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The Municipal Council Vs. Singaraju Mallapparaju - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Petn. No. 1113 of 1948
Judge
Reported inAIR1950Mad594
ActsMadras District Municipalities Act, 1920 - Sections 354(2)
AppellantThe Municipal Council
RespondentSingaraju Mallapparaju
Appellant AdvocateB. Manavala Chowdry, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateV. Devarajan, Adv.
DispositionPetition allowed
Excerpt:
- - he is entitled to seek relief in a court of law only in those limited but well-recognised categories of eases in which a court can interfere with the exercise or purported exercise of its discretion by a statutory authority. the order of the lower court is clearly without jurisdiction......the municipal limits of bezwada. for the two half years included in the financial year 1943-44 the municipal council demanded from the plaintiff tax on the building at the rate of rs. 105-12-11 per half year. apparently this demand was made on the ground that the building would fetch a rent of rs. 90/- per mensem. according to the plaintiff, during that period, the house was fetching only rs. 50/- per month and on this basis he was liable to be charged only rs. 61-10 6. the municipal council took coercive steps and collected tax at the higher rate. the plaintiff, therefore, sued--s. c. no. 584 of 1947 on the file of the district munsif of bezwada--to recover the difference from the municipal council. the council took the objection that the suit was not maintainable by virtue of section.....
Judgment:

Balakrishna Ayyar, J.

1. The Municipal Council, Bezwada, which was the defendant in the suit is the petitioner. The plaintiff owned a house within the Municipal limits of Bezwada. For the two half years included in the financial year 1943-44 the Municipal Council demanded from the plaintiff tax on the building at the rate of Rs. 105-12-11 per half year. Apparently this demand was made on the ground that the building would fetch a rent of Rs. 90/- per mensem. According to the plaintiff, during that period, the house was fetching only Rs. 50/- per month and on this basis he was liable to be charged only Rs. 61-10 6. The Municipal Council took coercive steps and collected tax at the higher rate. The plaintiff, therefore, sued--S. C. No. 584 of 1947 on the file of the District Munsif of Bezwada--to recover the difference from the Municipal Council. The Council took the objection that the suit was not maintainable by virtue of Section 354, District Municipalities Act. This objection was overruled by the learned District Munsif who gave a decree in favour of the plaintiff. This civil revision petition is filed to vacate that decree. It appears to me that the decision of the Court below is wrong. The District Municipalities Act contains a complete set of provisions for determining the assessment payable in respect of a particular building. Section 82 lays down some of the principles on which property tax shall be assessed. Section 83 enumerates the classes of buildings which are exempt from the property tax under the Act. Section 84 requires that the tax shall be on a uniform basis. Section 85 makes the property tax a first charge on the property. Section 86 specifies when the tax shall be payable. Schedule IV contains what are called 'Taxation and Finance Rules.' Rule 6 requires the Executive Authority to determine the value of the building for the purpose of assessing it to property tax. Under Rule 9 any person aggrieved by the assessment may move the executive authority to reduce the tax. Rule 10 requires that before such authority increases the assessment a reasonable opportunity should be given to the owner to appear in person or by authorised agent to make his re-presentation against the enhancement. Then there are other provisions in respect of appeal etc. Section 354 (2) of the Act expressly enjoins that no assessment made under the authority of the Act shall be impeached. It runs:

'No suit shall be brought in any Court to recover any sum of money collected under the authority of this Act.... Provided that the provisions of this Act have been, in effect, complied with.'.

In the present case, if the owner of the house felt that the amount at which his house was assessed was excessive, he ought to have applied to the appropriate authority in accordance with the provisions of the Act. He is entitled to seek relief in a Court of law only in those limited but well-recognised categories of eases in which a Court can interfere with the exercise or purported exercise of its discretion by a statutory authority. The present is not such a case. The order of the lower Court is clearly without jurisdiction.

2. The revision petition is, therefore, allowed with costs here and in the Court below.


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