1. This is an application to revise an order made by the Sessions Judge of Surat, under Section 111 of the Bombay Municipal Boroughs Act, 1925, revising a decision of the Magistrate made under Section 110 of the Act.
2. A preliminary objection is taken that no such application lies. The dispute relates to the assessment of land and houses belonging to the opponents. Under Section 104 of the Act a demand is made. On this an appeal lies and was made to the Standing Committee, and a further appeal lies to a Magistrate under Section 110. Then the Magistrate's decision is, under Section 111, subject to revision by the Court to which an appeal would lie against the Magistrate's decision : in this case, as the Magistrate was a first class Magistrate, to the Court of Session.
3. Previous attempts have been made to bring such matters before this Court on its criminal side. The first is reported in In re Dalsukkram : (1907)9BOMLR1347 at which date there was nothing analogous to the present Section 111, and as far as the Act was concerned the decision of the Magistrate was final. The Court held that the Magistrate hearing the appeal was merely an appellate authority having jurisdiction given by the Act to deal with the questions of a civil liability and was not ' an inferior criminal Court'; his decision therefore was not subject to revision on the criminal side. The matter again came before this Court in Ahmedabad Municipality v. Vadilal : AIR1928Bom376 the order sought to be revised being one made under Section 111 of the Act, The Court, after referring to the earlier decision, again remarked that the matter related to a civil liability and held that it had no jurisdiction. The ratiodecided appears to be that as the matter was a civil one, the Sessions Court was not a criminal Court and its decision could not therefore be revised on the criminal side.
4. A revision application will lie on the civil side only from a Court subordinate to a High Court and it is argued by Mr. Desai that the Courts which are subordinate to the High Court are enumerated in Section 3 of the Civil Procedure Code. It has however been held in Purshottatn v. Mahadu : (1912)14BOMLR947 that Section 3 of the Civil Procedure Code is not exhaustive. That case arose out of an application to revise a decision made in revision by the Collector under the Mamlatdar's Courts Act. It was held that as the Collector by the Act is declared1 to be a Court, he was acting judicially, and as he was dealing with a civil matter, the application to the High Court did lie. That decision is, I think, much in point here. Section 111 shows that the revisional power is exercised by a Court and not by a persona designata, and it has been held in the decision on the criminal side to which I have already referred that the matter is one of a civil liability. The Sessions Court is therefore for the purposes of the Municipal Boroughs Act a Court dealing judicially with a civil liability and the fact that the Sessions Judge's functions are ordinarily criminal is no more material than the fact that the Collector's functions are ordinarily executive. It appears to me therefore that this application does lie.
5. At the same time, being a second1 application in revision, this Court will not interfere unless it appears that there has been some grave abuse of its power by the Sessions Court or the decision is manifestly erroneous or unjust. The main ground of this application is that the Sessions Judge though only a Court of revision acted as if he were a Court of Appeal. He held that the two lands were public places of worship whereas the Magistrate had held that they were private places of worship and he lowered the assessment of the superstructure. That he stretched his powers of revision to the utmost may be admitted, but his discretion is wide, and I do not think that any further revision by this Court would be justified.
6. A further ground arises as follows. The appeal to the Magistrate was presented by the assessees. Some time after filing a rejoinder, the Municipality contended that by an arithmetical mistake the total assessment was very much less than it should have been. The Magistrate took this into consideration, with the result that though the assessees were the appellants and succeeded to some extent, the assessment was actually raised instead of being diminished. The Sessions Judge considered that it was wrong to take into consideration the arithmetical mistake, I do not think that any interference is called for by this Court on that ground. Section 82 of the Municipal Boroughs Act provides that the Committee may at any time alter an entry in respect of any property, such entry having been erroneously made in the assessment list through mistake. That section, I think, covers an arithmetical as well as any other mistake. Instead of bringing the matter before the Magistrate, the Standing Committee should have acted under Section 82 and heard any objection which might be brought by the assessees under that section. I would add that Mr. Desai for the appellants denies strenuously that there has been any arithmetical mistake at all. The Municipality not having adopted such procedure, I do not think that it was open to the Magistrate to take the mistake into consideration. The rule is therefore discharged with costs.