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Essex Farms Private Limited Vs. Municipal Corporation of Delhi and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ No. 5166 of 1999
Judge
Reported in100(2002)DLT131
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226; Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 - Sections 2(3), 2(24), 2(38), 113(1) and 116(3)
AppellantEssex Farms Private Limited
RespondentMunicipal Corporation of Delhi and ors.
Appellant Advocate Bharat Bhushan Jain and;Vikram Advs
Respondent Advocate Anil Grover and Sujata Kashyap, Advs.; Sujata Kashyap, Adv.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredHerrington v. British Railways Board
Excerpt:
a) the case discussed whether the delegation of powers to the commissioner for fixation of rateable value under section 113(1)(a) and 116(3) of the delhi municipal corporation act, 1957, was ultra virus - the commissioner had issued notification for the lifts and air-conditioners forming part of the building and the petitioner had pleaded that the powers were conferred upon the commissioner without laying down any guidelines - it was held that the commissioner was not the only authority to determine the rateable value and he was required to obtain approval from the standing committee for the sameb) the case discussed the points to be considered while determining the rateable value for the lifts and air-conditioners used by the petitioner, within the provisions of section 2(3), (24), (38),.....s.b. sinha, c.j.1. correctness or otherwise of a division bench decision of this court in municipal corporation of delhi v. pragati builders and n.r.d.c. india and anr., : air1991delhi212 , having been doubted, in view of the decision of the apex court in the case of new manek chowk spg. and wvg. mitts co. ltd. v. municipal corporation of the city of ahmedabad and ors., : [1967]2scr679 , the matter was referred to the larger bench by a division bench of this court by an order dated 13th march, 2002.2. petitioners are the owners of the premises in question. either lift or air conditioner or both are installed therein. the commissioner, municipal corporation of delhi, in purported exercise of its power conferred upon him under sub-section (3) of section 116 of the delhi municipal.....
Judgment:

S.B. Sinha, C.J.

1. Correctness or otherwise of a Division Bench decision of this Court in Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Pragati Builders and N.R.D.C. India and Anr., : AIR1991Delhi212 , having been doubted, in view of the decision of the Apex Court in the case of New Manek Chowk Spg. and Wvg. Mitts Co. Ltd. v. Municipal Corporation of the City of Ahmedabad and Ors., : [1967]2SCR679 , the matter was referred to the Larger Bench by a Division Bench of this Court by an order dated 13th March, 2002.

2. Petitioners are the owners of the premises in question. Either lift or air conditioner or both are installed therein. The Commissioner, Municipal Corporation of Delhi, in purported exercise of its power conferred upon him under Sub-section (3) of Section 116 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 (in short the 'DMC) issued the following Notification on 23.10.1989 and 24.10.1989, which reads thus:

MUNICIPAL CORPORATION OF DELHI PUBLIC NOTICE

Lift contained or situated in or upon any building form an integral part of such building for its more beneficial enjoyment and is not plant or machinery contained or situated in or upon any land or building. However, to put this matter beyond any point of doubt, with the approval of Standing Committee, it is hereby notified under Sub-section (3) of Section 116 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 that lift shall be deemed to form part of land and building for the purposes of determining the rateable value of such land and building under Sub-section (1) of Section 116 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957.'

3. Although the aforementioned notification had been issued in respect of the lift admittedly no Notification was issued in respect of the air conditioning machine.

4. The contention raised in these writ petitions is that having regard to the fact that, by reason of Sub-section (3) of Section 116 of DMC Act an unguided, unbridled and naked power has been conferred upon the Commissioner without laying down any guidelines thereforee, the same is ultra vires. Strong reliance, in this regard, has been placed on New Manek Chowk Spg. and Wvg. Mills Co. Ltd. (supra), Hindustan Lever Ltd. v. Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay and Ors., : [1995]3SCR807 andMun.Corp. v. National Res. Dev. Corp., reported in 1988 RLR 221.

5. Mr. Bharat Bhushan Jain, learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner, would contend that the Division Bench decision of this Court in Pragati Builders (supra), having not considered the aforementioned decision of the Apex Court in New Manek Chowk Spg. And Wvg. Mitts Co. Ltd. (supra), the same cannot be said to have laid down a good law.

6. According to the learned Counsel no rateable value, having regard to the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Determination of Rateable Value) Bye-laws, 1994 (in short the 'said Bye-laws'), could have been applied in relation to lifts and air conditioners installed in the buildings the same having been exempted, the first part of Sub-section (3) of Section 116 must be held to be unconstitutional. The learned Counsel would contend that so far as Bye-law No. 2(l)(f)(i) and (ii) of the said Bye-laws are concerned, the same had also been held to be ultra virus in Delhi Urban House owners' Welfare Association and Anr. v. Union of India and Ors., : 60(1995)DLT644 , which decision has upheld by the Apex Court in Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Delhi Urban House owners Welfare Association, reported in 69 (1997) DLT 391 .

7. Mr. Anil Grover, learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the respondents, on the other hand, would submit that lifts and air conditioners would come within the definition of 'building' and 'premises' as contained in Sections 2(3) and 2(38) of the DMC Act, as lifts and air conditioners would be fittings in the building and are meant for proper use and enjoyment thereof and, thus, the decisions cited by Mr. Jain have no application. Learned Counsel pointed out that the provisions of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 and Bombay Municipal Corporation Act, 1888 differ in material particulars and, thus, the aforementioned decisions which have been rendered in terms of the other statutes cannot be said to have the value of a binding precedent.

8. Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 was enacted to construe and amend the law relating to Municipal Corporation of Delhi. 'Land' had been defined in Section 2(24) of the DMC Act to mean:

''Land' includes benefits to arise out of land, things attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything attached to the earth and rights created by law over any street.'

Section 2(3) of the DMC Act defines 'building' to mean:

''Building' means a house, out-house, stable, latrine, urinal, shed hut, walls (other than a boundary wall) or any other structured whether of masonry, bricks, wood, mud, metal or other material but does not include any portable shelter.'

9. The expression 'premises' has been defined in Section 2(38) of the DMC Act to mean:

''Premises' means any land or building or part of a building and includes:

(a) the garden, ground and out-house, if any, appertaining to a building or part of a building; and

(b) any fittings affixed to a building or part of a building for the more beneficial enjoyment thereof.'

10. In terms of Delhi Municipal Corporation (Determination of Rateable Value) Bye-laws, 1994 meaning of the words 'cost of the premises' has been laid down. Bye-law 2(l)(f) defines 'rent' inter alias to include:

'2(l)(f) 'rent' includes-

(i) license fee, commission, supervision charges, ware-housing charges or such other payments, by whatever name called, made by the occupier for use of the premises and the amenities provided therein;

(ii) Charges for fixtures and fittings air-conditioning, lifts, elevators, etc. and other similar payments.

12. In terms of Section 113(1)(a) of the DMC Act property tax is to be levied. Such tax is livable as a certain percentage of the rateable value of the property. Section 116 thereof specifies the mode of determination of rateable value, in terms whereof the rateable value of any land or building assessable to property tax would be the annual rent to which such land or building may reasonably be expected to let from year to year less (a) a sum equal to ten per cent of the said annual rent whichshall be in lieu of an allowance for costs of repairs and insurance, and other expenses, if any, necessary to maintain the land or building in a State to command the rent. Sub-section (3) of Section 116 of the DMC Act empowers the Commissioner of the Corporation that after obtaining approval of the Standing Committee to notify by public notice any inclusion of such plant and machinery contained or situate in or upon any land or building whereupon the same shall be deemed to form part of the land or the building for the purpose of determining the rateable value thereof under Sub-section (1) thereof.

13. The contention of the petitioner in effect and substance is that lift and air conditioning machines being plant or machinery within the meaning of the said provisions, issuance of a notification under Sub-section (3) of Section 116 of the DMC Act was imperative. As noticed hereinbefore, according to the learned Counsel, Sub-section (3) of Section 116 suffers from the vice of excessive delegation of power and thereby an unguided and unbridled power has been conferred upon the Commissioner and, thus, the same is ultra vires.

14. With a view to consider the question involved in these writ petitions, it is necessary to compare the provisions of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, Bombay Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporation Act, 1949 and Punjab Municipal Act, 1911, which are in the following terms:

Comparative Statement of Various Sections of the

D.M.C Act, B.M.C Act, 1888, B.P.M.C Act, 1949

and Punjab Municipal Act, 1911

S. No.

D.M.C. Act, 1957

BM.C. Act, 1888

B.P.M.C.Act, 1949

Punjab M. Act, 1911

1.

2(3)

3(s)

2(5)

3(2)

'Building'means a house, out-house, stable latrine, urinal,shod hut (other than a boundary wall) of any otherstructure, whether of masonry, bricks, wood, mud,metal or other material but does not include any portableshelter.

'building' includes a house, out-house,stable, shed, hut andevery other suchstructure whether of masonry, bricks,wood, mud, metalor any other material Whatever,

'building' includes a house, out-housestable, shed, but andother enclosure or structure whether of masonry, bricks, wood,mud, metal or anyother material whatever, whether used as human, dwelling or otherwise, and also includes verandahs, fixed platforms, plinthsincludes a wall and a well doorsteps, walls including compound walls andfencing and the like.

'building' means any shop,house, hut, out-house, shedor stable for the purpose of human habitation or otherwise and whether of masonry bricks, wood, mud, thatch,metal or any other material whatever, and

2.

2(24)

3(r)

2(30)

'land' includes benefits to arise out ofland, things attached to the earth or

permanentlyfastened to anything attached to the earth and rights created by lawover any street

'land' includes land which is beingbuilt upon or is built upon or covered with water

benefitsto arise out of land, things attached to the earth or permanentlyfastened to anything attached to the earth and rights created bylegislative enactment over any street

'land' includes land which is beingbuilt upon or is built upon orcovered with water

benefitsto arise out of land, things attached to the earth or permanentlyfastened to anything attached to the earth and rightscreated by legislative enactment over any street.

3.

2(38)

3(gg)

2(46)

'premises' mean any land or building of part of a building and includes:-

(a)the garden, ground and out-house, if any, appertaining to a building orpart of a building and

(b) any fittings affixed to a building or part ofa building for the more beneficial enjoyment thereof

'premises' includesmessuages, buildings and land of any tenure, whether open orenclosed, whether built on or not and whetherpublic or private.

'premises' includesmessuages, buildings and lands of any tenure whether open orenclosed, whether built on or notand whether public orprivate.

4.

116(1)

154(1)

Rule7(1)

3(1)

Therateable value of any landor building assessable to property taxesshall be the annual rent at which such land or building mightreasonably be expected to let from year to year less--

(a)a sum equal to ten percent, of the said annual rent whichshall be in lieu of all allowances for costs of repairs andinsurance, and otherexpenses if any, necessary to maintain the land or building in a State tocommand that rent, and

(b)the water tax or the scavenging tax or both, if therent is inclusive of either or both of the said taxes:

Inorder to fix rateable value of any building or land assessable to aproperty tax there shall be deducted from the amount of the annual rent for whichsuch land or building might reasonably be expected to let from year toyear a sum equal to ten percent the said annual rent and the saiddeduction shall be in lieuof all allowances for repairs or on anyother account whatsoever.

Inorder to fix the rateable value of any building or land assessableto property tax there shall be deducted from the amount of the annual rent for whichsuch land or building might reasonably be expected to of let from yearto year a sum equal to ten per cent of the said annual rent, andthe said deduction shall be in lieu of all Allowances for repairs or on anyother account whatsoever.

'annualvalue' means--(a) Inthe case of land the gross annual rent at which it may reasonably

beexpected to let from year to year

Providedthat in case of landassessed to land revenue or of which the land revenue has been wholly orin part released, compounded for, redeemed. Or assigned the annual valueshall if the State Government so direct be deemed to be double theaggregate of the following amounts:

Provided that ifthe rent is inclusive of charges for water supplied by measurement then for the purpose land, of this section the rentshall be treated as inclusive of water tax on rateable value andthe deduction of water tax shallbe made as provided therein Provided further that in respect of any landor Building the standard rent of which has been fixed Under theDelhi and Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952.(38 to 1952), the rateable value thereof shall not exceed the annual amount of the standard rent sofixed.

(i) the amount ofthe land revenue for the time being assessed on the whether suchassessment is livable or not; or when the land- revenue has been whollyor in part compounded for of redeemed, the amount which, but for suchcomposition or redemption, would have been livable and:

(ii) when theimprovement of the land due to canal irrigation has been excluded fromaccount in assessing the land revenue, the amount of owner's rate or wateradvantage rate or otherrate imposed in respect of such improvement.

(b)in the case ofany house or building, the gross annual rent at which such house orbuilding together with its appurtenances and any furniture that may be letfor use of enjoyment therewith may reasonably be expected to let from yearto year, subject to thefollowing deductions:

(i) such deductionnot exceeding 20 per centof the gross annual rent as the Committee in each particular case mayconsider a reasonable allowance on account of the furniture let therewith.

(2) The rateable value of any land which is not built upon but iscapable of being built upon and of any land on which a building is inprocess of erection shallbe fixed at five per cent of the estimated capital value of such land.

(2)--

(2) All plant and machinery contained or situate in or upon anybuilding or land and belonging to any of the classes specified from timeto time public notice by the Commissioner with the approval of theCorporation shall be deemed to form part of such building or land for thepurpose of fixing the rateable value thereof under Sub-rule (1) butsave as aforesaid, no account shallbe taken of the value of any plant or machinery contained or situated inor upon any such building and land.

(3)All plant and machinery contained or situate in or upon any land orbuilding and belonging to any of the Classes specified from time to timeby public notice by the Commissioner with theapprovalof the Standing Committee shallbedeemedto form part of such land or building for the purpose determining the rateable value thereof under Sub-section (1)but save as aforesaid 110 accountshall be taken of the value of any plant or machinery contained orsituated in or upon any such land or building.

(2)The value of any machinery contained or situate in or upon any building orland shall not be included in therateable value of such building or land.

(3)Notwithstanding anything contained inthissection, the rateable value in the case of a building--

(2)owned by or

belongingto the Government or the BombayHousing Board constitutedunder the Bombay Housing BoardAct, 1948 19 Bom. 1948or other similar body constituted by any law for the time being inforce for the purposes of providing housing accommodation (b) constructed,purchased or occupied on or after the 1stday of April, 1947as part of a recognized scheme ofsubsidized housing for industrial workers of persons belonging tolower income groups or poorer Classes and

(3)A statement setting Out clearlythe Classes of plant and machinery specified from time to time by the Commissioner under Sub-rule(2) & describing in detail what plant andmachineryfalls within each such class shallbeprepared by

Commissionerunder the directions of the Standing Committee and shall be open to inspection at all reasonable hours bymembers of the public at the Chief Municipal office.

(4)Printed copies of the statement Prepared underSub-rule (3) shall be kept on sale at the Chief or may fix.

(ii)a deduction of 10 per centof repairs and for alt otherexpense: necessary tomaintain the building in a State to commandsuch gross annual rent. The deduction under thissub-clause shall be calculated onthebalance of the gross annual rent after thededuction(if any) under Sub-Clause (1)

(iii)where land is let with a building such deduction,not exceeding 20 percent of the gross annual rentas the Committee in each particular case may consider reasonable onaccount of the actual expenditure, if any annually incurred by the owneron the upkeep of the land in a State to command such gross annual rent.

(c)comprising in part or in whole of tenements let out to such workers orpersons on a monthly rent, inclusive of all serviceother charges not exceeding rupees thirty-two and fifty naye paisefor each such tenement shallbe fixed--

Explanationn-I: For the purposeof this Clause it is immaterial whether the house or building and thefurniture and the land let for use or enjoyment there-with are let by thesame contract or by different contracts and if by different contractswhether such contracts are made simultaneously or at different times

(i)with respect of such tenements comprised therein, with retrospectiveeffect from the date of their construction purchase or occupation asstated in Clause (b) on the actual rent charged for such tenements andnot on the rent for which such tenements might reasonably be expected tolet from

year to year less a deduction of ten per centum ofthe said annual actual rentin lieu of all allowances for repairs so on any other account whatsoever and (ii) with respect to the remainingportions if any of such building on the basis of the provisions ofSub-sections (1) and(2) Explanationn--Forthe purpose of this sub-section'recognized scheme of subsidizedhousing for industrial workersor persons belonging tolower income groups or poorer Classes'shall mean suchscheme as may be recognized by the State Government from time to time inthis behalf, after consultation with theCorporation.

Explanationn-II: The term gross annual rent shall not include any tax payable by the owner in respect ofwhich the owner and tenant have agreed that it shall be paid by tenant

@in the case of any house or building the gross annual rent of which cannotbe determined under Clause (b) 5per cent on the sum obtained by adding the estimate present cost oferecting the building less such amount as the committee may deemreason-able or be deducted on account of depreciation (if any) to theestimated market value of the site and any land attached to the house orbuilding. Provided that-

(i)in the Calculation of the annual value of any premises no account shall be taken of any machinery thereof.

(5)The DMC (Determination of Rateable Value) Bye-laws, 19942(1)(f) 'rent' includes--

(i) license fee, commission supervision charges,were-housing charges or such otherpayments, by whatever name called, made by the occupier for use of thepremises and the amenities provided therein

(ii) charges for fixtures and fittings, airconditioning lifts, elevators, etc- and other similar payments: Explanationn-IIto Bye-law 3(1)(e)

For the purposes of this bye-law, the annual rent of thepremises includes the annual rent of the tend and building there on and such other fixtures and fittings as are considered necessary for theuse and enjoyment of the land and building for the purpose for which theyare intended to be used and shallinclude lifts, elevators, storage tanks pipelines, railway lines, runwaysunderground cables air-conditioning plant in centrally air-conditioningplant in central air-conditioned buildings, swimming pools chairs andscreen in cinema halls, theatres and auditorial, cost of insulations andracks in cold storage buildings, but save as aforesaid no account shall be taken of the value of any fixtures and fittingscontained or situated in or upon any land or building.

15. On a bare comparison of the provisions of the aforementioned statutes, it would appear that the definition of 'building' and 'premises' in DMC Act are wider than that of any other legislative enactment. In terms of Section 2(38)(b) even any fitting affixed to a building or part of a building for the more beneficial enjoyment thereof could be a part of the premises. No such provision exists in B.M.C Act, 1888 and B.P.M.C. Act, 1949. Similarly in Sub-section (3) of Section 116 of the DMC Act, all plant and machinery contained or situate in or upon any land or building are specifically stated, which expression does not find place in any other enactment. Yet again even in the said Bye-laws charges for fixtures and fittings, air conditioning, lifts, elevators, etc. and other similar payments is included in the definition of rent.

16. Notification dated 23.10.1989 would clearly show that the same had been issued ex majori cautela. Lifts and air conditioners are fittings and fixtures need not necessarily be plant or equipment. As a lift being permanently embedded on the land, the same would form part of the land. Property tax is levied both on land or building. Whether it is land or a building, for the purpose of determination of the rateable value, composite rateable value of both are required to be taken into consideration. Rateable value of lifts, elevators air conditioners may form part of value of the land.

17. In a situation of this nature, thus, we are of the opinion that it is not even necessary for us to go into the question, as to whether Sub-section (3) of Section 116is unconstitutional or not, inasmuch as it is well known that for the purpose of construction of a statute the terms which are statutorily defined must be given the same meaning throughout the statute unless the context otherwise requires but we shall briefly advert to the said question a littler later. Keeping in view the fact that by reason of such statutory definition enlarged meaning had been given to the words 'building', 'land' and 'premises', the same must be held to be applicable for the purpose of Sub-section (1) of Section 116 as also the DMC (Determination of Rateable Value) Bye-laws, 1994.

18. In Pragdti Builders (supra), upon consideration of a large number of decisions including the decisions of the Apex Court in CA Nos. 617 and 618 of 1971 decided on 19/27th April, 1979, it was held:

'21. We can cull from the above discussion the following points which are to be kept in mind while determining the rateable value of a building:

(a) Has the machinery installed in a building become part of the said ' building on account of some degree of annexation?

(b) Is the said machinery so annexed to the building for its better enjoyment and enhancement of its utility?

(c) Whether any hypothetical tenant would be ready to occupy the said building with all its available facilities and amenities?

(d) What reasonable return a tenant would be called upon to pay on the total investment of the owner for raising such a building Along with all its annexures and fixtures so as not to exceed its standard rent?

22. It can be safety concluded from above that in case a machinery is so annexed to the building that it has become a part thereof, and it is there for its better enjoyment, in that eventuality it is to be taken into account for the determination of its rateable value. We are thus of the view, from the conspectus.... of the above authorities that a lift is very much a part of the building and thus is to be taken into account for fixing the rateable value.'

19. The said view appears to be reasonable to us and we, with respect, agree therewith.

20. In New Manek Chowk Spg. and Wvg. Mills Co. Ltd. (supra), the Apex Court was considering imposition of property tax on textile mills, factories, buildings of universities and not on a residential building.

21. Rule 7(2) of the Rules framed under B.P.M.C. Act the interpretation whereof was the subject matter of consideration therein was in the following terms:

'Rule 7(2)--All plant and machinery contained or situate in or upon any building or land and belonging to any of the Classes specified from time to time public notice by the Commissioner, with the approval of the Corporation, shall be deemed to form part of such building or land for the purpose of fixing the rateable value thereof under Sub-rule (1) but, save as aforesaid, no account shall be taken of the value of any plant or machinery contained or situated in or upon any such building and land.'

22. In terms of the definition of land as contained in Section 2(30) of the B.P.M.C. Act, although things attached to the earth or permanently fastened thereto would come within the purview of the definition of 'land', the same was excluded for the purpose of determination of the rateable value and as such it was held that ratability of plant and machinery dependent on judicial decisions as to the meaning of the word 'land' and as such there was no reason as to by those decisions, as to what was comprehended by the term 'land', could be accepted when in the statutes plant machinery had been excluded there from. It was held:

'27. It, thereforee, appears to us that Rule 7(2) of the rules framed under the Bombay Act of 1949 was beyond the legislative competence of the State. The rule also suffers from another defect, namely, that it does not lay down any principle on which machinery is to be specified by public notice by the Commissioner to be deemed to form part of such building for the purpose of fixing the rateable value. To this, Mr. Setalvad argued that if the building was equipped with machinery for the purpose of running a textile mill, whatever machinery was there for the purpose would be valued. According to him, the question would be, which of the machinery would help in the enjoyment of the property and thereby add to its rateable value. Unfortunately, the specification of the classes is done from time to time by the Commissioner with the approval of the Corporation irrespective of the question as to where they are to be found. It, thereforee, depends on the arbitrary Will of the Commissioner as to what machinery he would specify and what he would not. Moreover, he is the only person who can examine this question. There is no right of appeal from any specification made under Sub-rule (3) of Rule 7 except that the Commissioner is to act under the directions of the Standing Committee. Rule 7(2) shows that all plant and machinery may not be taken into account for the purpose of valuation and any such plant or machinery which is not included in the classification may escape rateability, however, much they may be prized by the tenant who takes the premises on rent. It seems to us, thereforee, that Rule 7(2) is beyond the legislative competence of the State Legislature and Sub-rule (3) of Rule 7 is also invalid on account of excessive delegation of powers by the Legislature.'

23. However, in the instant case the Commissioner is not the only person who can determine, as to whether any plant and machinery contained or situated in or upon any land or building and belonging to (sic.) of the classes specified from time to time by public notice shall be deemed to form part of the land or building but thereforee he was required to obtain the approval of the Standing Committee. Thus, it cannot be said that wholly unguided and uncanalized power was conferred upon a statutory authority.

24. In Hindustan Level Ltd. (supra), one of the contentions raised was that, as to whether cost of air conditioning machinery amounting to Rs. 5,91,767.50 and cost of false ceiling amount to Rs. 7,80,289/- should have been added to the cost of construction. The type of air conditioning device put up therein was different. They were embedded and mounted on a concrete foundation and the building has beenso designed as to have the whole of it centrally air conditioned. For the said purpose, a provision was made for concrete cooling towers on the terrace and steel pipes have been laid down to ensure the circulation of the cooling water from the tower to the ground floor and then back to the tower where for false ceiling on each floor was required to be installed.

25. The Apex Court referred to the decision of the Bombay High Court in Poona Municipal Corporation v. Shankar Ramkrishna Jabade, reported in (1957) 60 Bom. LR 25, and distinguishing the same it was held:

'9. Relying on Chagla, CJ.'s judgment in Poona Municipal Corporation case and the aforesaid English decisions, Mr. Nariman submits that as the air conditioning machinery in the present case had been embedded in the building and became its integral part, the same must be deemed to become a part of the building, the value of the same has to be included in fixing rateable value of the building. To put it differently, the submission is that the machinery which is exempted by Section 154(2) is one which has its separate existence, which submission has been advanced because of the use of the expression 'contained in' or 'situate upon' in the sub-section. We cannot accept this contention, because in that case this provision would be rendered otiose, as rightly urged by Mr. Ganesh, inasmuch as the type of machinery which Mr. Nariman has in mind cannot in any case form part of rateable value. When the Legislature sought to exclude the value of machinery of the type mentioned in Sub-section (2) from forming a part of rateable value, some meaning has to be ascribed to the provision, otherwise the intention of the Legislature would get frustrated. We, thereforee, state that the fact that a machinery gets embedded to a building or becomes an integral part of it has relevance while deciding the question of applicability of the exemption provision.'

26. The said decision, thereforee, again has no application in the instant case having regard to the fact that interpretation of the expression 'land', 'building', etc. of the DMC Act and BMC Act were different.

27. In Delhi Urban House owners' Welfare Association and Anr. (supra), it was held that the Bye-laws have been framed on the basis of the relevant provisions of the Act and on the basis of the law as laid down in the various judgments of the Supreme Court and this Court. However, Explanationn II to Rule V, Bye-law 3(1 )(e) was found to have been widely worded holding:

'20. We find Explanationn II to Rule V, Bye-law 3(l)(e) is widely worded. In New Manek Chowk Spg. and Wvg. Mills Co. Ltd. v. Municipal Corporation of the City of Ahmedabad and Ors., : [1967]2SCR679 , the Court was considering the relevant rule framed under the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporation Act under which all plants and machinery contained or situated in or upon any building or land could be deemed to form part of such building or land for the purpose of fixing the rateable value. It was submitted before the Court that such a provision was beyond the competence of the State as otherwise even plant and machinery in the factory premises could be taken into accountfor arriving at the rateable value. The Court said that a hypothetical tenant would certainly take into consideration the machinery in the building if he was going to rent it for the purpose of running a textile factory, and if the same Legislature had power to levy a tax only on land and building it could not be seen how the same would be levied on machinery contained in or situated on the building even though the machinery was there for the use of the building for a particular purpose. This Explanationn, thereforee, has to be given a limited meaning with reference to the aforesaid decision of the Supreme Court. In this connection reference may also be made to decision of the Supreme Court in Hindustan Lever Ltd.'s case (supra).'

28. It is not a case where the plant and machinery are fitted in a factory. It is also not a case where a central air conditioning plant has been fitted. It is also not a case where, on plain reading of the provisions of the Act, lift and air conditioner cannot be said to be a part of the fittings and fixtures to the building. The said decision, thereforee, does not run counter to the submission of the learned Counsel for the respondents.

29. Once it is held that the afore-mentioned Notification had been issued only by way of an abundant caution and the lifts and air conditioning machines would otherwise come within the purview of the definitions of 'land', 'building' and 'premises', we are of the opinion that the decisions cited by Mr. Jain are not applicable in the instant case. It is now trite that a decision is an authority for what it decides and not what can logically be deduced thereforem. Furthermore a decision rendered in relation to one State Act cannot be mechanically applied although the scope and purport of the interpretation clause are entirely different.

30. In Haryana Financial Corporation and Anr. v. Jagdama Oil Mills and Anr., : [2002]1SCR621 , the law is laid down in the following terms:

'19. Courts should not place reliance on decisions without discussing as to how the factual situation fits in with the fact situation of the decision on which reliance is placed. Observations of Courts are not to be read as Euclid's theorems nor as provisions of the statute. These observations must be read in the context in which they appear. Judgments of Courts are not to be construed as statutes. To interpret words, phrases and provisions of a statute, it may become necessary for Judges to embark into lengthy discussions but the discussion is meant to explain and not to define. Judges interpret statutes, they do not interpret judgments. They interpret words of statutes, their words are not to be interpreted as statutes. In London Graving Dock Co. Ltd. v. Horton 1951 AC 737 , Lord Mac Dermot observed: 'The matter cannot, of course, be settled merely by treating the ipsissima vertra of Willes, J. as though they were part of an Act of Parliament and applying the rules of interpretation appropriate thereto. This is not to detract from the great weight to be given to the language actually used by that most distinguished judge.'

In Home Office v. Dorset Yacht Co. 1970 (2) AER 294, Lord Reid said,

'Lord Atkin's speech.....is not to be treated as if it was a statute definition. It will require qualification in new circumstances'.

Megarry, J. in (1971) 1WLR1062 observed: 'one must not, of course, construe even a reserved judgment of even Russell L.J. as if it were an Act of Parliament'. And, in Herrington v. British Railways Board (1972) 2 WLR 537, Lord Morris said:

'There is always peril in treating the words of a speech or judgment as though they are words in a legislative enactment and it is to be remembered that judicial utterances made in the setting of the facts of a particular case.' Circumstantial flexibility, one additional or different fact may make a world of difference between conclusions in two cases. Disposal of cases by blindly placing reliance on a decision is not proper.'

31. For the reasons afore-mentioned, we are of the opinion that the decision of this Court in Pragati Builders (supra), has laid down the law correctly. There is thus no merit in the writ petitions which are dismissed accordingly. However, in the factsand circumstances of this case there shall be no order as to costs,


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