1. In this case, my learned colleague and myself are both agreed that a case is not made out for interfering with the order of acquittal. For myself I will express my opinion but I do not propose to give detailed reasons for it as I think that the point discussed, should it arise again, will have to be decided by a more definite consensus of opinion. I am disposed to think that the Municipality has power to say that a work to which it gives permission under Section 95 of the Bombay District Municipalities Act (Bombay Act III of 1901) shall be begun within a certain time. But I am doubtful whether the Municipality has power to say that a work must be finished within a given time. It is not proved in this case that the work was not begun within the time stated. It follows therefore that, in my opinion, the order of acquittal was correct. I would discharge the rule.
1. The accused obtained permission to rebuild his house on the 22nd October 1915. This permission purported to be limited in effect to six months. It was granted by the Godhra Municipality. It appeared that he was rebuilding his house a considerable time after the lapse of the period limited, viz., on the 3rd January 1918. He was accordingly prosecuted for rebuilding without permission, but he was acquitted on the ground that the limitation of the period was illegal by the Bench of Honorary Magistrates, Godhra. The substantial question before us is whether the period of limitation was legally imposed by the Godhra Municipality under Section 96 of the Bombay District Municipalities Act (Bom. Act III of 1901).
2. Now it was held that such limitation was illegal in the case of Queen Empress v. Thakordas (1893) Unrep. Cr.C. 634 under Section 33 of the old Municipal Act (Bombay Act VI of 1873). It has, however, been contended that that ruling should not be applied here because of the words 'the Municipality may issue such order as they think proper with reference to the work proposed and etc.' in Clause 2 of Section 96 of the Bombay District Municipalities Act, III of 1901. It might of course be held that the imposition of a period of limitation would literally fall within these words; but it would appear to me, after reading the whole section with its many clauses, Sub-clauses and Sub-paragraphs, that such a power was not contemplated. The main object apparently was to secure that there should be a speedy decision as to the conditions under which re-building should be allowed in order to interfere as little as possible with the vested rights of owners. It was similarly held that no variation could subsequently be made in the conditions granted by Sir Stanley Batchelor in the case of Emperor v Kareem Ranjan (1916) 19 Bom, L.R. 65. It would, at the same time, be too much in my opinion to say that there could arise no circumstances whatever, under which a permission once granted might not reasonably be held to have lapsed but if express power to impose limitation by time should be thought necessary that would in my opinion be a matter for express enactment by the Legislature.
3. We ought, therefore, in this view to hold that the Bench of Magistrates rightly disregarded the time limitation contained in the permission to rebuild as ultra vires and a limitation not contemplated by the Legislature in enacting in its present form s, 96 of the Bombay District Municipalities Act, III of 1901.