E K JOSEPH Vs. UPPUTHARA PANCHAYAT
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
E. K. JOSEPH
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(1.) The main prayer in these writ applications is to declare the provision in S.66(3) of the Kerala Panchayats Act, 1960 and R.3 and 4 of the Kerala Panchayats (Service Taxes) Rules, 1962 unconstitutional and void.
(2.) S.66(3) of the Kerala Panchayats Act, 1960 runs thus:-
"66. Taxes, cess, etc., which may be levied by Panchayats,
(2) ... ....
(3) Service taxes not exceeding such rates as may be prescribed for sanitation, water supply, scavenging, street lighting and drainage may be levied with the sanction of the Director."
(3.) The levy with which we are concerned in these writ applications is the tax relating to street lighting and the provision regarding that is contained in the rule, the Kerala Panchayats (Service taxes) Rules, 1962. R.3 and 4 of these rules are relevant and they read as follows:-
"3. (1) The service taxes shall be levied with the sanction of the Director at such percentages of the annual rental value of all buildings or lands or both within the Panchayat area, not exceeding the maximum rates shown in R.4, save those exempted by or under the Act or any other law.
(2) The Panchayat may with the previous sanction of the Director exempt any person or class of persons residing in any particular part of the Panchayat area from the levy of all or any of the service taxes, on the ground that such area is not deriving full benefit from such services.
(3) The service taxes shall be levied annually and be payable in two half yearly instalments.
(4) The service taxes leviable under sub-s.(3) of S.66 of the Act shall not exceed the following maximum rates, namely: --
(i) Sanitary tax 'to provide for expenses connected with the general sanitation of the Panchayat area and removal of rubbish, filth or carcasses of animals from private premises; 1 per cent
(ii) Water tax to provide for expenses connected with the construction, maintenance and repair, extension or improvement of water works hereto force provided or hereafter to be provided; 2 per cent
(iii) Lighting tax to provide for expenses connected with the lighting of the Panchayat area by gas, electricity or other means; 2 per cent
(iv) Drainage tax to provide for expenses connected with the construction, maintenance and repair, extension or improvement of drainage works heretofore provided or hereafter to be provided; 1 per cent";
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