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Kota Subramaniam Chetty Vs. the Chairman, Municipal Council - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1926Mad204
AppellantKota Subramaniam Chetty
RespondentThe Chairman, Municipal Council
Cases ReferredBhai Shankar v. The Municipal Corporation of Bombay
Excerpt:
.....listen to both sides, there will be no civil cause of action against their decisions. 5. here the district munsif is clearly wrong. in regard to these certain ways and methods of judicial procedure may very likely be imitated ;and lawyer-like methods may find especially favour from lawyers. if it were clearly laid down in the municipal act that no tax is due unless a demand notice has been served, there might be some warrant for complaining that the circumstance had been overlooked, though even a fair bona fide mistake would not attract the jurisdiction of the civil court. the district munsif has not assumed jurisdiction on the ground that there is prima facie reason to presume malice, and the district judge gives good reasons in his 8th, 9th and 10th paragraphs for holding that the..........until the petitioner by means of this suit has. established his right to stand as a candidate. the district munsif granted a temporary injunction ; the district judge reversed that order and petitioner seeks. to revise the order of the district judge and to obtain an interim order of injunction.2. it has not been suggested that the learned district judge in his carefully reasoned order either exercised a jurisdiction not vested in him by law or failed to exercise a jurisdiction so vested or acted in the exercise of his jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity, except in so far as it must be held, following achayya v. sri seetharamachandra rao [1916] 39 mad. 195 that, if an appellate court erroneously decides the question whether or not the original court had jurisdiction, it.....
Judgment:

Jackson, J.

1. Petitioner is suing in the District Munsif's Court of Tirupathur for a declaration that his name should be inserted in the electoral roll of Gudiyatham Municipality, and for an injunction restraining the Chairman from holding an election for Councillors until the petitioner by means of this suit has. established his right to stand as a candidate. The District Munsif granted a temporary injunction ; the District Judge reversed that order and petitioner seeks. to revise the order of the District Judge and to obtain an interim order of injunction.

2. It has not been suggested that the learned District Judge in his carefully reasoned order either exercised a jurisdiction not vested in him by law or failed to exercise a jurisdiction so vested or acted in the exercise of his jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity, except in so far as it must be held, following Achayya v. Sri Seetharamachandra Rao [1916] 39 Mad. 195 that, if an appellate Court erroneously decides the question whether or not the original Court had jurisdiction, it either exercises a jurisdiction not vested in itself or acts illegally. The District Judge has held that the District Munsif had jurisdiction and the sole point for determination is whether that finding is correct, If it is correct, there is no cause for revision.

3. The petitioner's name was not entered in the electoral roll for 1925-26 on the ground that he had not paid the taxes due by him under the Act for the preceding year. The revising authority found that the petitioner owned a cart for which he had paid no tax in 1924-25 and, therefore, his name had been rightly excluded. This decision is final, and cannot be questioned in a civil Court unless it has been passed without any enquiry at all or based upon entirely irrelevant conclusions, Nataraja Mudaliar v. Municipal Council of Mayavaram [1911] 36 Mad. 120. The ruling in Ganesh Mahadev v. The Secretary of State [1919] 43 Bom. 221, is largely founded upon Board of Education v. Rice [1911] A.C. 179, and the quotations from that case on pages 282 and 283 of the Bombay ruling are of cardinal importance as laying down how these special tribunals are expected to perform their functions. So long as they act in good faith and fairly listen to both sides, there will be no civil cause of action against their decisions.

4. The learned District Munsif has cited these rulings and should have been fully aware of the correct law when he came to his findings of fact. He finds prima facie ground for holding that the decision of the Revising Board was unreal and unsubstantial, and sees an analogy between that decision and the case in Leslie Williams v. Haines Thomas Giddy 15 C.W.N. 669, where a Government servant was renumerated by the Public Service Board at a rate of one penny a year and the Privy Council held such award to be illusory, and tantamount to a refusal to exercise the discretion conferred on the Board by Parliament.

5. Here the District Munsif is clearly wrong. Whatever may be said of a the decision of the Revising Board, it is neither illusory nor unsubstantial, and there is no real analogy between the two cases. The District Munsif then finds that there was no judicial functioning by the Board because it has given no considered decision on a point which he considers rudimentary and fundamental, the point whether the cart-tax could be said to be due before any demand had been served on the owner of the cart.

6. In this connexion the observations of of Lord Shaw in Ganesh Mahadev v. The Secretary of State [1919] 43 Bom. 221, are important:

If it (the Board) is left without express guidance it must still act honestly and by honest means. In regard to these certain ways and methods of judicial procedure may very likely be imitated ; and lawyer-like methods may find especially favour from lawyers. But that the judiciary should presume to impose its own methods on administrative or executive officers is a usurpation. And the assumption that the methods of natural justice are ex-necessitate those of Courts of Justice is wholly unfounded. This is expressly applicable to steps of procedure or forms of pleading.

7. Apparently, the District Munsif holds that the Board, has not functioned judicially because it has not framed an issue on this question of demand and has not found upon that issue.

8. In the light of the above quotation there was no necessity for the Board to have done so. If it were clearly laid down in the Municipal Act that no tax is due unless a demand notice has been served, there might be some warrant for complaining that the circumstance had been overlooked, though even a fair bona fide mistake would not attract the jurisdiction of the civil Court. But as the learned Judge has pointed out, the whole tenor of the Act is to the contrary, and the very clause which the Munsif quotes should have appraised him of the fact. Clause 29, Schedule II, is to the effect that when any tax is due from any person the Chairman shall serve upon such person a bill before he proceeds to distrain. And this embodies the only rudimentary principle in the matter, that there shall be no distraint without notice. It has never been held as a rudimentary principle that no tax is due before notice.

9. The District Munsif also misdirects himself when he finds that there has been no judicial functioning so as to oust the jurisdiction of the Court. As pointed out in Bhai Shankar v. The Municipal Corporation of Bombay [1907] 31 Bom. 604, there is no ouster of the jurisdiction of the ordinary Courts for they never had any. The District Munsif's idea that this Court might decide the petitioner's claim were it not for the creation of this special tribunal, and that this special tribunal could only oust this jurisdiction by strict judicial functioning is quite erroneous. His remarks at the end of the ninth paragraph are covered by the observations of Lord Shaw quoted above. The District Munsif has not assumed jurisdiction on the ground that there is prima facie reason to presume malice, and the District Judge gives good reasons in his 8th, 9th and 10th paragraphs for holding that the plaint warrants no such presumption.

10. Therefore, I do not find that the learned Judge has erred on the question of jurisdiction and there is no valid ground for revision.

11. Civil Miscellaneous Petition No. 3483 of 1925 is dismissed with costs. The Civil Revision petition is not admitted and is dismissed.


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