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Laxminarayan Mittal Vs. Municipality, Neemuch - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMunicipal Tax
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. No. 35 of 1980
Judge
Reported inAIR1982MP168
ActsMadhya Pradesh Municipalities Act, 1961 - Sections 138, 138(3), 139 and 172
AppellantLaxminarayan Mittal
RespondentMunicipality, Neemuch
Appellant AdvocateR.G. Waghmare and ;R.R. Waghmare, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateD.D. Vyas, Adv.
DispositionRevision dismissed
Cases ReferredChhindwara v. Kundanlal
Excerpt:
.....determined unless--(a) the appeal is brought within 15 days next after presentation of the bill complained of; thus, the appeal envisaged by section 139 is in respect of those matters regarding assessment which commence with preparation of assessment list, vide section 134 and end with an order passed by the municipal council under section 138. so far as appeal under section 172 is concerned, it can be preferred against any claim included in a bill presented in accordance with the provisions of the act or the rules made thereunder and the limitation for such an appeal is 15 days after presentation of the bill complained of......neemuch, dismissing the revision preferred by the applicant herein against the order passed by the civil judge, class i, neemuch, on 16-11-1978, rejecting his appeal under. section 172 of the m. p. municipalities act, 1961 (for short, the act), preferred against a bill dated 14-12-1977, issued by the municipal council under section 164 (1) of the act, in respect of house tax amount of rs. 6150.60 paise.2. no exhaustive statement of facts is necessary for the decision of this revision. suffice it to state that the non-applicant municipal council caused bill no. 55/323-k dated 14-12-1977, to be served on the applicant on 26-12-1977 for rupees 6150.60 paise. the applicant herein submitted an appeal under section 172 of the act before the civil judge, class i, nee-much. this appeal was.....
Judgment:
ORDER

H.G. Mishra, J.

1. This is a revision under Section 115, C.P.C. against the order dated 20-11-1979, passed by the Addl. District Judge, Neemuch, dismissing the revision preferred by the applicant herein against the order passed by the Civil Judge, Class I, Neemuch, on 16-11-1978, rejecting his appeal under. Section 172 of the M. P. Municipalities Act, 1961 (for short, the Act), preferred against a Bill dated 14-12-1977, issued by the Municipal Council under Section 164 (1) of the Act, in respect of house tax amount of Rs. 6150.60 paise.

2. No exhaustive statement of facts is necessary for the decision of this revision. Suffice it to state that the non-applicant Municipal Council caused Bill No. 55/323-K dated 14-12-1977, to be served on the applicant on 26-12-1977 for Rupees 6150.60 paise. The applicant herein submitted an appeal under Section 172 of the Act before the Civil Judge, Class I, Nee-much. This appeal was dismissed by order dated 16-11-1978. Aggrieved by this order an application in revision was preferred by the applicant before the Addl. District Judge in accordance with Section 172 (3) of the Act, which has been dismissed by the impugned order. Hence this revision.

3. In this revision it was contended by Shri R. G. Waghmare, learned counsel for the applicant that the learned Addl. District Judge has erred in construing the scope of an appeal under Section 172 (1) of the Act. The scope of such an appeal is to be construed wide enough to include within its pale any dispute regarding liability to assessment as well as regarding basis or principle of assessment and/or as to the amount of tax assessed and is not restricted to any claim included in the appeal presented.

4. Shri D. D. Vyas, learned counsel for the non-applicant Municipal Council, argued in support of the impugned order.

5. Having heard the learned counsel for the parties, I have come to the conclusion that this revision deserves to be dismissed.

6. The provisions placed in Section 139 and in Section 172 appear to be different, in their scope and applicability. Section 139 is placed in Chapter VII of the Act. Chapter VII Divides itself into two parts. First part deals with imposition of taxes (Sections 126 to 133) and the second part deals with assessment and liability (Sections 134 to 163). Section 134 provides for the preparation of assessment lists. Section 135 deals with the mode of designating persons liable for payment of tax, if their names are not known, Section 136 deals with the method and manner of publication of notice of assessment lists. Section 137 makes provision pertaining to lodging of objections in pursuance of public notice. Section 138 lays down the procedure for investigation of objections that may be submitted in accordance with the aforesaid public notice and also provides for passing of an order on such objections. Thereafter comes Section 139, which provides for an appeal to Civil Judge. Section 139 reads as under--

'Section 139.-- Appeal to Civil Jude.-- (1) If any dispute arises as to the liability of any land or building to assessment or as to the basis or principle of assessment or as to the amount of tax assessed an appeal shall lie from the decision of the Council to the Civil Judge, Class I, having jurisdiction over the Municipal area and if there be no Civil Judge, Class I, at the headquarter of the Municipality to the Civil Judge, Class III, having jurisdiction at such headquarter and if there be no Civil Judge, Class II, at such headquarter to the Civil Judge, Class III having jurisdiction, and in case of more than one such Civil Judges at the headquarter or having jurisdiction as the case may be, to such one of them as the District Judge may specify.

(2) Such appeal shall be presented to the Civil Judge within thirty days from the date of the order passed under Section 138 and shall be accompanied by an extract from the register of objections containing the order objected to.

(3) The provisions of Parts II and III of the Indian Limitation Act, 1908 (IX of 1908), relating to appeals shall apply to every appeal preferred under this section.

(4) No appeal shall be admitted under this section unless an objection has been preferred under Section 137.

(5) The decision of the Civil Judge in an appeal made under Sub-section (1) shall, subject to the decision in revision by Court to which appeals against the decisions of such Civil Judge ordinarily lie, be final and effect shall be given by Council to such decision.

(6) The pendency of an appeal under this section shall not operate to delay or prevent the levy of any tax or instalment thereof payable in respect of any building or land according to the order of assessment under appeal but, if by the final decision in the appeal it is determined that such tax or instalment ought not to have been levied in whole or in part, the Council shall refund to the person from whom the same has been levied, the amount of such tax or instalment or the excess thereof over the amount properly leviable in accordance with such final decision, as the case may be.'

Now, Section 172 is placed in Chapter VIII, in which provisions pertaining to recovery of Municipal claims, beginning from Section 164 and ending with Section 178, have been placed. Section 164 makes provisions regarding presentation of bills for taxes, rent and other claims and by Sub-section (1) thereof it provides that:

'Section 164. (1) When any amount --

(a) which, by or under any provisions of this Act, is declared to be recoverable in the manner provided by this Chapter; or

(b) which, not being leviable under Sub-section (1) of Section 157 or payable on demand on account of an octroi or a toll, is claimable as an amount or instalment on account of any other tax which is being imposed or may hereafter be imposed in any Municipality; or

(c) which, on account of rent of any Municipal land, buildings, shops, gumtis, or any other property;

shall have become due, the Chief Municipal Officer shall, with the least practicable delay, cause to be presented to the person liable for the payment thereof a bill for the sums claimed as due.'

Its Sub-section (3) provides that 'if the person to whom a bill has been presented as aforesaid does not within 15 days from the presentation thereof either (a) pay the sum claimed as due in the bill; or (b) show cause to the satisfaction of the Chief Municipal Officer or of such officer as the Council may appoint in this behalf, why he should not pay the same; or (c) prefer an appeal in accordance with the provisions of Section 172 against the claims; the Chief Municipal Officer may cause to be served upon the person liable for the payment of the said sum a notice of demand in the form prescribed by rules Now, Section 172, which provides for an appeal to Civil Judge, reads as under :

'Section 172.-- Appeal to Civil Judge.-- (1) Appeals, against any claim included in a bill presented in accordance with the provisions of this Act, or the rules made thereunder, be made to the Civil Judge, Class I, having jurisdiction over the Municipal area and if there be no Civil Judge, Class I, at the headquarters of the Municipality the Civil Judge, Class n having jurisdiction at such headquarters and if there be no such Civil Judge, Class II, at the headquarters to the Civil Judge, Class II having jurisdiction and in case of more than one such Civil Judges aft the headquarters or having jurisdiction, as the case may be, to such one of them as the District Judge may specify.

(2) No such appeal shall be heard and determined unless--

(a) the appeal is brought within 15 days next after presentation of the bill complained of;

(b) an application, in writing, stating the ground on which the claim of Council is disputed, has been made to the Council in the case of a rate on building or land within the time fixed in the notice given in accordance with the provisions of this Act or the rules made thereunder or of the assessment or alteration thereof, according to which the bill is pre-pared;

(c) the amount claimed from the appellant has been deposited by him in the Municipal office.

(3) The decision of the Civil Judge in an appeal made under Sub-section (1) shall, subject to the decision in revision by the Court to which appeals against the decision of such Civil Judge ordinarily lie, be final.'

Having regard to the nature of the provisions placed in Section 139 and Section 172 it may be stated that they seek to provide for appealability of orders of entirely different character, Section 139 provides for appealability against the order passed under Section 138 (3), whereby any dispute regarding liability of any land or building to assessment or basis or principle of assessment or to the amount of tax assessed, has been decided by the Council. Limitation for such appeals is 30 days from the date of order passed under Section 138 and has to be accompanied by an extract from the register of objections containing the order objected to. Thus, the appeal envisaged by Section 139 is in respect of those matters regarding assessment which commence with preparation of assessment list, vide Section 134 and end with an order passed by the Municipal Council under Section 138. So far as appeal under Section 172 is concerned, it can be preferred against any claim included in a bill presented in accordance with the provisions of the Act or the rules made thereunder and the limitation for such an appeal is 15 days after presentation of the bill complained of. Acceptance of the contention put forth by Shri Waghmare to the effect that Section 172 should be so construed wide enough to include the grounds of challenge enumerated in Section 139 in an appeal against the order passed by the Municipal Council under Section 138, will involve reading something more into Sub-section (1) of Section 172. Such a construction cannot be regarded to be legally permissible. Moreover, the suggested construction will render the provisions of Section 139 redundant and/or nugatory. In Municipal Council, Neemuch v. Udairam (1976 Jab LJ 816), Kondaiah, J., speaking for the Court, has observed thus :

'A distinction between a bill contemplated under Section 164 (1) and the demand notice indicated in Sub-section (3) of Section 164 must be noticed. What has been stated in Sub-section (1) of Section 164 is only a bill. The person to whom the bill has been issued has got a right at that stage to question the validity of the same relating to the quantum and the very right to issue the bill either by satisfying the concerned officer or by preferring an appeal to the Civil Judge under Section 172 of the Act. If he fails to satisfy the requirements of Sub-section (3) of Section 164, then the Chief Municipal Officer would get jurisdiction to issue the demand notice.'

Although the aforesaid observations were made for the purposes of drawing up a distinction between a bill contemplated under Section 164 (1) and a demand notice, indicated in Sub-section (3) of Section 164, yet what follows from them is that the right to object to the bill issued under Section 164 (1) extends to a challenge to the validity and correctness of the amount of the bill sought to be recovered. But the right to object to the validity of the bill does not include with-in its ambit the right to object to the pliability of the land or building to assessment or as to the basis or principle of assessment or even to the amount of tax assessed. The stages at which the provisions regarding the appealability, as contemplated by Section 139 and that contemplated by Section 172 have to operate are different. This will be clear from the analysis above of the provisions of Sections 139 and 172.

7. An attempt to draw support from the decision of the Board of Revenue, Madhya Pradesh, in Municipal Committee, Chhindwara v. Kundanlal, (1959 MP LJ 361) was made by Shri R. G. Wagh-mare, learned counsel for the applicant Although it is an order passed by the Board of Revenue, and its ratio is not binding on this Court and what has been held therein runs counter to the contention put forth for the applicant, inasmuch after considering the provisions of Section 83 of the C. P. & Berar Municipalities Act, corresponding to Section 139 of the Act and Section 229, which corresponds to the provisions of Section 172 of the Act, it has been held that the scope of challenge in appeals contemplated by those provisions is different and in an appeal under Section 229, a challenge regarding quantum of tax is not maintainable. Thus, viewed the impugned order does not manifest any illegality.

8. In view of the discussion aforesaid, this revision fails and is hereby dismissed. Having regard to the nature of controversy between the parties, I make no order as to costs in this Court.


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