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Pooran Singh S/O of Sunder Singh, Resident of 22, Gurdwara Quarter, Chopla Garh Mukteshwar, District Meerut and 22 ors. Vs. the Town Area Committee, Babugarh, District Meerut, Through Its Chairman and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ No. 4527 of 1975
Reported in(1976)5CTR(All)129
AppellantPooran Singh S/O of Sunder Singh, Resident of 22, Gurdwara Quarter, Chopla Garh Mukteshwar, District
RespondentThe Town Area Committee, Babugarh, District Meerut, Through Its Chairman and anr.
Excerpt:
- - 6. it is not disputed that the procedure which has been prescribed above relating to the preliminary proposals for taxation as well as for the imposition of the proposed tax have been followed......halt there for some time, pick up and drop out passengers and then proceed outside the limits of town area for the respective destination of the passengers. the town area committee, babugarh has imposed a toll tax of rs. 3/- on every stage coach entering within the limits of town area, babugarh. notification no. 165-j-t.f.c-1/21-466-72 dated 2-11-1973 purposing to the under section 15-b (3) of u.p. town area act, 1914 was published on 17-11-1973 under the authority and signature of the district magistrate, meerut, respondent no. 2 to this petition vide (annexure 3). this imposition has been challenged a illegal and ultravires.2. it appears that by notification no. 271/t/xxxiii-321-t-57 dated 21-1-1958 published in the u.p. gazette dated 25-1-1958 (annexure 1) to this writ petition, the.....
Judgment:

P. N. Bakshi, J. - A very short question of law is involved in this writ petition. The petitioner are holders of separate stage carriage permits. The vehicles of the petitioner have to enter the limits of Town Area Babugarh, halt there for some time, pick up and drop out passengers and then proceed outside the limits of Town Area for the respective destination of the passengers. The Town Area Committee, Babugarh has imposed a toll tax of Rs. 3/- on every stage coach entering within the limits of Town Area, Babugarh. Notification No. 165-J-T.F.C-1/21-466-72 dated 2-11-1973 purposing to the under section 15-B (3) of U.P. Town Area Act, 1914 was published on 17-11-1973 under the authority and signature of the District Magistrate, Meerut, respondent No. 2 to this petition vide (Annexure 3). This imposition has been challenged a illegal and ultravires.

2. It appears that by Notification No. 271/T/XXXIII-321-T-57 dated 21-1-1958 published in the U.P. Gazette dated 25-1-1958 (Annexure 1) to this writ petition, the Governor U.P. appointed the Commissioner as the Prescribed Authority for purpose of exercising the power in respect of the Town Area within his jurisdiction. The contention of the petitioners is that on 2-11-1973 the District Magistrate, Meerut was not the Prescribed Authority under the Act and that the Commissioner Meerut Division was Prescribed Authority. As such the Notification dated 2-11-1973 published in the Gazette under the signatures of the District Magistrate Meerut was not a valid notification and hence the toll tax cannot be legally imposed.

3. I have heard counsel for the parties. Section 15 of the Town Area Act lays down that the State Government shall frame rules with regard to the assessment of tax. The Committee established for any town area shall thereafter prepare a list of the persons liable to pay tax. Every assessment list shall be subject to confirmation the District Magistrate who is also empowered to revise the same from time to time. The confirmed assessment list shall not be subject to change, or alternation except by an order passed in appeal under the provisions of section 18 of the Act.

4. Section 15-A of the Town Area Act lays down that subject to any rules made by the State Government the Committee established for any Town Area shall by resolution frame proposals for the imposition of tax. The proposals so framed along with the draft rules shall be submitted to the Prescribed Authority or if none is appointed the District Magistrate.

5. Under sec. 15 (B) of the Act the Prescribed Authority or if none is appointed, the District Magistrate may either reject the proposal or sanction them with or without modification. A copy of the proposals modified or unmodified so sanctioned shall be forward to the State Government. Thereafter, sub-section 15B(3) runs as follows :-

'After the rules have been framed by the State Government a copy thereof shall be forwarded to the prescribed authority or if none is appointed the District Magistrate and the committee and then the committee shall, as soon as may be, by a resolution direct the imposition of the tax with effect from a date to be specified and forward a copy of the resolution to the prescribed authority or if none is appointed the District Magistrate, who shall notify in the same manner prescribed.

(4) The notification under sub-section (3) shall be conclusive proof that the tax has been imposed in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

6. It is not disputed that the procedure which has been prescribed above relating to the preliminary proposals for taxation as well as for the imposition of the proposed tax have been followed. It is also not disputed that the said proposals for the imposition of the tax have been duly approved by the State Government and forward the Town Area Committee for passing a resolution directing the imposition of the tax as required under section 15-B sub-clause (3) of the Act. In other words, the requirements of law in so far as the imposition of the toll tax is concerned have been complied with. The sole challenge of the petitioners is that the final notification has been published in the gazette under the signatures of the District Magistrate and not of the Commissioner who was the Prescribed Authority. Reliance for this submission has been placed upon a Division Bench decision of this Court reported in (1971 A.L.J page 227) Notified Area Samthar and another vs. Chetan Das Diwan Mal and another. In that case the dispute related to an open land on which a market was held by the Samthar Municipal Board. After merger this town of Samthar was declared a Notified Area and its administration was taken over by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Moth, district Jhansi who was appointed as an Administrator under section 333 of the U.P. Municipalities Act as applied to the Notified Area. Since the Notified Area had not till then been constituted, the sub-divisional Magistrate continued to exercise the powers of the Notified Area Committee. The validity of the bye-laws of the Notified Area was challenged on grounds inter-alia that they had not been sanctioned by the Prescribed Authority namely the Commissioner. A learned Single Judge of this Court held that the impugned bye-law authorities the levy of the dues had not been confirmed by the Prescribed Authority as envisaged under section 301 of the U.P. Municipalities Act and as such they were wholly illegal. The District Magistrate has no authority to sanction those bye-laws. The writ petition was accordingly allowed. In appeal, however, a Division Bench of this Court set aside the decision of the Judge. It was held that section 17(ii) of the Notified Area provides that the Commissioner shall be the Prescribed Authority only in the event of an officer or a body corporate not having been appointed as such by the State Government. In that case, it was further held that the District Magistrate, Samthar Notified Area had been validly appointed as the Prescribed Authority by notification dated 18-6-1952. In these circumstances, the Division Bench observed that the intention of the legislature was that there could be only one prescribed authority for a Notified Area and that the presence of more than one may create mutual conflict, dispute and overlapping of powers.

7. In the instant case, however, the position appears to be different Annexure I filled along with this writ petition which is the Gazette Notification No. 271-T/XXXIII-321-T-27 dated 21-1-1968 reads as follows :-

'In exercise of the powers conferred by section 127 of the U.P. Municipalities Act, 1916 (II of 1916) as applied to the Town Area in Uttar Pradesh, vide notification No. 4277-I/XXXIII-321-T-57 dated December 10, 1957, the Governor of Uttar Pradesh is pleased to delegate to the Prescribed Authority, the following powers under the Town Areas Act, 1914, and to appoint the Commissioner as the Prescribed Authority for purpose of exercising the same in respect of town areas within his jurisdiction.

(1) Power under section 7-B to institute a suit for compensation against a member for loss, waste or misappropriation of Town Area Committees Funds if such loss, etc, is a direct consequence of the neglect or misconduct of such member;

(2) Power under section 15-B(2) and 15-B(3) to receive draft rules and to frame rules for the imposition of taxes except in respect of toll;

(3) Power under section 15-(d) to abolish or modify any tax except in respect of toll;

(4) Power under section 23(g) to declare any expenditure between Rs. 201 to Rs. 500/- by Town Area Committee, as an appropriate charge on the town fund.

2. The Governor is further pleased to appoint the District Magistrate as the Prescribed Authority for exercising the power under section 23(g) to declare any expenditure upto Rs. 200/- by Town Area Committee, as an appropriate charge on the town funds.'

8. A perusal of the above notification indicates that the Commissioner was appointed as the Prescribed Authority for the purposes inter alia of exercising powers under section 7-(B), section 15-B(2) and 15-(D) except in respect of toll. The District Magistrate was also appointed as the prescribed authority for exercising the powers under section 223(g) of the Act. Under Notification dated December 10, 1957 issued under section 38 of the U.P. Town Area Act 1914, the Governor of U.P. was pleased to extend the provisions of section 327 of the Municipalities Act 1916 to all the Town Areas in U.P. with modification and restrictions as set forth below.

'The State Government by notification delegate to the Prescribed Authority in respect of any specified town area or town areas within its jurisdiction any one or more of the powers vested in it by Act.'

9. In the instant case the State Government did not confer all the powers under the Town Area Act to the Commissioner who was appointed as the Prescribed Authority. Under section 15-B resolution of the Town Area Committee had to notified by the Prescribed Authority or if none is appointed by the District Magistrate. Since the powers vested in the Commissioner under section 15-B(2) and 15-B(3) for the imposition of Taxes expressly excluded the imposition of a toll tax, these powers continued to vest in the District Magistrate. As such, it cannot be said that there was any danger of a conflict of jurisdiction or over-lapping of powers between the Commissioner and the District Magistrate with respect to toll tax. The power to notify the imposition of toll tax still continued to remain exclusively with the District Magistrate. In that view of the matter. I am of the opinion that the District Magistrate was fully competent to notify the proposals for the imposition of toll tax in the manner prescribed in the gazette.

10. Further, as I have already mentioned above, the entire procedure regarding the proposals for toll tax and the imposition of the said tax was fully followed. The petitioners have not pointed out any defect or lack of jurisdiction in the framing of these proposals and their acceptance by the State Government and finally the passing of a resolution by the Town Area Committee directing the imposition of the tax. These are mandatory provisions which have been followed in the instant case. Even if we assume that there has been an error in the publication of the notification under the signatures of the District Magistrate instead of the Commissioner, yet since no injustice has been caused to the petitioners, I am not inclined to interfere in the exercise of my writ jurisdiction.

11. In the result, therefore, I do not find any merit in this writ petition which is hereby dismissed with costs.


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