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Report No. 30

143. Observations in Bengal Immunity Co.'s case.-

The observations in the Bengal Immunity Case1 may be usefully referred to:

"It should be noted that these are four separate and independent restrictions placed upon the legislative competency of the States to make a law with respect to matters enumerated in Entry 54 of List II. In order to make the ban effective and to leave no loop-hole the Constitution-makers have considered the different aspects of sales or purchases of goods and placed checks on the legislative power of the States at different angles.

Thus, in clause (1)(a) of Article 286, the question of the situs of a sale or purchase engaged their attention and they forged a letter on the basis of such situs to cure the mischief of multiple taxation by the States on the basis of the nexus theory. In clause (1)(b) they considered sales or purchases from the point of view of our foreign trade and placed a ban on the States taxing power in order to make our foreign trade free from any interference by the States by way of a tax impost.

In clause (2) they looked at sales or purchases in their inter-State character and imposed another ban in the interest of the freedom of internal trade. Finally, in clause (3) the Constitution-makers' attention was rivetted on the character and quality of the goods themselves and they placed a fourth restriction on the States' power of imposing tax on sales or purchases of goods declared to be essential for the life of the community.

These several bans may overlap in some cases but in their respective scope and operation they are separate and independent. They deal with different phases of a sale or purchase but, nevertheless, they are distinct and one has nothing to do with and is not dependent on the other or others".

1. Bengal Immunity Co. Ltd. v. State of Bihar, (1955) 2 SCR 603: AIR 1955 SC 661: 6 STC 446 (471).

Section 5 of the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956 - Taxation by the States of Sales in the Course of Import Back

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