of the presentation of the application to the Sales Tax Officer. The mention of the date of the issue of the certificate is illegal.

24. The last sentence of Sub-rule (5) of Rule 25-A, namely, 'such certificate shall take effect from the date of its issue' being ultra vires, could not validly be taken into consideration by the Sales Tax Officer while making the assessment. The assessment order dated 31st May, 1971, is liable to be modified.

25. In the result, the writ petition succeeds and is allowed. The last sentence of Sub-rule (5) of Rule 25-A of the U.P. Sales Tax Rules is declared to be ultra vires. The assessment order dated 31st May, 1971, is modified. The demand created in it of tax on the purchase of oil-seeds shall stand reduced by Rs. 32,848.61. The Sales Tax Officer is further directed to rectify the recognition certificate granted to the petitioner by inserting in it the date of the application in column No. 1 thereof. The petitioner will be entitled to its costs.

R.L. Gulati, J.

I agree.

N.D. Ojha, J.

25. I have had the privilege of going through the judgment of brother Satish Chandra, J., but regret my inability to agree with the same. The facts of the case and the provisions of the U.P. Sales Tax Act and the Rules framed thereunder (hereinafter referred to as the Act and the Rules respectively) in so far as they are relevant for purposes of deciding the question referred to us are contained in the said opinion and I refrain from repeating them here.

26. The attack on the impugned clause of Rule 25-A by the learned counsel for the petitioner was twofold: First, that it is ultra vires the powers of the State Government and, secondly, that it was invalid also for the reason that it conflicts with and contravenes the provisions of Section 4-B of the Act. He elaborated his first ground of attack by saying that the phrase 'and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed' following the phrase 'the assessing authority shall grant to the dealer in respect of such goods a recognition certificate in such form' in Sub-section (2) of Section 4-B of the Act did not empower the State Government to prescribe in Rule 25-A that 'such certificate shall take effect from the date of its issue'. The second ground of attack was sought to be substantiated by invoking the rule of interpretation such as would advance the beneficent purpose of legislation. It was urged that Section 4-B so interpreted meant that the benefit of the concession contemplated by it was to be given to the dealer from the date of making the application for grant of a recognition certificate and Rule 25-A, in so far as it made such certificate effective from the date of its issue, was invalid.

27. In support of his first ground of attack, the learned counsel argued that the word 'conditions' in the phrase 'subject to such conditions as may be prescribed', referred to above, ought to be given the same meaning as was to be given to this word in the preceding phrase 'if the applicant satisfies such requirements and conditions as may be prescribed'. According to him, the fixation of the time from which the certificate would be effective was not a 'condition' which could be prescribed by the Rules. I, however, find myself unable to agree. The 'requirements and conditions' talked of in the earlier part of Sub-section (2) are anterior to the grant of the certificate whereas 'conditions' referred to in its latter part are posterior to such grant. Emphasis in the former is upon such facts, the existence of which alone would qualify a dealer to be granted a certificate -- such facts being making of an application in the prescribed form, which requires certain particulars to be filled in, payment of the prescribed fee of Rs. 10, furnishing of the security and the like as contemplated by Rule 25-A. Emphasis in the latter is upon the contingencies subject to which the dealer would be entitled to the benefit of the concession consequent upon the grant of the recognition certificate. The word condition also means contingency. To say that a dealer would be entitled to the benefit of concession envisaged by Section 4-B of the Act on the happening of a contingency, namely, on the issue of the recognition certificate, would, in my opinion, be prescribing a condition within the meaning of the said section.

28. The scheme of Section 4-B of the Act also supports this view. Sub-section (2) speaks of an application by 'a dealer who requires any goods referred to in Sub-section (1)'. Such a dealer is to be granted a recognition certificate on fulfilling the requirements and conditions as may be prescribed. Clauses (a) and (b) of Sub-section (1) speak of a dealer who 'holds' a recognition certificate 'issued' under Sub-section (2). It seems to be a contradiction in terms to say that a dealer 'holds' a recognition certificate even though it has not been 'issued' to him. The earliest date on which it can be said that a dealer 'holds' a certificate would be the date on which such certificate is 'issued'. The use of the two unambiguous words 'holds' and 'issued' in Sub-section (1) makes it clear that the Legislature clearly intended that a recognition certificate was to take effect from the date of its issue and in prescribing the same thing in Rule 25-A, nothing more was done by the State Government than to carry out the purpose of the Act within the meaning of Section 24 -- the one which confers upon the State Government the power to make rules. In my opinion, therefore, the first ground of attack against Rule 25-A has no substance.

29. In support of his second ground of attack to the said rule, the learned counsel referred to the case of Sheikh Gulfan v. Sanat Kumar A.I.R. 1965 S.C. 1839, wherein Gajendragadkar, C.J., speaking for the court observed at page 1845:

Normally, the words used in a statute have to be construed in their ordinary meaning; but in many cases, judicial approach finds that the simple device of adopting the ordinary meaning of words does not meet the ends of a fair and a reasonable construction. Exclusive reliance on the bare dictionary meaning of words may not necessarily assist a proper construction of the statutory provision in which the words occur. Often enough, in interpreting a statutory provision, it becomes necessary to have regard to the subject-matter of the statute and the object which it has intended to achieve. That is why in deciding the true scope and effect of the relevant words in any statutory provision, the context in which the words occur, the object of the statute in which the provision is included, and the policy underlying the statute assume relevance and become material. As Halsbury has observed, the words 'should be construed in the light of their context rather than what may be either their strict etymological sense or their popular meaning apart from that context'.

30. On the authority of the aforesaid observations it was urged that the object which Section 4-B of the Act intended to achieve is a relevant consideration in interpreting the said section and the object being to grant concession to a dealer, it had to be interpreted in a manner as would advance the said beneficent purpose of legislation. The rule of interpretation relied on by the learned counsel, however, is not an absolute one. It is subject to well-recognized limitations. The note of caution in this behalf is to be found in the case of Mahadeolal v. Administrator General of West Bengal A.I.R. 1960 S.C. 936, wherein after laying down at page 939 four principles of interpretation, it was observed at page 940:

As we have already mentioned it is a sound rule of interpretation of beneficent legislation that in cases of ambiguity the construction which advances the beneficent purpose should be accepted in preference to the one which defeats that purpose. In their anxiety to advance the beneficent purpose of legislation courts must not however yield to the temptation of seeking ambiguity when there is none.

31. And so the crucial point is: Is there any ambiguity in the language of Section 4-B of the Act? If there is none, the language of the section will have to be looked into as it is and not as it ought to be. As I see Section 4-B of the Act I find no ambiguity in it. The purpose of issuing a recognition certificate is to grant a statutory concession subject to prescribed conditions. The grant is to be made by the Sales Tax Officer on being satisfied that the requirements and conditions as are prerequisites to such a grant are fulfilled. These prerequisites are such that satisfaction of the Sales Tax Officer cannot be reached without making some enquiry into the matter and hearing the applicant, if necessary. It is natural for such an enquiry to take some time, of which fact the Legislature cannot be presumed to be oblivious. Yet in place of specifying that the grant shall be effective from the date of application it used the language, such as, in my opinion, is capable of only one interpretation that it was to be effective from the date of its issue. Apart from the use of the words 'holds' and 'issued', already referred to above, it is to be seen that if the legislative intent was to make it effective from the date of application, it would have in Section 4-B(1) (a) used the words 'have been purchased' in place of 'are purchased' and 'the dealer has been granted a recognition certificate' in place of 'the dealer holds a recognition certificate issued'. Further such an interpretation would render it impracticable for the purchasing dealer at the time when the goods 'are' sold within the meaning of clause (b) of Section 4-B(1) to furnish to the selling dealer 'in the prescribed form and manner', a certificate to the effect that he 'holds' a recognition certificate in regard to those transactions that take place between the dates of presentation of the application for the grant of a recognition certificate and the date of its issue. If it was differently intended clause (b) of Section 4-B(1) also would have used the words 'have been sold' in place of 'are sold'.

32. I am aware of those cases where courts have considered substantial compliance of a rule of procedure as sufficient and have not permitted injustice being perpetrated by insisting on a formal or literal compliance of such rule, but the case in hand is clearly not one of that nature. Here, the nature of the recognition certificate is, like that of a document of title, the existence of which is the sine qua non for conferment of title. Statutory concession can be granted only after the prerequisite requirements and conditions are fulfilled and can be availed of only in the manner and subject to such conditions, as may be prescribed. Merely because the disposal of an application for grant of certificate is likely to take some time, which is necessitated in order to make enquiry contemplated by the statute itself the applicant for concession cannot be heard to say that he should be given the benefit of the concession from the date of presentation of his application even though the statute granting concession clearly provides that benefit of such concession is to be available only after the certificate has been granted and issued. In Kedarnath Jute Mills Co. Ltd. v. The Commercial Tax Officer A.I.R. 1966 S.C. 12, referring to Section 5(2)(a)(ii) of the Bengal Finance (Sales Tax) Act (6 of 1941), which had the effect of exempting a specified turnover of a dealer from sales tax, it was held:

Section 5(2)(a)(ii) of the Act in effect exempts a specified turnover of a dealer from sales tax. The provision prescribing the exemption shall, therefore, be strictly construed. The substantive clause gives the exemption and the proviso qualifies the substantive clause. In effect the proviso says that part of the turnover of the selling dealer covered by the terms of Sub-clause (ii) will be exempted provided a declaration in the form prescribed is furnished. To put it in other words, a dealer cannot get the exemption unless he furnishes the declaration in the prescribed form. It is well-settled that 'the effect of an excepting or qualifying proviso, according to the ordinary rules of construction, is to except out of the preceding portion of the enactment, or to qualify something enacted therein, which, but for the proviso would be within it': see 'Craies on Statute Law', 6th Edn., p. 217. If the intention of the Legislature was to give exemption if the terms of the substantive part of Sub-clause (ii) alone are complied with, the proviso becomes redundant and otiose. To accept the argument of the learned counsel for the appellant is to ignore the proviso altogether, for if his contention be correct it will lead to the position that if the declaration form is furnished, well and good; but, if not furnished, other evidence can be produced. That is to rewrite the clause and to omit the proviso. That will defeat the express intention of the Legislature.

33. Reference was then made to Sub-clause (11), which speaks of a duplicate certificate being issued if the original is lost and it was pointed out that if the word 'holds' in Section 4-B of the Act is interpreted to mean actual possession of the recognition certificate on the dates when the transactions of purchase and sale take place, it would create an anomaly inasmuch as the dealer in that case would not be entitled to the benefit of the concessional rate in respect of the transactions taking place between the loss of the original certificate and issue of a duplicate. Even if it may be so, it will not enable the courts to give a meaning to the plain language of Section 4-B of the Act different than the one expressed by the Legislature in an unambiguous manner. In a similar situation the Supreme Court in paragraph 9 of its judgment in the case of Kedarnath Jute Mills Co. Ltd. v. The Commercial Tax Officer A.I.R. 1966 S.C. 12, held:

We realise that the section and the rules as they stand may conceivably cause unmerited hardship to an honest dealer. He may have lost the declaration forms by a pure accident, such as fire, theft, etc., and yet he will be penalised for something for which he is not responsible. But it is for the Legislature or for the rule-making authority to intervene to soften the rigour of the provisions and it is not for this court to do so where the provisions are clear and unambiguous.

34. In this view of the matter the second ground of attack to Rule 25-A also fails. In my opinion, therefore, the writ petition deserves to be dismissed.

By the Court.

35. In the result, the writ petition succeeds and is allowed. The last sentence of Sub-rule (5) of Rule 25-A of the U.P. Sales Tax Rules is declared to be ultra vires. The assessment order dated 31st May, 1971, is modified. The demand created in it of tax on the purchase of oil-seeds shall stand reduced by Rs. 32,848.61. The Sales Tax Officer is further directed to rectify the recognition certificate granted to the petitioner by inserting in it the date of the application in column No. 1 thereof. The petitioner will be entitled to its costs.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //