V. Bhargava, J.
1. These five petitions under Article 226 of the Constitution were heard together today. One of them was presented day before yesterday and the remaining four were presented today. All these five petitions were heard together as learned counsel for the petitioners stated that the important questions arising in all these petitions were identical.
2. All these five petitions have been presented by petitioners who challenge the validity of notifications dated 31-3-1956, issued in respect of goods in which these petitioners are dealing. Those notifications were purported to be issued by the State Government in exercise of their power under Section 3A (2) of the U. P. Sales Tax Act, 1948, as amended by the U. P. Sales Tax (Amendment) Ordinance, 1956. The U. P. Sales Tax (Amendment) Ordinance, 1956, in accordance with the provisions contained in it, came into force on 1-4-1956.
That Ordinance was replaced by the U. P. Sales Tax (Amendment) Act, 1956. After that Act had been passed, the validity of those notifications was challenged in certain writ petitions before this Court and the Court held that the notifications of 31-3-1956, were void. Thereafter the U. P. Sales Tax (Amendment) Act, 1957 was passed inter alia with the object of giving effect to the amended Section 3A retrospectively with effect from 31-3-1956. The object was to validate those notifications of 31-3-1956. After that Act was passed, a writ petition was filed in this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution which was heard by a Full Bench of this Court.
The decision of the Full Bench of this Court is reported in Firm Bangali Mal Satish Chandra Jain v. The Sales Tax Officer, Agra, 1958 All LJ 228: (AIR 1958 All 478). The Full Bench in that case held that the effect of the U. P. Sales Tax (Amendment) Act, 1957, no doubt, was that Section 3A (2) of the U. P. Sales Tax, 1948, was to be deemed to be in force on 31-3-1956, in the form in which it was introduced by the U. P. Sales Tax (Amendment) Ordinance, 1956, as replaced by the U. P. Sales Tax (Amendment) Act, 1956.
The Full Bench came to the view that, since the new Section 3A (2) was deemed to exist on 31-3-1956, in the U. P. Sales Tax Act, 1948, the power of the State Government to issue a notification of the nature which was issued, did exist on that date; but it further held that the notification was never purported to be issued in exercise of that power and, consequently, the notification was not valid. It was held by the Full Bench that a reading of the notification itself made it clear that it was issued in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3A of the U. P. Sales Tax Act, 1948, as amended from time to time and on the date when the notification in question was issued, Section 3A (2), which was in force, was the old Section without containing in it the amendments which were subsequently introduced by the U. P. Sales Tax (Amendment) Ordinance, 1956, or the U. P. Sales Tax (Amendment) Act, 1956.
It was further held that the fact that, in view of the retrospective operation of the 1957 Act, the State Government must be deemed to have requisite power under the new Section 3A (2). on 31-3-1956, will not convert a notification issued under the old Section 3A (2) into one issued under the new section. The notification itself not being under the new section, it was held that the retrospective conferment of the necessary power could not validate that notification which was not issued in exercise of that power.
That notification was, therefore, declared void again by the Fall Bench. After that decision by the Full Bench, the U. P, Legislature has now passed the U. P. Sales Tax (Validation) Act, 1958, which came into force on 6-5-1958, Sub-section (1) of Section 3 of this Act, with which we are concerned is as follows:
"3 (1) Notwithstanding any judgment, decree or order of any court, the notification specified in Part A, Part B and Part C of the Schedule shall be deemed to have been issued in exercise o the powers conferred respectively by Section 3, Section 3A and Section 4 of the U. P. Sales Tax Act, 1948, as if the said sections were in force on the date on which the notifications were issued in the form in which they were in force immediately before the commencement of this Act and all the said notifications shall be valid and shall be deemed always to have been valid and shall continue in force until amended, varied or rescinded by any notification issued under any of the said section."
It is to be kept in view that, in interpreting this provision of law, we have to accept the position, which was recognised by the Full Bench of this Court in the case of Firm Bangali Mal Satish Chandra Jain, (AIR 1958 All 478), cited above that the result of the earlier legislation already was that the power of issuing the notifications of 31-3-1956, must be deemed to have existed in the State Government on 31-3-1956.
The Full Bench declared the notification, which was questioned before it, void on the ground that the notification had not been issued in exercise of that power which was to be deemed to exist. The language of Section 3 of the U. P. Sales Tax (Validation) Act, 1958, quoted above clearly indicates that this Act has now been enacted just to get over the difficulty which was pointed out by the Full Bench in that case. As a question of fact, there can be no doubt that the notifications of the 31-3-1956, were not and could not have been issued in exercise of the power which actually came into existence after 31-3-1956, as a result of the subsequent legislation and which, by the retrospective application of that legislation, only created a fiction of law that that power must be deemed to have existed on 31-3-1956.
By Section 3 of the Act now in question, another legal fiction has been created and that fiction of law is that the power, which was actually and, in fact, not exercised under the amended Section 3A (2), is to be deemed to have been exercised under that amended provision of law. Section 3 of the U. P. Sales Tax (Validation) Act, 1958, clearly lays down that those notifications of 31-3-1956 are to be deemed to have been issued in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3A of the U. P. Sales Tax Act, 1948, as if the said Section as in force on 31-3-1956, in the same form in which it was in force on 6-5-1958, when the U. P. Sales Tax (Validation) Act, 1958, came into force.
On the language of Section 3 of the 1958 Act there was some argument by Shri Jagdish Samp, learned counsel for one of the petitioners, that, in this section, the expression 'in the form in which they were in force immediately before the commencement of this Act' should be read as qualifying the words 'the notifications' and should not be read as qualifying the expression, 'the said sections' which occurs a little earlier. To resolve this doubt, we went for the U. P. Gazette in which this Act was published in Hindi. Hindi has been adopted as (sic) language by the U. P. Legislature.
Under Article 348(3) of the Constitution if a Legislature of a State prescribes any language other than the English language for use in Bills introduced in, or Acts passed by, the Legislature of the State or in Ordinance promulgated by the Governor of the State or in any order, rule, regulation or bye-law referred to in paragraph (iii) of that Sub-clause, a translation of the same in the English language published under the authority of the Governor of the State in the Official Gazette of that State is to be deemed to be the authoritative text thereof in the English language under Article 348 of the Constitution.
The English version of the Act, on the basis of which arguments were advanced before us, in this State has merely the status of an authoritative text in the English language of the original Act. The original Act is in Hindi and wherever there be any doubt and, in fact, principally for purposes of properly interpreting any provision of such an enactment, the proper course is to look at the original Act as published in Hindi. In these circumstances, we looked up the Hindi version of this Act. On examining it, we find that there can be no doubt at all that the expression in English authoritative version in the form in which they were in force immediately before the commencement of this Act' qualifies the words 'the said sections' and does not qualify the words 'the notifications' in Section 3 of the U. P. Sales-tax (Validation) Act, 1958. The language in the Hindi version is as follows :
^^ek kas fd mDr /kkjk;sa foKfIr;ksa ds tkjh gksus ds mlh :i esa izpfyr Fkha ftl :i esa fd os bl vf/kfu;e ds izjaHk ds Bhd iwoZ izpfyr Fkha**
It would of course, have been better, had the meaning: conveyed in the original Hindi version been put in, the proper form in the English translation so as not to leave any ambiguity which could easily have been done if the expression 'on the date on which the notifications were issued' had not been placed in this Section at the place where this expression has been placed but had been placed earlier between the expression' as if the said sections were' and the words "in force". If this had been done it would not have been necessary for us to make a reference to the original Hindi version. That reference has clarified the point that Section 3 of the U. P. Sales-tax (Validation) Act, 1958, does not envisage that the notifications or 31-3-1956, were, in any form, in force immediately before the commencement of the Act. What that Section envisages is merely the fact of existence of those notifications or, to put it in another form, it takes notice of the fact that such notifications were at one time issued.
Further this provision of law does not take any notice of the fact as to what power was purported to be exercised for the purpose of issuing those notifications. What Section 3 of this 1958 Act does is merely to recognise the existence of those notifications and then to lay down a fiction of law that those notifications are to be deemed to have been issued in exercise of the power which existed in the State Government because of the earlier fiction of law that Section 3-A of the U. P. Sales-tax Act, 1948, on 31-3-1956, was in the same form in which it was on 6-5-1958, when this U. P. Sales-tax (Validation) Act, 1958, was passed.
As a result of this fiction of law introduced by the U. P. Legislature, the second requirement for validating the notifications of 31-3-1956, laid down by the Full Bench of this Court is fully satisfied. Consequently, following the decision of the Full Bench, with which we may say with respect we fully agree, it has to be held that the effect of the U. P. Sales-tax (Validation) Act, 1958, is that all the requirements for holding the notifications of 31-3-1956, valid have come into existence and those notifications are, therefore, valid.
The validity of those notifications is put further beyond doubt by the U. P. Legislature in the later part of Section 3 of the 1958 Act by stating in so manv words that those notifications shall be valid and shall be deemed always to have been valid and shall continue in force until amended, varied or rescinded by any notification issued under any of the sections mentioned therein.
3. Learned counsel for the petitioners challenged the validity of Section 8 of the U. P. Sales-tax (Validation) Act, 1958, itself on the ground that the notifications of 31-3-1956, could not have been issued by the U. P. Legislature and, consequently, the U. P. Legislature was not competent to validate these notifications. It appears to us that the question whether the U. P. Legislature could or could not issue these notifications is not at all material. The principle, that is applicable, is that, if a Legislature is competent to pass any enactment making any particular provision, it can validate a similar provision made under its delegated authority because it was competent to pass a valid legislation covering that subject.
Delegation of legislative power by a Legislature is merely a convenient device to avoid detailed legislation by the Legislature itself which may not have time for that purpose. The authority, to which the power is delegated has to act within the four corners of the power conferred on that authority by the Legislature. The manner, in which the power is to be exercised, is prescribed by the Legislature. It is not necessary that the Legislature, which has conferred the power of delegated legislation, should, when legislating on the same matter, follow the same procedure which is prescribed for the exercise of that power by the authority to which the power has been delegated.
All that is required is that the Legislature should; be competent to legislate on the subject as a whole. If it can legislate on that subject, it can validate the delegated legislation which may not have been within the four corners of the delegated power. In such a, case, to validate delegated legislation would amount to independent legislation by the Legislature bringing about the same position which could have been brought about if the delegate had properly exercised the delegated power.
In the present case, the directions, that are contained in the notifications dated 31-3-1956, could have been enforced by the U. P. Legislature itself but the U. P. Legislature had chosen to leave it to the discretion of the State Government to be exercised under its delegated power. The exercise of that power by the Government was held to be invalid. The Legislature is certainly now competent to adopt either of the two courses viz. it can either enact those notifications as part of its own Act giving them retrospective operation with effect from 31-3-1956, or, in the alternative, it can create a fiction of law of the type contained in Section 3 of the U. P. Sales-tax (Validation) Act, 1958 so as to give validity to the notifications already issued.
The effect of Section 3 of the 1958 Act is to convert a notification issued by a State Government, which was not valid, into a valid notification issued in exercise of the proper delegated authority conferred on the State Government by the U. P. Legislature. As such we do not consider that the U P. Legislature, in enacting Section 3 of the U. P. Sales-tax (Validation) Act, 1958, in any way, went beyond the scope of its legislative powers.
4. One more important question, which was urged by Shri Jagdish Sarup, learned counsel for one of the petitioners, before us, was that Section 3A(1) of the U. P. Sales-tax Act, 1948, as it is to be deemed to have existed on 31-3-1956, offended against the provisions of Article 14 of the Constitution in so far as it gave an unfettered discretion to the State Government to discriminate between any goods or classes of goods. We have not considered it at all necessary to enter into the question whether the provisions of Article 14 of the Constitution are or are not attracted when there is discrimination between goods or classes of goods and not between persons.
We find that the provisions of Section 3A of the U.P. Sales-tax Act, 1948, as it is deemed to have existed when the notifications of 31-3-1956, were issued, do not confer an unfettered discretion on the State Government. No doubt, under Sub-section (1) of Section 3A, it would appear that the State Government can issue a notification in respect of any goods or any class of goods but an important restriction is imposed in Sub-section (3) of Section 3A of that Act, under which every such notification has to be laid before the Legislative Assembly of the State as soon as may be after it is made.
When it is laid before the Legislative Assembly, the Legislative Assembly, within the session in which it is laid, has the power of amending or modifying it by a resolution. If there is any such amendment or modification then, with effect from the date of the resolution, the notification takes effect as amended or modified by the Legislative Assembly. On the other hand, if there is no amendment or modification, the notification, as originally issued, continues in force.
This shows that the power exercised by the State Government under Sub-section (1) of Section 3-A comes up for approval before the State Legislative Assembly and the exercise of that power by the State Government can be modified or amended where the State Legislative Assembly considers it advisable to do so. In our opinion, considering the nature of the power conferred on the State Govt., there is a sufficient check on the unfettered and discriminative exercise of the power conferred on the State Government. In the circumstances, this argument also has no force.
5. In some of the petitions, some other detailed points have been raised on behalf of the petitioners to challenge orders which have been passed by the Sales-tax Officers. After hearing learned counsel, we find that those are points on which the petitioners can ask appropriate remedy by way of appeal, revision or reference in accordance with the provisions of the U. P. Sales-tax Act and it is not at all necessary to entertain the writ petitions. Errors may have been committed by the Sales-tax Officers but no writ petitions are to be entertained unless those errors are manifest errors apparent on the face of the record and, after hearing learned counsel, we are not prepared to hold that any such manifest errors apparent on the face of the record have been committed which would justify our issuing a writ of certiorari.
6. The petitions are all, consequently, dismissed.