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T.V. Varada Pillai Vs. the Corporation of Madras, Represented by the Commissioner - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1948)2MLJ379
AppellantT.V. Varada Pillai
RespondentThe Corporation of Madras, Represented by the Commissioner
Cases ReferredMeenakshi Ammal v. The Province of Madras
Excerpt:
- - all that the section requires is, like section 80 of the civil procedure code, that a month's notice should be given, mentioning the place of abode of the officer, servant or person against whom the claim was made, stating the cause of action, the relief sought, and the name and the place of abode of the intending plaintiff, and that the plaint should also contain a statement that such a notice has been so delivered or left. in fact, in the argument before me it was conceded by the learned advocate for the respondent that if the notice had not mentioned any section, it would have been a perfectly valid notice. this requirement of the section is satisfied by the notice, ex.satyanarayana rao, j.1. the plaintiff is the appellant. his suit was dismissed by the learned city civil judge, madras, on a preliminary point that statutory notice as contemplated by the madras city municipal act had not been issued to the defendant.2. the plaintiff is the zamindar of mambakkam; and, according to the case as set out in the plaint, the defendant, the corporation of madras, issued a distress warrant against him for recovery of property tax, in respect of a house owned by him in madras without even sending a previous demand as required by the city municipal act. he claimed as damages a sum of rs. 500 for the illegal act of the corporation in issuing a distress warrant. the defendant has raised various pleas which are covered by the issues in the suit and the sixth issue in.....
Judgment:

Satyanarayana Rao, J.

1. The plaintiff is the appellant. His suit was dismissed by the learned City Civil Judge, Madras, on a preliminary point that statutory notice as contemplated by the Madras City Municipal Act had not been issued to the defendant.

2. The plaintiff is the Zamindar of Mambakkam; and, according to the case as set out in the plaint, the defendant, the Corporation of Madras, issued a distress warrant against him for recovery of property tax, in respect of a house owned by him in Madras without even sending a previous demand as required by the City Municipal Act. He claimed as damages a sum of Rs. 500 for the illegal act of the Corporation in issuing a distress warrant. The defendant has raised various pleas which are covered by the issues in the suit and the sixth issue in the suit was tried as a preliminary issue. This raised the question whether the suit was maintainable in the absence of a statutory notice required under the City Municipal Act.

3. Before the institution of the suit, the plaintiff issued Ex. P-3 dated 22nd June, 1945, to the Commissioner, Corporation of Madras, through a lawyer. The notice was as follows:

Sir,

On behalf of my client, Mr. T.V. Varada Pillai, Zamindar of Mambakkam residing at No. 79, Govindappa Naicken Street, George Town; Madras, I issued a notice to you on 9th March, 1945, and further addressed communications thereon, seeking redress of a grave wrong and damages inflicted on my client by the issue of an illegal distress warrant for the recovery of the tax for 2/1944-45 due on premises Nos. 192-194, Poonamallee High Road, Madras, without previously issuing a demand bill. As no satisfaction was given to my client, my client, as already intimated to you through your Revenue Officer, has decided to file a suit against the Corporation for the recovery of damages. The suit will be filed either in the City Court or in the Small Causes Court, Madras. A copy of the proposed plaint which contains the causes of action, the name, description, place of residence of the plaintiff and the relief which he claims is forwarded to you for your information and in compliance with Section 80 of the Civil Procedure Code as statutory notice prior to institution of suit my client gives you the two months notice as contemplated by that section.

The suit will be filed either in the City Court or in the Small Causes Court, Madras.

4. As stated in the notice, the notice was accompanied by a copy of the proposed plaint which gave full particulars of the claim of the plaintiff against the defendant. The notice was received by the Corporation; and in reply to that, Ex. D-1 was sent by the Revenue Officer to the plaintiff's advocate. The suit was instituted on 25th August, 1945. In the plaint as originally framed, reference was made in paragraph 10 to the statutory notice in the following words:

The statutory notice to the defendant required under Section 80 of the Civil Procedure Code has been served on the defendant.

This was later amended by substituting in paragraph 10,

the statutory notice as contemplated by the City Municipal Act has been served on the defendant.

In paragraph 12 of the written statement filed by the defendant, the objection taken by the defendant was that the suit was not maintainable as the statutory notice required under the City Municipal Act has not been given before the filing of the suit. The only basis for this contention was that instead of mentioning in the notice and in the plaint Section 397 of the Madras City Municipal Act, Section 80 of the Civil Procedure Code was mentioned. The learned City Civil Judge thought that there was a fundamental error in the notice, Ex. P-3, as the correct section was not mentioned by it and therefore dismissed the plaintiff's suit.

5. In this appeal, the only question for consideration is whether Ex. P-3 and the plaint which accompanied it constitute a sufficient notice within the meaning of Section 397 of the City Municipal Act. All that the section requires is, like Section 80 of the Civil Procedure Code, that a month's notice should be given, mentioning the place of abode of the officer, servant or person against whom the claim was made, stating the cause of action, the relief sought, and the name and the place of abode of the intending plaintiff, and that the plaint should also contain a statement that such a notice has been so delivered or left. The section does not say that the notice should also mention the section under which the notice was issued. All that it requires is that there should be a statutory notice informing the Corporation or its officers of the nature and the particulars of the claim. The section need not be mentioned in the notice. In fact, in the argument before me it was conceded by the learned advocate for the respondent that if the notice had not mentioned any section, it would have been a perfectly valid notice. The principle on which the decision of the case should rest has been, if I may say so with respect, correctly laid down by Rajamannar, J., as he then was, in Meenakshi Ammal v. The Province of Madras : (1945)2MLJ387 , where the learned Judge observed that the error should not be a fundamental error. In that case, the error was with reference to the description of the subject-matter of the suit. A wrong survey number was given of the land in dispute and this was certainly a fundamental error. In fact, by reading the notice in that case one would have thought that the subject-matter related not to R.S. No. 722/4-A which was the correct survey number, but related to a land comprised in R.S. No. 722/4-B. All that the law requires is that there should be a clear intimation of the nature of the dispute and the nature of the claim. This requirement of the section is satisfied by the notice, Ex. P-3, and the plaint which accompanied it In my opinion, the reference to Section 80 of the Civil Procedure Code instead of Section 397 of the Madras City Municipal Act in Ex. P-3 is of no consequence and it does not in any manner or to any extent vitiate the notice from being a statutory notice fulfilling the requirements of Section 397 of the City Municipal Act. It is, as submitted by the learned Advocate for the appellant, a mistake on his part to have quoted the wrong section instead of referring to the section in the City Municipal Act. I think that explanation of the learned advocate is satisfactory and should be accepted.

6. For these reasons, I am of opinion that the decision of the Court below is wrong and should be set aside. The appeal is allowed and the suit remanded to the City Civil Judge for disposal according to law. The appellant is entitled to costs in this Court. The court-fee paid on the memorandum of appeal will be refunded.


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