1. The respondent, the Municipal Council of Tirupati, assessed the electric power house owned by the appellant. This building is not ordinarily let, and hence the respondent proceeded to fix the annual value under the proviso to Section 82, Clause (2) of the District Municipalities Act. Under this proviso, the annual value of the premises shall be deemed to be six per cent. of the total of the estimated value of the land and the estimated present cost of erecting the building less a deduction for depreciation. In fixing the 'estimated present cost of erecting the building' the respondent took the cost of constructing the compound walls as well. This is objected by the appellant on the ground that the compound walls are not included in the word 'building' in Section 82 of the Act and that 'a compound wall' is not a building by itself as defined in Section 3, Clause (3) of the Act.
2. Section 82 runs thus:
(1) Every building shall be assessed together with its site and other adjacent premises occupied as an appurtenance thereto unless the owner of the building is a different person from the owner of such site or premises.
(2) The annual value of lands and buildings shall be deemed to be the gross annual rent at which they may reasonably be expected to let from month to month or from year to year less a deduction, (in the case of buildings only) of ten per centum of such annual rent and the said deduction shall be in lieu of all allowance for repairs or on any other account whatsoever:
(a) in the case of
(i) any Government or railway building, or
(ii) any building of a class not ordinarily let the gross annual rent of which cannot, in the opinion of the chairman, be estimated, the annual value of the premises shall be deemed to be six per cent. of the total of the estimated value of the land and the estimated present cost of erecting the building after deducting for depreciation a reasonable amount which shall in no case be less than ten per centum of such cost;
(b) machinery (and furniture) shall be excluded from valuations under this section.
It is urged that in Clause (1) of Section 82 the word 'building' is used so as to exclude even the site on which it stands and also the adjacent premises occupied as appurtenances thereto. The argument is that unless the expression 'compound wall' comes within the words 'other adjacent premises occupied as an appurtenance thereto, its value cannot be taken into consideration and that compound walls cannot be called adjacent premises. But in Section 82, Clause (1) the Legislature is laying down a rule of single assessment for the building, site, and the adjacent premises, unless the latter are owned by a different owner. Where for instance, the superstructure is owned by one and the land by another, the building proper alone should be valued and the owner of the building assessed. The site and the adjacent premises will be valued under other provisions and the owner thereof assessed in respect of them. In all other cases, the building, the site and the adjacent premises form a single unit of taxation. The word 'building' is defined by Section 3, Clause (3) as including:. a house, out house, stable, latrine, shed, hut, wall (other than a boundary wall not exceeding eight feet in height) and any other such structure....
Under this definition, 'building' includes a wall other than a boundary wall which is less than eight feet in height. So, a compound wall which is more than eight feet in height is a building by itself though there may be no building inside.
3. The present compound wall is less than eight feet in height. Therefore, it is not a building by itself under Section 3, Clause (3). But the question for decision is whether in valuing a building under Section 82, Clause (2) proviso, the respondent can include the money spent on the compound walls which are less than eight feet in height and not whether the compound walls constitute a building by themselves even though there is no structure inside. I do not see why the compound walls should not be considered part of the building. A parapet wall is certainly included in the word 'building'. Why the money spent on compound walls should be excluded from the valuation of 'building' it is difficult to see. Existence of compound walls certainly enhances the letting value of the building in cases of buildings which are ordinarily let.
4. The decision of the Calcutta High Court in Corporation of Calcutta v. Binoy Krishna Bose (1910) 12 Cal. L.J. 476 which is relied on by the appellant deals with a case of compound walls with no building inside; and these walls were sought to be assessed. That decision does not throw any light on the present question. Another decision of the Calcutta High Court relied upon is that of In the matter of Corporation of Calcutta v. Jogeswar Laha 8 C.W.N. 487. The question was whether a detached wall built of masonry is not a 'masonry building' as defined by Section 3, Clause (25) of Bengal Act III of 1899.
5. The term 'building' was not defined in the then Calcutta Act but the term 'masonry building' was defined as 'any building other than a hut'. The Judges held that the term 'building' does not include a wall, that is, that a detached wall is not a building. They took care to say this on page 488:
We think the latter view is correct and that 'building' in the Act does not include 'wall'. The wall in question is a detached wall and cannot be said to form part of any building, and it must be understood that the opinion we express in this judgment is confined to a detached wall such as we understand that to be to which this case refers.
I have underlined the above wording.
6. It must be noticed that there was no building at all inside the wall or walls. This decision appears to be against the appellant. Compound walls cannot be said not to form part of the building. A compound wall is part of the building and is not a detached wall.
7. If the building is one which is ordinarily let, the gross annual rent at which the building may reasonably be expected to let less a deduction of ten per cent for repairs is the annual value. If such a building has compound walls, the letting value is certainly higher than that of a building with no compound walls. There is no reason why if in the case of buildings ordinarily let, the compound walls are taken into consideration, they ought to be left out in the case of buildings which are not ordinarily let.
8. Both the advocates rely on the way in which the word 'building' or 'house' is explained in different decisions.
9. I do not consider that any useful purpose is served by adverting to these cases. Each case depends on the particular statute in which the word occurred. Thus in Khirode Chandra v. Saroda Prosad (1919) 7 I.C. 436 the question was what all are comprised in the term 'house' in the Partition Act. Compound walls would according to this decision be part of the 'house'. The compound walls of a house or building would certainly pass to the purchaser when the building is sold unless they are reserved.
10. No doubt whatever is built should not be taken to be a building by itself--a detached wall for instance. But even there, the particular statute may define a building so as to include a mere wall. Under the Madras District Municipalities Act, Section 3, Clause (3), it is conceded that a detached wall (which is not a compound wall less than eight feet high) would be a building.
11. Having regard to the purpose and intendment of the Act and of the proviso to Clause (2) of Section 82, I hold that the compound walls are part of the building and the cost of constructing the compound walls should also be taken into consideration.
12. The second appeal fails and is dismissed with costs.
13. No leave.