advocatemmmohan

My photo

ADVOCATEMMMOHAN -  Practicing both IN CIVIL, CRIMINAL AND FAMILY LAWS,Etc.,

WELCOME TO LEGAL WORLD

WELCOME TO MY LEGAL WORLD - FOR KNOWLEDGE IN LAW & FOR LEGAL OPINIONS - SHARE THIS

Saturday, September 7, 2013

whether the appellant, Nagar Panchayat, Kurwai (in Civil Appeal No.7821 of 2013 @ SLP(C) No.20997 of 2008) is justified in demanding any fee, for the parking of the motor, trucks and buses in the bus stand, owned and maintained by the Nagar Panchayat. 3. The High Court held that Nagar Panchayat has no power to collect that amount and allowed the writ appeal against which the Nagar Panchayat has come up with this appeal.= Section 358(7)(m) of the Madhya Pradesh Municipalities Act, 1961 is extracted hereinbelow: “358(7)(m) : regulating and prohibiting the stationing of carts or picketing of animals on any ground under the control of the Council or the using of such ground as halting place of vehicles or animals or as a place for enactment or the causing or permitting of any animal to stay and imposition of fee for such use.”= The High Court of Madhya Pradesh at Jabalpur disposed of the Writ Appeal No.147 of 2010 placing reliance on the Judgment of this Court in Municipal Council, Bhopal (supra). The facts of Civil Appeal No.7822 of 2013 @ SLP(C) No.18332 of 2010 are also identical. Since we have found no illegality in demanding the parking fee in using the Bus stand in Civil Appeal No. 7821 of 2013 @ SL(C) No.20997 of 2008, Civil Appeal No.7822 of 2013 @ SLP(C) No.18332 of 2010 is liable to be allowed. Consequently, both the appeals are allowed. The judgments of the High Court are accordingly set aside and the Resolution passed by the appellants imposing the bus stand fee is upheld. However, there will be no order as to costs.

                         published in   http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40736                                   
  REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 7821 OF 2013
                  (Arising out of SLP(C) No.20997 of 2008)

Nagar Panchayat, Kurwai & Anr.                            … Appellants

                 Versus

Mahesh Kumar Singhal and others                   … Respondents

                                    With

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 7822 OF 2013
                  (Arising out of SLP(C) No.18332 of 2010)

                               J U D G M E N T

K.S. RADHAKRISHNAN, J.


1.    Leave granted.

2.    We are  in  these  cases  concerned  with  the  question  whether  the
appellant, Nagar Panchayat, Kurwai  (in  Civil  Appeal  No.7821  of  2013  @
SLP(C) No.20997 of 2008) is justified in demanding any fee, for the  parking
of the motor, trucks and buses in the bus stand,  owned  and  maintained  by
the Nagar Panchayat.

3.    The High Court held that Nagar Panchayat has no power to collect  that
amount and allowed the writ appeal against which  the  Nagar  Panchayat  has
come up with this appeal.

 4.   The appellant in  exercise  of  the  powers  conferred  under  Section
357(3) read with Section 349(2), 357 (5) and 358(4) (b) and  (d)  of  Madhya
Pradesh Municipality Act,  1961,  imposed  parking  fee  on  the  owners  of
vehicles, motors, trucks, buses, matadors etc.  Following that a notice  was
issued by the appellant demanding Rs.20/- per day  or  Rs.600/-  per  month,
imposing entry fees on motors, trucks, buses and matadors parked in the  bus
stand.  Challenging the same, writ petition was  preferred  by  the  vehicle
owners before the High Court of Madhya Pradesh at Jabalpur, seeking  a  writ
of certiorari to quash the above-mentioned bye-law and also for a  direction
to the Nagar Panchayat not to collect any fees from  the  petitioners.   The
learned Single Judge found no merit  in  the  writ  petition  and  same  was
dismissed on 10.07.2007.  Aggrieved by the same, writ  petitioners  took  up
the matter in Writ Appeal No.458 of 2007, which was allowed by the  Division
Bench, holding that Section 349 of Act of 1961 does not confer any power  to
impose the licence fees for the use  of  bus  stand  and  the  same  is  not
covered under Sections 358(4)(b) and (d) or (7) (m)  of  the  Act  of  1961.
Respondents are merrily using the bus stand  owned  and  maintained  by  the
Nagar Panchayat, free of cost,  not  bothering  about  its  maintenance  and
upkeep.   The  question  is,  can  a  court,  on  the  basis  of   such   an
interpretation sideline the larger public interest and  deny  the  right  of
the Nagar Panchayat to claim parking fees which  can  be  utilized  for  the
benefit of people?

5.    We,  before  examining  the  question,  shall  not  forget  the  basic
fundamental principle that nobody has a fundamental right to  use  the  land
belonging to another without the latter’s permission or paying  for  it,  if
demanded.

6.    The respondents are operating their vehicles with the  stage  carriage
permits granted by the competent authority under  the  Motor  Vehicles  Act.
As per the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act the State Government or  any
other authorized authority has jurisdiction to determine a place at which  a
motor vehicle be parked, either indefinitely or for  a  specified  time  for
taking up and alighting passengers.  Rule 203 and  Rule  204  of  the  Motor
Vehicles Rules, 1994 provide for maintenance and management of  the  parking
places and make the concerned local authorities  responsible  for  the  said
purpose.  As per the conditions of the permit they are required to  commence
the journey of their vehicles from the bus stand or place fixed for  getting
and alighting passengers.  Such a condition has been imposed on the  licence
by the authorities under  the  Motor  Vehicles  Act  since  operators  would
commence the journey of their respective vehicles on  the  routes  from  the
bus stand only and would not stop  the  vehicles  on  the  streets,  causing
inconvenience to the public.  Since vehicle operators started using the  bus
stand,  Nagar  Panchayat  passed  the  Resolution,  as  already   indicated,
charging the parking fees for the purpose of maintaining of  bus  stand  and
providing  other  facilities.   Bus  stand,  as   already   indicated,   was
constructed on the land owned by the Nagar Panchayat.

7.    The Constitution (74th Amendment) Act, 1992 Part IXA which deals  with
Municipality, came into force on  20.04.1993.   Article  243P(e),  243Q  and
Article 243W(a)(1)(4) are relevant and hence extracted below:
      “243P(e):   “Municipal”  means  an  institution   of   self-government
      constituted under Article 243Q.
243Q.   Constitution of Municipalities.-(1) There shall be constituted in
every State,-

(a)  a  Nagar Panchayat (by whatever name called) for  a  transitional
area,  that  is to say, an area in transition from a rural area to  an
urban area;

(b)  a Municipal Council for a smaller urban area; and

(c)  a  Municipal Corporation for a larger urban area,

in accordance with the provisions of this Part:

      243W – Powers, authority and responsibilities of Municipalities,  etc.
      – Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Legislature of a
      State may, by law, endow –


   a) The Municipalities with such powers and authority as may be  necessary
      to enable them to function as institutions of self-government and such
      law  may  contain  provisions  for  the  devolution  of   powers   and
      responsibilities upon Municipalities, subject to  such  conditions  as
      may be specified therein, with respect to –


        i) the preparation of plans for  economic  development  and  social
           justice;



       ii) the performance of functions and the implementation  of  schemes
           as may be entrusted to them including those in relation  to  the
           matters listed in the Twelfth Schedule.


   b) The Committees with such powers and authority as may be  necessary  to
      enable them to  carry  out  the  responsibility  conferred  upon  them
      including those in relation to  the  matters  listed  in  the  Twelfth
      Schedule.”



Twelfth Schedule was inserted w.e.f. 01.06.1993.  Entry 17 therein reads  as
follows:
      “Entry 17 – Public amenities including street lighting, parking lots,
      bus stops and public conveniences.”

8.    Nagar Panchayat is, therefore, a unit of self-government, which  is  a
sovereign body having both constitutional  and  statutory  status.   Article
243Q and 243W(a)(i) and  (ii)  read  with  Entry  17,   confer  considerable
powers on the Nagar Panchayat to carry  out  various  schemes  for  economic
development and social justice. Municipalities need funds for  carrying  out
the various welfare activities and for  the  said  purpose,  it  can  always
utilize its assets in a profitable manner to its advantage so  that  various
welfare activities entrusted to it under law  could  be  properly  addressed
and implemented.  Bus stand has been provided by  the  Nagar  Panchayat  for
the benefit of all  vehicle  owners  and  the  passengers,  spending  public
money.  Nagar Panchayat has to get a reasonable return for  its  upkeep  and
maintenance.


9.    We may, in this connection, refer to the decision  of  this  Court  in
Municipal Board, Hapur and others v. Jassa Singh and others  (1996)  10  SCC
377,  wherein  this  Court  while  interpreting  the  provisions   of   U.P.
Municipalities  Act,  1916  in  the  light  of  the   Constitutional   (73rd
Amendment) Act, 1992 (actually 74th Amendment Act) upheld the right  of  the
Municipality in levying the bus stand fee  in  respect  of  stage  carriage.
The operative portion of the same reads as follows:
      “Even under the recent amendment brought  by  the  Constitution  (73rd
      Amendment) Act, 1992  which  came  into  force  w.e.f.  20-4-1993,  it
      imposes the statutory responsibilities on the municipalities.  Article
      243-P(d) defines “municipal area” to mean the territorial  area  of  a
      municipality as is  notified  by  the  Governor.  Article  243-W(a)(i)
      envisages that subject to the  provisions  of  the  Constitution,  the
      legislature of a State may, by law, endow the municipalities with such
      powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as
      institutions of self-government and such law  may  contain  provisions
      for the devolution of powers and responsibilities upon municipalities,
      subject to such conditions, as may be specified therein, with  respect
      to the preparation  of  plans  for  economic  development  and  social
      justice.  Entry  17  of  the  Twelfth  Schedule  provides  for  public
      amenities including  street  lighting,  parking  lots,  bus-stops  and
      public conveniences. Thus, the Constitution  enjoins  the  appropriate
      legislature to provide for  preparation  of  the  plans  for  economic
      development and social  justice  including  power  to  provide  public
      amenities including  street  lighting,  parking  lots,  bus-stops  and
      public conveniences. On  such  public  amenities  including  bus-stops
      having been provided by the municipalities, as is a statutory duty, it
      is the duty of the user thereof to pay fee for service rendered by the
      municipality.”



10.   Vehicle owners  placing  reliance  on  the  Judgments  of  this  court
reported  in  Municipal  Council,  Bhopal  v.   Sindhi  Sahiti  Multipurpose
Transport Co-op. Society  Ltd. and another (1973) 2 SCC  478  and  Municipal
Council, Manasa v. M.P. State Road Transport Corpn. And  another  (1997)  11
SCC 640, questioned the powers of  the  Nagar  Panchayat  in  demanding  the
parking fee, while using the bus stand and enjoying the facilities.

11.   Noticeably  both  the  above-mentioned  Judgments  were  dealing  with
demands made prior to the  Constitutional  (74th  Amendment)  Act,  1992  by
which Part IXA was incorporated.

12.   This Court in  Municipal  Council,  Bhopal  (supra),  held  that  M.P.
Municipal Council Act does not empower a municipality  to  pass  a  bye  law
declaring certain place as a Municipal  bus  stand  and  cannot  compel  the
persons plying motor buses or for hire to park  the  buses  anywhere  within
the municipal limits except at the municipal bus stand for  the  purpose  of
taking up or setting down of passengers.   Court  further  held  that  if  a
Municipality provides for a Bus stand without compelling anybody to use  it,
a fee can be charged on bus operators using it  voluntarily.   In  Municipal
Council, Manasa, the question which came up for consideration was whether  a
municipal council is competent to levy toll tax on motor  vehicles  in  view
of the provisions  contained  in  Section  6  of  the  M.P.  Motor  Vehicles
Taxation Act, 1947, which has been extended to the  whole  of  M.P.  by  the
Madhya Pradesh Taxation Laws (Extension) Act,  1957.   The  Court  took  the
view that Madhya Pradesh Motor Vehicles Taxation Act is a special  enactment
while the Madhya Pradesh Municipalities Act is a general enactment and  that
the provisions of Section 127(1)(iii) and Section 6 are to be read in a  way
that both can stand together.  Consequently, the words
“tax on  vehicles”  used  in  Section  127(1)(iii)  of  the  Madhya  Pradesh
Municipalities Act was held to mean vehicles other than motor vehicles.


13.   Above-mentioned Judgments, on facts as well as on law,  do  not  apply
to the facts of the  present  case,  especially  in  view  of  to  the  74th
Constitutional Amendment and in  view  of  Section  358(7)(m)  of  the  M.P.
Municipality Act, which was not properly addressed in those cases.

14.   We have already dealt  with  the  scope  of  the  74th  Constitutional
Amendment Act.  Section 358(7)(m), has to  be  read  in  the  light  of  the
Constitutional Amendment Act.  Clause 7(m) of  Section  358  of  the  Madhya
Pradesh Municipalities Act, 1961, empowers the municipality to  regulate  or
prohibit the use of any ground under its control  and  it  does  not  compel
anybody to use it as halting place of vehicles.
Section  358(7)(m)  of  the
Madhya Pradesh Municipalities Act, 1961 is extracted hereinbelow:
      “358(7)(m) : regulating and prohibiting the  stationing  of  carts  or
      picketing of animals on any ground under the control of the Council or
      the using of such ground as halting place of vehicles or animals or as
      a place for enactment or the causing or permitting of  any  animal  to
      stay and imposition of fee for such use.”

Article 243W(a)(i) and (ii) read with Entry 17 of the Twelfth  Schedule  and
clause (7)(m) of Section 358 and the general principle  that  nobody  has  a
fundamental right to use the land belonging to another without the  latter’s
permission or paying for it, if demanded, in our view, give ample powers  to
the Nagar Panchayat to impose parking fee for parking the  vehicles  in  the
Bus stand owned and maintained by  it.    Needless  to  say,  if  the  Nagar
Panchayat is demanding exorbitant or unreasonable parking  fee  without  any
quid pro quo, the same can always be challenged in accordance with law.

15.   The High Court of Madhya Pradesh at  Jabalpur  disposed  of  the  Writ
Appeal No.147 of 2010 placing reliance on the  Judgment  of  this  Court  in
Municipal Council, Bhopal (supra).  
The facts of Civil  Appeal  No.7822   of
2013 @ SLP(C) No.18332 of 2010 are also identical.  
Since we have  found  no
illegality in demanding the parking fee in using  the  Bus  stand  in  Civil
Appeal No. 7821 of 2013 @ SL(C) No.20997 of 2008, Civil  Appeal  No.7822  of
2013 @ SLP(C) No.18332 of 2010 is liable to be allowed.  Consequently,  both
the appeals are allowed.  
The judgments of the High  Court  are  accordingly
set aside and the Resolution passed  by  the  appellants  imposing  the  bus
stand fee is upheld. However, there will be no order as to costs.

                                             …………………………….J.
                                             (K.S. Radhakrishnan)




                                                              ………………………………J.
                                             (A.K. Sikri)
New Delhi,
September 6, 2013.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.