ZILA PARISHAD DISTRICT BOARD Vs. SHANTI DEVI
HIGH COURT OF ALLAHABAD
ZILA PARISHAD (DISTRICT BOARD)
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Desai, C.J. -
(1.)THIS application in which arises the question, whether a suit brought by contractor against a District Board for recovery of money due under the contract for the work done by him is governed by the provisions of Section 192 of the District Boards Act. has been referred to this Bench in order to resolve the supposed conflict among District Board, Allahabad v. Behari Lal, 1935 All L J., 1214: (AIR 1936 All 18) (FB), Dargahi Lal v. Cawnpore Municipal Board AIR 1952 All. 382 (FB) and Lucknow Nagar Mahapalikav- Sardar Karmajeet Singh, 1962 All L J. 165: AIR 1982 All 174 (FB).
(2.)THE facts which are not in dispute are as follows. A predecessor of the opposite parties entered into a contract on 3-9-1952 with the District Board of Budaun, now represented by the applicant Antraim Zila Parishad, for repairs of a road. THE relevant terms of the contract were as follows:-- THE work should be completed by 30-11-1952 to the entire satisfaction of the officer granting completion certificate. On completion of the work the contractor should send a registered notice to the District Board Engineer requesting him to give him a certificate of completion. THE work must be measured by the Engineer whose measurements will be binding. No payment will be made for the work till after a certificate of completion has been given. THE work should be executed in accordance with the specifications, drawings, orders, etc. It must be executed under the direction, and subject to the approval of the Engineer. THE decision of the Board upon all questions relating to the interpretation of the specifications, designs and instructions, to the Quality of the workmanship or materials used and to other question, claim, right, matter or thing arising out of or relating to the contract, designs etc. or otherwise concerning the works, or the execution of the work or failure to execute the same shall be final and completely binding on the contractor. If the Engineer finds that the work has been executed with unsound, imperfect and unskilful workmanship or with materials of inferior description or otherwise mot in accordance with the contract the contractor must on written notice from the Engineer rectify or reconstruct the work and in default he will be liable to pay compensation at a certain rate on the estimated amount of the work. THE work will be completed in all respects by 30-11-52. If the contractor fails to comply with any condition referred to above and the directions given by the Engineer he will be liable to pay penalty of fine which he inflicts on him.
The contractor completed the work in September 1952 and gave a registered notice to the Engineer informing him about the completion of the work and the Engineer got it inspected by an Overseer who reported on 21-11-1952 that it had been done very unsatisfactorily. The Engineer called upon the contractor to do it again and properly and on 27-1-1953 he replied that he had done it again and properly and that it might be inspected and a bill might be prepared at once. There was protracted correspondence but the Board did not pay the sum of Rs. 750/-claimed by the opposite parties under the contract. The opposite parties served upon the Board on 1-11-1955 a notice under section 192 of the District Boards Act calling upon it to pay Rs. 750/. together with Rs. 50/- on account of damages within two months. The Board did not give any reply to the notice and they instituted the suit giving rise to this application on 17-3-1956 for recovery of Rs. 800/-.
The suit was contested by the applicant on several grounds, one being that it was barred by time according to section 192 of the District Boards Act. The trial Court decreed the suit for Rs. 750/-, rejecting the claim for damages and the decree was maintained on appeal by a Civil Judge. Then the applicant filed this revision application.
(3.)SECTION 192 of the District Boards Act, so far as is relevant in the instant case, reads as follows:-- "(1) No suit shall be instituted against a board...... in respect of an act done or purporting to have been done in its...... official capacity, until the expiration of two months next after notice in writing has been...... left at its office......... explicitly stating the cause of action, the nature of the relief sought, the amount of compensation claimed, and the name and place of abode of the intending plaintiff...... (2)...... (3) No action such as is described in sub-section (1) shall unless it is an action for the recovery of immovable property or for a declaration of title thereto, be commenced otherwise than within six months next after the accrual of the cause of action. (4) Provided that nothing in sub-section (1) shall be construed to apply to a suit wherein the only relief claimed is an injunction......"
There are similar provisions in other Acts regarding local authorities and as I shall have an occasion to deal with some of them, I reproduce them here. Section 80 of the Code of Civil Procedure requires a notice before suing "a public officer in respect of any act purporting to be done by such public officer in his official capacity." Section 326 of the U. P. Municipalities Act, 1916, lays down that "(1) No suit shall be instituted against a board...... in respect of an act done or purporting to have been done in its...... official capacity, until the expiration of two months next after notice in writing has been...... left at its office...... explicitly stating the cause of action......" "(3) No action such as is described in sub-section (1) shall...... be commenced otherwise than within six months next after the accrual of the cause of action."
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