MUNICIPAL CORPORATION JABALPUR Vs. KRISHI UPAJ MANDI SAMM
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: MADHYA PRADESH)
KRISHI UPAJ MANDI SAMM
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K. Jagannatha Shetty, J. -
(1.)This appeal by leave from a judgment of the M.P. High Court concerns the scope of Section 415 of the M. P. Municipal Corporation Act, 1956 ('the Act' for short).
(2.)The circumstances can be shortly stated:
Within the Jabalpur Municipal Corportion limits, there is a 'Mandi' established under the M.P. Krishi Upaj Mandi Adhiniyam, 1973 ('Adhiniyam) covering an area of 55 acres. It is enclosed by high boundary wall and is under the control and jurisdiction of the Krishi Upaj Mandi Samiti or otherwise called the Market Committee. Under Section 7 of the Adhiniyam, the Market Committee is a body corporate with power to provide facilities for regulation of buying and selling of agricultural produce and establishment of proper administration of the market. Section 7(3) of the Adhiniyam provides that 'notwithstanding anything contained in any enactment for the time being in force, every market committee shall for all purposes, be deemed to be a 'local authority'. Inside the Mandi, the market committee appears to have constructed office buildings, shop complexes, godowns, market yards, shades and other buildings. The Jabalpur Municipal Corporation assessed property tax in respect of the buildings within the Mandi area and also demanded safai tax, water tax, electricity charges, development charges for the years 1980-81 to 1983-84. The market committee has refused to pay the same and claimed that the corporation has no jurisdiction to levy and collect such taxes or charges. The Corporation did not agree with that claim and initiated proceedings to recover the dues. Challenging the action taken, the Market Committee moved the High Court under Art. 226 of the Constitution for quashing the recovery proccedings. The High Court following an earlier decision arising under S. 334 of the M.P. municipalities Act, 1961, allowed the petition and quashed recovery proceedings The High Court also directed the Corporation to take steps in accordance with Section 415 of the Act for resolving the dispute with the market committee. The order of the High Court reads as follows:
"Section 415 of the M. P. Municipal Corporation Act, 1956 provides for adjudication of disputes between the Corporation and local authorities by the State Government on a reference made to it for this purpose. The corresponding provision in the M.P. Municipalities Act, 1961 is Section 334. In a similar situation, where recovery proceedings had been commenced against a Krishi Upaj Mandi Samiti, like the petitioner, by the Municipal Council, Gadarwara, a Division Bench in Misc. Petition No. 994 of 1981 (Jawahar Krishi Upaj Mandi Samiti, Gadarwara and another) decided on 5-6-1983 quashed the recovery proceedings and directed the Municipal Council to take steps under Section 334 of the M.P. Municipalities Act, 1961 for adjudication of the dispute between itself and the Krishi Upaj Mandi Samiti. Since Section 415 of the M.P. Municipal Corporation Act, 1956 is in pari materia with Section 334 of the M.P. Municipalities Act, 1961 that decision to be followed.
Consequently, this petition is allowed. The pending recovery proceedings against the petitioner are quashed and the respondent Municipal Corporation, Jabalpur is directed to take steps in accordance with Section 415 of the M. P. Municipal Corporation Act, 1956 for resolving its dispute with the petitioner. The parties shall bear their own costs.
(3.)In this appeal, the Municipal Corporation, Jabalpur has challenged the validity of the above order.
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