1. The petitioner, the Union Board of Devakottah through its President, was sued by the respondent, a motor bus proprietor to recover the profession tax paid by him to the Union under protest. The Subordinate Judge has decreed the claim, holding that the respondent was not assessable to profession tax by the Devakottah Union Board. The facts are that the respondent has a motor omnibus service running between Madura and Devakottah; that his principal office is in Madura, where also he has a house in which he resides with his family; that he has an agent in Devakottah who collects the fares from passengers there, and sends these collections to the respondent at Madura. A person is liable to profession tax under Section 93 of the Madras Local Boards Act if he in any half year exercises a profession, art, trade or calling rendering him liable to the profession tax, for sixty days in the aggregate in any local area, or, being in receipt of income from money-lending or any source other than houses and lands inside such area which renders him liable to profession tax, resides in the area for sixty days in the aggregate. Schedule IV, Rule 10 explains that a person shall be deemed to have exercised a profession etc. if his principal office is within the local area notified and his connection therewith has lasted for the specified number of days. Madura and Devakottah are both notified areas. But the Subordinate judge having found that the principal office of the respondent is in Madura, he is not liable to profession tax by the Devakottah Union Board on the footing that he exercised his profession or calling within the Devakottah area.
2. It remains to be seen whether he could be taxed in respect of the source of income in the Devakottah area, viz., the fares collected there by his agent. The Subordinate Judge has just touched on this question but does not decide it. The right of the Devakottah Board to tax the respondent in respect of the Devakottah source of income is subject under Section 93 to the qualification that the respondent 'resides in the area for sixty days in the aggregate'. It is not suggested that the respondent did in fact reside in Devakottah for a period of sixty days. But it is contended that he must be deemed to have resided there through his agent. Mr. Venkatachari has relied upon a passage in Best, J.'s judgment in Chairman, Ongole Municipality v. Mounsey I.L.R. (1894) 17 Mad. 453. The question there was whether an officer whose head-quarters were within the Municipality was not ipso facto exercising his profession or calling within such Municipality, although as a matter of fact he was absent from the Municipality discharging his duties elsewhere. Best, J. at page 455 said:
If the subordinates left in charge of the office at Ongole could be held to be doing the Sub-Collector's work, there would be ground for holding the contention on behalf of the Municipality to be valid, on the principle of qui facit per alium facit per se. But the Sub-Collector's duties cannot be delegated by him to be done by his clerks.
3. It is conceivable that a profession or calling might be exercised by a deputy, and a trade certainly can be carried on by an agent. But I think it is not possible that an individual can reside in a place except in person. In Veerappa Chettiar v. Municipal Council, Palni I.L.R. (1924) 48 Mad. 476 : 48 M.L.J. 428 it was held that the word 'reside' in Section 95 of the Madras District Municipalities Act, which corresponds to the provision in Section 93 of the Local Boards Act for the levy of profession tax, signified 'personal residence,' and that a person who merely maintained an office for the collection of rent within the Municipal area could not be said to reside there. I agree with the conclusion of the Subordinate Judge. But his reasoning that because the respondent was assessed to profession tax in Madura he could not be made liable for profession tax in Devakottah is opposed to the ruling in Manickavasagam Chettiar v. Union Board of Devakottah I.L.R. (1932) 55 Mad. 853 : 63 M.L.J 741.
4. The petition is dismissed with costs.