1. This is an application for the issue of a writ of mandamus to direct the Taxation Appeals Committee to dispose of the appeal filed before it. The petitioner is an assessee in respect of the premises No. 5. Vidyodaya first Main Road, Thyagarayanagar. The tax on this property which was Rs. 93-42 in 1948-49 has been enhanced from time to time. For the year ending 31-3-1960, the tax was Rs. 136-48 nP. For the year 1960-61 it was increased to Rs. 180-42 nP. for the half year. On receipt of the notice, the petitioner filed an appeal to the Revenue Officer who confirmed the enhancement. Against this order, an appeal was filed before the Taxation Appeals Committee on 5-8-1960. The Taxation Appeals Committee fixed 16-9-1960 as the date of hearing. On that date, the petitioner appeared along with his advocate. But when the case was called, the Chairman of the Taxation Appeals Committee intimated that since the appeal memo was not signed by the owner but only by the advocate who had no vakalat, the appeal was liable to be rejected and it was so ordered by the Taxation Appeals Committee despite the representation that the Advocate had a vakalat with him and if necessary would file It immediately.
2. It is claimed that this method of disposal of the appeal by the Taxation Appeals Committee is erroneous in law and opposed to the rules and it is in these circumstances that a writ of mandamus is prayed for.
3. In the counter affidavit filed on behalf of the Corporation of Madras, the statement of facts is not denied. It is also conceded that at the time of the hearing of the petition, the advocate offered to produce a vakalat, but nevertheless, it is claimed that there was no failure on the part of the Taxation Appeals Committee to discharge any lawful duty.
4. It is conceded that the petition purporting to be an appeal against the decision of the Revenue Officer was filed before the Taxation Appeals Committee in time and it was admitted. If the appeal petition was defective in any manner, I should conceive it to be the elementary duty of the body entrusted with the hearing of the appeals to have intimated the petitioner and to have permitted the defect to be rectified. The counter affidavit of the respondent Corporation does not refer to any rule which permits the rejection of the appeal petition in the circumstances stated. That a person purporting to be the authorised agent of the petitioner did file an appeal petition, is not denied and if he had the necessary authority to so file a petition, 1 cannot consider how it can be regarded as defective in any way. It is a question of fact whether the person signing the appeal petition had the requisite authority or not. I have not been shown any rule that requires that the vakalat should accompany the appeal petition. The statement made by the Taxation Appeals Committee that the advocate who had signed it had no vakalat is not consistent with the averment found in the counter affidavit of the Corporation that the party's advocate offered to produce the vakalat at the time of the hearing. Even apart from that, having admitted the petition and posted it for hearing and after having given notice of a date of hearing to the party, it does not appear to be open to the Committee to have dismissed the petition by reason of any curable defects therein. This is a clear case to my mind where the Taxation Appeals Committee has failed to discharge a duty that lay upon it.
5. The rule is made absolute. There will however be no order as to costs.