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Report No. 61

3.59. 'Occasion' and 'cause'.-

The word "occasion" could be, very roughly, interpreted as having a meaning approaching the meaning usually attributed to the word "cause". On such interpretation, one could state that it is because of the contract of sale between the parties that the materials had their movement from the foreign country to India, and the contract of sale between the parties has (in that sense) "occasioned the movement of the goods" into the territory of India, by way of import. Any argument that by virtue of the decision in Khosla's case, the first sale after import is regarded as 'occasioning the import' within section 5, would require a discussion of what is meant by the word "occasion" or "cause".

3.60. The meaning of the expression "cause" may, therefore, be usefully examined at this stage. "Cause" originally meant both "cause" and "reason". "Cause" is the condensed expression of the factors of any phenomenon, the effect being the fact itself."1 "Of these two senses of the word 'cause', viz., that which brings a thing to be, and that on which a thing under given circumstances follows, the former is that of which our experience is the earlier and more intimate, being suggested to us by our consciousness of willing and doing."2

1. 2 G.H. Lewes Problems of Life and Mind, section 19 cited by Prescott Hall, "Doctrine of Proximate Cause" 15 Ea. Harvard Law Review, 541, 566.

2. J.H. Newman Grammer of Assent, 65.

3.61. On the general question of causation, there is an illumination passage in the speech of Lord Shaw of Dunfermline, in a case1 often cited:-

"To treat proxima cause as the cause which is nearest in time is out of the question. Causes are spoken of as if they were as distinct from one another as heads in a row or links in the chain, but-if this metaphysical topic has to be referred to-it is not wholly so. Causation is not a chain, but a net. At each point influences, forces, events, precedent all simultaneously meet; and the radiation from each point extends infinitely. At the point where these various influences meet, it is for the judgment, as upon a matter of fact, to declare which of the causes thus joined at the point of effect was the proximate and which was the remote cause."

(This passage may have been partly inspired by the argument of Wright K.C.).

1. Ley and Shipping Co. Ltd. v. Norwich Union Fire Insurance Society Ltd., 1918 AC 353 (369) Compare Arguments of Wright K.C. at pp. 352, 353.

Certain Problems connected with Powers of the States to Levy a Tax on the Sale of Goods and with the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956 Back

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