Skip to content


Bejoy Kumar Addy Vs. Corporation of Calcutta - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Reported inAIR1933Cal322
AppellantBejoy Kumar Addy
RespondentCorporation of Calcutta
Cases ReferredRothschild v. Inland Revenue
Excerpt:
- .....prayed for a declaration that the corporation of calcutta had illegally declared premises no. 56, chetla road, a bazar, and for a further declaration that the action of the corporation in extending the limits of the bazar to premises nos. 56-1, 5c-2, 56-3 and 58, chetla road, was ultra vires and without jurisdiction. the plaintiff's also prayed for permanent injunction in the matter of the prosecution of the plaintiffs before the municipal magistrate on failure to comply with the corporation's requisition to make improvement of the area comprised in the premises mentioned above. the plaintiffs' claim in the suit was resisted by the corporation of calcutta, who claimed that the action of the corporation to which reference had been made in the plaint was legal and intra vires, and that.....
Judgment:

Guha, J.

1. The plaintiffs in the suit out of which this appeal has arisen prayed for a declaration that the Corporation of Calcutta had illegally declared premises No. 56, Chetla Road, a bazar, and for a further declaration that the action of the Corporation in extending the limits of the bazar to premises Nos. 56-1, 5C-2, 56-3 and 58, Chetla Road, was ultra vires and without jurisdiction. The plaintiff's also prayed for permanent injunction in the matter of the prosecution of the plaintiffs before the Municipal Magistrate on failure to comply with the Corporation's requisition to make improvement of the area comprised in the premises mentioned above. The plaintiffs' claim in the suit was resisted by the Corporation of Calcutta, who claimed that the action of the Corporation to which reference had been made in the plaint was legal and intra vires, and that the premises mentioned above in regard to which the plaintiffs were served with requisition for making improvement constituted a bazar as defined by the Calcutta Municipal Act. The Courts below have agreed in holding that premises No. 56 Chetla Road was a bazar, but that the act of the Corporation in including premises Nos. 56-1, 56-2, 56-3 and 58 Chetla Road within the limits of the bazar at No. 56 Chetla Road, was ultra vires. The Courts below have agreed in granting consequential reliefs following upon their decision as mentioned above. The plaintiff's have appealed to this Court from the decision of the Courts below, so far as it went against them in regard to premises No. 56 Chetla Road; and cross-objections have been preferred by the Corporation of Calcutta, respondent in this appeal, challenging the decision of the Courts below holding that the action of the Corporation, so 'far as it concerned the other premises Nos. 56-1, 56-2, 56-3 and 58 Chetla Road was ultra vires.

2. The first question requiring consideration in this appeal is whether premises No. 56 Chetla Road was legally declared to be a bazar. If that question be decided against the plaintiffs-appellants questions relating to the action of the Corporation of Calcutta in regard to the other four premises mentioned above would have to be considered in disposing of the cross-objections by the respondent in appeal. The premises No. 56 Chetla Road is the khas property of the plaintiffs, and is known as Jamahata or Darjihata, where on every Wednesday a hat is held for the sale of ready made clothes, such as shirts, coats' and other wearing apparel; and many hundreds of sellers with their goods congregate there. The Munsif made a local inspection of the place, and in his opinion, as recorded in his judgment, the place was of enormous dimensions.' According to the plaintiffs themselves, the sellers congregate under a structure made of corrugated iron sheets, once a week, and the sellers pay tolls to the plaintiffs. The question then is whether or not No. 56 Chetla Road is a bazar' which under the Calcutta Municipal Act, 1923, means 'any place of trade (other than a market) where there is a collection of shops.' It has been pointed out that a shop according to the Oxford Dictionary is a building or room set apart for the sale of merchandise.' In. Bouvier's Law Dictionary wo find 'a place kept and used for sale of goods' is a shop. The real meaning of the word 'shop' as used in the Calcutta Municipal Act must however be ascertained according to the meaning which the word has acquired in the country or the locality where the statute is applicable, and that must be taken to be the ordinary meaning of the word. In Bengal generally, hats are held on a particular day or days in a week, while bazars are held daily. The hats and bazars consist of a number of shops, large and small-these shops, are places in which goods are sold by retail. The meaning given to a bazar by the Calcutta Municipal Act does not therefore militate against the ordinary meaning of the word, and a bazar which is known as a hat for the reason that it is held on a particular day or days in the week, would not cease to bo a bazar. That the sellers of commodities assemble only on one day at a bazar, and have no sort of right of occupying any particular place for the sale of their commodities cannot have the effect of taking the place occupied by them, out of the category of shops a collection of which would ordinarily be denominated a bazar and is a bazar within the meaning of the Calcutta Municipal Act. It would appear that Section 336, Bengal Municipal Act, defining a market to be a number of shops, stalls, or standings erected for the sale of goods, is more in accordance with state of things prevalent in this country than the somewhat artificial distinction made by the Calcutta Municipal Act which cannot be overlooked, as between a market and bazar and a stall and a shop, by provisions contained in Sections 3(5), 3(39), 399 and 400 of the Act. It may sometimes be difficult to ascertain what the legislature exactly meant but we must determine what its language means: see Palmer v. Thatcher (1878) 3 QBD 346 at p. 353; Rothschild v. Inland Revenue QB 142 at p. 145. On giving a plain meaning to the language uaed in Section 3(5), we have no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that premises No. 58 Chetla Road, described as a Jamahata or Darji-hata is a place of trade where there is a collection of shops, and as such the act of the Corporation, of Calcutta in declaring the same to be a bazar was not ultra vires or illegal in any way. This disposes of the appeal by the plaintiffs in the suit; the declaration prayed for by the plaintiffs that the premises No. 56 Chetla Road was not a bazar must be refused.

3. As indicated already the respondent in this appeal has preferred cross-objections directed against the decision arrived at by the Courts below that the act of the Corporation of Calcutta in extending the limits of the bazar to premises Nos. 56/1 56/2, 56/3 and 58 Chetla Road, was ultra vires. The position so far as this part of the case before us is concerned, appears to be this: the four premises mentioned above are the front portion of premises No. 56 Chitla Road, and they abut on the public; road they are held by tenants settled by the plaintiffs as the owners; the tenants so settled have their permanent shops there, which have been separately assessed and numbered by the Corporation, and in respect of which separate licenses are granted by the Corporation, license taxes being paid by the shopkeepers themselves. As hold by us, premises No. 56 is a bazar and the question is whether the Corporation had the power vested in it under the law to determine the limits of that bazar by the inclusion of the four other premises mentioned above. The provisions contained in Section 400 of the Calcutta Municipal Act, under which the Corporation acted in this behalf give power to define the limits of any bazar. The power to, define limits must, in our judgment include the power to extend the limits according to the facts and circumstances of a particular case. If in the opinion of the Corporation, it was expedient or necessary to include premises Nos. 56/1, 56/2, 56/3 and '58 Chetla Road within the limits of the bazar at No. 56, the action taken by the Corporation in this behalf could not be characterized as ultra vires or illegal.

4. The Resolution of the Calcutta Corporation, Ex. a (3), passed on 12th May 1926, shows clearly that these four premises along with premises No. 56 were declared to be a bazar and the previous Resolution of the Corporation dated 16th September 1925, defining the limit of the said bazar under Section 400, Calcutta Municipal Act, was adhered to. It would be doing violence to the language of the statute if we were to hold that there must be a previous Resolution passed, before action could be taken under Section 400 of the Act, for the purpose of defining the limits of a bazar, with a view either to extend the limits or curtail the same as the necessity of a case might require, Both the things could, under the law, as it stands, be done at the one and the same time as it appears to have been done in the case before us The fact that the shops in the four premises in question were occupied by tenants under the plaintiffs, could not affect the operation of Section 400 in any way. The provisions of the law as contained in Sections 399 and 400, speak of both the owner and the occupier, and it may be open to the owner or the occupier to raise any objection that he may be entitled to raise, when the Corporation takes action under any of those sections. It is somewhat difficult to appreciate how in the face of definite provisions of law, the 'strong and valid 'reasons,' mentioned in the judgment of the trial Court and upon which stress was laid in the course of argument before us, could weigh in favour of the plaintiffs in the suit nor is it possible to hold that there was any equity in favour of the plaintiff's which could make the action of the Corporation ultra vires.

5. The position that the shopkeepers occupying the premises in question as tenants of the plaintiffs, had been granted separate licenses could not possibly stand in the way of amalgamation of these shops with the bazar at No. 56 Chetla Road and there was no question of unfairness on the part of the Corporation in its having taken action under Section 400, Calcutta Municipal Act. Our conclusion therefore is that the Courts below were not justified in granting a declaration to the plaintiffs in the suit that the act of the defendant Corporation in including premises Nos. 56/1. 56/2, 56/3 and 58 Chetla Road within the declared bazar at No. 56 Chetla Road, was ultra vires. It may be open to the plaintiffs on a prosecution being started by the Corporation against them to raise in defence, any objection that may be raised under the law, as the owners and not the occupiers of these premises, which in our judgment have legally been included within the limits of the bazar at No. 56 Chetla Road.

6. In the result the appeal by the plaintiffs is dismissed, and the cross-objections preferred by the defendant-respondent are allowed; the plaintiff's' suit is dismissed. The parties are to bear their own costs in all the Courts.

M.C. Ghose, J.

7. I agree.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //