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A.K. Chandra Vs. Municipal Corporation of Delhi and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectOther Taxes
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Appeal No. 1054 of 1975
Judge
Reported inILR1976Delhi434
ActsDelhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1958 - Sections 126
AppellantA.K. Chandra
RespondentMunicipal Corporation of Delhi and anr.
Advocates: F.C. Bedi and; T.C.P. Lal, Advs
Cases Referred(Hukam Dey Narain Yadav v. Sh. Lalit Narain Misra
Excerpt:
.....the certified copy of the entry--whether a certified copy is to be necessarily filed with appeal--limitation act (1963), section 29(2).; that where a special statute provides its own period of limitation the scope of the provision in it has necessarily to be considered first and the provisions contained in the limitation act will become relevant only where it is necessary to take recourse to them. even where a special law did not expressly exclude the provisions of sections 4 to 24 of the limitation act, the court had to examine the scheme of the special law and the nature of the remedies provided and could come to the conclusion that the legislature by its intention excluded the applicability of the provisions contained in the limitation act. the court of appeal fell into a..........appeal on merits. (2) the allegations in the petition are that the petitioner had received an undated notice no. tax/nd.s.z./sj/a/319/72-73 in april, 1973. under section 126 of the delhi municipal corporation act as the municipal corporation of delhi wanted to increase the assessment of the property tax from rs. 21,600 to rs. 27,540 with effect from 1st of april, 1972. the petitioner alleged that he filed the objections dated 19th of april, 1973, assailing the proposed increase in assessment. the objections were disposed of and the final order, according to the allegations in the petition, was passed under section 126 of the act on the 18th of july, 1974, rejecting the objections of the petitioner and fixing the rateable value with effect from 1st of april. 1972, at rs. 24,590 and.....
Judgment:

Pritam Singh Safeer, J.

(1) The petitioner has moved the petition with the prayer that the order made by the Additional District Judge on 3rd of June, 1975, by which he dismissed the appeal filed by the petitioner under section 169 of the Delhi Municipal Corporalion Act, 1957 (hereinafter called 'the Act') be quashed and the case be remanded back for hearing the appeal on merits.

(2) The allegations in the petition are that the petitioner had received an undated notice No. Tax/ND.S.Z./SJ/A/319/72-73 in April, 1973. under section 126 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act as the Municipal Corporation of Delhi wanted to increase the assessment of the property tax from Rs. 21,600 to Rs. 27,540 with effect from 1st of April, 1972. The petitioner alleged that he filed the objections dated 19th of April, 1973, assailing the proposed increase in assessment. The objections were disposed of and the final order, according to the allegations in the petition, was passed under section 126 of the Act on the 18th of July, 1974, rejecting the objections of the petitioner and fixing the rateable value with effect from 1st of April. 1972, at Rs. 24,590 and with effect from 22nd of April, 1973, at Rs. 22,430 per annum. An application, it is stated, was filed to obtain a certified copy of the order on the 21st of July. 1974. and the certified copy was delivered on 18/19th August, 1974, and the appeal was filed in the court of the District Judge on the 22nd of August, 1974.

(3) The petitioner deposited the amount of property tax with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and thereafter the appeal was heard by respondent No. 2 i.e. the Additional District Judge, Delhi.

(4) It is stated in the petition that the dismissal of the appeal was based on the misinterpretation of the provisions of sections 169 and 170 of the Act and that under section 170(a) of the Act a certified copy of the order to be appealed against had to be filed. It is asserted by the petitioner in the petition that it would not be possible for any person to file an appeal without filing the certified copy.

(5) We have gone through the order dated 3rd of June, 1975, by which the learned Additional District Judge dismissed the appeal, It was urged before the court of appeal that the appeal had been tiled more than 30 days after the date of the order made under section 126 of the Act. According to the learned Additional District Judge the order had been made on 18th of July 1974, and 30 days expired on 17th of August, 1974. The appeal was found to have been filed on the 22nd of August, 1974. It was contended on behalf of the appellant (the petitioner before us) that if the time spent on obtaining the certified copy of the impugned order was excluded the appeal would be found to have been filed within the statutory period of 30 days. The contention raised on behalf of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi was that the time so spent could not be excluded.

(6) The admitted stand before the court of appeal was that if the lime spent on obtaining the certified copy was to be excluded, then the appeal could not have been found as barred by time. That aspect is not controverter before us.

(7) The learned Additional District Judge instead of attending to the scope of section 170(a) of the Act turned to section 29(2) of the Limitation Act, which in its relevant portion is

(2)Where any special or local law prescribes for any suit, appeal or application a period of limitation different from the period prescribed by the Schedule, the provisions of section 3 shall apply as if such period were the period prescribed by the Schedule and for the purpose of determining 'any period of limitation prescribed for any suit, appeal or application by any special or local law the provisions contained in Sections 4 to 24 (inclusive) shall apply only in so far as and to the extent to which they are not expressly excluded by such special or local law.'

(8) After considering the argument made before us we are of the view that where a special statute provides its own period of limitation the scope of the provision in it has necessarily to be considered first and the provisions contained in the Limitation Act will become relevant only where it is necessary to take recourse to them. In this case section 170(a) of the Act, as will be presently discussed, prescribed a period of limitation which did not call for any assistance to be taken from any provision contained in the Limitation Act.

(9) Having examined section 29 of the Limitation Act the court of appeal turned to the law laid down by the Supreme Court in : [1974]3SCR31 (Hukam Dey Narain Yadav v. Sh. Lalit Narain Misra) (1) and in the light of the observations contained therein came to the conclusion that even where a special law did not expressly exclude the provisions of sections 4 to 24 of the Limitation Act, the court had to examine the scheme of the special law and the nature of the remedies provided and could come to the conclusion that the Legislature by its intention excluded the applicability of the provisions contained in the Limitation Act. We find that the court of appeal fell into a serious error is not considering the scope of section 170(a) of the Act which did not permit any reference or recourse to the provisions contained in the Limitation Act. Section 170(a) in the Act is : '170. No appeal shall be heard or determined under section 169 unless

(A)the appeal is, in the case of a property tax brought within thirty days next after the date of authentication of the assessment list under section 124 (exclusive of the time requisite for obtaining a copy of the relevant entries therein or, as the case may be, within thirty days of the date on which an amendment is finally made under seel 'on 126. and, in the case of any other tax, within thirty days next after the date of the receipt of the notice of assessment or of alteration of assessment or, if no notice has been given, within thirty days after the date of the presntation of the first bill or, as the case may be, the first notice of demand in respect thereof :

PROVIDED that an appeal may be admitted after the expiration of the period prescribed thereforee by this section if the appellant satisfies the court that he had sufficient cause for not preferring the appeal within that period.'

(10) It has been urged on behalf of the petitioner that the words 'or, as the case may be,' occurring after the bricket would mean that the words occurring inside the bricket would be applicable to the case of an appeal which may be filed against the authentication of the assessment list under section 124 as well as to the appeal which may be filed against the amendment finally carried outunder section 126 of the Act. That contention is controverter on behalf of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi by urging that the authentication within section 124(6) of the Act is to be after the disposal of all objections while the amendment under section 126 of the Act is to be after the notice is given to the affected person in terms of sub-section (2) of section 126 of the Act. The precise argument is that the distinction propounded by the two provisions is to the effect that the appeal against the authenticated assessment list would lie after all the objections are disposed of while the appeal against the amendment in the assessment list under section 126 will be by a person who is heard in consequence of the notice issued under section 126(2) of the Act and who, thereforee, would be aware of the decision made under section 126 as soon as his objections are disposed of. We do not find any merit in the contention raised on behalf of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. Section 124 in the Act deals with the assessment list. The relevant provision for four purpose is sub-section (6), which is : (6) When all objections have been disposed of. and the revision of the rateable value has been completed, the assessment list shall be authenticated by the signature of the Commissioner or. as the case may be. the officer authorised by him in this behalf, who shall certify that except in the cases, if any, in which amendments have been made as shown therein no valid objection lias been made to the rateable values or any other matters entered in the said list.'

(11) When would the occasion arise for the authentication of the assessment list pertaining to property tax in terms of sub-section (6). quoted above That would be only on the date when all objections have been disposed of. On that date there shall be an assessment list requiring authentication. The assessment list will be authenticated by the signature of the Commissioner or by the officer authorised by him in that behalf. Those signatures would be made on a certain date. From that date the period of limitation, as provided for by section 170(a) of the Act. will begin.

(12) In case of the amendment which may be made within the purview of section 126(1) of the Act, it shall significantly be an amendment in the assessment list which may have been already authen- ticated under section 124(6) and the date of the amendment will be the date on which the objections, if any, filed by the person affected thereby after the notice is given to him under sub-section (2) of section 126 are disposed of. The date on which the amendment is made in the assessment list, will be the date from which limitation will start for purposes of tiling the appeal within the scope of section 170(a) of the Act. It is clear from a bare perusal of section's 124 and 126 that:

(A)An assessment list pertaining to the property tax will be authenticated under section 124(6) of the Act;

(B)The same authenticated assessment list may be amended at any time in compliance with the provisions contained in section 126. sub-sections (1) and (2).

(13) The assessment list remains the same list whether it is the authenticated list under section 124(6) or the amended list under subsection (1) of section 126.

(14) Section 170(a) is in two parts. The first part provides against the appeal in case of a property tax. An appeal against such a tax is to be brought within 30 days next after the date of authentication of the assessment list under section 124. Then the words inside the bricket occur 'exclusive of the time requisite for obtaining a copy of the relevant entries therein'.

(15) After the bricket, the words which occur are 'or, as the case may be, within thirty-days of the date on which an amendment is Finally made under section 126.' The period of limitation is 30 days. If the appeal is against the authentication of the assessment list under section 124, the period would begin next after the date of such authentication. Where an appeal is to be against the final amendment under section 126 the period of 30 days will begin as on the date on which the amendment is finally made. The subject-matter of appeal in both the cases will be the authenticated assessment list. In the first instance it will be the authenticated assessment list under section 124 and in the second case it will be the authenticated list which may have been amended within the scope of section 126. The impugned entries in both cases would be the subject-matter of the appeals.

(16) The second part of section 170(a) is : 'and, in the case of any other tax, within thirty days next after the date of the receipt of the notice of assessment or of alteration of assessment or, if no notice has been given, within thirty days after the date of the presentation of the first bill or, as the case may be, the first notice of demand in respect thereof.'

(17) It is clear that the first part of the provision deals with the appeals to be filed against 'a property tax'. The second part deals with the appeals which may be filed in case of 'any other tax.' In case of other taxes the period of limitation of 30 days is to begin either after the date of the notice of assessment or of alteration of assessment or if no notice has been given within 30 days after the date of presentation of the first bill, or, as the case may be, the first notice of demand in respect thereof. What is the distinction if the second part of the provision is examined, the period of limitation of 30 days would firstly begin next after the date of the receipt of notice of assessment. If that is not the case then the same period will begin next after the date of alteration or assessment and where no notice has been given for alteration of the assessment within 30 days after the date of presentation of the first appeal. The Legislatures had drawn a distinction between the appeals that were to be filed in case of the property tax and the appeals which were to be filed in case of any other taxes. That leads us to the conclusion that the provision in sub-section (a) of section 170 falls in two parts and the first part has to be construed by itself. In case of a property tax, there being the authentication of the assessment list under section 124 the first occasion for filing the appeal will arise as on the date of the authentication of the assessment list and the period of 30 days will begin so as to enable the filing of the appeal within that period as from the date of authentication. Where the amendment is finally made in the assessment list under section 126, the period of 30 days will start next after the date of such amendment. The words occurring inside the brickets postulate that a copy of the relevant entries will be filled with the memorandum of appeal. The time spent on obtaining the requisite copy of the relevant entries is to be excluded while computing the period of limitation. Whether it is an appeal against the authentication of the assessment list under section 124 or against its final amendment under section 126, the copy of the relevant entries has necessarily to accompany the memorandum of appeal. We hold that the period spent on obtaining the requisite copy of the relevant entries whether the appeal is against the authentication of the assessment list under section 124 or against the amendment finally carried out under section 126 of the Act, will have to be excluded. The clear intendment of the Legislature is to be found by giving a harmonious interpretation to the provision, The appeal in both cases has to be against the authenticated list or against the amendment made in it. The copy of the relevant entries is needed for the purpose of dealing with the subject-matter of the appeal. The time spent on obtaining the copy is to be excluded in terms of section 170(a) of the Act without having any recourse to any provision in the Limitation Act.

(18) The learned Additional District Judge need not have referred to section 29 of the Limitation Act.

(19) We are of the view that the period spent by the petitioner on obtaining the certified copy of the entries for the purpose of filing the appeal in respect of the final amendment under section 126 of the Act had to be excluded. The appeal could not have been dismissed in terms of the order made on 3rd of June. 1975. We hereby quash that order and direct that the parties should appear before the District Judge, Delhi, on 31st of March, 1976, who will either hear the appeal on merits himself or assign it for being disposed of by an Additional District Judge, who may be having the power to hear the appeals under section 169 of the Act.

(20) This writ petition is allowed without making any order as to costs.


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