B.J. Divan, C.J.
1. The Municipal Corporation of the City of Baroda is the petitioner in each of these Special Civil Applications. The respondent concerned in each of these four matters is the owner of a building within the limits of the corporation. Each owner owns one building but different portions of the building have been let out to different tenants. To take up the facts in one case as illustrative of the rest of the group, we shall take up the facts of the case in Special Civil Application No. 1581 of 1972. The owner has a building bearing Municipal Census No. Sh/37 in Baroda. The municipal authorities first arrived at the annual letting value or the rateable value of the premises occupied by each tenant and then totalled up instead of assessing them tenantwise and the owner of the property contended that the respondent had erred in not allowing statutory draw back for the property. The appellate officer of the Baroda Municipal Corporation under Sections 406 and 407 of the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations Act, 1949, had rejected the contentions of the owner and thereafter the owner appealed to the court of the Civil Judge (Senior Division). Baroda, against this refusal to allow the draw-back. Against the decision of the Civil Judge (senior division), appeal was preferred to the district court and the appeals were disposed of by the learned Second Extra Assistant Judge, Baroda. The contention in each of the cases was regarding draw-back contemplated by Rule 11(2). We are not concerned with any other contention in this judgment and the owner of each property contended that one-fifth of the draw-back of the general tax should be given to the owner of the property.
2. Under Section 127 of the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations Act, 1949, the corporation has to impose property taxes and these taxes, as shown in Section 129 include a water tax, a general tax and a conservancy tax. Under Section 453 of Act, rules in schedule a to the Act as amended from time to time are deemed to be part of the Act. In chapter viii of the schedule a to the Act, taxation rules are set out. We are concerned in the present case with Rule ii.(2) of those rules. Rule 11(2) provides for draw-back and is in these terms:
11. (2) when the Commissioner has determined to treat all the several holdings comprised within any one building or land or premises under this section as one property, he may subject to any general conditions which may from time to time be prescribed by the standing committee in this behalf, at any time not later than seven days before the first day of any half-year for which an instalment of general tax will be leviable in respect of the said property, sanction a drawback of one-fifth part of the general tax so leviable.
Under Sub-rule (1) of Rule 11, when any building or land or premises is let to two or more persons holding in severally, the Commissioner may, for the purpose of assessing such building or land or premises to the property-taxes, either treat the whole thereof as one property, or, with the written consent of the owner of such building or land or premises, tracheate several holding there in or any two or more of such several holdings together, or each floor or flat, as a separate property. It is only in connection with the general tax that the drawback is permissible but when the Commissioner has determined to treat all the several buildings comprised within any one building as one property subject to any general conditions which may from time to time be prescribed by the standing committee in this behalf, the drawback to the extent of one-fifth part of the general tax could be granted. It is nobodys case that at the relevant time the standing committee had prescribed any general conditioning connection with the drawback. Sub-rule (3) of Rule 11 contemplates that the particulars of the several holdings and other details mentioned in Sub-rule (3) shall be furnished in such form and such particulars as maybe required by the Commissioner in accordance with the general conditions prescribed in this behalf by the standing committee. Since the standing committee had not prescribed any general conditions, all that the owner of the property concerned was required to do was to apply to the Commissioner for draw back setting out all there levant facts the word used in sub-grille (2) of Rule 11 is may but the use of this word may does not confer any discretion on the Municipal Commissioner ingranting drawback. Once it is decided that all the several holdings comprised within one building or land or premises have been treated as one property for the purpose of levying of property taxes, then if the appropriate application for a drawback of one-fifth of the general tax is made, the Commissioner has no option and he must give the draw back if the other conditions of Sub-rule (3) are satisfied the person applying for drawback has to apply and he has to furnish to the Commissioner full and correct information regarding the property in respect of which the claim for drawback is made.
3. Since the form and particulars to be furnished by such person were not prescribed by the standing committee nor the general conditions prescribed by the standing committee in this behalf, all necessary information was required to be furnished in our opinion, looking to the fact that the Commissioner was performing a public duty and was dealing with the cases which are by of an exception to the general rule, that each holding or premises occupied by each occupant could be a separate unit for the purposes of assessment to property taxes, the word may in Sub-rule (2) of Rule 11 must be read as shall provided of course, the requirements of Sub-rule (3) are satisfied under these circumstances it is obvious that the conclusions reached by the learned civil judge (senior division) Baroda and the learned second extra assistant judge, Baroda in each of these four cases was correct.
4. Each of these Special Civil Applications, therefore, fails and is dismissed. Rule is discharged in each matter. No order as to costs.