At, High Court of Judicature at Madras
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE P. SATHASIVAM
For The Petitioner : B. Ramesh Babu, Advocate. For The Respondent : M. Duraisamy, Advocate.
The Executive Officer, Kolappalur Town Panchayat is the revision petitioner in both the revisions. The respondent herein - M/s. Maxwell Apparel Industries Limited filed a civil suit in O.S.No.132 of 1997 on the file of District Munsif, Gobichettipalayam, praying for declaration declaring the demand special notice dated 14.03.1997 by the defendant under assessment number 2411 and 20.03.1997 for the door number 729B to G under number 17 to 22 of the year 1996-1997 respectively are illegal, unconstitutional and for consequential permanent injunction restraining the defendant from recovering or collecting the above taxes from the plaintiff in any manner. The defendant Town Panchayat filed a written statement disputing the claim made by the plaintiff. It is seen that on the plea that due to urgent administrative reasons they could not cross examine PW.1 and PW.2 examined on the side of the plaintiff, the Town Panchayat filed I.A.Nos.404 and 405 of 2003 for reopen and recall them for cross examination. By the impugned order, the learned District Munsif, after holding that there is no bona fide in the claim made by the Town Panchayat, dismissed those petitions, hence the above revisions.
2. Heard the learned counsel for the petitioner as well as respondent.
3. There is no dispute that with reference to the claim made in the plaint, the defendant Town Panchayat has filed a written statement disputing their claim. It is further seen that though plaintiff have examined PW.1 and PW2 in support of their claim, they were not cross examined by the defendant Town Panchayat. A perusal of the order of the learned District Munsif shows that the Panchayat was given adequate opportunity for cross examination of PW.1 and PW.2. The affidavit filed by the Town Panchayat before the District Munsif Court shows that since the concerned officials who were in charge of the suit were busy with the recovery of tax and to complete the accounts before the end of financial year, they could not attend the Court and cross examine PW.1 and PW.2. It is also stated that whenever there is a Council meeting, those officers have to be present in the meeting hall, they were not in a position to attend the Court on various dates though the Court has granted time.
4. On going through various reasons stated by the Executive Officer, I am of the view that considering the fact that the defendant being a Panchayat, a wing of the Government, mainly responsible for the civic amenities and also of the fact that the suit relates to demand of property tax issued by them, one more opportunity should be given to them to cross examine PW.1 and PW.2. I am also satisfied that some of the vital questions have been omitted inadvertently at the time of cross examination of PW.1 and PW.2 and by reopening the case as well as recalling PW.1 and PW.2, the plaintiff is not going to suffer anything. As a matter of fact, after full-fledged cross examination on any point, if the plaintiff wants to clarify, it would be open to them to do so by re-examination. Inasmuch as the subject matter of the suit involves revenue of the local authority, the Court below ought not to have dismissed the applications filed by them. As said earlier, by allowing their petitions, no prejudice will be caused to the plaintiff. On the oth
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er hand, by dismissing the said petitions, it would lead miscarriage of justice. Under these circumstances, the order of the learned District Munsif, Gobicheetipalayam dated 09.04.2003 made in I.A.Nos.404 and 405 of 2003 in O.S.No.132 of 1997 are set aside. The civil revision petitions are allowed. No costs. Consequently, connected CMP., is closed.