1. This is a defendants' appeal arising out of a suit by the Municipal Board of Agra. The Board sued the defendants to recover the sum of Rs. 288 alleged to be due by the defendants in respect of arrears of taxes for the years 1922 to 1934. The prayer in the plaint is for the payment of this sum by the sale of property in respect of which the taxes are due. The learned Munsif granted a decree in respect of Rs. 238. The appellate Court however has granted a decree in respect of the full amount claimed, Rs. 288.
2. The decision of the Court below is challenged upon the ground that the failure of the Municipal Board to present a bill to the defendants for the taxes due, in accordance with the provisions of Section 166, Municipalities Act, disentitles the Board from recovering any of the arrears of taxes from the defendants. Section 166 directs that after the assessment is passed with all convenient speed the Municipalities/should send a bill to the tax-payer. This, according to the finding of the Court below, the Municipality failed to do. It does not follow however that because the Municipality neglected to carry out its statutory duty the arrears of taxes due by the defendants cannot be recovered in the present suit. Sub-section (2) of Section 166, Municipalities Act, directs that
a person shall be deemed to become liable for the payment of every tax and license fee upon the commencement of the period in respect of which such tax or fee is payable.
3. Now under the rules framed in virtue of the powers conferred upon it by the Act, the Municipality of Agra has declared that the amount to which a tax-payer is liable shall be payable on 1st April and on 1st October of each year. The tax therefore became due and payable to the Municipality by the tax-payer on 1st April and 1st October of every year from 1922 to 1934. The liability of the tax-payer to pay this tax is not made to depend upon the Board presenting a bill to the tax-payer. The liability-arises the moment the tax-payer has been assessed and the money becomes due upon the date on which the Municipality have declared by their rules that the tax is payable. Under Section 177, Municipalities Act:
All sums due on account of a tax imposed on the annual value of buildings or lands or of both shall, subject to the prior payment of the land revenue (if any) due to His Majesty thereupon, be a first charge upon such buildings or lands.
4. This section constitutes a charge in favour of the Municipal Board in respect of all arrears of sums due on account of tax. As already indicated the amounts in respect of tax for which the appellants were liable fell due upon 1st April and 1st October of each year. Upon these dates in respect of the amounts due a charge is created by Section 177, Municipalities Act. There is nothing in the Act disentitling the Municipality from executing its charge because it has failed to present a bill for the tax to the appellants. No doubt the Municipal Board ought to have presented a bill each year to the defendants and no explanation is forthcoming as to why the annual bill for tax was not presented. Be that as it may, the property belonging to the defendants having been duly assessed in accordance with the provisions of the Municipalities Act, the defendants became liable to pay the tax on 1st April and 1st October each year and in respect of the amounts due a charge has been created in favour of the Municipal Board. In our judgment the Board is entitled to sue on its charge for the recovery of the arrears due by the defendants.
5. The suit was instituted in the first instance against the defendant, Hafiz Nizam-uddin. The other defendants, 2 to 7 were added upon an application made by the plaintiff. This application however was made in 1935. The claim, so far as they are concerned therefore, in view of the provisions of Section 22, Limitation Act, is barred in respect of their share of the tax from the year 1922 to 1934. It was contended for the defendants that they were not liable for the water-tax since the supply of water to their property was insufficient. The insufficiency of municipal service is no ground for the tax-payers withholding the payment of tax. If they are dissatisfied with the service provided by the Municipal Board they may complain to the District Magistrate and have their grievances remedied. This Court however has no jurisdiction to reduce or disallow taxes on the ground that the Municipality has been inefficient in the discharge of its municipal duties. In the result the appeal is allowed in part and the order of the learned single Judge is modified to this extent that the share in the property of defendants 2 to 7 shall be liable to the extent of Rs. 252 only quod ultra the appeal is dismissed. Parties will bear their own costs throughout.