Committee, Abohar Vs. Kanshi Ram & Ors  INSC 438 (14 October 1993)
SINGH (J) KULDIP SINGH (J) BHARUCHA S.P. (J) CITATION: 1994 SCC Supl. (2) 547
question for determination before the High Court was whether Municipal
Committee, Abohar, had the jurisdiction to impose water tax, in the municipal
area, under Section 61 of the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911 (the Act). Following
its earlier judgment in Khalsa Shoe Co. v.
Committee, Ambala City1 , the High Court answered the question in the negative
and against the appellant Municipal Committee, Abohar.
Municipal Committee can impose various taxes enumerated under Section 61 of the
Act. Water tax has not been included therein. It is not disputed that Section
61 of the Act was amended in the year 1923. Prior to the amendment the said
section specifically authorized the Municipal Committee to impose water tax.
The net result is that by way of amendment in the year 1923, the legislature
took away the power of the Municipal Committee to impose water tax in the
municipal area. In Khalsa Shoe Co. case1, a learned Single Judge of the High
Court held as under:
question which now falls to be determined is whether by excluding a tax
expressly mentioned in the earlier Acts from the category of taxes mentioned in
Section 61(1) of the Act, the legislature still intended to authorise a
municipal committee to impose the same tax under Section 61(2) of the Act. In
State of Bombay v. R.M.D. Chamarbaugwala2, it has been observed that in order
to interpret the provisions of a statute it is 1 1973 PLR 202 2 1957 SCR 874:
AIR 1957 SC 699 548 permissible to a court to take into consideration the
history of the legislation.
61 of the Punjab Municipal Act, 191 1, noticed above clearly shows that the
legislature had made an express provision for the imposition of water tax. When
the Act was amended in the year 1923, the legislature expressly repealed this
provision. In this situation, it cannot be said that the legislature entitled
the municipal committee to impose the same tax under Section 61(2) of the Act.
I am fortified in this conclusion by reading of Section 61(1) of the Act which
enumerates the categories of taxes which a municipal committee can impose. If
it was desired to give all embracing powers to the municipal committee to
impose taxes by inserting Section 61(2) in the Act, then it was a simple thing
to do away with the enumeration of the categories of taxes expressly mentioned
in Section 61 (1) of the Act." 3.We see no ground to interfere with the
reasoning of the High Court in Khalsa Shoe Co. case1 which has been followed in
the present case. The appeal is dismissed. No costs.