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The Municipal Council of Kumbakonam Vs. the South Indian Railway Company, Ltd. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in121Ind.Cas.854
AppellantThe Municipal Council of Kumbakonam
RespondentThe South Indian Railway Company, Ltd.
Excerpt:
madras district municipalities act (v of 1920), section 345, schedule iv, rules 8 and 15 - assessment, amendment of--retrospective operation. - .....now in this easels, whether the amendment made in 1923 can be so made as to operate from 1st april 1921. rule 15 of schedule iv says:when the chairman has amended the assessment books of bis own motion, otherwise than in the course of a general revision, either under rule 8... the amendment shall be deemed to have effect from the earliest date in which the circumstances justifying the amendment existed in the year to which the orders have reference.2. the orders mentioned in this rule are the orders of amendment, the year to which the orders have reference is 1921, beginning from let april, and the earliest date in which the circumstances justifying the amendment existed in the year would be 1st april, 1921. therefore, so far as rule 15 of schecule iv is concerned, there is nothing.....
Judgment:

1. In this case, the Municipal Council of Kumbakonam assessed tha South Indian Eailway Company for the year 1921-22 on a certain footing. The tax imposed was Rs. 632 14 6. A demand notice for this amount was sent on 31st July, 1921 and the amount was paid. A foot-note to this demand notice mentioned the fact that the demand was provisional and was 'subject to revision under proviso (a) to Section 82 (2) of Act V of 1920 on receipt of particulars from the Executive Engineer re present estimated cost of erecting the building.' It may be mentioned that proviso (a) to Section 82 (2) of Act V of 1920 really indicates the mode of assessment. It does not relate to any power of revision. Such power is really contained in Rule 8 of Schedule IV attached to the Act. This rule says that the Chairman may amend the assessment books at any time by altering the amount of tax. In February 1923 the Chairman amended the tax and sent a communication to the Eailway Company informing them of the altered assessment and also stating that the altered assessment would take effect from 1st April, 192-1. The question now in this easels, whether the amendment made in 1923 can be so made as to operate from 1st April 1921. Rule 15 of Schedule IV says:

When the Chairman has amended the assessment books of bis own motion, otherwise than in the course of a general revision, either under Rule 8... the amendment shall be deemed to have effect from the earliest date in which the circumstances justifying the amendment existed in the year to which the orders have reference.

2. The orders mentioned in this rule are the orders of amendment, the year to which the orders have reference is 1921, beginning from let April, and the earliest date in which the circumstances justifying the amendment existed in the year would be 1st April, 1921. Therefore, so far as Rule 15 of Schecule IV is concerned, there is nothing in it to prevent an amendment in 1923 of an assessment made in 1921 and Rule 8 itself says that the amendment may be made at any time, no doubt the result of the consideration of these rules looks as if an amendment may be made 'perhaps' years after', as the learned Chief Justice observes. Our attention has been drawn by the learned Advocate for the appellants to Section 345 Under this section, it appears that an amendment, made more than three years after the year for which it was intended to have effect is useless and cannot be carried into operation. If this construction of Section 345 is not correct, it may be that there is no limit of time to the orders and the mode of assessment. As the rules and the Act stand there can be no doubt that the amendment of an assessment can be made at any time within three years so as to operate retrospectively. As to the inconvenience to big concerns like Railway Companies which have to produce a balance sheet and daclare dividends, inconvenience may exist; but, in the face of the section and the rules, the inconvenience cannot prevent the operation of the Act and the rules thereunder. We therefore, allow the appeal and dismiss the suit with costs throughout.


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