BHARTI AIRTEL LIMITED Vs. MIRA BHAYANDAR MUNICIPAL CORPORATION
HIGH COURT OF BOMBAY
BHARTI AIRTEL LIMITED
Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation
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A.S.OKA, J. -
(1.) The question involved in this writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is as under :
"Whether Local Body Tax (LBT) under clause (aaa) of Sub-Section (2) of Section 127 of the Maharashtra Municipal Corporations Act,1949 is recoverable on SIM cards, recharge coupons and e-recharge on its entry into municipal limits of a Municipal Corporation?"
(2.) With a view to appreciate the submissions made across the bar, a brief reference to few factual aspects of the case will be necessary. The first respondent is a Municipal Corporation constituted under the Maharashtra Municipal Corporations Act,1949 (for short "the said Act"). The petitioner is engaged in the business of providing telecommunication services including the mobile telephone services.
(3.) By a License Agreement dated 28th September 2001 entered into between the Hon'ble President of India through the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communication, Government of India on one part and the petitioner company on the other part, a licence was granted to the petitioner under section 4 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 to set up and operate cellular mobile phone services in Mumbai and Maharashtra Telegraph Circle on the terms and conditions set out therein. In accordance with the said agreement, the petitioner is providing telecommunication services including mobile telephony, text messaging, voice messaging, access to internet etc to the members of public in Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) format which involves GSM wireless modem which works with GSM wireless network. The customers of the petitioner avail of the services by using mobile handsets. It is stated that the SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) card is provided by the petitioner which is a plastic/paper card encrypted with the unique number which is known as International Mobile Subscriber Identification (IMSI). It is stated in the petition that the SIM card enables the subscriber access to telecommunication service provided by the petitioner. The contention in the petition is that the SIM card does not have any utility or intrinsic value by itself. It is stated in the petition that the petitioner provides either pre-paid or post paid services. In case of pre-paid services, the pre-paid subscriber can renew the services through the recharge coupon/card or e- recharge.;
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