Saturday, 16 October 2021

Whether Municipal Corporation can recover retrospective property tax by amending assessment list?

 'Subbappa's case, (E)', appears to be an authority for the proposition that alterations made in an assessment list under Section 81(3) have limited retrospective operation i.e. the liability for a rate under an assessment list which is finalised and authenticated during the course of an official year arises in case of inadvertent omissions as from the date 011 which the assessment list is brought into operation and in cases where there has been new construction or alteration of a building during the course of the year from the date on which the building became liable to tax.

But 'Subbappa's case', (E), in our judgment, is no authority for the proposition that a more extensive retrospective operation to an assessment list is intended to be given so as to enable a Municipality to alter the assessment list of previous years. In other words, the assessment list for each year comes to an end on the expiry of the official year and a fresh assessment list comes into existence as from the 1st date of the official year, and the assessment list of the previous year cannot be amended so as to impose fresh liability after the close of the official year.

Bombay High Court
The Chalisgaon Borough ... vs Multanchand Fulchand Sancheti on 24 November, 1955
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Whether Municipal Corporation should treat land under construction as vacant plot of land for the purpose of property tax?

 Before we close, we may deal with Rialto decided by one of us (R.M. Lodha,J.). In Rialto, the question was whether it was open to the Assessor to assess land under construction as not vacant plot of land. The stand of Assessing Officer was that land under construction cannot be treated as vacant plot of land. The stand of Assessor being contrary to the judgment of the Apex Court in Polychem, the writ petition was entertained and allowed though appeal against the impugned assessment was pending. Once the Apex Court had ruled that land under construction has to be treated as vacant land, obviously, the Assessing Officer had no jurisdiction to hold otherwise and treat land under construction not as vacant plot of land. The action of Assessing Officer in Rialto was ex facie without jurisdiction and, therefore, this Court was satisfied to invoke extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

Bombay High Court
Naman Developers Pvt. Ltd. And ... vs Municipal Corporation Of Greater ... on 19 August, 2002
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Can the court declare a document invalid if there is an erroneous description of a person or a thing in a written instrument?

 A reference may usefully be made to the maxim "Falsa demonstratio non nocet cum de corrore constat" which means mere false description does not vitiate, if there be sufficient certainty as to the object. 'Falsa demonstratio' means an erroneous description of a person or a thing in a written instrument; and the above rule respecting it signifies that where the description is made up of more than one part, and one part is true, but the other false, there, if the part which is true describes the subject with sufficient legal certainty, the untrue part will be rejected and will not vitiate the devise: the characteristic of cases within the rule being that the description, so far as it is false, applies to no subject at all, and, so far as it is true, applies to one only. (See Broom's Legal Maxims, 10th Edition, pp. 426-

427). Broom quotes (at page 438) an example that an error in the proper name or in the surname of the legatee should not make the legacy void, provided it could be understood from the will what person was intended to be benefited thereby.

Supreme Court of India
Harikrishna Lal vs Babu Lal Marandi on 30 October, 2003
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Whether Returning Officer can accept the defective nomination paper for election?

 In Harcharan Singh Vs. S. Mohinder Singh and Ors. - AIR 1968 SC 1500 the purpose of the provisions contained in Sections 33 and 36 of the Act was stated by their Lordships in these words – "The primary purpose of the diverse provisions of the election law which may appear to be technical is to safeguard the purity of the election process and the Courts will not ordinarily minimize their operation." Their Lordships further observed that "the statutory requirements of election law must be strictly observed. An election dispute is a statutory proceeding unknown to the common law: it is not an action at law or in equity. But under S.36(4) the Returning Officer is entitled to accept the nomination paper even if it be defective, if the defect is not of a substantial character. He is enjoined not to reject the nomination paper unless the defect is of a substantial character." Harcharan Singh's case (supra) was one where the details for identifying the appellant as an elector were duly furnished and his age though mentioned in the nomination paper was not to be found in the certified copy produced by him and no objection was raised to the acceptance of the nomination paper on behalf of the contesting candidate. The returning officer satisfied himself by personal enquiry that the appellant was above the age of 25 and therefore competent to stand for election. It was held that even though the copy produced was defective because of the absence therefrom of the house number entered in the electoral register, yet the defect was not of a substantial character and hence the returning officer was justified in not rejecting the nomination paper. In Viveka Nand Giri Vs. Nawal Kishore Sahi – (1984) 3 SCC 10 there was a difference in the age as recorded in the electoral roll and as stated in the nomination paper. It was held that the nomination paper would fall in the category of an inaccurate description and the returning officer could not have rejected the nomination. In Karnail Singh Vs. Election Tribunal, Hissar and Ors. - 10 ELR 189 the name of the Sub-Division was not stated in the nomination paper. However, it was quite clear that there was no difficulty in identifying the candidate. The defect was held to be a technical one and not of substantial character.

A reference may usefully be made to the maxim "Falsa demonstratio non nocet cum de corrore constat" which means mere false description does not vitiate, if there be sufficient certainty as to the object. 'Falsa demonstratio' means an erroneous description of a person or a thing in a written instrument; and the above rule respecting it signifies that where the description is made up of more than one part, and one part is true, but the other false, there, if the part which is true describes the subject with sufficient legal certainty, the untrue part will be rejected and will not vitiate the devise: the characteristic of cases within the rule being that the description, so far as it is false, applies to no subject at all, and, so far as it is true, applies to one only. (See Broom's Legal Maxims, 10th Edition, pp. 426-

427). Broom quotes (at page 438) an example that an error in the proper name or in the surname of the legatee should not make the legacy void, provided it could be understood from the will what person was intended to be benefited thereby.

There is no manner of doubt that the respondent is a duly enrolled elector in the voters list of No.23 Ramgarh Assembly Constituency. In the voters list as well as in the nomination paper the respondent was correctly described. The omission of his second name 'Lal' from the voters list is inadvertent or accidental and in any case merely technical. There is no doubt about the identity of the respondent. Apparently that is why none of the candidates including the writ petitioner and no one else raised any objection to the acceptance of the nomination paper by submitting that the respondent was not a registered elector of the constituency. The returning officer entered into suo moto enquiry for his own satisfaction, and felt satisfied by looking into the electoral list of the constituency available with him, that the respondent Babu Lal Marandi was the same person who was mentioned as Babu Marandi in the electoral list. Being an elector in the same constituency wherefrom he was contesting election it was not necessary for him to have filed a certified copy of the relevant entry from the voters list. Before the High Court, the writ petitioner has chosen not to adduce any evidence to demonstrate that the returning officer was not right in arriving at the satisfaction which he did or that the respondent was not enrolled in the electoral list of that constituency or was the one enrolled in some other constituency. The High Court has not erred in holding the election of the respondent not liable to be set aside.

Supreme Court of India
Harikrishna Lal vs Babu Lal Marandi on 30 October, 2003
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