1. This is a Letters Patent appeal by one B. Sheo Narain against & decree of a learned Single Judge of this Court confirming the decrees of the two lower Courts dismissing the suit which the appellant has brought against the. Town Area Panchayat of Chhibramau. The suit as brought by the appellant asked for a declaration that the assessment of town tax on the plaintiff is illegal and ultra vires being beyond the scope of the powers conferred on a panchayat by law, that the defendant be restrained by a perpetual injunction from realising the said tax of Rs. 36 from the plaintiff. Now the learned Single Judge of this Court and the Courts below have held that this is a suit which is not within the jurisdiction of the civil Courts. The suit was brought in the Court of a Munsif. Section 9, Civil P.C., provides as follows:
The Court shall (subject to the provisions, herein contained) have jurisdiction to try all suits of a civil nature excepting suits of which their cognizance is either expressly or impliedly barred.
2. This shows that there are two points for consideration: firstly whether the suit is of a civil nature, and secondly whether there is any provision of the Code which would bar the exercise of jurisdiction by the civil Courts provided the suit were of a civil nature. We shall first deal with the question of whether the suit is of a civil nature. In our opinion, suits are of a civil nature if they are suits between subject and subject dealing with civil rights. The present suit is not between subject and subject but between a subject and a branch of Local Self-Government and it does not deal with civil rights, but it deals with the question of taxation. Learned Counsel has not shown any ruling in which it has been held that a civil Court can deal with this question of taxation by Government or by a local self-governing body with the exception of Kameshwar Prasad v. Chairman of the Bhabua Municipality (1900) 27 Cal 849. This ruling however did not deal with the general question under Section 9, Civil P.C., and merely dealt with the particular question as to whether there was a bar or not under the particular Bengal Municipal Act, 3 of 1884, as amended by Act 4 of 1894. We are therefore of opinion that learned Counsel has failed to show that the civil Courts have jurisdiction in a suit of the present nature. Now the second point which arises from Section 9, is that the section is expressly subject to the provisions herein contained. One of the provisions herein contained is Section 4, Civil P.C., Sub-section (1), which states:
In the absence of any specific provision to the contrary, nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or otherwise affect any special or local law now in force or any special jurisdiction or power conferred, or any special form of procedure prescribed, by or under any other law for the time being in force.
3. That is, if there is any special jurisdiction or power conferred in any special or local law, then that subject is barred from the jurisdiction of the civil Courts. In the ruling already quoted the question before the Court was whether there was such a power in the Bengal Municipal Act. We are not concerned with that question. We are now concerned with the question whether there is or is not a power in the United Provinces Town Areas Act, U.P. Act 2 of 1914. That Act provides in Section 14 that the panchayat shall determine the amount required to be raised in any town area for the purposes of the Act, and the amount so determined shall be raised by the imposition of a tax to be assessed on the occupiers of houses or lands within the limits of the town area according either to the circumstances or to the annual value of the houses and lands occupied by them as the panchayat may determine. Section 15, provides that the panchayat shall prepare a list of the persons liable to pay the tax imposed under Section 14, and of the amounts to be paid respectively by such person, that such assessment shall be subject to confirmation by the District Magistrate and in Sub-section (4):
An assessment when confirmed by the District Magistrate shall not be subject to alteration except upon revision of the assessment list under Sub-section (2) or in pursuance of an order passed in appeal under the provisions of Section 18.
4. There is here a clear provision that there shall be no alteration except in accordance with an order passed in appeal under Section 18. Section 18(1) provides:
An appeal against the assessment or levy of any tax shall lie to the District Magistrate or to such Magistrate as he may appoint in this behalf.
5. Learned Counsel argues that the question which he desires to raise is whether his client is liable for this tax at all or not, and he argues that such a question would not come under Section 18(1). He did in fact bring an appeal before the District Magistrate under that section and he lost his appeal. The argument is that the appeal under that section deals only with the question of assessment or levy and that the point which he desires to raise is something different. We are of opinion that the point which he desires to raise does come under the words 'assessment or levy' and that those words cover the ascertainment of what persons shall pay the tax and what shall be the amount of the tax they shall pay. Now, in our opinion, there is a clear provision for the jurisdiction of the panchayat to assess this tax and of the District Magistrate to be the sole authority in appeal, and it is clearly provided in Section 18(4):
The decision of the appellate authority prescribed in Sub-section (1) of this section shall be final and shall not be called in question in any Court.
6. Clearly by these provisions the jurisdiction of the civil Court is barred. Sub-section (4) of Section 15, also, as already mentioned, states that the assessment when confirmed by the District Magistrate shall not be liable to alteration except under the provisions of the Act, Now learned Counsel has relied on certain rulings as follows: In Ata Karim v. Municipal Board, Fatehpur 1929 All 756, there was a case where it was held that the civil Court could interfere with the act of a Municipality. But that was a question of making constructions In Municipal Board of Ferozabad. Bhola Nath 1927 All 432, there was a decision that the Civil Court had jurisdiction in regard to a matter of a demolition. In Abdul Aziz v. Municipal Board of Pilibhit (1905) 2 ALJ 222, there was a similar decision in regard to the matter of determining the course of a drain. None of these decisions lay down that the Civil Courts have any jurisdiction in regard to the question of the assessment or levy or taxation by a local self-governing body. On the other hand it has been held by this Court that no such jurisdiction exists in the Civil Courts in the question of a Cantonment Board. This is reported in Cantonment Board, Agra v. Kanhaiya Lal 1933 ALJ 162, and it was laid down that the jurisdiction of the Civil Court is excluded in all matters relating to any valuation, assessment or taxation by a Cantonment Board. In Municipal Board, Benares v. Krishna and Co. 1935 ALJ 635 it was held that in view of the provisions of Section 164, Municipalities Act, a suit did not lie in the Civil Court for refund of octroi which had been assessed by the Municipal Board on goods imported, the suit being brought on the ground that the goods were not in fact assessable or that the amount of assessment was excessive. The provisions of Section 164, U.P. Municipalities Act of 1916, were similar to the U.P. Town Areas Act with which we are concerned in the present case. The slight difference in the wording of Section 164, which states,
No objection shall be taken to a valuation or assessment nor shall the liability of a person to be assessed or taxed be questioned in any other manner or by any other authority than is provided in this Act
does not in our opinion differentiate these provisions from the provisions which we have quoted in the Town Areas Act. There is also a similar ruling of a Bench of this Court in S.A. No. 1166 of 1931 Municipal Board of Muttra v. Radha Rawan. That was a suit for an injunction to restrain the Municipal Board from selling the property of the plaintiffs which had been attached for the non-payment (c) water tax. It was held by the Bench that no suit lay as the provisions of Section 164(2), Municipalities Act, barred the jurisdiction of the Civil Court. For these reasons we consider that the decision of the learned Single Judge of this Court was correct and we dismiss this Letters Patent appeal with costs.