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Kantilal Popatlal Shah and ors. Vs. State of Gujarat and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMunicipal Tax;Constitution
CourtGujarat High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Civil Appln. Nos. 786 of 1961 and 288 to 294, 309 and 579 of 1962
Judge
Reported inAIR1966Guj268; (1966)GLR96
ActsBombay Finance Act, 1932 - Sections 20, 21, 21(1), 21(7), 22, 23, 24, 24(2), 58(1) and 76; Constitution of India - Articles 14, 19(1), 143, 226 and 245; Bombay Municipal Boroughs Act, 1925 - Sections 69(1), 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 81(2), 81(3), 81(4), 82, 84, 124, 490 and 493; Valuation and Taxation Rules - Rules 243, 320, 321 and 350A; Bombay Finance (Amendment) Act, 1939; Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations Act, 1949; Delhi Laws Act, 1912; Travancore Cochin Land Taxes Act, 1955 - Sections 5A
AppellantKantilal Popatlal Shah and ors.
RespondentState of Gujarat and anr.
Appellant Advocate K.M. Desai,; S.L. Vakil,; H.L. Patel, M.S. Desai and
Respondent Advocate J.M. Thakore, Adv. General, K.L. Talsania, Addl. Government Pleader and; R.M. Shah, Adv.
DispositionPetition allowed
Cases ReferredMoopil Nair v. State of Kerala
Excerpt:
municipal tax - imposition of tax - sections 21, 23 (e) and 24 of bombay finance act, 1932 and sections 78 to 84 of bombay municipal boroughs act, 1925 - appellants challenged urban immovable property tax sought to be collected by municipal corporation - contended that proviso to section 21 ultra vires and void on ground of excessive delegation and consequently no imposition of tax - concept of annual letting value was well defined legal concept and with reasonable accuracy indicate boundaries of state government for exercising its power - proviso to section 21 does not confer unguided and uncanalised power on state government and was therefore void - contended that section 23 (e) exempted from levy or imposition of urban immovable property tax - section 23 (e) enacted under special.....bhagwati, j. 1. these petitions under article 226 of the constitution raise an interesting question of law relating to the validity of urban immovable property tax sought to be collected by the municipal corporation of ahmedabad on behalf of the state of gujarat from the owners of various plots of open land situate within the city of ahmedabad. the facts involved in these petitions are identical and so is the question of jaw arising in them and if would, therefore, be convenient to dispose them of by a common judgment. 2. prior to 1st july 1950 the ahmedabad municipality (hereinafter referred to as the municipality) was a borough municipality governed by the bombay municipal boroughs act, 1925, (hereinafter referred to as the boroughs act) there were in force during the period upto.....
Judgment:

Bhagwati, J.

1. These petitions under Article 226 of the Constitution raise an interesting question of law relating to the validity of Urban immovable Property tax sought to be collected by the Municipal Corporation of Ahmedabad on behalf of the State of Gujarat from the owners of various plots of open land situate within the City of Ahmedabad. The facts involved in these petitions are identical and so is the question of Jaw arising in them and if would, therefore, be convenient to dispose them of by a common judgment.

2. Prior to 1st July 1950 the Ahmedabad Municipality (hereinafter referred to as the Municipality) was a Borough Municipality governed by the Bombay Municipal Boroughs Act, 1925, (hereinafter referred to as the Boroughs Act) There were in force during the period upto 31-3-1947 the Valuation and Taxation Rules made by the Municipality under Section 58(1) & sanctioned by the Government by their Resolution dated 14th February 1931 under Section 76 prescribing various taxes leviable by the Municipality. Amongst those taxes was a tax on non-residential buildings and lands belonging to mills and factories and open lands and yards belonging to railway companies and that tax was based on valuation arrived at by taking a certain percentage of capital value but there was no tax as such on open lands in general. In regard to Government taxation too there were various taxes levied by the Provincial Government under the Bombay Finance Act, 1932, but there was no tax on open lands or for the matter of that even on buildings. The provincial legislature, therefore, brought into force the Bombay Finance (Amendment) Act, 1939, by which Part VI was inserted in the Bombay Finance Act 1932 with effect from 31st March 1939. This Part was headed 'Urban Immovable Property Tax' and it authorized the levy of Urban Immovable property tax on buildings and lands situate in the area to which the part extended. Section 20 which was the first Section in this Part declared that the Part shall extend inter alia to the limits of the Municipal Borough of Ahmedabad and certain other notified areas. Sub-section (1) of Section 21 defined 'annual letting value' to mean in relation to the Municipal Borough of Ahmedabad, 'the annual letting value of buildings or lands as determined in accordance with the provisions of Section 78 of the Bombay Municipal Boroughs Act, 1925' but this definition was subject to a proviso and since in our view the entire decision of these petitions turns on the true construction to be placed on this proviso, it would be desirable to set it out in extenso. The proviso was in the following terms:

'Provided that if in any case the property tax is assessed on any building or land on its capital value, such percentage of the capital value as may be determined by the State Government shall be deemed to be the annual letting value.

'Property tax' was defined in Sub-section (7) of Section 21 and that definition in so far as it is material for our present purpose said that 'property tax' shall mean in municipal areas governed by the Boroughs Act a tax or rate on buildings or lands levied under the Boroughs Act. Section 22 provided for the levy of urban immovable property tax in the following words:

'22. Levy of Urban Immovable Property Tax:-There shall, subject to the provisions of section 23, be levied and paid to the Provincial Government a tax on buildings and lands, hereinafter called the 'Urban Immovable Property tax' at ten per cent. of the annual letting value of such buildings or lands: ****'

The rate of ten per cent specified in this Section was subsequently reduced to seven per cent and by a further amendment made with effect from 1st April 1949 the rate was declared to be 'such rate not exceeding seven per cent. of the annual letting value of the buildings or lands in such area or areas as may be notified by the State Government in the Official Gazette'. There were also provisos to this Section which provided for lower rates in certain cases to be specified by the State Government but we need not dwell on them as they have no bearing on the determination of the question before us. Section 23 enacted certain exemptions from the levy of Urban Immovable Property tax and declared that the Urban Immovable Property tax shall not be leviable in respect of certain classes of buildings and lands specified in the Section. The third clause of the Explanation to Section 23 defines 'open land' to mean land which is not built upon or enclosed. Section 24 as originally enacted was in the following terms:

'24. Authorities competent to levy and collect Urban Immovable Property tax and the manner of such levy and collection:-(1) The Urban Immovable Property tax shall be levied and collected

(a) In the areas within the limits of a municipality to which this Part extends under section 20, by the municipality concerned,

(b) In the area or the Cantonment of Ahmedabad, by the Collector of Ahmedabad.

(2) The levy and collection of the Urban Immovable Property tax shall be made

(a) in any area within the limits of a municipality in the same manner in which the property tax is levied and collected in the said area, and

(b) in the area of the Cantonment of Ahmedabad, as an arrear of land revenue:

Provided that if in any area within the limits of a municipality no property tax is levied by the municipality concerned, the Urban Immovable Property tax shall be levied and collected in such manner as may be prescribed.'

But this Section was amended from time to time and one of the important amendments made in the Section was the deletion of the words relating to levy from Sub-sections (1) and (2) so as to confine the operation of the Section only to collection of the Urban Immovable Property tax. The material part of the Section after the amendment read as follows:-

'24. (1) The Urban Immovable Property tax shall be collected-

(a) in the areas within the limits of a municipality to which this Part extends under Section 20, by the municipality concerned, notwithstanding any law under which such municipality is constituted,

* * * * (2) The collection of the Urban Immovable Property tax shall be made-

(a) in any area within the limits of a mun-nicipality in the same manner in which the property tax collected in the said area, and. .' These are the relevant provisions of Part VI which have a bearing on the determination of the questions arising in the present petitions. (3) Pursuant to the provisions enacted in Part VI, Urban Immovable Property tax was levied on buildings and lands situate within the limits of the Municipal Borough of Ahmedabad and even after the amendment made by Bombay Act No. II of 1949 in Section 2243-C with effect from 1st April 1949 it was common ground between the parties that the area within the limits of the Municipal Borough of Ahmedabad was notified by the State Government as the area in which the Urban Immovable Property tax was to be levied and the rate of tax was also specified in the notification The Municipality collected the Urban Immovable Property tax in the same manner in which property tax levied by it was collected and there was no difficulty until 31-3-1947 and we are not concerned with the position prior to that date, Sometime prior to 20-2-1947 the Municipality at a General Meeting passed a Resolution selecting tax on open lands for being levied by the Municipality and approving certain amendments in the Valuation and Taxation Rules prescribing such tax and specifying various particulars in relation to such tax set out in Section 75 of the Boroughs Act. These amendments were sanctioned by the Govt. by a Resolution dated 20th February 1947 under Section 76 of the Boroughs Act and the amendments so sanctioned were published by the Municipality together with a notice reciting the sanction and the date and serial number thereof. The notice specified 1st April 1947 as the date from which the amendments shall come into force and the amendments accordingly came into force from 1st April 1947. One of the amendments was the substitution of Rule 243 and the new Rule defined valuation based upon capital. This definition became necessary because of the amendment of Rule 320. The amended Rule 320 provided for levy of a rate on open lands by the Municipality. 'Open land' was defined in Rule 321 to mean land not built upon or land with unauthorized construction or structure or with building in respect of which permission to occupy has not been issued under Section 124 of the Boroughs Act. Rule 350-A was also added and the material portion of it read as follows:-

'350-A. Except in the case of lands for which the water rates are leviable under Rules 322 to 350, the rate on open lands shall be levied as under:

(I) For the purpose of levy of rate on open lands the rateable area shall he determined as under:

* * * * (II) Rate on the area of open land, as determined above shall be levied at 1 per cent of the valuation based on Capital and all such lands, subject to exemption, hereinafter provided shall be liable to be charged the same.

Exemptions: The following open lands shall be exempt from the levy of the rate on open lands- * * * * '

These Rules thus provided for levy of a rate on open lands at a percentage of the valuation based on capital, The Chief Offcer then got an assessment list of all open lands within the Municipal limits prepared for the official year 1947-48 containing the particulars set out in Section 78 and gave public notice of the assessment list and of the place where the assessment list or a copy thereof may be inspected The public notice also invited objections to the valuation or assessment in the assessment list within the time fixed in the public notice. Objections to the valuation as also to the assessment were accordingly made by several rate-payers but before they could be heard and disposed of by the Standing Committee or the transferee under the Standing Committee one of the ratepayers filed Suit No. 124 of I94R challenging the vires of Rule 350-A read with Rule 243. The challenge succeeded before the trial Court but on appeal the High Court of Bombay held that the challenge was not well founded and that Rule 350-A read with Rule 243 was intra vires. In the meantime, however, the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations Act, 1949 (hereinafter referred to as the Corporations Act) was passed and the area of the Municipality was constituted the City of Ahmedabad by a Notification issued under Section 3 with effect from 1st July 1950. The result was that the Boroughs Act ceased to apply to the area of the Municipality from 1-7-1950 by virtue of Section 490 save and except as provided by Section 493 read with Appendix IV. Since the Boroughs Act ceased to be in force in the area of the Municipality, the Municipality which was the Borough Municipality ceased to exist and a new Corporation would have therefore, to be constituted for the City of Ahmedabad under the Corporations Act. In order, however, that there may be no hiatus between the extinction of the Borough Municipality and the coming into existence of the Corporation, Appendix IV enacted certain transitory provisions and Section 493 declared that those provisions shall apply to the constitution of the Corporation and other matters specified therein. Paragraph 7 of the Appendix declared that on and from 1st July 1950, the Borough Municipality shall be deemed to be the Corporation and Paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 clause (1) provided for transfer of rights, debts, obligations and contracts of the Borough Municipality to the Corporation. Paragraph 4 clause (2) dealt with the subject of continuance of proceedings pending before any authority of the Borough Municipality and the continuity of appointments, taxes, budget estimates, assessments, employments etc. was safeguarded by Para. 5. The office of the Chief Officer was also vacated from 1st July 1950 and the Commissioner became the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation. This was the position when the High Court of Bombay allowed the appeal of the Municipality and declared Rule 350-A read with Rule 243 intra vires. Now at this date the stage which the process of levy of the tax for the official year 1947-48 had reached was that the assessment list had been prepared and published and objections against the valuation and assessment in the assessment list had been filed by rate-payers. The position with regard to the levy of the tax for the official year 1948-49 and 1949-50 was no different. The Chief Officer of the Municipality when it was a Borough Municipality had adopted for the official year 1948-49 the valuation and assessment contained in the assessment list prepared for the official year 1947-48 and likewise for the official year 1949-50 the valuation and assessment contained in the assessment list for the official year 1948-49 prepared as aforesaid had been adopted by the Chief Officer purporting to act under Section 84. Objections to the valuation and assessment in these assessment lists had been filed by rate-payers but these objections were yet to be heard and disposed of and the assessment lists were yet to be authenticated at the date when the Corporations Act came into force and the same position continued right upto the time the High Court of Bombay disposed of the appeal preferred by the Municipality. After (be disposal of the appeal, it appears that since Rule 350-A read with Rule 343 was held valid, the Commissioner decided to proceed with the levy of tax in regard to the official years 1947-48 to 1949-50. The Commissioner also decided to levy the tax for the official year 1950-51 in regard to which no step--not even the preparation or adoption of an assessment list--had been taken by the Borough Municipality and he, therefore, prepared and published an assessment list for that official year and invited objections to the valuation and assessment in the assessment list in accordance with the procedure prescribed in the Boroughs Act. The Commissioner then passed three orders under Section 69 (1) and by each order he purported to delegate to two appellate officers the powers and duties of the Standing Committee under Sub-sections (2) and (3) of Section 81 in regard to the assessment lists for the official years 1947-48 to 1949-50. The six appellate officers thereupon registered the objections received against the valuation and assessment in the assessment lists for the official years 1947-48 to 1950-51, and after allowing the objectors an opportunity of being heard in person or by agent, investigated ana disposed of the objections and cause the necessary amendments to be made in the assessment list and thereafter authenticated the assessment lists. The authentication of the assessment lists was made by the six appellate officers in December 1954. On the basis of the entries in these assessment lists bills were issued to rate-payers and in some cases the bills were also followed by issue of notices of demand. Several suits were thereupon filed by rate-payers against the Municipality in the Court of the Civil Judge, Senior Division, Ahmedabad, challenging the validity of the assessment to open land tax made by the Municipality for the official years 1947-48 to 1950-51 and the right of the Municipality to recover the amount of tax so assessed from the rate-payers. The suits were decreed by the trial Court in so far as they related to the assessment for the official year 1950-51 but they were dismissed in so far as they related to the assessment for the official years 1947-48 to 1949-50. Various appeals and cross-appeals thereupon followed to this Court and those appeals were decided by a Division Bench of this Court consisting of Vakil J., and myself (Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation v. Keshavlal, ILR (1965) Guj. 70 ). The Division Bench analysed the provisions of the relevant Sections of the Boroughs Act and summarized the conclusion in the following words:

'The integrated picture of the scheme of taxation embodied in the Boroughs Act which thus emerges is that before a Municipality can impose a tax if must comply with the procedure set out in Sections 75, 76 and 77 and it is only after that procedure is complied with by the passing of the resolution selecting the tax and the approval of the Rules prescribing the tax and the sanction of the Government to the Rules so approved, that the Municipality can impose the tax. Such imposition can be made only by following the procedure set out in Sections 78 to 81 read with Sections 82 and 84. There can be no taxation unless the procedure set out in these sections is complied with and it is only when the assessment list is authenticated and the final step in this procedure is taken that the tax is imposed or levied and the final step in this procedure is taken that the tax is imposed or levied and the liability of the rate-payer arises. This procedure must a fortiori be completed before the expiry of the official year and the assessment list must consequently be authenticated before the official year is ended.'

The Division Bench held that the assessments of open land tax made by the Municipality were illegal and void in respect of all the four assessment years, namely, 1947-48 to 1950-51 on the following grounds:--

(1) Since the assessment lists for the official years 1947-48 to 1950-51 were authenticated in December 1954 long after the expiry of the respective official years, the assessment was invalid and ineffective and no tax could be said to be legally imposed or levied for those assessment years.

(2) Since the Boroughs Act ceased to be in force in City of Ahmedabad from 1st July 1950 the power to impose the tax derived from Rule 350-A read with Rule 243 also came to an end from that date, first because there was no provision in Appendix IV which saved the operation of any portion of the Boroughs Act and secondly because the tax being a tax based on capital value, was inconsistent with the provisions of the Corporations Act and the power to impose the tax having gone and there being no saving provision, the tax could not be levied after 1st July 1950 and the Commissioner had no authority to take advantage of the machinery of the Boroughs Act for the purpose of levying the tax

(3) In any event the machinery of assessment or quantification of tax prescribed by the Boroughs Act was not continued or saved by any saving provision in Appendix IV and the right to the tax even if any, could not, therefore, be enforced by the Corporation and the Corporation could not proceed to take advantage of that machinery for the purpose of assessing or quantifying the tax and creating a statutory debt payable by the rate-payers.

(4) The authentication of the assessment list was a matter of substance which if not carried out would have an invalidating consequence and since the power to authenticate under tub-section (4) of Section 81 was admittedly not delegated by the Commissioner to the six appellate officers, the authentication of the assessment lists by the six appellate officers was bad and no tax could be said to have been levied on the rate-payers.

This decision was given on 11th August 1961 and it is now reported as we shall presently show while discussing the arguments urged on behalf of the parties; this decision has a considerable amount of bearing on the determination of the controversy arising in these petitions.

4. Turning back now to the provisions of the Bombay Finance Act, 1932, we may point out that when the Corporations Act came into force and the Borough Municipality was converted into a Corporation, consequential amendments were also made in the Bombay Finance Act, 1932, in its application to the City of Ahmedabad but those amendments were all or a consequential nature and left the substance of the enactment untouched. It is, therefore, not necessary to set them out here in detail. It appears that since the Municipality purported to levy a tax of its own on open lands in the shape of open land tax, it ceased to collect the Urban Immovable Property tax on behalf of the then Province of Bombay and that is how no attempt to collect the Urban Immovable Property tax for the official years 1947-48 to 1950-51 was made by the Municipality. In or about 1957-58, however, the Government of Bombay directed the Corporation to take steps to collect the Urban Immovable Property tax in respect of these official years and the Municipality accordingly issued bills to owners ot open lands demanding payment of the amounts of Urban Immovable Property tax in respect of their open lands for these official years The Urban Immovable Property tax was demanded by the Municipality on behalf of the State oS Bombay and it was calculated by applying the statutory percentage to the annual letting value determined at 10 per cent of the capital value shown in the assessment lists of the Municipality in respect of open land tax. It may be pointed out that the annual letting value-was determined with reference to the capital value under the proviso to Section 21, Sub-section. (1) and ten per cent was the percentage applied to the capital value for the purpose of arriving at the annual letting value since that was the percentage determined by the State Government under the proviso. The petitioners in these petitions were some of the persons to whom the bills were issued and they, therefore, preferred these petitions challenging the right of the Municipality and the Government to demand Urban Immovable Properly fax and praying for an appropriate writ directing the Municipality and the Government not to recover the same from the petitioners.

5. There were several grounds taken in the petitions for contesting the claim of the Municipality and the Government to recover Urban Immovable Property tax from the petitioners, but of these, only five were pressed on behalf of the petitioners and the rest were expressly abandoned. The five grounds which were pressed for our acceptance were the following:--

(1) The proviso to Section 21 was ultra vires and void on the ground of excessive delegation and consequently there could be no levy or imposition of Urban Immovable Property tax since the determination of percentage under the proviso was an integral and essential part of the scheme of taxation embodied in the provisions of Para VI of the Act:

(2) Section 23, Clause (e) exempted from the levy of Urban Immovable Property tax open lands within the limits of the Bombay suburban and Thana districts and the provisions of Part VI of the Act thus made a constitutionally impermissible discrimination between open lands within the City of Ahmedabad and open lands within the limits of the Bombay suburban and Thana districts in regard to the levy of Urban Immovable Property tax and were, therefore, void as being in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution:

(3) It was essential to the levy and imposition of Urban Immovable Property tax that a separate assessment list should be prepared by the Municipality setting out the annual letting value and the Urban Immovable Property tax assessed on each building or land chargeable to Urban Immovable Property tax and the entries in such assessment list should be finalised after giving an opportunity to the tax-payers to object to the correctness or those entries, or, in other words, the procedure set out in Sections 78 to 84 of the Boroughs Act should be gone through in regard to such assessment list and since that was not done in the present case, there was no valid levy or imposition of Urban Immovable Property tax;

(4) Even if the view be taken that in a case coming within the proviso to Section 21 it was not necessary to prepare a separate assessment list showing the annual letting value and the Urban Immovable tax assessed on each building or land chargeable to Urban Immovable Property tax and to follow the procedure set out in Sections 78 to 84 of the Boroughs Act in regard to such assessment list and the assessment list for the property tax could be availed of for the purpose of ascertaining the capital value of the building or land, the levy or imposition of Urban Immovable Property tax was still invalid inasmuch as the property tax, namely open land tax was not validly assessed for the official years 1947-48 to 1950-51 and the capital value shown in the assessment lists for those official years could not, therefore, be adopted for determining the annual letting value and without the determination of the annual letting value there could be no levy or imposition of Urban Immovable Property tax; and

(5) The Municipal Commissioner had no power to recover Urban Immovable Property tax from the petitioners since the amount of Urban Immovable Property tax was not due at the date of the coining into force of the Corporations Act and the transitory provisions set out in Appendix IV consequently did not authorise the Municipal Commissioner to take any steps for recovering the same.

We shall presently deal with these grounds but before we do so, we must refer to one further ground which was sought to be taken up by Mr. P. B. Patwari who appeared on behalf of the petitioners in some of the petitions. He contended that the bills submitted by the Municipality were not in conformity with Rule 39 of Chapter VIII of the Schedule to the Corporations Act and were, therefore, illegal and void and in support of this contention he relied on a decision of a Division Bench of the Bombay High Court in the Surat City Municipality v. Chhabildas Dharamchand, 16 Bom LR 749: (AIR 1914 Bom 22). Now whatever be the merits of this contention we cannot entertain it since it has not been raised in any of the petitions before us. We must, therefore, proceed to dispose of these petitions on the five grounds which we have stated above and examine whether these grounds are well-founded or not.

6. Turing first to the contention whether the proviso to Section 21, Sub-section (1) suffers from the vice of excessive delegation, we may point out straightway that if this contention is valid, it would afford a complete answer to the claimof the Municipality and the Government to recover Urban Immovable Property tax from the petitioners. As we shall point out a little later when we examine the scheme of the provisions of Part VI of the Act, the Urban Immovable Property tax is levied at a certain percentage of the annual letting value, the percentage being left to be fixed by the State Government by notification in the Official Gazette subject to a maximum of 7 per cent. Now the annual letting value may be determined either in accordance with the provisions of Section 78 of the Boroughs Act as provided in Clause (b) of Sub-section (1) of Section 21 or it may be determined by applying a percentage specified by the State Government to the capital value as provided in the proviso to Section 21, Sub-section (1). It was the latter method which was followed in the present case and it is, therefore, evident that unless the proviso to Section 21, Sub-section (1) is a valid provision, what is taken as the annual letting value in the bills submitted by the Municipality would not be annual letting value within the meaning of the Act and the levy or imposition of Urban Immovable Property tax on the basis of such annual letting value would be invalid. If the proviso to Section 21, Sub-section (1) is void, the only manner in which the annual letting value for the purpose of levy or imposition of Urban Immovable Property tax could be determined was by complying with the provisions of Section 78 of the Boroughs Act and there the annual letting value would be the annual rent for which the building or land might reasonably be expected to let from year to vear as defined in Section 3, Sub-section (1) of the Boroughs Act. But the annual letting value in accordance with the meaning given in this definition was admittedly not determined by the Municipality or the Government nor were the provisions of Section 78 of the Boroughs Act complied with in the determination of the annual letting value, the reason obviously being that the annual letting value was purported to be determined under the proviso to Section 21, Sub-section (1). It must, therefore, inevitably follow that if the proviso to Section 21 Sub-section (1) is void, the levy or imposition of Urban Immovable Property tax made on the basis of annual letting value purported to be determined under the proviso must also fall to the ground. The question thus arises whether the proviso to Section 21, Sub-section (1) is void on the ground of being outside the constitutionally permissible limits of valid delegation.

7. Now it is well establishd by several decisions of the Supreme Court that power of delegation is a constituent element of the legislative power as a whole and that in modern times when the Legislature enacts laws to meet the challenge of the complex socio-economic problems, they often find it convenient and necessary to delegate subsidiary or ancillary powers to delegate of their choice for carrying out the policy laid down by their Acts. The extent to which such delegation is permissible is also now well settled. The Legislature cannot delegate its essential legislative policy and principle, and must afford guidance for carrying out that policy before it delegates its subsidiary power in that behalf. As observed by Mahajan, C. J., in Harishankar Bagla v. State of Madhya Pradesh : 1954CriLJ1322

'the legislature cannot delegate its function ot laying down legislative policy in respect of a measure and its formulation as a rule of conduct. The Legislature must declare the policy of the law and the legal principles which are to control any given cases, and must provide a standard to guide the officials or the body in power to execute the law'.

In dealing with the challenge to the vires of any statute on the ground of excessive delegation it is, therefore, necessary to inquire whether the impugned delegation involves the delegation of an essential legislative function or power or whether the Legislature has enunciated its policy and principle and delegated to the subordinate authority accessory or subordinate powers for the purpose of working out the details within the framework of that policy and principle. If it is the former, the delegation would be excessive but not so if it is the latter. (Vide In re Article 143, Constitution of India and Delhi Laws Act (1912) Etc AIR 1951 SC 332. Vasanlal Maganbhai v. State of Bombay : 1978CriLJ1281 .

8. Applying this principle to the facts of the present case it is clear that in conferring power on the State Government under the proviso to Section 21, Sub-section (1) to determine the percentage to be applied to the capital value jr the purpose of arriving at the annual letting value, the Legislature has not delegated any essential legislative function or power to the State Government but has merely empowered the State Government to determine a certain detail necessary for working out the taxation policy laid down in the Act. The levy of the Urban Immovable Property tax would certainly be a legislative function and that is performed by the Legislature itself by enacting Section 22. The Legislature has empowered the State Government under Section 22 to determine the rate of tax by notifying the percentage to be applied to the annual letting value and fixed a maximum beyond which the State Government cannot fix the percentage. Now since the tax is to be determined by applying the notified percentage to the annual letting value, the Legislature must define what is annual letting value and this the Legislature has done in Section 21, Sub-section (1). The Legislature has thus clearly enunciated the legislative policy and formally enacted that policy into a binding rule of conduct. But in order to work out that policy by levy of the tax, power must of necessity be conferred on the State Government or other outside authority to determine details such as the annual letting value. The annual letting value may be determined in accordance with the provisions of Section 78 of the Boroughs Act as provided in Section 21, Sub-section (1) or it may be determined under the proviso to Section 21, Sub-section (1). The annual letting value under the proviso to Section 21, Sub-section (1) is based upon the capital value and, therefore, in determining the annual letting value, some percentage would have to be applied to the capital value Now it would not be possible and even if possible not desirable for the Legislature to fix any percentage in the statute. The determination of the percentage would depend upon various circumstances which might vary from one Municipal area to another and which would best be ascertained by the State Government which is in charge of the administration of the State. The State Government would be best in a position to inform itself regarding the conditions prevailing in any particular municipal area or district within the State and the value of lands and buildings in such area or district and their potentiality to fetch income if they are let out. Different percentages might, therefore, have to be fixed for different municipal areas depending upon an assessment of these factors and it would, therefore, be not only convenient but also necessary in order to effectually carry out the purpose of the Act to leave the determination of the percentage in the hands of the State Government. It was urged that there would be no objection to the delegation of the power of determining the percentage to the State Government if some principle was laid down or some standard or criterion was furnished for the guidance of the State Government in fixing the percentage but no such guidance was given to the State Government in the Act and the delegation was, therefore, excessive. This contention is in our opinion without merit if we examine the relevant provisions closely, it is not correct to say that no policy or principle is laid down to guide the State Government in the exercise of its power to determine the percentage. The power conferred on the State Government is not an uncontrolled and uncanalised power. The State Government cannot fix any percentage which it likes without regard to any policy or principle. The Legislature has laid down a policy and a principle to guide the State Government in the exercise of its power and that policy or principle is that the percentage has to be fixed by the State Government for the purpose of arriving at the annual letting value from the capital value. The fact that the power is to be exercised for the purpose of arriving at the annual letting value itself furnishes a criterion or standard which must govern the determination of the percentage by the State Government. The concept for annual letting value is a well-defined legal concept and it sufficiently and with reasonable accuracy indicates the boundaries within which the State Government must exercise its power of determining the percentage. We are, therefore, unable to say that the proviso to Section 21, Sub-section (1) confers unguided and uncanalised power on the State Government and is, therefore, void on the ground of excessive delegation.

9. The second contention urged on behalf of the petitioners raises a question of infraction of Article 14 of the Constitution. It is no doubt true that Section 23, Clause (e) exempts from the levy of Urban Immovable Property tax open lands within the limits of the Bombay suburban and Thana districts and thus discriminates in favour of such open lands as against open lands situate in the other territories to which part VI extends. But it is now well settled that Article 14, while it forbids class legislation, does not forbid reasonable classification for the purposes of legislation. Where a classification made by a statute fulfils two conditions, namely, (i) that theclassification is found on an intelligible differentia which distinguishes persons or things that are grouped together from otters left out of the group; and (ii) that that differentia has a rational relation to the object sought to be achieved by the statute, the classification would be a valid classification outside the inhibition of Article 14 and this classification may be founded on any basis such as geographical or according to objects or occupations or the like. What is necessary is that there must he a nexus between the basis of classification and the objecl of the Act under consideration. Budhan Choudhry v. State of Bihar : 1955CriLJ374 . It is also equally well settled that there is always a presumption of the constitutionality of an enactment and the burden is upon him who attacks it to show that there has been a clear transgression of the constitutional principles and while considering this question it must be presumed that the Legislature understands and correctly appreciates the needs of its own people, that its laws are directed to problems made manifest by experience and that its discriminations are based on adequate grounds: Ramkrishna Dalmia v. Justice Ten-dolkar : [1959]1SCR279 . It is, therefore, evident that the burden of showing that the Act makes a constitutionally impermissible discrimination is on the petitioners and it is for the petitioners to establish by placing proper material before the Court that the classification made by the Act does not satisfy the two conditions set out above. If the petitioners are unable to do so, it must be presumed that the discrimination resulting from the classification is based on ade-quote grounds and that the statutory provision which makes such discrimination is not void. When we turn io examine the material on record before us we do not find anything which would show that the classification made by the Act does not pass the test of permissible classification. By Section 20, part VI was extended only to certain territories in the State of Bombay and all buildings and lands in those territories barring those specified in clauses (a) to (d) of Section 23 were chargeable to Urban Immovable Property tax under Section 22 but the Legislature by enacting Section 23, clause (e) excepted from out of them open lands within the limits of the Bombay suburban and Thana districts so thai no Urban Immovable Property tax would be chargeable on such open lands. The Legislature thus made a classification between open lands within the limits of the Bombay suburban and Thana districts and open lands within the other territories to which Part VI extended. Now there is nothing to show that the lands within the Bombay suburban and Thana districts were similarly situate as the lands within the other territories to which Part VI applied or that the owners of the former lands were similarly circumstanced as the owners of the latter lands and that the classification made by the Legislature was, therefore, not based on any intelligible differentia having a rational relation to the object sought to be achieved by the Act. It is quite possible that having regard to the special conditions prevailing in the territories within the limits of the Bom, bay suburban and Thana districts the Legislature might have considered it inexpedient and unde-sirable to levy Urban Immovable Property tax on open lands situate in those territories and might have, therefore, enacted the exception contained in Section 23 clause (e) and such special conditions not being existent in the other territories governed by Part VI the Legislature might have chosen to continue the levy of Urban Immovable Properly tax on open lands situate within such other territories. In the absence of any material to show that the classification made by the Legislature does not have any reasonable nexus with the object of the Act, we must presume that the classification is based on adequate grounds and that there is no transgression or the constitutional principle of equality before law embodied in Article 14. This contention urged on behalf of the petitioners must, therefore, be rejected.

10. That takes us to the third contention urged on behalf of the petitioners which raises a question of construction of the relevant provisions of the Act. The claim that a separate assessment list must be prepared in regard to Urban Immovable Property tax and opportunity must be given to the tax-payers to object to the entries in such assessment list and then only the entries must he finalised was based on two distinct grounds. One ground rested on express provision to be found in the statute and the other rested on implication. Turning to the first ground it was urged by Mr. P. B. Patwari that clause (a) of Sub-section (2) of section 24 pro-vided that the Urban Immovable Property tax shall be collected by the Municipality in the same manner in which the property tax is collected and since 'collection' in the context of the provisions of the statute included assessment, the Urban Immovable Property tax was required to be assessed in the same manner as the property tax. The procedure for assessment of the property tax was that set out in Sections 78 to 84 of the Boroughs Act and consequently, argued Mr. P. B. Patwari, it was necessary to the levy of Urban Immovable Property tax that this procedure must be complied with distinctly and separately in regard to Urban Immovable Property tax as it might be in regard to the open land tax. This contention sought to import in the levy of Urban Immovable Property tax the entire procedure set out in Sections 78 to 84 of the Boroughs Act and that was based on the assumption that the word 'collection' used in reference to clause (a) of Sub-section (2) of Section 24 must include assessment. Now this assumption is in our view wholly unfounded and is not only contrary to the plain meaning of the word 'collection' but is also opposed to the context. 'Collection' in the context of a taxing statute can mean only recovery of tax already assessed and levied and in respect of which liability to pay has arisen. It is a stage which follows upon and cannot include the process of assessment and quantification of liability. This is the plain natural meaning of the word 'collection' and there is no reason why we should not interpret that word according to its plain natural meaning and give it an artificially extended meaning so as to include the process of assessment and quantification of liability. As a matter of fact there is abundant evidence in Section 24 and its oontex-tual setting which shows that it is in its plain natural sense that the word 'collection' has been used by the Legislature in the Section. Section 24, Sub-section (2), clause (a) says that the Urban Immovable Property tax shall be collected by the Municipality in the same manner in which the property tax is collected and when we turn to the provisions of the Boroughs Act in regard to collection of the property tax, we find that those provisions relate to recovery of the property tax and are distinct from provisions relating to imposition of the properly tax and provisions relating to assessment of and liability to the property tax. Moreover clause (b) of Sub-section (2) of Section 24 provides that the collection of the Urban Immovable Property tax in the area of the Cantonment of Ahmedabad shall be made as an arrear of land revenue and that can have reference only to recovery of the Urban Immovable Property tax and cannot com-prehend assessment or levy of the Urban Immovable Property tax. It would be absurd and meaningless to say that Urban Immovable Property tax shall be assessed or levied as an arrear of land revenue. The word 'collection' in reference to clause (b) of Sub-section (2) of Section 24 can, therefore, mean only recovery and if that be so, it must have the same meaning also in reference to clause (a) of Sub-section (2) of Section 24. It may also be noted that originally Section 24 made provision in regard to both levy and collection but words relating to levy were subsequently deleted by an amendment and this also shows that the operation of the Section is intended to be confined merely to recovery of the Urban Immovable Property tax. It was contended on behalf of the petitioners that the words relating to levy were deleted in Section 24 because the word 'collection' was sufficiently wide to include levy and words expressly referring to levy were, therefore, found redundant but this contention is without substance. The contention assumes that while originally enacting Section 24 the Legislature indulged in superfluity by introducing words expressly referring to levy though they were not at all necessary in view of the comprehensiveness of the connotation of the word 'collection'. This is not an assumption which the Court would lightly make and the Court would not readily attribute such a sin against drafting to the Legislature particularly when it appears that the two words used by the Legislature, namely, 'levy' and 'collection' have distinct and different meanings. 'Levy' according to its plain natural meaning which as given in the Oxford Dictionary is 'to raise; impose; collect; to take the revenue of Land' may include recovery but 'collection' can only mean recovery and cannot include assessment or imposition of tax. It is therefore quite probable that the Legislature having found that the provision in regard to levy made in Section 24 was inappropriate as being inconsistent with the scheme of Part VI amended, the Section by omitting that provision by deleting words referring to levy and confining the operation of the Section to collection, that is, recovery of the Urban Immovable Property tax. We shall presently analyse the scheme of Part VI. It will be seen that Section 22 provides for levy of Urban ImmovableProperty tax at a certain percentage of the annual letting value and the assessment and levy of Urban Immovable Property tax, therefore, involves only the determination of the annual letting value and how this determination is to be made is laid down in Section 21. The entire machinery for assessment and levy ot Urban Immovable Properly tax is, therefore, provided in Sections 21 and 22 and consequently in enacting Section 24 the Legislature could not have intended to provide once again a machinery for assessment and levy of Urban Immovable Property tax and that too a machinery inconsistent with that provided in Section 22 read with the proviso to Section 21, Sub-section (1). The scheme of Part VI on the contrary shows that having provided for assessment and levy of Urban Immovable Properly tax in Sections 21 and 22, the Legislature proceeded to declare in Section 24 as to how Urban Immovable Property tax should be recovered and the machinery for recovery which the Legislature provided was that it should be recovered by the Municipality in the same manner in which the properly tax levied by it is recovered. We cannot, therefore, assent to the argument that Section 24, Sub-section (2), clause (a) requires that for assessment and levy of Urban Immovable Property tax the procedure set out in Sections 78 to 8-1 rnust be complied with independently and quite apart from what might have been done in regard to assessment and levy of the open laud tax and unless that procedure is complied with, there can, be no valid assessment and levy of Urban Immovable Property tax.

11. The other ground on which this conclusion was sought to be pressed upon us is equally unsustainable. It is difficult to see how an obligation to prepare a separate assessment list showing the animal letting value and the Urban Immovable Properly tax in respect of each building or land chargeable to Urban Immovable Property tax and to follow the procedure set out in Sections 78 to 84 of the Boroughs Act in regard to such assessment list can be implied from the provisions of the Act, The main argument urged on behalf of the petitioners in support of the implication was that if such an implication is not made, there would be no machinery of assessment provided in the Act and the machinery and procedure to be followed in making the assessment would be left to the sweet will ot the Executive and the levy of the Urban Immovable Property tax would in that event be on a basis which is not a judicial basis resulting in the constitutional invalidity of the Urban Immovable Property tax and it was urged that we must, therefore, so construe the provisions of the Act as to make the Urban Immovable Property tax constitutionally valid rather than void. Support for this argument was sought to be found in the decision of the Supreme Court in K. T Moopil Nair v. State of Kerala : [1961]3SCR77 . The constitutional validity of Section 5A of the Travancore-Cochin Land Taxes Act, 1955, was challenged in that case on the ground that it imposed unreasonable restrictions on the right of landholders to hold property safeguarded by Article 19(1)(f) of the Constitution. Section 5A enabledthe Government to make a provisional assessment of the basic tax payable by the holder of unsurveyed land but no provision was made in the Act laying down any time limit within which survey proceedings should be completed by the Government and the final assessment should bemade nor did the Act provide any machinery for making the provisional assessment. The Supreme Court held that Section 5A was viola-tive of Article 19(1)(f) inasmuch as (1) the Act did not impose an obligation on the Government to underrate survey proceedings within any prescribed or ascertainable period, with the result that a landholder might be subjected to repeated annual provisional assessments on more or less conjectural basis and be liable to pay the tax so assessed, and (2) the Act being silent as to the machinery and procedure to be followed in making the assessment left it to the Executive, completely ignoring the legal position that the assessment of a tax on a person or property is at least of a quasi-judicial character. Now it is undoubtedly true, as held by the Supreme Court in this decision, that in order that a tax may be constitutionally valid the statute which imposes it must provide for its levy on a judicial basis and consequently if the statute does not lay down the machinery and procedure to be followed in making the assessment but leaves it to the Executive to follow any machinery or procedure it likes, the statute would be unconstitutional and void. It is equally true that where there are two constructions possible, one of which makes the statute constitutional and the other void, the Court should lean in favour of constitutionality and adopt that construction which makes the statute valid rather than the one which makes the statute void. But there is in the present case no scope for the application of this rule of interpretation. In the first place this rule can apply only where we find that two interpretations of the statute are possible. It cannot be pressed into service for the purpose of making an implication where the statute is capable of only one interpretation. It may be that if the statute does not lay down the machinery and procedure to be followed in making the assessment and leaves it to the Executive to adopt such machinery and procedure as it likes and provides for levy of the tax on a basis which is not a judicial basis, the statute may be unconstitutional but the whole machinery and procedure for assessment to be found in another enactment cannot be imported by implication in order to render the statute valid. If such an implication has to be made, it must be based on something to be found in the statute itself and it cannot be motivated by the consideration that if it is not made the statute would be rendered unconstitutional. We must, there-tore, leave this consideration out of account and see whether there is anything in the Act itself which supports the making of such an implication. When we examine the provisions of the Act we find that not only there is nothing in the Act which yields the implication sought by the petitioner but the whole scheme of Part VI actually negatives such implication. If we analyse the scheme of Part VI--and that is what we propose to do when we deal with the nextcontention of the petitioners -- it is apparent that the Act is not silent as to the machinery and procedure to be followed in making the assessment but it has actually laid down such machinery and procedure by reference to the provisions of the relevant Municipal law prevailing in the area in which the Urban Immovable Property tax is sought to be levied and there is, therefore, no room for making any implication as desired by the petitioners. The pie-sent contention of the petitioners seeking to import by implication the machinery and proce-dure set out in Sections 78 to 84 of the Boroughs Act in assessment of the Urban Immovable Property tax must therefore, be rejected.

12. That takes us to the fourth contention urged on behalf of the petitioners and in order to appreciate the force of that contention, it is necessary to examine briefly what is the scheme of taxation embodied in Part VI of the Act. Section 22 provides for levy of Urban Immovable Property tax by declaring that there shall ho levied and paid to the State Government a tax on buildings and lands called the Urban Immovable Property tax at such rate of the annual let-ting value as may be notified by the State Government subject to a maximum of 7 per cent. The Urban Immovable Property tax is thus based on the annual letting value and the assessment and levy of the Urban Immovable Property tax involve only the determination of the annual letting value. Now what is annual letting value and how is it to be determined? The answer to this question is provided by Sub-section (1) of Section 21. That Sub-section though ostensibly only a defining provision fulfils both the functions: it not only defines annual letting value but also declares how it is to be determined. The main provision enacted in that Sub-section defines annual letting value to mean in relation to the Municipal Borough of Ahmeda-bad the annual letting value or buildings and lands determined in accordance with the provisions of Section 78 of the Boroughs Act and the annual letting value there would mean the annual rent for which any building or land might reasonably be expected to be let from year to year. This provision, therefore, makes the machinery of the Boroughs Act applicable for determining the annual letting value and where the property tax has been assessed on the annual letting value, it declares that the determination of the annual letting value for the purpose of the property tax would also hold good for the purpose of the Urban Immovable Property tax. But there may be cases where the property tax is assessed not on the annual letting value but on the capitalvalue and when that happens the main provision enacted in Sub-section (1) of Section 21 would be inapplicable. What is to happen in such a case and now is the annual letting value to be determined? The proviso to Section 21, Sub-section (!) says that where the property tax is assessedon any building or land on its capital value, such percentage of the capital value as may be determined by the State Government shall be deemed to be the annual letting value. The annual letting value is thus, in cases coming within the proviso, arrived at from the capital value by applying a certain percentage determined by theState Government and the capital value as determined in the assessment of the property tax is taken as the basis for ascertainment of the annual letting value. Where the property tax is assessed on any building or land on its capital value, the capital value would be determined after complying with the procedure provided in Sections 78 to 84 of the Boroughs Act for assessment of the property tax and the capital value being determined in this manner on a judicial basis, there would be no point in having another inquiry for determining the capital value for the purpose of the Urban Immovable Property tax. There being already a detailed and elaborate machinery provided in the Boroughs Act for determination of the capital value on a judicial basis, once that machinery is gone through and the capital value is determined in the assessment of the property tax, it would be idle to go through the same process again for the purpose of arriving at the same determination for the purpose of the Urban Immovable Property tax. The Legislature, therefore, did not provide a separate machinery in the Act for determination of the capital value but relied on the machinery provided in Sections 78 to 84 of the Boroughs Act and declared that the capital value determined in accordance with that machinery in the assessment of the property tax shall be taken to be the capital value for thepurpose of the Urban Immovable Property tax. he Legislature thus eliminated duplication of the machinery for determination of the capital value by hitching the wagon of the Urban Immovable Property tax to the cart of municipal taxation and rested the assessment and levy of the Urban Immovable Property tax on the determination of the capital value made in the assessment of the Property tax.

13. This being the scheme of taxation embodied in Part VI of the Act, let us see whether on the facts of the present case the Urban Immovable Property tax was validly assessed and levied on the open lands belonging to the petitioners. Now admittedly the Urban Immovable Property tax sought to be recovered by the Municipality on behalf of the State was claimed on the basis of annual letting value determined under the proviso to Section 21, Sub-section (1). There was no determination of annual letting value under the main provision enacted in Sub-section (1) of Section 21. The claim of the Municipality and the Government to recover the Urban Immovable Property tax on the basis of the annual letting value determined under the proviso to Section 21, Sub-section (1) must, therefore, be justified by the terms of the proviso. Now it is clear on a plain grammatical construction that the annual letting value can be determined under the proviso only in a case where the properly tax is assessed on a building or land on its capital value. The condition precedent to the applicability of the proviso is that the property tax must be assessed on the building or land and such assessment must be on the capital value. The proviso can have no application unless this condition is fulfilled. This much was agreed on both sides and the question which, therefore, arises for consideration is whether thiscondition could be said to be fulfilled on the facts of the present case. The contention urged by the learned Advocate General on behalf of the State was that this condition was fulfilled since open land tax was assessed on the open lands or the petitioners on their capital value for the official years 1947-48 to 1950-51. Now it is undoubtedly true that open land tax being a rate on open lands would be within the definition of 'property tax' given in Section 21, Sub-section (7) of the Act, but we cannot accept the argument that it was assessed on the open lands of the petitioners for the official years 1947-48 to 1950-51. It has already been held by this Court in Keshavlal's Case (ILR (1965) Guj 701) (Supra) for reasons which we have summarised above that there was no valid levy or imposition of open land tax for the official years 1947-48 to 1950-51 and this decision, it would appear, affords a complete answer to the contention of the learned Advocate General. This decision laid down inter alia that there can be no valid levy or imposition of open land tax unless the procedure set out in Sections 78 to 81 of the Boroughs Act is complied with and the assessment list is authenticated before the expiry of the official year and since in respect of the official years 1947-48 to 1950-51 the assessment lists were not authenticated before the expiry of the respective official years, no open land tax could be said to be legally levied or imposed for those official years. The correctness of this view was, however, challenged by the learned Advocate General and he urged that on a true construction of the relevant provisions of the Boroughs Act it was not essential to the levy or imposition of open land tax that the assessment list must be authenticated before the expiry of the official year and that so long as the procedure set out in Sections 78 to 81 was complied with and the assessment list was authenticated, whether within or beyond the official year, no objection could be raised against the validity of the levy or imposition of open land tax. We are afraid we cannot entertain this contention it is contrary to the decision in Keshavlal's Case (ILR (1965) Guj. 701) (Supra) which being a decision of a Division Bench of this Court is binding upon us. We may, however, point out that even if the decision in Keshavlal's Case (ILR (1965) Guj. 701) (Supra) had no binding authority on us, we should still have chosen to follow it since we find ourselves in entire agreement with the reasoning adopted in it. The learned Advocate General then contended that in any event even if this decision be regarded as laying down the correct law, the only thing that it decided was that there could be no levy or imposition of open land tax unless the assessment list was authenticated before the expiry of the official year and it did not say that open land tax could not be said to be assessed unless this condition was fulfilled. 'To assess' means to fix the amount of tax or to determine such amount and that would be done, argued the learned Advocate General, when the assessment list has been subjected to the entire process set out in Sections 78 to 81 of the Boroughs Act. When that process is gone through, the amount of open land tax would be determined and the assessmentwould be complete though the completion of theprocess may not result in the levy or imposition of open land tax if the authentication of the assessment list is not made before the expiry of the official year. The learned Advocate General urged that authentication was a mere formality and in any event even if authentication before expiry of the official year was essential to the levy or imposition of open land tax, it was not a sine qua non for the levy or imposition of Urban Immovable Property tax. What vvas of the essence, said the learned Advocate General, for the purpose of levy or imposition of Urban Immovable Property tax was that the procedure set out in Sections 78 to 8f of the Boroughs Act should be gone through and the assessment list should be authenticated after going through that procedure and it was entirely immaterial whether the authentication was made before or after the expiry of the official year. If the authentication was made after the expiry of the official year, the authentication might not result in levy or imposition of open land tax but it could not have any such consequence in regard to Urban Immovable Property tax, for the object of the provision being merely to get at the capital value, that object would be achieved and the capital value would be determined on a judicial basis after giving a fair hearing to the tax-payer concerned even if the authentication was made after the expiry of the official year, so long as the procedure set out in Sections 78 to 81 was complied with. The argument of the learned Advocate General was that in the present case it was undoubtedly true that the authentication of the assessment lists for the official years 1947-48 to 1950-51 was made long after the expiry of the respective official years but the procedure set out in Sections 78 to 81 was complied with and the capital value finally determined as shown in the assessment lists could, therefore, form the basis for the levy or imposition of Urban Immovable Properly tax. This contention is in our view unsustainable in that it ignores the scheme of taxation embodied in Sections 78 to 81 of the Boroughs Act. Under that scheme as pointed out by this Court in Keshavlal's Case (ILR (1965) Guj. 701) (Supra) the procedure set out in Sections 78 to 81 of the Boroughs Act is required to be followed for assessment of open land tax and it is only when the procedure set out in these Sections is complied with that the assessment of open land tax is completed. Of course the question in Keshavlal's Case (ILR (1965) Guj. 701) was whether there was a valid levy or imposition of open land tax and not whether there was a valid assessment of open land tax but there is in our opinion no distinction at all between the two concepts so far as the present question is concerned. It is the process of assessment which culminates in the levy or imposition of open land tax: if the assessment is invalid, the levy or imposition of open land tax would also be invalid and if on the other hand the assessment is valid, it must necessarily result in a valid levy or imposition of open land tax. The procedure that is set out in Sections 78 to 81 of the Boroughs Act is really a procedure which is required to be followea for making ofa valid assessment of open land tax--and this is clearly supported by the sub-heading 'Assessment of and liability to rates on buildings or lands' under which these Sections are placed --and when that procedure is complied with and a valid assessment of open land tax is made, that results in levy or imposition of open land tax. It is, therefore, not correct to say that in a given case open land lax may not be levied or imposed but it may yet be assessed. There can be no levy or imposition ot open land tax unless open land fax is assessed and there can be no valid assessment of open land tax unless the procedure sei out in Sections 78 to 81 of the Boroughs Act is complied with. Now as held in Keshavlal's Case (ILR (1965) Guj. 701) the authentication of the assessment list within the official year is an integral and essential part of the procedure set out in Sections 78 to 81 of the Boroughs Act and, therefore, of the process of assessment of open land tax and it must follow as a necessary corollary of this proposition that if the assessment list is not authenticated before the expiry of the official year, there would be no valid assessment of open land tax and consequently no valid levy or imposition of open land tax and in such a case open land tax cannot be said lo be assessed. It must, therefore, be concluded that since in the present case the authentication of the assessment lists for the official years 1947-18 to 1950-51 was made long after the expiry of the respective official years, there was no valid assessment of open tax and the condition precedent to the applicability of the proviso to Section 21, Sub-section (1) was not fulfilled. We may also point out that even if the contention of the learned Advocate General were accepted and it were held that authentication of the assessment list before the expiry of the official year was not a necessary requirement to be fulfilled before open land tax could be said to be assessed and that it was enough if the authentication was made at any time so long as the procedure set out in Sections 78 to 81 of the Boroughs Act was carried out, the State cannot yet succeed in bringing the case within the proviso to Section 21, Sub-section (1) for it is apparent from the deision in Keshavlals Case (ILR (1965) Guj. 701) that not only was the assessment of open land tax invalid by reason of (he authentication being beyond time but it was also invalid on other grounds, namely, grounds Nos. 2, 3 and 4 set out in the summary of the decision in Keshavlal's Case (ILR (1965) Guj. 701) which we have given in an earlier part of the judgment. There was, therefore, clearly no valid assessment of open land tax for the official years 1947-48 to 1950-51 and the proviso to Section 21, Sub-section (1) vvas consequently not attracted and there was no valid levy or imposition of Urban Immovable Property tax.

14. Since in the view we are taking the petitioners are entitled to succeed on their fourth contention, it is not necessary for us to deal with the last contention urged on behalf of the petitioners but since that contention is an unsubstantial one and can be disposed of in a few words, we shall briefly deal with it. The contention assumes that unless the amount of theUrban Immovable Property tax was due to the Borough Municipality at the date of the coming into force of the Corporations Act, the Municipal Corporation could not take any steps to recover it from the petitioners. But this assumption ignores the true legal basis of the claim of the Municipal Corporation to recover the amount of the Urban Immovable Property tax from the petitioners. The Municipal Corporation does not seek to recover the amount of the Urban Immovable Property tax as an amount due to the Borough Municipality at the date of the coming into force of the Corporations Act and the question of invoking the aid of the transitory provisions enacted in Appendix IV does not, therefore, arise. The amount of the Urban Immovable Property tax is not being recovered as a debt of the Municipality. It is in fact not due to the Municipality but is due to the State and the Municipality merely seeks to recover it by virtue of the authority conferred on it tinder Section 24. That Section constitutes the Municipality a collecting authority for recovering the Urban Immovable Property tax due to the State and whichever is the Municipality in existence at the time when the amount of the Urban Immovable Property tax is sought to be recovered, would be the collecting authority entitled to take steps to recover the same by adopting the procedure prescribed for recovery of properly tax levied by it. If, therefore, the Urban Immovable Property tax had been validly levied, there could have been no objection to the Municipal Cor-poration seeking to recover it from the petitioners by presenting bills in accordance with the procedure set out in the Corporations Act for recovery of property tax levied by the Municipal Corporation. This last contention urged on behalf of the petitioners must, therefore, be rejected.

15. Since for reasons which wo havealready discussed above, we ave of the viewthat there was no valid assessment or levy ofthe Urban Immovable Property tax, it must beheld that the Municipality was not entitled toissue bills demanding payment of any amountsby way of Urban Immovable Property tax fromthe petitioners. We, therefore, allow the petitions, make the Rules issued on the petitions absolute and direct that in each petition a writ doissue directing the Municipality and the Statenot to recover from the petitioners any amountby way of Urban Immovable Property tax onthe open lands belonging to the petitioners forthe official years 1947-48 to 1950-51. The Statewill pay the costs of the petition to the petitioner in each petition.


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