THE MASULIPATAM MUNICIPAL COUNCIL REPRESENTED BY THE COMMISSIONER, HAVING ITS OFFICE AT MASULIPATAM Vs. THE BRUNDAVAN TALKIES LTD., MASULIPATAM, HAVING ITS OFFICE AT MASULIPATAM
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
The Masulipatam Municipal Council Represented By The Commissioner, Having Its Office At Masulipatam
The Brundavan Talkies Ltd., Masulipatam, Having Its Office At Masulipatam
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Satyanarayana Rao, J. -
(1.) THE second appeal raises an interesting question of law under the Madras District Municipalities Act. The appeal is by the Masulipatam Municipal Council represented by the Commissioner. The respondent, the Brundavan Talkies Ltd., instituted the suit, out of which this second apoeal arises, in the District Munsif's Court for a declaration that it was entitled to the supply of water to its building bearing municipal No. 325/ 12 in ward No. 12 of the appellant Municipality from its water system on the basis of supply for a domestic use and for refund of an amount of Rs. 1093 -7 -8 with interest thereon which, it was claimed was unauthorisedly collected in excess by the appellant of the basis that the supply of water was for a non -domestic purpose. The respondent succeeded in both the Courts and it was held that he was liable to pay the tax only on the basis of supply for a domestic purpose and not on the basis of a non -domestic purpose.
(2.) THERE is no oral evidence adduced in the case but the facts were practically admitted. The Brundavan Talkies Ltd., the respondent, owns a building of its own in which a cinema show is usually run. Electricity is utilised for running the cinema and not water power. The cinema hall is occasionally let for dramatic performances also. In the premises, besides the cinema hall there are other buildings such as quarters for servants, waiting halls for visitors to cinema shows, quarters for the representatives of film distributors and structures like urinals and latrines for the use of persons attending the shows, as well as the servants and visitors. A coffee hotel is also run within the premises. There are several watertaps, which are used by the visitors, servants and representatives of film distributors when occasionally staying in the quarter provided for them. Water is also utilised for cleaning or flushing the urinals and latrines. The coffee hotel also consumes some water for its purposes.
There is also a fountain and a garden within the premises but it is common ground that Municipal water is not utilised for them. The respondent stated that the fountain is filled and the garden is watered with water from a well which is in the premises. For some years, the Municipality, which undertook to supply water levied water rate only on the basis of user for a domestic purpose but the trouble arose when the Assistant Examiner of Local Fund Accounts took an audit objection in September 1941 and asked the Municipality to charge the respondent for water on the basis of a non -domestic use. Thereupon, the Municipality required the respondent to pay the excess on the basis of supply for a non -domestic use. Notwithstanding the protest of the respondent the Municipality paid no heed to it and the appeal preferred by the respondent to the Municipal council was also unsuccessful. The present suit was thereafter instituted after giving due notice to the Municipality for the reliefs stated above.
The only question which, therefore, arises for consideration in this second appeal is whether the view taken by the Courts below that the supply of water for the aforesaid purposes was for domestic use and consumption and not for a non -domestic purpose is correct.
(3.) CHAPTER VII of Part IV of the Madras District Municipalities Act contains provisions for the regulation of water supply by a Municipality. Under Section 129 , the Municipal Council, so far as funds permit, is entitled to provide sufficient supply of water fit for the domestic use of the inhabitants. Section 131 empowers a Municipality to supply water for domestic consumption and use in accordance with the bye -laws to an owner or occupier of any building on an application made by him. Section 131(1) states that in Municipalities in which there is a pipe supply of water, the executive authority may at his discretion, on application by the owner or occupier of any building, arrange in accordance with the bye -laws, to supply water thereto for domestic consumption and use, provided that the executive authority shall not, without the sanction of the council, agree to supply water to any building assessed at an annual value of less than Rs. 120. Sub -clauses (2) and (3) of this section may be omitted as they are not relevant. There is an explanation at the end of the section, which states what shall not be deemed to be a supply of water lor domestic consumption and use and what shall be deemed to include such a supply.
'Explanation': Supply of water for domestic consumption and use shall not be deemed to include a supply
(a) for any trade, manufacture or business,
(b) for gardens or for purposes of irrigation,
(c) for building purposes,
(d) for fountains, swimming baths, public baths within the Municipality or for any ornamental or mechanical purpose;
(e) for animals, or for washing vehicles, where such animals or vehicles are kept for sale or hire;
but shall be deemed to include a supply
(a) for flushing latrines;
(b) for all baths other than swimming baths or public baths;
(e) for the consumption and use of Inmates of hotels, boarding houses and the like and for baths used, by such inmates.;
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