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Akhil Bhartiya Avam Gramin Vikas Sansthan v. The Nagar Nigam Ghaziabad & Others - WRIT - C No. 56 of 2004  RD-AH 28 (19 January 2004)
COURT NO. 34
CIVIL MISC. WRIT PETITION NO. 56 OF 2004
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited ----- Petitioner
State of U.P. & ors. ----- Respondents
Hon'ble Arun Tandon, J.
This writ petition has been filed for quashing the impugned order dated 20.10.2003, passed by respondent no 3, imposing the house tax on the premises in dispute of the petitioner.
Facts and circumstances giving rise to this case are that the notice dated 22.7.2003 was served upon the petitioner as to why the house tax should not be imposed in respect of the House No. 42 A Shivpur, Varanasi, i.e., the premises in dispute.
The petitioner filed the reply that as the property belonged to the Government of India, the building could not be subjected to house tax. However, vide impugned order dated 20.10.2003 the respondents rejected the objection of the petitioner and imposed the tax. Hence this petition.
Heard Shri Subodh Kumar, learned counsel for the petitioner, learned Standing Counsel appearing for the respondent no. 1 and Shri C.K. Parekh, learned counsel for the respondents no. 2 and 3.
The issue involved is no more res integra as this Court in Nagar Mahapalika, Varanasi Vs. Union of India & ors, 1975 U.P.Tax Cases, has dealt with a similar case, wherein notice for fixation of annual value of the building by the Union of India within jurisdiction of Nagar Mahapalika for the purpose of imposition of house tax was held to be invalid.
This Court interpreting the provisions of Article 258 of the Constitution of India held that where the property is owned by the Central Government or the State Governments, the Nagar Mahapalika is not competent to impose any kind of house tax. Therefore, it is settled that so long the buildings remain the property of the Government Department, it cannot be subjected to house tax.
This case is entirely different with the property owned by the Government.
In Western Coalfields Ltd. Vs. Special Area Development Authority & anr., AIR 1982 SC 697, the Hon'ble Apex Court held as under:-
".....that even though the entire share capital of the appellant companies has been subscribed by the Government of India it cannot be predicated that the companies themselves are owned by the Government of India. The companies, which are incorporated under the Companies Act, have a corporate personality of their own, distinct from that of the Government of India. The lands and buildings are vested in and owned by the companies, the Government of India only owns the share capital....."
While deciding the said case, a very heavy reliance has been placed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court on its earlier judgments in Rustam Cavasjee Cooper Vs. Union of India, AIR 1970 SC 564; Heavy Engineering Mazdoor Union Vs. The State of Bihar, AIR 1970 82; and Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation Vs. Income-Officer, AIR 1964 SC 1486.
In the instant case the tax has been imposed w.e.f. 1st October, 1991 which cannot be sustained in the eyes of law and the order becomes liable to be quashed.
If the instant case is examined in the light of the aforesaid settled legal propositions, the record shows that the premises in dispute was the property of the Government Department upto 1st October, 2000. Subsequently, it became the property of the Corporation. Therefore, the respondents are not competent to impose the house tax prior to 1st October, 2000, but petitioner is liable to pay the tax for the period subsequent to the said date.
In view of the above, the petition deserves to be allowed and the order impugned is liable to be set aside as the house tax has been imposed w.e.f. 1st October, 1991.
Petition succeeds and is allowed. The order impugned dated 20.10.2003 is hereby quashed.
The respondents are at liberty to pass a fresh assessment order imposing the house tax for the period subsequent to 1st October, 2000.
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