1. In September 1952 the Executive Officer, Municipal Committee, Ajmer, sent a requisition under Section 234 of Regulation 6 of 1925 requesting the Tahsildar and Magistrate 2nd Class to realize a sum of Rs. 583/- outstanding on account of the land and property tax in respect of properties Nos. 814, 815 and 816 in Ward No. 7 of Ajmer City. The opposite party Hazarimal was called by the Tahsildar on 13.10.1952. He was asked whether he had received the notice of demand and on his admitting that he had, the Tahsildar-Magistrate 2nd Class directed the issue of a warrant of attachment returnable on 27.10.52. On that date Hazarimal filed an objection. These objections were rejected by the learned Magistrate on 12.11.1952, and the warrant of attachment was re-issued returnable on 27.11.1952. On 25.11.1952 Hazarimal filed Criminal Revision No. 21 of 1952 in the Court of the Additional District Magistrate, Ajmer. After hearing the parties, the learned Assistant Commissioner and Additional District Magistrate, Ajmer, has made a reference to this Court. In this reference I have heard the learned Counsel for Hazarimal, the learned Counsel for Municipal Committee, Ajmer, and the learned Assistant Public Prosecutor.
2. The point for my consideration is whether a Magistrate of the 2nd Class can under Section 234, Regn. 6 of 1925 realize taxes in excess of Rs. 200/-.
3. Section 234 reads:
Any tax,...and any costs, damages or compensation, or other moneys payable to, or, claimable or recoverable by, a Committee under this Regulation...after demand has been made therefor in the manner prescribed by rule, be recovered on application to a Magistrate having jurisdiction within the limits of the Municipality, or in any other place where the person by whom the amount is payable may, for the time being, reside, by the distress and sale of any moveable property within the limits of such Magistrate's jurisdiction, belonging to such person....
4. The contention of the learned Counsel for Hazarimal is that the amount of tax can be realized by the Magistrate only as fine. This can be done only by issuing a warrant under Section 386(1)(a), Criminal P.C. The learned Counsel urges that under Section 32, Criminal P.C. a Magistrate of the 2nd Class is not empowered to impose a fine exceeding Rs. 200. Under Section 386 it is only the Court passing a sentence of fine that can issue the warrant. The learned Counsel's suggestion is that a Magistrate of the 2nd Class can thus issue a warrant for the realization of fine not in excess of Rs. 200/-.
I am unable to agree with the learned Counsel. The tax, rate or fee sought to be realized under Section 234 of Regulation 6 of 1925 is not a line. It is only realized, as a fine. The Code of Criminal Procedure restricts the power of imposition of fine and does not directly impose any limit for the realization of fine. It only lays down that the Court imposing the fine shall issue a warrant for its realization and that is a very proper limit in as much as it is the Court which has imposed the fine alone which knows whether the fine has still to be realized and has to decide whether action under Clause 1(a) or 1(b) has to be taken. If I agree with the contention of the learned Counsel for Hazarimal a further difficulty would arise in as much as taxes in excess of Rs. 1,000/- would not be realizable through the agency of the Magistrates. When Reg. 4 of 1925 was enacted, the existence of Magistrates of different classes was within the information of the authorities concerned but it was not considered necessary to make any specification. I am, therefore, of opinion that the reference to 'a Magistrate' in Section 234 is a reference to any Magistrate, and includes Magistrates of the 2nd and 3rd Class.
5. In that view, I am of opinion that the learned Tahsildar and Magistrate who exercises powers of 2nd Class had full jurisdiction to proceed in the matter. The reference is rejected and the file will be returned to the learned Additional District Magistrate of further proceedings according to law.