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The Corporation of Madras, Represented by Its Commissioner and anr. Vs. the Oriental Mercantile Company, Limited - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMunicipal Tax
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1966)2MLJ440
AppellantThe Corporation of Madras, Represented by Its Commissioner and anr.
RespondentThe Oriental Mercantile Company, Limited
Cases ReferredSouth Eastern Railway Company v. Railway Commissioners
Excerpt:
- - ..3. earlier, in this same judgment, it is pointed out that terms like 'railway 'and 'railway station 'are not mere legal terms; they are the descriptions in ordinary phraseology of well-understood things of a particular kind......and revenue officer, desires to contend that the advertisement or hoarding displayed at the outer wall of the main building of a railway station, is not entitled to the exemption enacted in section 129-a, sub-clause (e) of the city municipal corporation act (iv of 1919). we may immediately set forth that sub-clause which is in the following terms:section 129-a--provided further that no such tax shall be levied on any advertisement which is not a sky-sign and which-.(e) is exhibited within any railway station, or upon any wall or other property of a railway company except any portion of the surface of such wall or property fronting any street.the learned judge (srinivasan, j.) was of the view that the exemption claimed by the advertiser in this case fell within the scope of the.....
Judgment:

M. Anantanarayanan, C.J.

1. There is only a simple ground of the interpretation of a statute, involved in this writ appeal though, indisputably, it possesses a measure of interest; the only authority that has any bearing, direct or indirect, on the concerned issue is an English decision. We may take it that the writ appellant, which is the Corporation of Madras represented by its Commissioner and Revenue Officer, desires to contend that the advertisement or hoarding displayed at the outer wall of the main building of a railway station, is not entitled to the exemption enacted in Section 129-A, Sub-clause (e) of the City Municipal Corporation Act (IV of 1919). We may immediately set forth that Sub-clause which is in the following terms:

Section 129-A--Provided further that no such tax shall be levied on any advertisement which is not a sky-sign and which-.

(e) is exhibited within any railway station, or upon any wall or other property of a railway company except any portion of the surface of such wall or property fronting any street.

The learned Judge (Srinivasan, J.) was of the view that the exemption claimed by the advertiser in this case fell within the scope of the first part of the Sub-clause itself. He pointed out and certainly we think with some force and justice, that ' a railway station is not merely the booking office, the platform or the waiting; rooms' attached thereto, but includes also all the space comprised within the compound of the premises '.

2. The learned Judge then proceeded to refer to the dicta in South Eastern Railway Company v. Railway Commissioners (1881) 6 Q.B. 586. Part of that judgment is in the following terms:

So as to a 'station,' the term is not in ordinary sense used as a description merely of the actual existing structures at a station, but as the description of a space actually set apart for, and generally used as, a resting place for traffic or a-place for dealing with it in a particular way...

3. Earlier, in this same judgment, it is pointed out that terms like ' railway ' and ' railway station ' are not mere legal terms; they are the descriptions in ordinary phraseology of well-understood things of a particular kind. In the view of the learned Judge, therefore, a railway station will certainly include buildings in the compound or enclosure, and the outer wall of a main building will be within the definition. Hence, if a bill of hoarding or advertisement is affixed to the outer wall, it will ordinarily fall within the terms exhibited within 'any railway station' in Section 129-A, Sub-clause (e). But the matter does not entirely end there, for the reason that the statute uses the explicit language ' is exhibited within any railway station.'

4. It is at least arguable that the exhibition might have to be within the walls of the building (intramural), and not on the outside walls. But this apart, the exhibition in this case indisputably falls within the second clause also. The advertisement has been exhibited on a wall which is the property of the railway company, which certainly does not front any street. These outer walls front the compound or the enclosure, and it is quite conceivable in a case that the compound wall may itself be high enough to exclude the view of the advertisement by pedestrians passing in the street. It is only an advertisement affixed to the outer compound wall itself, which may be said to conceivably front the street, and therefore which might fall outside the ambit of the definition.

5. Sri Chengalvorayan contends that the two clauses of Section 129-A, Sub-clause (e) should not merely be read as disjunctive, which he concedes they are, but that they should also be read as mutually exclusive of each other. For this latter interpretation, we cannot find any justification in the language used. Under the circumstances, we see no reason whatever for taking a different view from that of the learned Judge (Srinivasan, J.) on the liability of the advertisement to tax. In this case, it falls within the exemption, and it is not liable to be taxed by the authorities of the Corporation.

6. This writ appeal is dismissed. No order as to costs.


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