A.K. Kirty, J.
1. The validity of Sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 3-A of the U.P. Sales Tax Act, 1948 (15 of 1948), hereinafter referred to as the Act, has been challenged in these three writ petitions on two grounds : (1) that they infringe Article 14 of the Constitution, and (2) that they suffer from excessive delegation of essential legislative function and power.
2. The petitioners are 'registered dealers' and carry on the business of manufacture and sale of bricks in Uttar Pradesh. They are affected adversely by the impugned Notifications No. ST-1363/X-1045 (1960) dated April 5, 1961, and No. ST-6438/X-1012-1962 dated December 1, 1962, issued by the State Government under Section 3-A(1) and (2) of the Act, by which sale of bricks has been subjected to a single point taxation at the rate of 7 naye paise per rupee, the point of taxation being sale by manufacturer.
3. In five other writ petitions, numbered 2095, 2096, 2121, 2253 and 2971 of 1969, identical questions have been raised, besides a number of other questions which are wholly separate and different. The petitioners of these five petitions are or were 'retail vendors' of country liquor under the U.P. Excise Act, 1910. By impugned Notification No. S.T. 1603/X-900(12) dated April 2, 1969, issued by the State Government under Section 3-A(1) and (2) of the Act, sale of 'country liquor' has been subjected to a single point taxation at the rate of 10 naye paise per rupee, the point of taxation being sale by the retail vendor.
4. As desired by the learned counsel for the petitioners and the learned counsel for the respondents, there has been a common hearing of all the eight petitions in regard to the question of the validity of Sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 3-A of the Act.
5. In 1968, one Gurna Mal and 92 other manufacturers of bricks filed petitions in this court under Article 226 of the Constitution challenging the validity and enforceability of the above-mentioned notifications dated April 5, 1961, and December 1,1962, on the ground, inter alia, that bricks not being a commodity which undergoes multiple sales and being sold by manufacturers directly to consumers, the turnovers in respect of sale of bricks were not liable to be taxed under the provisions of Section 3-A at all, but could be taxed only under Section 3. During the pendency of the said writ petitions, U.P. Ordinance No. 2 of 1970 was promulgated on January 6, 1970, amending Section 3-A(1) of the Act with retrospective effect and validating the notifications previously issued and assessments previously made. The petitions were then permitted to be amended so as to include fresh grounds based on the amendments introduced by that Ordinance. A Division Bench of this court allowed all those petitions by judgment and order dated March 3, 1970, vide Gurna Mal v. State of U.P., 1970 A.L.J. 584 It was held that Section 3-A(1) even after its amendment by the Ordinance did not bring within its fold 'turnover' of goods which according to commercial practice and usage were not sold more than once.
6. Thereafter, the U.P. Sales Tax (Amendment and Validation) Act (2 of 1970) was passed and published in the U. P. Gazette Extraordinary dated March 22, 1970, making further amendment in Section 3-A(1) of the Act with retrospective effect and validating notifications issued, assessments made and taxes recovered previously under the provisions of Section 3-A. By this Act, U.P. Ordinance 2 of 1970 was repealed.
7. The petitioners have assailed Sub-section (1) of Section 3-A as amended by U.P. Act 2 of 1970, as also Sub-section (2) of that section.
8. For a proper understanding and appreciation of the questions which fall for decision, a resume of the relevant provisions of the Act and notifications, being necessary, is given below.
9. The Act became operative with effect from April 1, 1948. In the statement of objects and reasons, pertaining to the concerned Bill, it was vouched that it had become necessary to augment the revenues of the Province by additional taxation and to impose taxes on the sale of goods because, on account of an intensive programme started by the Government for the economic and cultural development of the Province and also due to the expanding activities of the Government in other directions, the expenditure had considerably increased, while owing to prohibition income from excise was likely to shrink gradually. It was further stated that 'a tax on the sale of goods, which imposes a negligible burden on the consumer, is a fruitful source of additional revenue.'
10. The scheme of the original Act was indeed simple and cast a negligible burden on the taxpayer. In Section 2, 'dealer', 'goods', 'sale', 'turnover' and other material words were defined, and by Section 3 tax at the rate of 2 pies per rupee was levied on the turnover of dealers whose turnover exceeded the exempted limit. Section 4 provided that Section 3 would not apply to sales of the specified goods and to sales of any other goods or class of goods notified by the Government, as also as to sales of any goods by certain specified bodies or by such other persons or class of persons as might be exempted by the Government conditionally or unconditionally. Section 7 provided for filing of returns, determination of turnovers and assessment of tax, and Section 8 for payment and recovery of taxes. Then there were 'sections providing for appeals, revisions and references.
11. By U.P. Act 25 of 1948 substantial changes were made in the Act and two new Sections 3-A and 8-A were added. The relevant Bill was accompanied by the following statement of objects and reasons :
Since the United Provinces Sales Tax Act, 1948, came into force, various interests in the United Provinces have made representations to the Government. The business community considers the Act to be somewhat rigid in its application, and have made certain suggestions for its smooth working. Government have carefully and sympathetically considered all the suggestions made so far. Government desire to meet the wishes of the business community and also to protect the interests of the consumer, and hence they propose to amend the Act.
By Sub-section (1) of the newly added Section 3-A, it was provided that, notwithstanding anything contained in Section 3, the proceeds of sale of any goods or class of goods shall not be included in the turnover of any dealer except at such single point in the series of sales by successive dealers as may be prescribed by the Government. By Sub-section (2), the Government was further empowered to fix enhanced rates of tax not exceeding one anna per rupee if the sale related to goods specified in Clauses (i) to (v) of that sub-section and nine pies per rupee if it related to any other goods. The enhanced rates of tax declared under Sub-section (2) would be leviable on the turnover of the goods or classes of goods declared by the Government under Sub-section (1) of Section 3-A. In Section 8-A provision was made for registration of dealers and registered dealers were impliedly authorised to recover sales tax from the purchaser or consumer. By this Act, Section 3 was also amended and the Government was invested with power to reduce the rate of tax on the turnover of any dealer or class of dealers or the turnover in respect of any goods or class of goods.
12. The Act was again substantially amended by U.P. Act 19 of 1956. Under Section 3 a power was given to the State Government to enhance the rate of tax on the turnover in respect of any goods or class of goods not exceeding six pies per rupee and to reduce it likewise. Section 3-A was also materially amended ; while Sub-section (1) practically remained the same, Sub-section (2) underwent a radical change. A fresh Sub-section (3) was added. Sub-sections (2) and (3) read as follows :
Section 3-A. Single point taxation.-(1)....
(2) If the State Government makes a declaration under Sub-section (1), it may further declare that the turnover in respect of such goods shall be liable to tax at such rate not exceeding one anna per rupee as may be specified.
(3) Every notification made under this section shall be laid before the Legislative Assembly of the State as soon as may be after it is made and if a resolution amending or modifying it is passed by the Assembly within the session in which it is laid, it shall, from the date of the passing of the resolution, be amended or modified accordingly but without prejudice to the validity of, anything previously done or of any liability incurred or assessment made.
13. The words 'one anna per rupee' in Sub-section (2) were substituted by the words 'seven naye paise per rupee' by Act 19 of 1958 and, by Act 14 of 1963 the words 'ten naye paise' were substituted in place of 'seven naye paise'.
14. By Act 19 of 1956 another new Section 3-AA was added which provided that notwithstanding anything contained in Section 3 or 3-A, the turnover in respect of coal and other goods specified therein shall not be liable to tax except at the point of sale by a dealer to the consumer and the rate shall not exceed three pies per rupee. This section, as subsequently amended, now empowers the State Government to fix the rate, not exceeding the maximum rate for the time being specified in Section 15 of the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956, at which tax will be payable on the turnover of the goods specified by the section itself at the point of sale by a dealer to the consumer only.
15. The impugned Sub-section (1) of Section 3-A as amended by U.P. Act 2 of 1970, reads and shall be deemed to have always read as follows:
Notwithstanding anything contained in Section 3, the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare that the turnover in respect of any goods or class of goods shall not be liable to tax except at such single point of sale as the State Government may specify and such declaration may be made notwithstanding that the goods of class of goods are not capable of being sold or according to the prevalent commercial practice are not ordinarily sold at more than one point.
16. The petitioners contend that the general charging section is Section 3 of the Act which (as amended by Act 14 of 1963) requires every dealer, whose turnover exceeds the exempted limit, to pay a tax at the rate of two naye paise per rupee on his turnover. The discretionary power conferred on the State Government to select any goods or class of goods and to subject the turnover in respect of the same to taxation at an enhanced or reduced rate is operative within a very narrow range because the rate of tax cannot be enhanced so as to exceed three naye paise per rupee. No matter how many sales any goods or class of goods, ordinarily or according to prevalent commercial practice, undergo before reaching the consumer, each dealer has to pay tax at the same uniform rate. There is uniformity in the incidence of taxation and the burden of tax operates equally on each dealer. No dealer is exempted nor is the tax burden of any dealer or dealers cast on one particular dealer. If any goods or class of goods, ordinarily or according to prevalent commercial practice, does not undergo more than one sale before reaching the consumer, the dealer and the consumer both are benefited.
17. According to the petitioners, Section 3-A of the Act artificially engrafts virtually a parallel charging section and leaves the applicability of the same to the sheer pleasure of the State Government. It gives the State Government an absolute, uncohtrolled and unguided power to take out the chargeable turnover or turnovers in respect of any goods or class of goods from the operation of the general charging Section 3 and to subject the same to taxation at such enhanced rate not exceeding ten naye paise per rupee as the Government might in its absolute discretion fix, as against the fixed and uniform statutory rate of two naye paise per rupee or the maximum of three naye paise per rupee at the most, which is the ceiling of enhancement of rate by the State Government under Section 3. The petitioners say that this amounts to a total surrender of vital legislative function and power to the executive by the Legislature, which is wholly unwarranted and is a negation of the basic and salutary injunction enjoined by Article 14 of the Constitution.
18. On behalf of the respondents it is, on the other hand, contended that the Act is a fiscal statute which provides for different patterns of taxation in Section 3 and Section 3-A and that these sections are intended to regulate different incidences of taxation. It is urged that if the Legislature has acted within its permissible field of legislative competence, no law, and in particular no taxing law, made by it can be struck down because the law makes separate provisions for separate patterns of taxation in separate sections. Therefore, Sections 3 and 3-A of the Act cannot be treated as overlapping sections, nor can they be treated as comparable legislative measures not pitted against each other for the purpose of ascertaining whether these sections actually create or are susceptible of creating any discrimination in the matter of taxation of sales of goods. It is further contended that in taxing statutes the Legislature necessarily has to leave the work of actual implementation and enforcement of the various measures formulated and codified therein by it to some other responsible body or authority according to the variety of circumstances and exigencies as they arise from time to time. Such body or authority has to act in accordance with and within the legislative mandates with utmost responsibility and is always amenable to legislative control. In the instant case, the learned counsel stated, a no less responsible authority than the State Government has been entrusted with the duty and work of implementing the statutory provisions. According to him the delegate here is a body whose executive power extends to the matters with respect to which the Legislature of the State has power to make laws and, therefore, also, the powers delegated to the State Government cannot be said to be excessive or unwarranted. Besides, the Legislature has provided for adequate control on the exercise of the powers of the Government under Sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 3-A of the Act by enacting Sub-section (3). Goods can be of infinite variety and are not capable of comprehensive and exhaustive enumeration or even classification and, therefore, it is not possible for the Legislature to lay down the rate at which the sale of any particular goods or class of goods is to be taxed nor the point at which the tax is to be levied. These essentially are matters of detail intimately connected with the implementation of the legislative policy and intent embodied in the Act passed by the Legislature. Reference in the course of arguments was made to principles of public finance as enunciated in some text books on the subject or recognised and approved in decided cases. The intention of the Legislature being clear, in spite of defective or poor drafting and the maximum rate of tax having been prescribed by the Act itself, Sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 3-A must be held to be valid and cannot be struck down either on the ground that they contravene Article 14 of the Constitution or on the ground that they suffer from excessive delegation of essential legislative function and power. The impugned notifications are also valid and the infirmity, if any, therein is cured by U.P. Act 2 of 1970.
19. The petitioners have sought to refute the submissions made on behalf of the respondents by contesting the correctness of some of the propositions canvassed by the learned counsel for the respondents and the applicability of some of them to the instant cases. Some of the points raised by the respondents' learned counsel, according to the petitioners, are either concluded by the decisions of the Supreme Court or are contrary to the views of that court.
20. The question whether Sub-section (3) of Section 3-A of the Act ensures adequate control and provides sufficient safeguard against arbitrary exercise of discretionary powers conferred on the State Government hardly needs any independent discussion. The view taken by this court in Haji Lal Mohammad Biri Works v. Sales Tax Officer, Allahabad A.I.R. 1959 All. 208 that it did, does not appear to be correct. In any case after the decision of the Supreme Court in Jan Mohammad Noor Mohammad Bagban v. The State of Gujarat A.I.R. 1966 S.C. 385 and the amendment in Sub-section (1) of Section 3-A by U.P. Act 2 of 1970, the said view can no longer be held to be tenable. The safeguard, if any, provided for in Sub-section (3) of the section is neither adequate nor effective.
21. The argument that the executive powers of the State are conterminous with the legislative powers of the State Legislature and, therefore, the powers delegated to the State Government in Section 3-A(1) and (2) of the Act are neither excessive nor unwarranted has no force. In Messrs Devi Dass Gopal Krishnan v. State of Punjab A.I.R. 1967 S.C. 1895 such an argument was raised before the Supreme Court but rejected. (See paragraph 11 of the judgment).
22. The two main questions raised by the petitioners may now be examined. On both the points at issue, the learned counsel for the parties have primarily sought to fortify their respective submissions by the pronounced dicta and observations of the Supreme Court, culled out by them from various cases which they cited. The challenge by the petitioners being to the provisions of a taxing statute, it will be appropriate to consider in particular those citations which directly relate to such legislation.
23. At the outset it may be stated that it is now settled law that taxing laws are not immune from attack based either on Article 14 of the Constitution or on the ground of unwarranted delegation of essential legislative function and power. The matter has been considered by the Supreme Court in a number of cases, and it will not be out of place to quote a few passages from some of them.
24. In K. T. M. Nair v. State of Kerala A.I.R. 1961 S.C. 552the constitutionality of the Travancore-Cochin Land Tax Act, 1955, was impugned on the ground, inter alia, that inequality was writ large in the provisions of the Act, which was clearly discriminatory in character and effect and thus it infringed Article 14 of the Constitution. In reply it was argued that the Act had its justification in Article 265 which was not subject to the provisions of Part III of the Constitution and that, therefore, articles 14, 19 and 31 could not be pressed in aid of the petitioners. It was also contended that even if the Act was, in effect, confiscatory, it could not be questioned, being a taxing statute. In paragraph 7 of the judgment it was observed :
Article 265 imposes a limitation on the taxing power of the State in so far as it provides that the State shall not levy or collect a tax, except by authority of law, that is to say, a tax cannot be levied or collected by a mere executive fiat. It has to be done by authority of law, which must mean valid law. In order that the law may be valid, the tax proposed to be levied must be within the legislative competence of the Legislature imposing a tax and authorising the collection thereof and, secondly, the tax must be subject to the conditions laid down in Article 13 of the Constitution. One of such conditions envisaged by Article 13(2) is that the Legislature shall not make any law which takes away or abridges the equality clause in Article 14, which enjoins the State not to deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws of the country. It cannot be disputed that if the Act infringes the provisions of Article 14 of the Constitution, it must be struck down as unconstitutional.... It must, therefore, be held that a taxing statute is not wholly immune from attack on the ground that it infringes the equality clause in Article 14, though the courts are not concerned with the policy underlying a taxing statute or whether a particular tax could not have been imposed in a different way or in a way that the court might think more just and equitable.
25. In Raja Jagannath Baksh Singh v.. State of U.P. A.I.R. 1962 S. C. 1563 the validity of the U.P. Large Land Holdings Tax Act, 1957, was challenged on the ground that it violated Article 14 of the Constitution. After examining the legal position and taking into consideration the various cases on the point decided by the Supreme Court itself, the learned Judges started (in paragraph 15):
Therefore, it must now be taken to be settled that the validity of a tax law can be challenged on the ground that it infringes one or the other of the fundamental rights guaranteed by Part III....
26. In so far as the objection based on 'excessive delegation' is concerned, the legal position is also settled. The question was elaborately examined by the Supreme Court in In re The Delhi Laws Act A.I.R. 1951 S.C. 332 and basic principles were enunciated. Thereafter, many cases in which the validity of different provisions of different statutes was challenged came to be decided by the Supreme Court, and, in Vasanlal Maganbhai Sanjanwala v. State of Bombay A.I.R. 1961 S.C. 4 it was observed (paragraph 4):
It is now well-established by the decisions of this court that the power of delegation is a constituent element of the legislative power as a whole, and that in modern times when the Legislatures enact laws to meet the challenge of the complex socio-economic problems, they often find it convenient and necessary to delegate subsidiary or ancillary powers to delegates of their choice for carrying out the policy laid down by their Acts. The extent to which such delegation is permissible is also now well-settled. The Legislature cannot delegate its essential legislative function in any case. It must lay down the legislative policy and principle, and must afford guidance for carrying out the said policy before it delegates its subsidiary powers in that behalf.
27. In Delhi Municipality v. B.C.S. and W. Mills A.I.R. 1968 S.C. 1232 seven learned Judges of the Supreme Court again examined the question of constitutionality of delegation of taxing powers to Municipal Corporations. (Previously it was considered in Corporation of Calcutta v. Liberty Cinema A.I.R. 1965 S.C. 1107 at p. 1897 and a number of other cases). Wanchoo, C.J., speaking for himself and Shelat, J. (with whom Hidayatullah, Ramaswami and Sikri, JJ., concurred) after a review of all important decided cases observed :
The principle is well-established that essential legislative function consists of the determination of the legislative policy and its formulation as a binding rule of conduct and cannot be delegated by the Legislature. Nor is there any unlimited right of delegation inherent in the legislative power itself. This is not warranted by the provisions of the Constitution.
The learned Chief Justice in paragraph 24 of his judgment observed as follows:
The observation in Banarsi Das' case  S.C.R. 427 that rates of tax are not essential features of legislation therefore seems, with respect, to be too broadly stated, though it may be admitted that rates of taxation also can in certain circumstances be delegated to a subordinate authority with proper guidance and subject to safeguards and limitations in that behalf.
28. In the cases before us we are not concerned with delegation of power of taxation and of fixing of rates of tax to Municipal Corporations or Local Bodies. It would, therefore, be necessary to examine the legal position in regard to delegation of powers by the Legislature to executive authorities, e.g., the State Government.
29. In M/s. Devi Dass v. State of Punjab  20 S.T.C. 430 (S.C.) one of the points raised was that Section 5 of the East Punjab General Sales Tax Act, 1948, was void because it gave an unlimited power to the executive to levy sales tax at a rate which it thought fit and that it continued to remain void in spite of the subsequent amendment by which the exercise of the power of the State Government to fix rates of sales tax was limited to rates not exceeding two pice in a rupee. Adverting to Corporation of Calcutta v. Liberty Cinema A.I.R. 1965 S.C. 1107 Subba Rao, C.J., observed :
If this decision is an authority for the position that the Legislature can delegate its power to a statutory authority to levy taxes and fix the rates in regard thereto, it is equally an authority for the position that the said statute to be valid must give a guidance to the said authority for fixing the said rates and that guidance cannot be judged by stereotyped rules but would depend upon the provisions of a particular Act.
It was held (for the reasons stated in paragraph 16 of the judgment) that Section 5 of the Act, as it stood before the amendment, was void. The validity of the amended section was upheld but it was observed (in paragraph 23 of the judgment) as follows :
Even so it was contended that Section 5, as amended, only gave the maximum rate and did not disclose any policy giving guidance to the Legislature for fixing any rate within that maximum. Here we are concerned with sales tax. If the Act had said ' 2 pice in a rupee' it would be manifest that it was a clear guidance. But as the Act applies to sales or purchases of different commodities it had become necessary to give some discretion to the Government in fixing the rate. Conferment of reasonable area of discretion by a fiscal statute has been approved by this court in more than one decision : see Khandige Sham Bhat v. Agricultural Income-tax Officer, Kasaragod  3 S.C.R. 809. At the same time a larger statutory discretion placing a wide gap between the minimum and the maximum rates and thus enabling the Government to fix an arbitrary rate may not be sustained. In the ultimate analysis, the permissible discretion depends upon the facts of each case. The discretion to fix the rate between 1 pice and 2 pice in a rupee is so insignificant that it is not possible to hold that it exceeds the permissible limits. It follows that Section 5 of the Act as amended is valid.
30. In Delhi Municipality's case A.I.R. 1968 S.C. 1232 the basic distinction between the delegation of power of fixing the rates of tax like sales tax to the State Government and the delegation of power of fixing rates of certain taxes for purposes of local taxation was pointed out by. the learned Chief Justice in paragraph 27 thus:
The needs of the State are unlimited and the purposes for which the State exists are also unlimited. The result of making delegation of a tax like sales tax to the State Government means a power to fix the tax without any limit even if the needs and purposes of the State are to be taken into account. On the other hand, in the case of a municipality, however large may be the amount required by it for its purposes it cannot be unlimited, for the amount that a municipality can.spend is limited by the purposes for which it is created. A municipality cannot spend anything for any purposes other than those specified in the Act which creates it. Therefore, in the case of a municipal body, however large may be its needs, there is a limit to those needs in view of the provisions of the Act creating it. In such circumstances there is a clear distinction between delegating a power to fix rates of tax, like the sales tax, to the State Government and delegating a power to fix certain local taxes for local needs to a municipal body.
31. In Shri Ram Krishna Dalmia v. Shri Justice S.R. Tendolkar A.I.R. 1958 S.C. 538 upon a review of the previous cases decided by the Supreme Court itself, the learned Judges summarised the principles which will have to be constantly borne in mind by the court when it is called upon to adjudge the- constitutionality of any particular law attacked as discriminatory and violative of equal protection of the laws. Six principles were categorised under different sub-paragraphs (a) to (f) of paragraph 11 of the judgment. Out of them (f) is as follows:
That while good faith and knowledge of the existing conditions on the part of a Legislature are to be presumed, if there is nothing on the face of the law or the surrounding circumstances brought to the notice of the court on which the classification may reasonably be regarded as based, the presumption of constitutionality cannot be carried to the extent of always holding that there must be some undisclosed and unknown reasons for subjecting certain individuals or corporations to hostile or discriminating legislation.
In paragraph 12 of the judgment it was stated that a statute which may come up for consideration on a question of its validity under Article 14 of the Constitution may be placed in one or other of five classes mentioned in that paragraph. The instant cases come under class (iii) specified by the Supreme Court which reads :
A statute may not make any classification of the persons or things for the purpose of applying its provisions but may leave it to the discretion of the Government to select and classify persons or things to whom its provisions are to apply. In determining the question of the validity or otherwise of such a statute the court will not strike down the law out of hand only because no classification appears on its face or because a discretion is given to the Government to make the selection or classification but will go on to examine and ascertain if the statute has laid down any principle or policy for the guidance of the exercise of the discretion by the Government in the matter of the selection or classification. After such scrutiny the court will strike down the statute if it does not lay down any principle or policy for guiding the exercise of discretion by the Government in the matter of selection or classification, on the ground that the statute provides for the delegation of arbitrary and uncontrolled power to the Government so as to enable it to discriminate between persons or things similarly situate and that, therefore, the discrimination is inherent in the statute itself. In such a case the court will strike down both the law as well as the executive action taken under such law.
Class (iv) may also be quoted here :
A statute may not make a classification of the persons or things for the purpose of applying its provisions and may leave it to the discretion of the Government to select and classify the persons or things to whom its provisions are to apply but may at the same time lay down a policy or principle for the guidance of the exercise of discretion by the Government in the matter of such selection or classification; the court will uphold the law as constitutional.
32. Here we are directly concerned with the third class of cases noted above. The Act does not, except in Section 3-AA, specify or classify any goods for purposes of taxation or fixing rates or points of taxation; nor does it lay down any principle or standard by which its delegate is to be guided in regard to such matters. It does not also indicate or suggest any discernible basis for fixation of enhanced rates of tax by the State Government in exercise of the power delegated to the Government in that behalf in Section 3-A(2). On the contrary, it invests the State Government with absolute discretion to fasten the entire liability of paying tax at enhanced rates, which may be anything up to ten naye paise per rupee, on one out of serveral dealers in cases of multiple sales and on the sole dealer in cases where particular goods are normally amenable to one sale only.
33. Fixation of rates of tax is, according to the petitioners' counsel, an essential legislative function. This function or power cannot be delegated to anybody or authority however high or responsible and assuming that it can be delegated, the petitioners contend the Legislature must restrict the exercise of the power by its delegate within narrow confines, lay down guiding principles and provide adequate and effective safeguard against arbitrary or unwarranted exercise of the power.
34. As discussed and noted above, Sub-section (3) of Section 3-A of the Act does not provide any adequate safeguard. For that reason only, however, Sub-sections (1) and (2) cannot be struck down.
35. The learned counsel for the respondents has urged that where the Legislature has declared its policy, laid out different patterns of taxation and formulated basic tax structures, it has duly performed its essential legislative function. In such a case, the taxing law passed by it is not vitiated merely because it has entrusted the ancillary function of implementing the legal measures to a responsible body nominated by it. A certain amount of discretion has necessarily to be given by the Legislature to such body, otherwise the law in question will stand stultified. The learned counsel contends that there is nothing illegal in conferring power on a responsible subordinate body to fix rates of tax even without prescribing the maximum limit, and, in cases where such limit has been laid down by the Legislature itself no ground of attack based on the doctrine of excessive delegation can subsist.
36. Some of the rulings cited at the Bar have been noted above. Others may now be examined for the purpose of evaluating or testing the respective merits of the contentions of the parties. The authorities on which the respondents rely may be considered first.
37. In the Delhi Municipality's case A.I.R. 1968 S.C. 1232 the question was whether Section 150 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, is invalid because it suffers from the vice of excessive delegation. This section enables the Corporation to pass a resolution for levy of optional taxes specified in Section 113(2) and to fix the class or classes of persons or the description or descriptions of articles and properties to be taxed and to lay down the system of assessment and exemption, if any, to be granted. The section was held to be valid in accordance with the majority view. This case, which has already been noted above, can be of little help to the respondents. Wanchoo, C.J., after a brief review of the history of Municipal Acts in our country observed that according to our history there is a wide area of delegation in the matter of imposition of taxes to local bodies subject to controls and safeguards of various kinds which partakes of the nature of guidance in the matter of fixing rates of local taxation. The learned Chief Justice then pointed out the various checks, guides or controls on the exercise of the power delegated to elected municipal bodies : to wit, delegation is to an elected body responsible to the people including those who pay taxes ; the limit to which the Corporation can tax is circumscribed by the need to finance the functions which it has to perform ; the power is exercised after debate by the elected representatives of the local area concerned; the necessity of adopting budget estimates each year ; even though the needs may be large they cannot be unlimited ; rates fixed by the Corporation have to be submitted to the Government for sanction and without such sanction there can be no imposition of tax; rates of taxation fixed, if unreasonable, can be struck down by courts. The learned Chief Justice also pointed out the basic difference between delegation of power of taxation to a Municipal Corporation and the State Government in paragraph 27 of the judgment, material passages wherefrom have been quoted earlier.
38. In view of the essential difference between delegation of powers of imposition of taxation and of fixation of rates of tax to local bodies, such as municipalities, and to State Governments, cases concerning such local bodies cannot be of much assistance. All the same, they may be briefly noticed.
39. In the case of Bangalore Woollen Mills  3 S.C.R. 698 a contention was raised as to the validity of conferment of power upon the municipality to specify 'other articles' for imposition of octroi on the ground of excessive delegation. This was rejected with an observation that it was in the nature of conditional delegation. The case was referred to ;the Constitution Bench for final disposal on two other points. The Constitution Bench left the question whether it was Conditional delegation or excessive delegation, which was raised incidentally, undecided : Bangalore Woollen, Cotton and Silk Mills Co. Ltd., Bangalore v. Corporation of the City of Bangalore  3 S.C.R. 707 At-pp. 716-717.
40. In the Corporation of Calcutta v. Liberty Cinema A.I.R. 1965 S.C. 1107 the attack was directed against Section 548(2) of the Calcutta Municipal Act, 1951, which provided that for every licence or written permission (for running cinema houses etc.) ' a fee may be charged at such rates as may from time to time be fixed by the Corporation.' In the majority judgment by which it was decided that the impugned section was not invalid due to excessive delegation, the legal position was (in paragraph 26) stated thus : .
No doubt when the power to fix rates of taxes is left to another body, the Legislature must provide guidance for such fixation.... We first wish to observe that the validity of the guidance cannot be tested by a rigid uniform rule ; that must depend on the object of the Act giving power to fix the rate. It is said that the delegation of power to fix rates of taxes for meeting the needs of the delegate to be valid, must provide the maximum rates that can be fixed or lay down rules indicating that maximum. We are unable to see how the specification of the maximum rate supplies any guidance as to how the amount of tax which no doubt has to be below the maximum, is to be fixed. Provision for such maximum only sets out a limit of the rate to be imposed and a limit is only a limit and not a guidance.
It was ultimately concluded (in paragraph 30) that the power of the Corporation to collect tax is necessarily limited by the expenses required to discharge the various functions which it has to perform under the Act. It has, therefore, where rates have not been specified in the statute, to fix such rates as may be necessary to meet its needs.
41. There is, however, no parity between delegation of power to a local body to impose tax and to fix rates of tax and delegation of such power to the Government. The Supreme Court itself in several subsequent cases, specially in Delhi Municipality's case A.I.R. 1968 S.C. 1232 has explained and expounded the legal position. It may be added that all local bodies invested with the power of local Government owe their existence to statutes enacted by the Legislature, whereas the existence and source of executive power of all State Governments emanate from the Constitution, and that there is a fundamental difference between the nature and extent of such powers.
42. In Jullundur Rubber Goods Manufacturers' Association v. The Union of India A.I.R. 1970 S.C. 1589 Section 12(2) of the Rubber Act, 1947, was held to be not violative of Article 14 of the Constitution nor invalid due to excessive delegation. The learned Judges adverting to the legal principles laid down in Delhi Municipality's case3 held, after examining the material provisions of the Rubber Act and the Rules made thereunder, that the policy of the Act had been enunciated with sufficient clarity and guidance had been furnished by the provisions of the Act as to how the Board should exercise its powers in the matter of levy and collection of tax. This case, therefore, also does not advance the argument of the learned counsel for the respondents.
43. In the State of Madras v. N.K. Nataraja Mudaliar A.I.R. 1969 S.C. 147 one of the points for consideration was as to whether the Central Sales Tax Act in so far as it permitted levy of tax at varying rates in different States was invalid. One of the grounds of attack was founded on Article 14 of the Constitution. But no question of excessive delegation appears to have been raised. In paragraph 16 of the judgment to which reference was made by the learned counsel for the respondents it was observed :
The rate which a State Legislature imposes in respect of inter-State transaction in a particular commodity must depend upon a variety of factors. A State may be led to impose a high rate of tax on a commodity either when it is not consumed at all within the State or if it feels that the burden which is falling on the consumers within the State will be more than offset by the gain in revenue ultimately derived from outside consumers. The imposition of rates of sales tax is normally influenced by factors political and economic. If the rate is so high as to drive away prospective traders from purchasing a commodity and to resort to other sources of supply, in its own interest the State will adjust the rate to attract purchasers. Again in a democratic constitution political forces would operate against the levy of an unduly high rate of tax. The rate of tax on sales of a commodity may not ordinarily be based on arbitrary considerations, but in the light of the facility of trade in a particular commodity, the market conditions-internal and external-and the likelihood of consumers not being scared away by the price which includes a high rate of tax....
44. The above noted observations, however, are not apposite to the instant cases. The question in the said case was examined basically from the point of view of inter-State sales and its repercussions on the trade in a particular commodity. In that case the Central Act had left it to the State Government concerned to fix sales tax within the range specified in the Act. Even then it was observed that the rate of tax may not ordinarily be based on arbitrary considerations.
45. In East India Tobactco Co. v. The State of Andhra Pradesh A.I.R. 1962 S.C. 1733 Article 14 of the Constitution was invoked for the purposes of challenging the validity of the amendment made in Section 5 of the Madras General Sales Tax Act by an Amendment Act. As a result of this amendment a distinction was made between 'country tobacco' and 'Virginia tobacco'. The former was exempted from sales tax while the latter became liable to be taxed. The learned Judges observed:
The differences which exist between the Virginia and Nattu country tobacco are materials on which the State could treat Virginia tobacco as forming a class by itself for purpose of taxation, and the impugned legislation must be held to be not obnpxious to Article 14 of the Constitution.
This case has hardly any bearing on the question which falls for decision in the instant cases.
46. In Orient Weaving Mills (P.) Ltd. v. Union of India A.I.R. 1963 S.C. 98 the question was whether Rule 8 of the Central Excise Rules, which confers upon the Central Government the power to exempt partly or wholly any excisable goods, does or does not suffer from the vice of excessive delegation or is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. The validity of the impugned rule was upheld. It was pointed out that the State had made a valid classification between goods produced in big establishments and similar goods produced by small power-loom weavers in the mofussil, who are usually ignorant, illiterate and poor and suffer from handicaps to which big establishments like the petitioner-company are not subject. In paragraph 8 of the judgment it was also observed :
It is always open to the State to tax certain classes of goods and not to tax others. The Legislature is the best judge to decide as to the incidence of taxation as also to the amount of tax to be levied in respect of different classes of goods.
In the said case two questions were examined from a limited angle confined almost solely to the provisions of the impugned rule. In several subsequent cases to which reference has already been made the Supreme Court itself considered the two questions from various angles and enunciated the principles and the tests with reference to which such questions should be generally examined and decided. Passages or observations from the judgments of the Supreme Court in different cases cannot be casually or in isolation picked out for deciding as to whether in a given case the impugned law does or does not suffer from the vice of excessive delegation or infringes Article 14 of the Constitution. Such questions necessarily will have to be decided in each individual case with reference to the provisions of the particular Act concerned and in doing so the basic principles enunciated by the Supreme Court have to be kept in view. Two other cases relied on by the respondents may, however, be also noted.
47. In Khyerbari Tea Co. Ltd. v. State of Assam A.I.R. 1964 S.C. 925 the validity of the Assam Taxation (On Goods Carried by Road or on Inland Waterways) Act, 1961, by which tax was levied on tea and jute was impugned on the ground that it was discriminatory inasmuch as only two commodities, tea and jute, had been selected for the purpose of taxation. .The Act was held to be valid and it was pointed out that tea and jute are the main products of the State of Assam and that it was not suprising that the Assam Legislature levied tax on the said two articles. The other case, Devi Dass Gopal Krishnan v. State of Punjab A.I.R. 1967 S.C. 1895 has already been considered above and need not be gone into again.
48. The learned counsel for the respondents further submitted that there is a presumption in favour of the constitutional validity of a statute and that the impugned provisions of a statute must be construed in a manner conducive to the, constitutionality and not in a manner destructive of the same. It was urged that in the instant cases the intention of the Legislature in enacting U. P. Act 2 of 1970 and in amending thereby some of the provisions of the parent Act including Section 3-A(1) thereof was quite clear. If the legislative intention is clear and can be sufficiently gathered from the impugned Section 3-A(1) of the Act it is the duty of the court to give effect to that intention. According to the learned counsel it is a case, at the worst, of bad and defective drafting. In support of this argument reliance was placed by the learned counsel on Ram Krishna Dalmia's case A.I.R. 1958 S.C. 538 which has already been considered above. Reliance was also plased on the observation made by Sarkar, J., in M. Pentiah v. Muddala Veeramallappa A.I.R. 1961 S. C. 1107 and the observation of Denning, L. J., in Seaford Court Estates Ltd. v. Asher  2 All E.R. 155 quoted in the said paragraph.
49. The learned counsel for the petitioners, however, have rightly pointed out that fiscal statutes have to be construed in accordance with the plain language used by the Legislature and that in the instant case the attended Section 3-A(1) does not even call for any interpretation or construction because the language is plain and clear, in which the legislative intent is unambiguously expressed. It was further urged that the court has no power of supplying the deficiency in a statute, far less in a taxing statute. A number of rulings in support of the argument were cited. It is, however, not necessary to refer to all of them as the law on the subject has been clearly stated by the Supreme Court in two very recent cases-(1) Janapada Sabha, Chhindwara, etc. v. The Central Provinces Syndicate Ltd. A.I.R. 1971 S.C. 57 and (2) M/s. Baidyanath Ayurved Bhawan (P.) Ltd., Jhansi v. The Excise Commissioner, U. P. A.I.R. 1971 S.C. 378 It would be enough to quote the following passage from paragraph 8 of the judgment in the last-mentioned case :
In interpreting a taxing provision, the courts should not ordinarily concern themselves with the policy behind the provision or even with its impact. As observed by Rowlatt, J., in Cape Brandy Syndicate v. Commissioners of Inland Revenue  1 K.B. 64 that in a taxing Act one has to look at what is clearly said. There is no room for any intendment. There is no equity about a tax. There is no presumption as to a tax. Nothing is to be read in, nothing is to be implied. One can only look fairly at the language used.
The aforesaid dictum of Rowlatt, J., was also cited with approval in Janapada Sabha, Chhindwara's case4.
50. By referring to the treatises on public finance from which support was sought to be derived by the learned counsel for the respondents no useful purpose will be served. The question here is not one of legislative competence involving any basic principle of public finance. The question essentially is as to the validity of the impugned provision of the Act questioned on two stated grounds, which have nothing to do with principles of public finance.
51. In the course of arguments the learned counsel for the respondents also urged that it is open to the Legislature to impose tax on luxuries under entry 62, List II, Schedule VII, of the Constitution and that the impugned Section 3-A of the Act should be treated as having been made in exercise of the legislative power under the said entry in conjunction with the power of the Legislature to impose sales tax under entry 54. This argument is without force. The Act expressly states that it is an Act for imposition of taxes on sale of goods. Besides, it may be stated that the Act does not contain any provision for classification of goods as 'luxury goods' and 'non-luxury goods'.
52. Here, it may be appropriately mentioned that Section 3-A, prior to its amendment by U. P. Act 19 of 1956, might have been reasonably construed as specifying the goods mentioned in Sub-section (1) of the said section as 'luxury goods' which might be taxed at an enhanced rate up to one anna per rupee while other goods to be specified by the State Government which could be taxed at a rate not exceeding nine pies in a rupee to be 'non-luxury goods'. In fact, in Gurna Mai's case1, an observation to that effect was made. Section 3-A, as it obtains now, however, completely rules out any such basis for classification of goods, or for imposition of tax at different rates on 'luxury' and 'non-luxury' goods.
53. Before proceeding to decide whether the impugned Sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 3-A of the Act are constitutionally invalid it may be mentioned that this court in two cases decided by Division Benches had held that Section 3-A, as it then stood, did not suffer from the vice of excessive delegation nor infringed Article 14 of the Constitution. These cases are Firm Thakur Das Sundar Das v. Sales Tax Officer, Agra  10 S.T.C. 432 and H. L. M. Bin Works v. Sales Tax Officer, Allahabad  10 S.T.C. 424.
54. In view of the fact that Section 3-A as it obtains now is basically different from the provisions contained therein at the time when its validity was examined by this court in the two aforesaid cases, those cases can be of no help in deciding whether Section 3-A, as it stands now, is or is not invalid on the grounds raised by the petitioners.
55. In Gttrna Mal's case1 also Section 3-A was held to be valid. It was observed that the statement of objects and reasons accompanying the Bill, which was enacted as Act 25 of 1948, contained the basic legislative policy and in Section 3-A the implementation of the policy of the Legislature and the principles laid down by it was only left to the State Government. Therefore, there was sufficient guidance for the exercise of the power by the State Government under Section 3-A. A similar view was taken in an earlier case.
56. It may also be pointed out that when Gurna Mal's case 1970 A.L.J. 584 was decided, Section 3-A( 1) had already been amended by U. P. Ordinance 2 of 1970. In that case, it appears, an argument was advanced on behalf of the State of U. P. after amendment by the Ordinance. Section 3-A(1) clearly brought within its ambit goods which in the usual course of commercial transaction undergo only one sale. In other words, the amended section also comprehended a case in which there was no multiple sale. This argument was not accepted, and it was observed that if the argument advanced on behalf of the State based on such interpretation were to be accepted, Section 3-A(1) would be liable to be struck down as being violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. The said section as amended by U. P. Act 2 of 1970, however, now leaves no room for any construction by which goods which undergo normally one sale only can be said to be outside the ambit of the amended section. Therefore, there is now a direct confrontation between the petitioners, who have challenged the validity of Section 3-A(1) and (2) of the Act on the two grounds already stated above, and the respondents.
57. The above discussion portends an almost inescapable conclusion that the vices of excessive delegation and of discrimination are ingrained in Sub-sections (1) and (2) both of Section 3-A of the Act, at least in so far as they purport to bring within their mischief turnovers in respect of goods, such as bricks, which in the ordinary course of business do not undergo more than one sale. The question then is whether the impugned sub-sections are liable to be struck down in their entirety or is there any ma media, which may be reasonably adopted to sever the malignant provisions only, provided of course, they are severable, leaving the rest intact.
58. The basic grievance of the brick manufacturers is, and was in the past as well, that their turnovers liable to be taxed only under the general charging Section 3, are being illegally subjected to taxation under Section 3-A. Adequate relief can be granted to them without striking down Sub-section (2) of Section 3-A at all or Sub-section (1) in its entirety. It would be necessary to strike down only the undernoted clause added to Sub-section (1) of Section 3-A by U.P. Act 2 of 1970 :
and such declaration may be made notwithstanding that the goods or class of goods are not capable of being sold, or according to prevalent commercial practice are not ordinarily sold at more than one point.
The said clause is completely severable and, if severed, will not in any way affect the remaining provision.
59. Apart from the objection that Sub-section (1) of Section 3-A empowers the State Government to take out the turnover of any goods or class of goods from the operation of the general law enacted in Section 3 and to subject the same to hostile taxation under Section 3-A, another objection is that the aforesaid clause authorises wholly arbitrary and unguided imposition of enhanced tax not only on the turnover of the goods or class of goods at one selected point out of several points of sale, but also on the sole turnover of any such goods or class of goods as in the ordinary course of business, undergo a single sale. Sub-section (1) of Section 3-A read with Sub-section (2) thereof thus provides the State Government with a dragnet but without any direction or guidance or restriction as to when, how and under what circumstances it is to be used. Within its fold Section 3-A(1) engulfs transactions of sale which are radically different and have no nexus and exposes them to higher taxation at enhanced rates to be imposed in its discretion by the State Government. Thus, Section 3-A(1) itself provides for an arbitrary discrimination without any rational basis. In cases where a single point has to be selected out of multiple points of sale, there may be some basis and justification for imposition of sales tax at a higher rate. In such cases, because tax is to be levied on one transaction of sale out of several, notionally at the point of taxation, the points selected can be treated as representing several sales and on that basis a higher incidence of taxation may be provided for. To illustrate the point, take the case of a commodity which ordinarily undergoes four sales. Under Section 3 sales tax can be levied on each of such sales and the total amount of tax realised would be 8 naye paise per rupee. Section 3-A( 1) provides for exemption of all other turnovers except the selected one. Therefore, if the law provides for enhancement of rate of taxation so as to result in realisation by way of tax an amount which is equivalent to or less than the total amount which might have been realised under Section 3, there cannot be any reasonable ground for complaint. This, however, cannot be said in cases where the commodity in question undergoes only one sale. It is difficult to find out any rational basis or cogent ground why the sole turnover of such commodity is to be subjected to taxation at a rate higher than the rate provided for in Section 3. Here it may as well be noted that both in the cases of Gurna Mal 1970 A.L.J. 584 and that of Dr. Sukh Deo  14 S.T.C. 581 this court held that the legislative policy behind Section 3-A was to give some relief to the dealers of commodities, which undergo several sales and to the ultimate consumer of such commodities. This policy was gathered from the statement of objects and reasons appended to the Bill which was enacted into Act 25 of 1948. The said policy, it was held, provided sufficient guidance to the State Government in regard to the exercise of the powers conferred on it under Section 3-A of the Act. If the legislative policy continues to be the same it is impossible to hold that the offending clause of Section 3-A(1) added by U.P. Act No. 2 of 1970 can in any way be consonant with such policy. It has not been shown to us that there has been any subsequent change of policy or the 'policy behind U.P. Act 2 of 1970 is such as would give constitutional sanction to enhanced taxation of turnovers both in respect of goods which are subject to multiple sales and goods which are subject to only one sale. The position thus appears to be that while in case of multiple sales the exercise of the powers conferred on the State Government under Sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 3-A can be said to be guided by the aforesaid policy, in regard to the exercise of such powers, in respect of goods which are subject to single sale, there is no guidance whatsoever.
60. The clause quoted above, added to Section 3-A(1) by U.P. Act 2 of 1970, must, therefore, be held to be vitiated due to excessive delegation of legislative power and function, as also because it creates or is likely to create arbitrary and unwarranted discrimination. That clause, therefore, must be struck down.
61. Section 3-A(1), however, even without the aforesaid clause would be completely operative and would continue to operate in the same manner as it did operate before the amendment introduced by U.P. Act 2 of 1970. Turnovers in respect of bricks are liable to be and can be legally taxed only under the provisions of Section 3 of the Act.
62. The question which now remains for consideration is as to whether Sub-section (2) of Section 3-A must be held to be invalid on the grounds already discussed. This question need not have been considered but for the fact that the 'retail vendors of country liquor' have also challenged its validity and the striking down of the newly added clause to Section 3-A(1) will still leave them within the ambit of the provisions of Section 3-A(1) and (2). The rate of tax applicable to them has been declared to be 10 naye paise per rupee. It has been urged that country liquor ordinarily does not undergo and cannot under the provisions of the Excise Act undergo more than two sales. Therefore, it is contended, there can be no justification for subjecting the sale of country liquor by the retail vendor to taxation under Section 3-A(2) at the rate of 10 naye paise per rupee as against the rate of 2 naye paise per rupee under Section 3 of the Act, leviable on each of the two sales. They have further urged that if guidance in the matter of exercise of power of enhancement of tax is to be found in the legislative policy judicially noted in the cases of Gurna Mal 1970 A.L.J. 584 and Dr. Sukh Deo  14 S.T.C. 581 the imposition of tax at the rate of 10 naye paise per rupee would be not in consonance with the legislative policy. The fixation of such high rate of tax would be an arbitrary exercise of power not warranted by the legislative policy which is supposed to provide guidance to the State Government. This argument is not without force. It is not, however, necessary to give a decision on this question, because the impugned notification dated April 2, 1969, challenged by the petitioners concerned, under which they had been made liable to pay sales tax and that too at an enhanced rate under Section 3-A(2), is liable to be held unenforceable against them on certain other ground which will be stated separately in the judgment by which the writ petitions filed by the retail vendors are to be decided on merits.
63. In the result the three petitions filed by brick manufacturers are allowed with costs. The following clause in Section 3-A(1) of the Act added by U.P. Act 2 of 1970 : 'and such declaration may be made notwithstanding that the goods or class of goods are not capable of being sold or according to prevalent commercial practice are not ordinarily sold at more than one point' is held to be invalid and ineffective. The impugned notifications dated April 5, 1961, and December 1, 1962, are also held to be invalid. The turnovers of the petitioners shall be taxed in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Act.