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Commissioner, Coimbatore Municipality Vs. Chettimar Vinayagar Temple Committee by Secretary, C. Nangappa Chettiar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCommercial
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1956)2MLJ563
AppellantCommissioner, Coimbatore Municipality
RespondentChettimar Vinayagar Temple Committee by Secretary, C. Nangappa Chettiar
Excerpt:
- .....of the temple has been enclosed and it is common ground that the entire place has been used as public place for selling different kinds of articles including articles of food. stalls on either side have been let out from time to time. at the entrance of the market and the temple on either side, there are some pucca superstructures which have been let out to tenants who were having certain shops. they are marked as abon and ghml. the learned subordinate judge considered that the portions marked abon and ghml could not be considered to form part of the private market and therefore not liable to be licensed under the act. the learned subordinate judge found that the defendant council was not competent to levy a license fee for the portion of the property occupied by the shop-keepers,.....
Judgment:

Krishnaswami Nayudu, J.

1. In this appeal the correctness of the judgment of the lower appellate Court in so far as it excluded a portion of the premises belonging to the plaintiff from the scope of a market liable to be licensed under the Madras District Municipalities Act is questioned. The Plaintiff which is a temple represented by its secretary trustee owned the suit property and utilised a portion of it, viz., the land in front of the temple, according to the appellant municipality, as a private market. The temple and the private market are situated in Rengai Goundan Sereet. The entrance both to the market and the temple is from the street as could be seen from the plan prepared by the Commissioner, Exhibit A-10. There are a row of stalls on either side, namely on the northern and southern side, the market and the temple facing east. The entrance on the eastern side is marked BG in the plan. The open space in front of the temple has been enclosed and it is common ground that the entire place has been used as public place for selling different kinds of articles including articles of food. Stalls on either side have been let out from time to time. At the entrance of the market and the temple on either side, there are some pucca superstructures which have been let out to tenants who were having certain shops. They are marked as ABON and GHML. The learned Subordinate Judge considered that the portions marked ABON and GHML could not be considered to form part of the private market and therefore not liable to be licensed under the Act. The learned Subordinate Judge found that the defendant Council was not competent to levy a license fee for the portion of the property occupied by the shop-keepers, belonging to the temple and which are at the entrance. The question, therefore, is whether they could be considered to be independent of the market and not forming part of the market. The reasoning of the learned Subordinate Judge is that they are not within any square or space restricted by bounds and their opening or shutting or their vending cannot be restricted by the owner of the market as they are pucca buildings, though the learned Subordinate Judge considered that pucca buildings from which rents are collected monthly and situated within square or space would, however, be liable to be licensed notwithstanding they are such pucca buildings. These shops are contiguous and attached to the main structures excepting that they have access from the road-side. They belong to the common owner, the plaintiff and rents are also collected from them. Could the circumstance that the opening or shutting of the shops can be done without any reference to the closing or opening of the main gate of the market be sufficient to take it away from the scope of market while the entire property belongs to the same owner and which has been used for purposes of purchase and sale of articles to the public?

2. Market is not defined in the present District Municipalities Act but the definition of it is found in Act II of 1884. 'Market' is defined as:

any place ordinarily used for the sale of meat, fish, fruits, vegetables or other perishable articles 'of food for human consumption which is at the passing of this Act a licensed market or which may hereafter be declared by the Municipal Council to be a market.

3. No such definition is found in the present Act, and even taking the definition of the earlier Act of 1884, it will be seen that the entire property which was sought to be charged for license fee would come within the definition as it is a place used for the sale not of meat or fish but of fruits, vegetables and other perishable articles of food for human consumption.

4. In the absence of a definition in the Act we may take the ordinary meaning of a market and a 'market' is referred to in Wharton's 'Law Lexicon' as 'a public time and place of buying and selling, also purchase and sale.' It connotes a place where the public would go at a particular time for the purchase or sale of articles and a place where articles are sold and made available to the public. The property therefore belongs to a temple, as any other private party and on that ground it could not be considered to be anything else than a market. In Ramanatha Iyer's 'Law Lexicon', 'market' is denned as a public place for buying and selling. Portions marked ABON and GHML being admittedly part of the main structure and which have been found to be a market cannot cease to be portion of it and it cannot be said that they are places in which there is no purchase and sale accessible to the public. There was no warrant for making a distinction between the portion of the premises from the rest so as to hold that the portion occupied by the shops ceases to be a market simply for the reason that the shop-keepers could have exit or entrance without the necessity of entering through the main gate of the market. Mr. Ramachandra Iyer for the respondent contends that unless meat and fish are sold, it cannot be a market relying on the definition of market in Act II of 1884. Even the definition of market in Act II of 1884 includes 'vegetables and other perishable articles' and applying the general meaning of the word 'market' as a public place for selling and purchasing, there is no doubt that the portion excluded, also forms part of the market and liable to be licensed. The further contention that there must have been a declaration that the place is a private market will not arise as it is not denied that for the rest of the portion the respondent has been paying license fees. The interference by the learned Subordinate Judge of the learned District Munsif's judgment by excluding the portion ABON and GHML from being charged with license fee cannot be supported. The appeal is allowed with costs.

5. The memorandum of objections is dismissed. No costs. No leave.


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