Posted On by &filed under Allahabad High Court, High Court.

Allahabad High Court
The Municipal Committee Of Ajmere vs Kifayatullah on 19 January, 1915
Equivalent citations: 28 Ind Cas 143
Bench: Chamier, Piggott


1. This is a reference by the Commissioner of Ajmere-Merwara under Section 18 of the Ajmere Courts Regulation, I of 1877. The facts stated in the reference are that one Kifayatullah on July 23rd, 1907, gave the Municipal Committee of Ajmere notice in writing of his intention to re-erect a certain building within the limits of the Ajmere Municipality and with his application submitted a certain plan. On October 2nd, 1907, the Municipal Committee issued a notice to Kifayatullah to the effect that he had contravened the provisions of Section 85 of the Municipal Regulation by beginning to correct without permission, and required him to stop the work at once and submit an application for permission to build along with a plan. He was further told not to resume building until he received the orders of the Committee, for if the Committee found that the proposed building was objectionable it would have to be removed. On receipt of this notice Kifayatullah stopped the work. On March 10th, 1908, Kifayatullah brought a suit for recovery of Rs. 30 on account of damages, which he alleged he had suffered in consequence of the Municipal Committee having stopped the work and for a declaration that the notice was invalid. The Subordinate Judge gave the plaintiff a decree and his decree was affirmed on appeal by the Commissioner, but on an application made by the Municipal Committee under Section 17 of the Ajmere Courts Regulation, the Commissioner has referred to this Court the question whether the suit was maintainable. The contention of the Municipal Committee appears to be that as it is invested by the Municipal Regulation with a wide discretion in matters of this kind, no suit can be maintained in a Civil Court with regard to them. Section So of the Municipal Regulation lays down that every person intending to erect or re-erect any building shall, if required to do so by rules made by the Committee in this behalf, give notice in writing of his intention to the Committee and shall, if required to do so, submit a plan showing the level at which the foundation and the lowest floor are proposed to be laid and a specification of the works intended to be constructed and the materials to be used, and shall obey all written directions consistent with the Regulation given by the Committee within one month after receiving such notice, either prohibiting the erection or re-erection or in respect of a number of other matters detailed in the section. An attempt was made in the Court of the Commissioner to show that the notice given by Kifayatullah did not comply with the section. The Commissioner declined to allow this point to be taken for the first time in appeal and we must assume that the notice given in this case complied with the requirements of the law. As we read Section 85, if the Municipal Committee wishes to prohibit the erection or the re-erection of a building or to give directions with respect to any of the matters detailed in the section it must issue its directions within one month after receiving the notice. In the present case the Municipal Committee allowed more than one month to elapse before communicating with Kifayatullah, and when it did communicate with him, it did not issue a notice as it might have done under Sub-section (2) of the section requiring the building’ to be altered or demolished, but it required him to stop the work and submit a fresh application. If Kifayatullah gave a notice which did not comply with the law, it should have been regarded as no notice at all and the Municipal Committee could have required him to alter or demolish the building; but as it must be taken that the notice given was in compliance with the law and as the Municipal Committee did not issue any directions within one month of the receipt of the notice, the Municipal Committee had no authority take any action under Sub-section 2 of Section 85. It was suggested that Section 141 of the Act barred the jurisdiction of the Civil Court in cases of this kind. That section empowers the Commissioner or the District Magistrate to suspend the action taken by a Municipal Committee or to prohibit the doing of an act which is about to be done in pursuance of or under cover of the Regulation in certain cases. It seems to us doubtful whether Section 141 was intended to apply to such cases as this. Even if it can be construed so as to cover such oases, we cannot treat it as barring the jurisdiction of a Civil Court to entertain a suit for damages at the instance of a person who has been wronged by an illegal action of the Committee. In our opinion the suit was maintainable and this is our answer to the reference. Let the papers be returned.

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