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In Re: K. Somasundara Mudaliar and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectDirect Taxation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1932Mad171; 136Ind.Cas.319; (1932)62MLJ263
AppellantIn Re: K. Somasundara Mudaliar and ors.
Excerpt:
- - the act is perfectly definite with regard to persons who are entitled to have their names included in the electoral roll. if that is so, then clearly any subsequent election at which these allegations are proved and in which it is shown that the person who was elected colluded with those who brought about such things and so secured election can be set aside. revising authority to enquire into that claim, and, if satisfied that the claimant has been assessed, to put his name on the roll......to certain objections to the preparation of the electoral roll and to quash the proceedings of the revising authority of the 25th september, 1931. what happened was that when the election officer was preparing the electoral roll objection was put in to the inclusion therein of certain names by the petitioner and those interested with him. the objection was that the names of some persons which were included ought not to be included because although they were assessed to taxes, the)' were not properly so assessed. this means, of course, that the election officer was called upon to embark upon an enquiry into the correctness or otherwise of the assessment of these persons by the municipal authorities. despite this objection of the petitioner, the names were included in the electoral roll......
Judgment:
ORDER

Horace Owen Compton Beasley, Kt., C.J.

1. This is an application for a writ of cerliururi uponthe Revising Authority of the Saidapet Municipality commanding them to send up to this Court the records relating to certain objections to the preparation of the electoral roll and to quash the proceedings of the Revising Authority of the 25th September, 1931. What happened was that when the Election Officer was preparing the electoral roll objection was put in to the inclusion therein of certain names by the petitioner and those interested with him. The objection was that the names of some persons which were included ought not to be included because although they were assessed to taxes, the)' were not properly so assessed. This means, of course, that the Election Officer was called upon to embark upon an enquiry into the correctness or otherwise of the assessment of these persons by the Municipal authorities. Despite this objection of the petitioner, the names were included in the Electoral Roll. Objection was then preferred to the Revising Authority under the Act and the following order was passed by that Authority.--

In these cases objection has been taken to the inclusion in the electoral roll of the voters concerned on the ground that they had been improperly and illegally assessed to profession tax. We have heard arguments on both sides and are of opinion that having regard to Section 45(1)(c) of the District Municipalities Act, 1920,; as it stands at present it is enough that the voters concerned were assessed in the preceding year.

2. That concluded the matter so far as the Revising Authority was concerned. We have before us the affidavit of the petitioner and we notice amongst other things that, in paragraph 12 the allegations are that the names of these persons have been fraudulently inserted or caused to be inserted at the instance of the Chairman with a view to secure as many votes as possible for himself or his nominees in the coming elections, that those persons were not getting the incomes allotted to them nor were they in a position to pay the rates, that they were not even made aware of their assessments, that the taxes were paid by some unknown persons and without the authority or knowledge of those alleged to have been made so liable, that the payments did not appear to have been the assessee's own acts and that at an earlier stage when these matters were represented to the election authority some enquiry was made and it was elicited that the said assessments were behind the back of the assessees. In my view, the Revising Authorities took the proper view and were quite right in saying that as the names of these persons appeared on the assessment rolls of the Municipality, it was not competent for them, or indeed the Election Officer, to question the legality of such assessment. Were it otherwise, it would lead to this very strange position. A person is assessed by the Chairman or the assessing officer of a Municipality to profession tax and has to pay the tax. According to the argument addressed to us for the 'petitioner it would be open to the person, notwithstanding that he has been assessed by the proper authority, to go before the Election Officer when the electoral roll is being prepared and contend that he has been improperly assessed and to get from the Election Officer, who after all is not the assessing officer, a decision to the effect that he has been wrongly assessed, so that we have this remarkable posi- tion, if that argument is right, that the person is both assessed and not assessed. Which authority he is to be guided by has not been stated by the earned Counsel who supports this petition. Obviously that would lead to a chaotic state of affairs. In my view, it is not open to the Election Officer or the Revising Authority to go into that question at all. The Act is perfectly definite with regard to persons who are entitled to have their names included in the electoral roll. To be included in the electoral roll a person must have attained the age of 21 in the year preceding such publication, he must be a British subject or a subject of a State in India, he must have been assessed for the preceding year to any tax payable to the Government of India or the Local Government or to any local authority in the Presidency of Madras and he should have resided in the Municipality for 120 days in the year preceding. Directly he satisfies the Election Officer on those points, the Election Officer is bound to put his name in the electoral roll. In this case it is quite clear from the affidavit supporting the petition that it is alleged that it was not due to any mistake that the persons objected to were assessed but due to deliberate fraud on the part of the Chairman of the Municipality and those interested' with him. If that is so, then clearly any subsequent election at which these allegations are proved and in which it is shown that the person who was elected colluded with those who brought about such things and so secured election can be set aside. There is this distinct remedy given to the petitioner here. That being so, he cannot come by way of certiorari here.

3. This is yet another instance of how the-process of the Court is abused by persons. This petition must be rejected.

Cornish, J.

4. I entirely agree. I think it is clear from the rules that under Rule 8 all that the Revising Authority can enquire into are claims or objections relating to inclusion in the electoral roll. Among the qualifications for inclusion in the electoral roll set out in Section 45(1)(c) of the Act is the qualification that a person shall have been assessed in the preceding year to any tax. If a person claims that he has been assessed and that his name should appear on the electoral roll, then it is for the; Revising Authority to enquire into that claim, and, if satisfied that the claimant has been assessed, to put his name on the roll. On the other hand if an objection is made that a person whose name is included in the roll is not an assessee, then all that the Revising Authority can enquire into is the fact whether he has been assessed. The question whether the assessee has been illegally or improperly assessed is a matter which does not lie within the scope of the Revising Authority's enquiry.


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