1. In this liquidation the official liquidators filed a list of creditors for the approval of the Court. Item 11 was a claim by the Telegraph Department of the Government for Rs. 1,527-9-10 for the costs of moving telephone lines, rent of telephone lines, telephone bill, etc. The Telegraph Department claimed that this amount should be paid in priority to the other debts of the company in liquidation. Notices were issued to the Telegraph Department and to the Government Advocate to show cause why this claim or any part of it should be paid in priority. The learned Government Advocate has appeared for the Telegraph Department and Mr. Bhagwati Shankar for the company in liquidation. This matter is governed by Section 230, Companies Act, which reads as follows:
In a winding up there shall be paid in priority to all other debts: (a) all revenue, taxes, ceases and rates, whether payable to the Crown or to a local authority, due from the company at the date hereinafter mentioned and having become due and payable within the 12 months next before that date.
2. 'The date hereinafter mentioned' is the date of the winding up order. It is admitted by the Government Advocate that a portion of the claim amounting to Rs. 192 is clearly outside the scope of Section 230 as it became due and payable over 12 months next before the date of the compulsory order. As regards the portion of the claim which is for moving telephone lines, I am of opinion that this either cannot come within the section. The amount claimed for this is for work and labour done and cannot come within the words 'revenue' taxes, ceases and rates. There is an item for rent of telephone lines and cost of a trunk call amounting in all to Rupees 481-5-0 which became payable with the 12 months next before the date of the compulsory order. The question is whether this amount comes within the meaning of the words in Section 230. It clearly does not come within the meaning of the words 'taxes cesses and rates.' These have all a specialized meaning and could not be held to include rent of telephone lines. In my opinion this amount would become under the heading of the word 'revenue.' In Warton's Law Lexicon, Edn. 13, the definition of 'revenue' is stated to be
income annual profit received from land or other funds; also the profits or fiscal prerogatives of the Crown.
3. In Murray's Dictionary 'revenue' is said to be
return, yield or profit of any lands property or other important source of income.
4. If Section 230 had read 'all taxes, cesses rates and other 'revenue' it is clear that the word 'revenue' would have had to be read ejusdem generis with the preceding words. But in this section 'revenue' comes first and therefore the meaning of 'revenue' must not necessarily be taken to the ejusdem generis with the words that coma after it. It is to be noted that in the equivalent section of the Companies Act of 1929 in England the word 'revenue' is not used at all. Section 264, English Act, is confined to all cesses taxes land-tax property or income-tax. I am satisfied that 'revenue' in this case means income. It is perfectly clear that the rent of the Government telephone lines and also the charge for trunk calls is the income of the Government and therefore must be taken to be 'revenue' within the meaning of Section 230(A), Companies Act. I order therefore that priority be given to the amount of Rs. 481-5-0 in the winding up of this company. It is to be noted that as far as the Dohra Dun Electric Tramway Company is concerned the point raised today is merely an academic one, There are I am informed sufficient funds to meet all the debts of the company whether they have to be paid in priority or not, and therefore the whole of this claim by the Telegraph Department will eventually be met.