MAHAPALIKA OF THE CITY OF AGRA Vs. AGRA BRICK KILN OWNERS ASSCN
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
MAHAPALIKA OF THE CITY OF AGRA
AGRA BRICK KILN OWNERS ASSOCIATION
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Krishna Iyer, J. -
(1.)A crudely drafted plaint, with little legal light to make out a good cause of action, somehow resulted in a decree as prayed for at the trial stage and in appeal. But the defendant who is the appellant before us, the Mahapalika of the City of Agra, pursued the matter in Second Appeal where, regardless of the scope of the suit or the precise ground alleged in the plaint, an adverse judgment was rendered affecting the Municipality in a general way. Naturally, the appellant Mahapalika has come to this Court by special leave under Art. 136 of the Constitution over stepping the limits of law a little, as will presently appear.
(2.)The brief facts necessary to appreciate the contentions on which the High Court has pronounced may now be stated, although, in so doing, we have to depart from the pleadings. Indeed, the questions are of general public importance and so, apart from technical bounds, we proceed to declare the law.
(3.)The Agra Municipal Board was governed by the U. P. Municipalities Act, 1916 (Act II of 1916). In 1947, the State Government issued a notification imposing a tax under Section 128 (1) (ii) of the said Act. The levy was on brick manufacturers carrying on that trade, at the rate of 14 annas per 1000 bricks. The brick-kiln owners who were affected, along with their Association, filed a suit for a declaration that the tax was void and not exigible. It may be stated that, whatever the reasons urged in the pleadings be, the arguments, purely legal, have turned on the validity of the tax in the light of Section 142-A of the Government of India Act, 1935 and on Art. 276 of the Constitution of India vis-a-vis the relevant provisions of the two Municipal laws and the notification already referred to. One circumstances which occurred after the trial Court had decreed the suit deserves to be stated for a comprehension of the High Court's decision. The U. P. Nagar Mahapalika Adhiniyam, 1959 (U. P. Act II of 1959), came into force on February 1, 1960 repealing and replacing the U. P. Municipalities Act. While the latter Act provided for levy of various types of taxes on professions, trades and callings under Section 128, the former Act which followed, contained a corresponding provision in Section 172 thereof. Thus, today, Section 128 of Act. II of 1916 is no longer in force and it is the later Act of 1960 which is extent.
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