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New Delhi Municipal Committee Vs. the Punjab National Bank Limited - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMunicipal Tax
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberLetters Patent Appeal No. 93 of 1967
Judge
Reported inILR1986Delhi292
ActsPunjab Municipal Act, 1911 - Sections 61
AppellantNew Delhi Municipal Committee
RespondentThe Punjab National Bank Limited
Advocates: S.N. Chopra,; S.S. Chadha,; D.K. Bhargava,;
Cases ReferredMoenech v. Fenestre
Excerpt:
municipal tax - assessment - section 67 of punjab municipal act, 1911 - in case of amendment made in list for escaped assessment - person affected by amendment must be served with notice - duration for notice should nto be less than one month to enable him to file his objections - opportunity of being heard to be given in support of his objection. - - the words 'subject to such amendments as may thereafter be duly made' obviously refer to the amendments of the list that may be made under section 67. so, section 66 thus specifies the year applicable to the assessed taxes contained in the list settled or finalized under section 66, as well as the tax inserted in the list subsequently by amendment of the list. tax or amendment of the list under section 67 was by .the resolution passed.....hardayal hardy, j.(1) the question for decision in this appeal is whether a property which was nto included in the assessment list in the previous year although it was in existence in that year can be added to the list by amendment under section 67 of the punjab municipal act, 1911 in the year for which house-tax is payable. the question involves the interpretation of sections 61 to 68 of the said act.(2) the circumstances in which the question has arisen are briefly these :- the punjab national bank limited is the owner of a building known as 5 parliament street new delhi. it is a newly erected building, the construction of which was completed in the year 1958 and it was first occupied by its owner on 1st july 1958. the building was nto entered in the assessment list prepared during the.....
Judgment:

Hardayal Hardy, J.

(1) The question for decision in this appeal is whether a property which was nto included in the assessment list in the previous year although it was in existence in that year can be added to the list by amendment under Section 67 of the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911 in the year for which house-tax is payable. The question involves the interpretation of Sections 61 to 68 of the said Act.

(2) The circumstances in which the question has arisen are briefly these :-

The Punjab National Bank Limited is the owner of a building known as 5 Parliament Street New Delhi. It is a newly erected building, the construction of which was completed in the year 1958 and it was first occupied by its owner on 1st July 1958. The building was nto entered in the assessment list prepared during the period 1-4-1958 to 31-3-1959. On September 4, 1959 the New Delhi Municipal Committee purporting to act under Section 67 of the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911, hereafter referred to as the Act, issued the following notice to the owner, hereafter called the respondent.

'THISis to inform you that your building mentioned at the back of this letter has been completed and is in fact occupied from 1-7-1958 and ought to beassessed to House-tax by amending the list for 1959-60 . under Section 67 of the Municipal Act, 1911 and this Committee has, vide Resolution No.. 30, dated 10-7-1959 proposed to amend the list for the year 1959-60 by inserting the said property on an annual value as given at the back of this letter.'

IT is further proposed that the tax will take effect from 1-4-1959.

'NOTICEis hereby given to you under Section 67 of the P. M. Act that the Committee will consider the question of the amendment of the list and will hear objections in Meeting Room on 20th day of November, 1959 at 10.00 A.M.'

(3) The respondent objected to the levy of tax. OJ November 20, 1959 after hearing the objections, the Municipal Committee which will hereafter be described as the appellant, passed aresolution fixing the annual value of the said property at Rs. 709,2241-less 10 per cent and on December 21, 1959 a bill for Rs. 63,830187 was sent to the respondent on account of House-tax for the period 1-4-1959 to 31-3-1960.

THISbill was followed by a notice of demand dated the 8th January, 1960.

(4) The respondent resisted the demand by filing a suit for permanent injunction against the appellant restraining it from collecting or recovering the afore-mentioned sum of money. In the suit the respondent raised two main contentions :-

(1)That the assessment made on 20-11-1959 could take effect only from 1-4-1960 and nto from 1-4-1959 ; and

(2)That the assessment was excessive and was nto properly made.

THESubordinate Judge decided both the points in favor of the respondent and decreed the suit. On appeal, the District Judge agreed with the view taken by the trial Court on the first point and dismissed the appeal without deciding the second point. The appellant thereupon filed a second appeal which was dismissed by Tatachari J. on 31-7-.1967.

(5) The present appeal is directed against the aforesaid judgment of the learned Single Judge. When the appeal came up before a Division Bench consisting of myself and my brother Andley J. we felt that the question involved in the case was of some importance and that it would be more appropriate if it was decided by a larger Bench. This is how the appeal has now been laid before this Full Bench.

(6) It is common ground that the property was in existence in the year 1958 i.e. during the period 1-4-1958 to 31-3-1959 but was some how nto included in the assessment list prepared during that period. It is also nto disputed that it was assessed for the first time on November 20, 1959 when the appellant passed its resolution fixing its-annual value after hearing the rest pendent's objections.

(7) The question for decision is whether the amendment made in the assessment list after the said list had already come into force during the period 1-4-1959 to 31-3-1960 could have the effect of subjecting the property to tax for the period for which the said list was in force or it could become effective only from the commencement of the next financial year i.e. 1-4-1960 to 31-3-1961. The answer to the question depends upon the construction of the relevant sections of the Act, viz. Sections 61 to 68, particularly Sections 66 and 67.

(8) Section 61 which is one of the sections comprised in Chapter 5 of the Act provides for the various taxes that may be imposed by a Municipal Committee, one of them being a tax payable by the owner and occupier of a building and lands. Section 62 lays down the procedure turn imposition of any of the taxes mentioned in Section 61. Section 63 'which is entirely concerned with the procedure for assessment of immovable property provides that the Committee shall cause an assessment list of all buildings and lands on which any tax is imposed to be prepared. The list so prepared is required to contain the following particulars :-

(A)the name of the street oi division in which the property is situated ;

. (B)the designation of the property, either by name or by number sufficient for identification ;

(C)the names of the owner and occupier, if known

(D)the annual value, area or length of frontage on which the property is assessed, and

(E)the amount of the tax assessed thereon by the Committee.

(9) Section 64 provides that when the assessment list has been completed the Committee shall give public notice thereof and of the place where the list or a copy thereiJf may be inspected. Section 65 provides that the Committee shall at the time of the publication of such assessment list, give public notice of atime, nto less than one month thereafter, when it will proceed to revise the valuation, and assessment and in all case in which any property is for the first time assessed, or the assessment thereof is enhanced, it shall also give notice to the owner or occupier of the property. The section fur- ther requires that all objections to the valuation shall be made before or at the time fixed in the notice.

(10) Then follow sections 66 and 67 with which we are . primarily concerned in this case. The sections read :-

'66.Settlement of List-(1) After the objections have been enquired into and the persons making them have been allowed an opportunity of being heard either in person or by authorized agent as they may think fit, and the revision of the valuation and assessment has been compleled, the amendments made in the list shall be authenticated by the signatures of nto less than two 'members of the Committee who, shall at the same time certify that no valid objection has been made to the valuation and assessment contained in the list, except in the case in which amendments have been entered therein, and, subject to such amendments as may thereafter be duly made, the tax so assessed shall be deemed to be the tax for the year commencing on the first day of January or first day of April next ensuing as the Committee may determine, or in the case of a tax when imposed for the first time for the period between the date on which the tax comes into force and such first day of January or April, as the case may be.

(2)The list when amended under this section shall .be deposited in the Committee's office and shall there be open during office hours to all owners or occupiers of property comprised therein or the authorisagents of such persons, and a public notice that it is so open shall forthwith be published.'

'67.Further Amendments of Assessment List.-(1) The Committee may at any. time amend the list by mserting the name of any person whose name ought to have been or ought to be inserted, or by inserting any property which ought to have been or ought to be inserted, or by altering the assessment on any property which has been erroneously valued or assessed through fraud, accident or mistake, whether on the part of the Committee or of the assessed, or in the case of a tax payable by the occupier by a change in the tenancy, after giving notice to any person affected by the amendment, of a time, nto less than one month from the date of service, at which the amendment is to be made.

(2)Any person interested in any such amendment may .tender his objection to the Committee in writing before the time fixed in the notice, or orally or in writing at that time, and shall be allowed an opportunity of being heard in support of the same in person, or by authorised agent, as he may think fit.'

(11) Section 68 confers discretion on the Municipal Committee to prepare for the whole or any part o? the municipality a new assessment list every year or to adopt the valuation and assessment contained in the list for any year, with such alterations as may in particular cases be deemed necessary, as the valuation and assessment for the year following, giving to persons affected by such alterations the same notice of the valuation and assessment as if a new assessment list had been prepared.

(12) It was admitted before the learned Single Judge and also before us that the assessment list had been prepared and settled after all the steps under Sections 61 to 66 were duly taken and that the assessment in question was made by amendment under Section 67 of the list settled under Section 66 for the year 1959-60 by inserting the suit property in the said list on the ground that the said property and the name of the owner or occupier thereof ought to be inserted therein. It may be mentioned here that the assessment year for which tax is levied by the appellant Committee begins on the 1st day of April and ends on the 31st day of March of the following year.

(13) The contention urged on behalf of the appellant was and is that the assessment, being the result to insertion of the suit property in the assessment list for the year 1959-60, it took effect from 1-4-1959 while according to the respondent the levy having resulted from the amendment of the list under Section 67 could take effect from 1-4-1960 only by virtue of the latter part of Section 66 which reads as follows :-

'-AND,subject to such amendments as may thereafter be duly made, the tax so assessed shall be deemed to be the tax for the year commencing on the first day of January or first day of April next ensuing as the Committee may determine, or in the case of a tax then imposed for the first time for the period between the date on which the tax comes into force and such first day of January or April, as the case may be.'

Construing these words, the learned Single Judge observed:-

'AFTERthus providing for the settlement and finalization of the assessment list, Section 66 provides that, subject to such amendment as may thereafter be duly made the tax so assessed shall be deemed to be the tax for .the year commencing on the first day of January, or first day of April next ensuing as the Committee may determine. The words 'subject to such amendments as may thereafter be duly made' obviously refer to the amendments of the list that may be made under Section 67. So, Section 66 thus specifies the year applicable to the assessed taxes contained in the list settled or finalized under Section 66, as well as the tax inserted in the list subsequently by amendment of the list. under Section 67. That is why, the year applicable to the tax is nto specified again in Section 67. Thus, the year applicable to the .tax inserted in the list by amendment under section 67 is provided for in section 66 itself.'

'EVENso, the question which has to be further determined is as regards the year for which the assessed tax is payable in the present case. The question is answered by section 66 which provides that the assessed tax shall be deemed to be for the year commencing on .the first day of January or the first day of Aprli next ensuing as the committee may determine. In the present case, the assessment of the: tax or amendment of the list under Section 67 was by .the resolution passed on 20-11-1959. The assessment has, thereforee, to be deemed to be for the year commencing from 1-4-1960 and nto from 1-4-1959.'

(14) The appellant's challenge in this appeal is to the above observations of the learned Single Judge and it is argued that while the learned Judge has rightly held that section 66, itself specifies the year applicable to the assessed tax as contained in the list settled under that section as well as tax in respect of property inserted in the list subsequently by amendment of the list under Section 67, he has gone wrong in the interpretation of the words 'shall be deemed to be the tax for the year commencing on the first day of January or first day of April next ensuing .....'

(15) There is substance in the argument of the appellant's counsel and I say so with the greatest respect to the learned Single Judge. It is apparent that the section which deals with the settlement of the assessment list and thereforee fixes liability for the tax is Section 66. It is also apparent that the tax assessed in the list settled under Section 66, is deemed to be the tax for the year commencing on the 1st day of January or the 1st day of April next ensuing. It is thereforee implicit in the section that the list itself must be settled before the 1st day of January or the 1st day of April as the case may be. But the section-also talks of the list being 'subject to such amendments as may thereafter be duly made,' and those amendments can only be made 'at any time' under the provisions of Section 67 after the. settlement of the list. The effect of the words 'subject to' in Section 66 in connection with the amendments to be made under Section 67 is that on an assessment made by duly amending the list the tax so assessed has also to be deemed to be the tax for the year which commences or commenced on the first day of January or the first day of April, as determined by the Committee, after the settlement of the list had taken place. In other words, an amendment made under Section 67 gives rise to tax liability for the same period as for the tax assessed by the list settled under Section 66.

(16) It follows thereforee that it is nto only the tax which is assessed in the list settled under Section 66 but also the tax which is assessed in the list as amended thereafter which is to be deemed to be the tax for the year envisaged in the section. To put it in a concrete form, the proposition in the present case will work out in this way: the assessment list for the year commencing on 1-4-1959 had to be settled by the 31st day of March 1959 latest; but the tax assessed therein was deemed to be the tax for the financial year beginning on 1-4-1959 and ending on 31-3-1960. The list could no doubt be amended after its settlement, but the tax resuiting from such amendment under Section 67, nonetheless became the tax for the same finance year viz. 1-4-1959 to 31-3-1960. If this result was nto to follow there was no sense in laying down that the tax assessed in the said list shall 'subject to such amendments as may thereafter be made' be deemed to be the tax for the year commencing on the 1st day of January or on the 1st day of April next easuing as the Committee may determine.

(17) Now it cannto be denied that the 'amendment thereafter' envisaged in Section 66 is the one fox which provisions has been made in Section 67. According to that section in so far as if is material for the purpose of this case, it is open to the Municipal Committee to amend the list by inserting the name of any person or any property which ought to have been there from the very beginning when the list was settled under Section 66 or which ought to be inserted in the said list. The section thereforee aims at that may be described as a case of 'escaped assessment.'

(18) The house-tax being a tax livable by the year, if a property is in existence during the year when the assessment list is being prepared and settled and is for some reason nto included in the list, it is self-evident that it ought to have been or ought to be inserted the in said The contention urged by the learned counsel for the respondent however is that in order to fasten .liability for tax on such property during a financial year the amendment in the list should be made before the commencement of that year and if any such amendment is made daring the currency of that year the liability for tax will only arise in the year following that year. In other words, if a property is in existence during the year 1958 but by some chance it has nto been included in the list before 1-4-1959 and the omission is discovered and rectified by amendment of the list at any time after 1-4-1959 but before 31-3-1960 its liability for tax will arise only for the period 1-4-1960 to 31-3-1961 and it is nto permissible to levy and recover tax thereon for the period 1-4-1959 to 31-3-1960.

(19) The argument seems to me to lose sight of the words 'thereafter' and 'at any time' occurring in Sections 66 and 67 respectively. If the interpretation of the word 'thereafter'' in Section 66 is as suggested by the respondent it would mean that the settlement of the list envisaged in Section 66 must also be completed nto only before the 31st day of March every year but quite a few months before that date otherwise there would be no opportunity for thereafter amending the list and consequently the property omitted from the list must necessarily remain tax free for the whole .year. Likewise the meaning of the words 'at any time' hi Section 67 will have to be restricted to 'any time ^e'ore the 31st day of March for which there seems to be no warrant in the section. Learned counsel for the respondent concedes that the expression 'at any time' is of the widest amplitude but he submits that it has to be construed in the light of the provisions contained in Sections 63 to 66. That is so, bur does it follow from this that the amendment envisaged in Section 67 must also be made before the 31st of March in order to fasten liability on the property or its owner or occupier for the year commencing on the 1st of April for which the assessment list has been settled under Section 66 ?

(20) In support of his argument, reliance is placed by the learned counsel on a decision of D. K. Mahajan J. in (1). In that case the learned Judge was dealing with a property which was completed on the 1st June, 1953. On 18th November, 1953 the Committee issued notice under Section 67 staling that it intended to amend the C list prepared for the year 1st April, 1953 to 31st March, 1954. After issuing that notice the Committee proceeded to assess the property and levied tax on the respondent for the period 1st June, 1953 to 31st March, 1954. It is apparent that the property which was nto in existence when the assessment list was prepared, namely, the period 1st April, 1952 to 31st March, 1953 could nto have been inserted in that list. The case is . thereforee distinguishable on its own peculiar facts. That apart, the observations of the learned Judge, that in each case of amendment of the list under Section 67 the entire procedure prescribed in Sections 63 to 66 mast be followed, appear to me to be too wide.

(21) ID. my opinion, the only requirement .of Section 67 when read in its proper context, is that before any property which has 'escaped assessment' i.e. it has nto been included in the settled list or the name of any person has nto been included in the said list although the property or the name of that person, as the case may be, ought to have been included therein, the person affected by the amendment must be served with a notice the duration of which should nto be less than one month so as to enable him to file his objections and he should also be given an opportunity of being heard in support cf his objections. The reason for giving notice and hearing objections is to approximate the procedure for amendment of the list under Section 67 to that prescribed H under Sections 65 and 66 for the revision of valuation and assessment.

(22) Learned counsel for the respondent next refers to an unreported decision of Backett J. in . The case deals with Section 66 aipne and has thereforee no direct bearing on the case before us. If at all, the dscision rather goes in favor of the view I am taking in, this 'appeal as it was held there that the tax assessed on the newly constructed property could only be collected for the financial year following the date on which the assessment list was closed i.e. settled under Section 66.

(23) The other case cited by the learned counsel is a Single Bench decision of Bombay High Court in. The decision turns on the interpretation of Sections 78 and 82 of the Bombay Municipal Boroughs Act 18 of 1925 which are entirely different from the provisions in the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911 with which we are concerned in this case.

(24)the last case relied upon by the learned counsel for the respondent is a decision of Sinha J. (as he then was) in .One of the questions raised in that case related to the power of the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, Calcutta under Section 188 of the Calcutta Municipal Act, 1951 as it stood after its amendment in 1953, to amend the assessment book by inserting therein the annual valuation, description and other particulars relating to the property to the Royal Turf Club with effect from 1st May, 1952 when the area in which the said property was situated, came to be included within the jurisdiction of the Corporation of Calcutta. The notice of proposed amendment was issued on 27-5-1954. The objection raised on behalf of the Club was that this could nto be done with retrospective eftect. On a construction of section 188 the learned Judge accepted the objection and held that it was nto lawful for the Commissioner to make an assessment retrospectively. It is apparent that no such question arises in the present case.

(25) As regards Section 68, it does nto seem necessary to discuss that section as in my opinion, section 68 has no bearing oft the question arising for decision in -this case.

(26) For the reasons mentioned above, I accept the appeal, set aside the judgment of the learned Single Judge confirming the decision of the District Judge and remand the case for decision of the appeal by the learned District Judge on the second point which had been left undecided by him. The appellant will also have its costs of appeal in this Court.

Jagjitsingh,J.

I agree.

(27) S. N. Andley, J. (Dissenting).-1 had had the advantage of perusing the judgment just delivered by my learned brother Hardy, J. I regret that I am nto able to concur in the conclusion arrived at as I have arrived at a different conclusion.

(28) The respondent is the owner of the building bearing Municipal No. 5, Parliament Street, New Delhi. After completion of Its construction, it was occupied on July 1, 1958. It was nto mentioned as one of the buildings in the assessment list prepared by the appellant for payment of house tax for the period April 1, 1959 to March 31, 1960 which period is bereinafter referred to as '1959-60'. On September 4, 1959 a notice was issued by the appellant to the respondent proposing to assess the building to house tax on an annual value of Rs. 7,09,224- less 10 per cent for repairs with effect from April 1, 1959 byincluding it in the aforesaid assessment list for 1959-60. This notice was issued in purported exercise of powers of amendment under section 67 of the Punjab municipal Act, 1911. Afterhearing objections, the appellant passed a resolution on November 20, 1959 confirming the proposed assessment. On December 21, 1959, the appellant sent a bill to the respondent for Rs. 63,830.87 being the building tax or house tax. in respect of the said building, for the period 1959-60. Thereupon the respondent filed a suit in the Court of the Senior Subordinate Judge, Delhi, for an injunction to restrain the appellant from collecting or recovering the said amount of house tax. The assessment was Challenged by the respondent on various grounds but the question which was decided by the learned District Judge in appeal and by the learned Single Judge (Tatachari, J) in second appeal was whether the assessment made on November 20, 1959 by including the said property in the said assessment list for 1959-60 could render the respondent liable for the said amount of house tax for the period 1959-60. This question was decided in favor of the respondent both by Tatachari, J and by the learned District Judge.

(29) The contention on behalf of the appellant is that by reason of the words 'at any time appearing in section 67 of the Act, they were entitled to include the said building in the said assessment list for 1959-60 prepared prior to March 31, 1959 by amending it during the year 1959-60 so as to impose a liability on the respondent for payment of house tax on the said building for the period 1959-60.

(30) Chapter V of the Act deals with taxation and contains provisions with regard to the variety of taxes that maybe imposed by a Municipal Committee and the procedure and manner for such imposition. Section 61 of the Act specifies the taxes which may be imposed and one such tax is a tax payable by the owner on buildings and lands. Section 62 specifies the procedure which has to be followed for the imposition of taxes. Then we come to section 63 which provides for the preparation of an assessment list. It says :-

63.'The Committee shall cause an assessment list of all buildings and lands on which any tax is imposed to be prepared, containing-

. (A)the name of the street or division in which the property is situated;

(B)the designation of the property, either byname or by number sufficient for identification;

(C)the names of the owner and occupier, if known;

(D)the annual value, area or length of frontal on which the property is assessed; and

(E)the amount of the tax .assessed thereon by the committee.'

THEassessment list, thereforee, has to contain the location of the property; its designation; the name of the owner and occupier; the annual value and the amount of tax assessed by the committee. This assessment list is only provisional and does nto charge owners or occupiers of the property with liability to house tax. For the purpose of finalising this list, it has to be published as required by section 64 which is in these terms :- 64.'When the assessment list has been completed, the committee .shall give public notice thereof, and of the place where the list or a copy thereof may be inspected; and every person claiming to be either owner or occupier of property included in the list, and any authorised agent of such person, shall be at liberty to inspect the list and to make extracts there from without charge.'

(31) On such publication the owner or occupier of the property included in the list as published is given the right to inspect it. Then section 65 of the Act provides for the fixing of time for the purpose of revision of the valuation and assessment. This section is in these terms :-

65.'(1) The committee shall at the time of the publication of such assessment list give public notice of a time, nto less than one month thereafter, when it will proceed to revise the valuation and assessment; and in all cases in which any property is for the first time assessed, or the assessment thereof is increased, it shall also give notice thereof to the owner or occupier of the property.

(2)All objections to the valuation and assessment shall be made in writing before the time fixed in the . . notice, or orally or in writing at that time.'

SECTION65 contemplates objections at the instance of the owner or occupier of the property in respect of valuation and its assessment as entered in the assessment list. Upon hearing objections the Committee may revise the valuation or assess- ment as provided by section 66 which reads :-

S.66'(1) After the objections have been enquired into and the persons making them have been allowed an opportunity of being heard either in person or by authorised agent, as they may think fit, and revision of the valuation and assessment has been completed, the amendments made in the list shall be authenticated by the signatures of nto less than two members of the committee, who shall at the same time certify that no valid objection has been made to the valuation and assessment contained in the list, except' in the cases in which imendments have been entered therein, and subject to such amendments as may thereafter be duly made, the tax so assessed shall be deemed to be the tax for the year commencing on the first day of January or first day of April next ensuing as the committee may determine, or in the case of a tax then imposed or for the first time for the period between the date on which the tax comes into force and such first day of January or April, as the case may be.

(2)The list when amended under this section .shall be deposited in the committee's office and shall there be open during office hours to all owners or occupiers of property comprised therein or the authorised agents of such persons, and a public notice that it is so open shall forthwith bepublished.'

SECTION66 provides for inquiry into the objections made; the revision of the valuation and assessment', the amendments to be made as a result of such revision and the authentication of such amendments; the making of other amendments 'as may thereafter be duly made' and the assessment of the tax. This section then provides that the tax so assessed shall be deemed to be the tax for the year commencing on the first day of January or first day of April next ensuing as the committee may determine. thereforee, the final list is the list prepared after the amendments to the valuation and assessment as contained in the provisional list prepared under section 63 have been authenticated as provided. It is then to be deposited in the office of the committee and is open to inspection. It is this assessment list which imposes liability for payment of house tax.

(32) It is implicit in section 66 that the assessment list does nto create liability for payment of house tax for the year in which it is prepared, published and authenticated but only for the ensuing year. In other words, the assessment list must be finalised before the 31st March or 31st December in any year to create liability for the ensuing year commencing 1st April or 1st January respectively. But this assessment list is again ^subject to such amendments as may thereafter be duly made'. Such amendments are those contemplated by section 67 of the Act which reads :-

67.'(1) The committee may at any time amend the list by inserting the name of any person whose name ought to have been or ought to be inserted, or by' inserting any property which ought to have been or ought to be inserted, or by altering the assessment on any property which has been erroneously valued or assessed through fraud, accident or mistake, whether on the part cf the committee of of the assessed, or in the case of a tax payable by the occupier by a change in the tenancy, after giving notice to any person .affected by the amendment, of atime, nto less than one month from the date of service, at which the amendment is to be made.

(2)Any person interested in any such amendment may tender his. objection to the committee in writing before the time fixed in the notice, or orally or in writing at that time, and shall oe allowed an opportunity of being heard in support of the same in person, or by authorised a^ent, as' he may think fit.'

SECTION67 contemplates amendments in the list at the instance of the committee in respect of omission of the name of any person or of any property or by alteration of the assessment on any property which may ha'e been made through fraud, accident or mistake. thereforee, section 6^ provides for amendments at the instance of the owner or occupier and section 67 provides for amendments as a result of omission, fraud, accident or mistake at the instance of the committee.

(33) thereforee, the final assessment list prepared under section 66 after the authentication of amendmprits as to valuationand assessment is further 'subject to such amendments as may thereafter be duly made' and these amendments can be made 'at any time' as provided by section 67. The question is whether these amendments also have to be made before the 31st March or 31st December of the previous year or whether they cun be made even during the year for which the tax is payable.

(34) Undoubtedly the word 'thereafter' in section 66 and the expression 'at any time' in section 67 do nto within them-. selves contain any limitation of time. But, as a matter of construction, a limit of time has to be placed upon them. The expression 'at any time' came to be construed in Ex parte Norris re Sadler reported in (1886) 17 Q.B.D. 723. The Court of appeal was considering rule 13 of Schedule 11(1). to the Bankruptcy Act, 1883, which provided :- -

'WHEREa creditor has so valued his security, he may at any time amend his valuation and proof on showing to the satisfaction of the trustees or the Court, that the valuation and proof were made bona fide on a mistaken estimate, or that the security has diminished or increased in 'allic sicce its previous valuation, but every such amendment shall be made at the cost of the creditor, and upon' such teraas.as the Court shall-order, unless, the trustees shall allow the amendment without application to the Court.'

Lord Esher, M. R. observed :- 'THENthe rule says that he may amend the valuation and proof 'at. any time' and we-have no right to diminish the full force of those words 'at any time', unless from the Act itself or the Rules we can find seme necessary implication to limit the force of the words. That they are to have some limitation cannot, I think, be, doubted; it cannto be that the right is to go on for even. One necessary implication, atall events, I think is, that the right is at an end, if the trustee, acting upon the valuation put upon the security by the creditor, has exercised the right given to him by the 12th rule, to. redeem the security 'on payment to the creditor of the assessed value'. It is impossible to suppose that, after the trustee has paid the amount of the valuation, and has thus on behalf of the general body of the creditors become the purchaser of the security, the creditor can undo all that.'

(35) In re Moenech v. Fenestre reported in (1892) 61 LJC 737(6), the Court of appeal was considering an agreement. The defendant had been employed as a clerk by the plaintiff. It was provided that the defendant would not, during the period of five years from the determination of his employment, carry on or engage in any trade or business in the United Kingdom in connection with any kind of goods of Continental manufacture dealt in by the plaintiff at anytime previously to such determination One of the contentions raised in the case was that the words 'at any time previously' mean at any time since the plaintiff started business.

Lindley, J. rejected this contention. he observed that the object of the clause was to prevent the defendant taking advantage of his employment to compete with the plaintiff. thereforee, those words must mean at any time after the defendant entered the plaintiff's employment.

(36) The words 'at any time' as used in section 67 of the Act have to be given a meaning nto in their widest amplitude but 'a meaning which is in consonance with the object of the Act and the provisions contained in sections 63 to 67.

(37) The assessment list prepared under section 63 becomes final only after the procedure laid down in sections 64 to 66 has been followed and finality is given to it after the amendments contemplated by sections 66 and 67 have been incorporated. In order to charge a person or building with liability to pay house tax in any year, the final list so prepared must be completed before the 31st March or the 31st December in the previous year. The construction of the words 'at any time' has, thereforee, to be restricted so as to mean that both the amendments contemplated by section 65 must be made before the 31st March or 31st December of the previous year.

(38) Section 66 talks of the setdement of the assessment list after hearing objections; the rsvision of the valuation and assessment and the amendments contemplated by the section and provides that 'the tax so assessed shall be deemed to be the tax for the ensuing year', the word 'so' also points to the conclusion that both the amendments contemplated must be made before 31st March or 31st December of the previous year.

(39) If a property is included by amendment under section 67 in the middle of the year for which the tax is payable, such inclusion will only be effective so far as that property is concerned for the ensuing year and cannto impose any liability for payment of house tax for die year in which it is included in the assessment list by such amendment. I think this interpretation is borne out also by section 68 of the Act, which is in these terms :.-

68.'It shall be in the discretion of the committee to Prepare for the whole or any part of the municipality, a new assessment list every year, of to adopt the valuation and assessment contained in the list for any year, with such alterations as may in particular cases be deemed necessary, as the valuation and assessment for the year following, giving persons affected by such alterations (he same notice of the valuation and assessment as if a new assessment list had been prepared.' , any assessment list had already been prepared in any year, this section authorises the committee to adopt it for subsequent ears but if any alterations are made in any particular case in respect of any .particular property, such. alterations will be effective only for the year following.

(40) An argument has been addressed on behalf of the appellant that section 67 contains the same provisions for giving of notice to the person affected by the proposed amend- ment as- are contained in section 65, and thereforee, it is as if there are two parallel provisions--one for settling the assessment listen hearing the objections at the instance of the owner or occupier as contemplated by section 66 and the other for making amendments at 'the instance of the committee-and from this circumstance it is sought to be argued that the expression 'at any time' appearing in section 67 empowers the committee to make the amendments even during the year for which the tax is payable. In view of the fact that section 66 of the Act contemplates amendments by way of revision of the valuation and assessment at the instance of the owner or occupier as also .amendments contemplated by section 67 at the. instance of the committee, I am of the view that both the amendments must be made before 31st December or 31st March in any year so as to impose liability for the ensuing year.

(41) The amendment in the present case having been made on November 20, 1959, cannto create a liability for payment of house tax for the said 'building for .the period April 1, 1959 to March 31,-1960. 1, thereforee, agree with the conclusion at which the learned Single ludge has arrived and I would dismiss the appeal with costs. .

OCTOBER28, 1969.

Sd-

Judge

PERCourt

(42) In accordance with the majority judgment the appeal is accepted with costs incurred by the appellant in this Court and the case is remanded to the learned District Judge for decision on the second point which' had been left un-decided by him.

(43) Question answered in the affirmative.


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