Das Gupta, J. -
(1.)In this petition under Art. 32 of the Constitution the petitioner a partnership firm carrying on the business of manufacture of Bidis and having its head office at Jabalpur within the State of Madhya Pradesh complains that its fundamental rights under Art. 19(1)(f) and (g) of the Constitution have been violated by the illegal imposition of a purchase tax on certain purchases of tobacco made by it in the State of Bombay. It appears that the Sales Tax Officer, Baroda made an order assessing the petitioner to a purchase tax under S. 14, sub-sec. (6) of the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1953 (Bom. Act III of 1953) for the period April 1, 1954, to September 29, 1955. The petitioner contends that this assessment was illegal inasmuch, as these transactions are purchases "outside the State of Bombay" within the meaning of Art. 286(1)(a) of the Constitution read with the Explanation and also because these transactions took place in the course of inter-State trade and commerce within the meaning of Art. 286(2) of Constitution. It was also urged that the provisions of the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1953, do not authorise the imposition, levy or collection of any purchase tax on the transactions in question.
(2.)It appears that against this assessment order made by the Sales Tax Officer on October 18, 1955, the petitioner preferred an appeal to the Assistant Collector of Sales Tax. This officer set aside the order of the Sales tax Officer imposing a penalty under S. 16(4) but dismissed the appeal against the order of assessment to tax. The order in appeal was made on November 26, 1957. The present petition was filed on August 4, 1958, praying for a writ in the nature of mandamus or any other appropriate direction or order against the respondents - The State of Bombay, The Collector of Sales Tax, State of Bombay, The Sales Tax Officer, Baroda and the Assistant Collector of Sales Tax, Northern Division, Range III, Baroda - preventing them from enforcing the provisions of the Bombay Sales tax Act against the petitioner on the transactions in question, for a writ in the nature of certiorari for quashing the proceedings taken against the petitioner and the orders of assessment made by the Sales Tax Officer and the order in appeal by the Assistant Collector of Sales Tax and for a declaration that the Act does not authorise the imposition, levy or collection of tax on the transactions in question.
(3.)It will be convenient to consider first the petitioner's contention that the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1953, does not authorise the imposition of a tax on the purchase of bidi-tobacco. The relevant portion of S. 10(1) which provides for the levy of a purchase tax is in these words:
"there shall be levied a purchase tax on the turnover of purchase of goods specified in column 1 of Schedule B at the rates, if any, specified against such goods in column 4 of the said schedule.....".