Decided on July 06,1971



- (1.)This second appeal by the plaintiff arises out of a suit filed by him for a declaration that the enhancement of half-yearly tax from Rs. 49-65 to Rs 138-27 with effect from 1-4-1963 for his house situated in Kaki Veedhi within Srikakulam Municipality is illegal and untenable and for a further direction to the defendant Municipality to refund the excess tax of Rs 660-50 recovered from him from 1-4-1963 to 31-3-66 i. e. for six half-years.
(2.)Originully the house was a thatched house and it was assessed to a house tax of Rs. 12/- Later it was replaced with a tiled roof and at the general revision in 1961 the cental value was .assessed at Rs. 360/- and half yearly tax was fixed at Rs 49-85. On 11- 9-63 a special notice proposing to enhance the rental value to Rs. 1080/- and fix the house tax at Rs. 158-27 was served on the plaintiff and accordingly the tax was enhanced. The plaintiff filed are vision petition against the said assessment but the same was rejected and the plaintiff was forced to pay the revised tax from 1-4-1963, to 31-3-1966. It is the plaintiff's case that this enhanced assessment is arbitrary, illegal and untenable He, therefore, prays for a declaration and a decree for the refund of the enhanced tax paid by him To sustain the enhancement of tax, the Municipality averred in defence that the plaintiff had leased out two rooms at the rate of Rs 20/- per mensem, that the house of the plaintiff is terraced and constructed with cement plastering and that there are four portions in the building and that each portion is a separate entity in itself having a common verandah room and a kitchen. It also averred that the assessment was made on a reasonable basis having regard to the prevailing rents in the locality and therefore the plaintiff is not entitiled to any reduction. It was also pleaded that the suit is not maintainable in law in as much as the plaintiff had a right of appeal against the order of the Secretary made on the revision petition filed by him against enhancement of tax. It was stated that as no provisions of the Act or the rules governing the assessment of tax has been violated, the Court had no jurisdiction to interfere with the assessment. It was also pleaded that the suit was barred by limita- tion.
(3.)The trial court held that the provisions of the Act and the Rules having been complied with the assessment cannot be called in question in a Civil Court and the suit was barred under Section 354 (2) of the Madras District Municipalities Act: It, however, held that as a special notice was served on the plaintiff only on 11-9-1963 the enhanced tax could be collected for the following half-year viz., 1-10-1993 and granted a refund of Rs. 108-42p with interest thereon at 6% per annum and dismissed the suit in other respects.

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