AMI CHAND Vs. STATE OF RAJASTHAN
HIGH COURT OF RAJASTHAN
STATE OF RAJASTHAN
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M.C.JAIN, J. -
(1.)THE petitioners are the residents of Banner. By these writ petitions they have challenged the levy of house tax in respect of the years 19 -5 -76, 1976 -77, 1977 -78, (9 78 -79, 1979 -,0, 1940 -81 and 1981 -82. In respect of these years the petitioner have been served with bills. The petitioner sought a relief for quashing the public notices issued on 21 -3 -1982 and 1 -7 -1982 (Annexuxe 6 and Annexuxe 7, respectively), whereby the authenticated lists in respect of these years were published for inspection. After publication of those authenticated lists, bills were served on the petitioners.
(2.)THE main ground, on which the levy of house tax is challenged in respect of the aforesaid years is that the provision of Sub -section (2) of Section 119 of the Rajasthan Municipalities Act, 1959 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') has not been complied with, Every year assessment lists were not prepared and published and authenticated, without which levy of house tax could not have been made The procedure for publication of the assessment list and their authetication is provided in Sections 116 and 117 of the Act and the provision regarding the amendment of the assessment lists is provided in Section 118 of the Act. Sub -section (2) of Sec 119 provides that the provisions of Sections 116, 117 and 118 shall however be applicable every year as if a new assessment list has been completed at the commencement of the official year and expression 'official year' has been defined in Section 3(20) of the Act to mean the year commencing on the first day of April. Admittedly compliance of the provision of Sub -section (2) of Section 119 of the Act was not made. From the perusal of the bills it would appear that levy of house tax prior to 1 -4 -1977 is not made and the petitioners have only been billed from 1 -4 -1977 to 31 -3 -1982, so it is not necessary to examine the question of levy of house tax for the years 1975 -76 and 1976 -77. For the remaining five years, the question of levy of houses tax needs to be examined.
The defence of the Municipal Board is that the Local Self Government of the State of Rajasthan stayed the recovery of house tax by its order No F 13(16) DLV/62/6025 dated 27 -12 -1977. Thereafter by order dated 5 -3 -1980 the said stay order was withdrawn, but again by its order dated 26 4 -1980 the recovery of house tax was stayed, which was later on withdrawn by order dated 10 9 -1981. After withdrawal of the stay order public notices under Sections 116 and 117(6) of the Act (Annexure 6 and Annexure 7, respectively) were issued and thereafter the petitioners were billed. The contention on behalf of the Board is that the recovery of house tax was suspended by the State Government, so assessment lists could not be prepared and after withdrawal of the said order in respect of the years the assessment lists were prepared and authenticated and were published and they were subsequently certified by the revising authority vide Annexure 7 dated 1 -7 -1982. The levy was only suspended by the State Government till the withdrawal of the suspension order and after withdrawal of the suspension order, the Municipal Board has authority to levy house tax in respect of those years in which the levy remained stayed or suspended by the State Government.
(3.)THE question arises as to how the period from 1977 -78 to 1981 -82 is to be considered? Whether on account of the stay order issued by the State Government, the levy of house tax remained suspended and after withdrawal of the stay order, is it competent for the Municipal Board to recover the house tax in respect of the years, in which the stay order was in operation? The matter can be viewed from two aspects. As already stated above, compliance of provision of Section 119(2) of the Act has not been made and according to the Municipal Board it could not have been complied with because of the stay order of the State Government. So in such a situation it should be taken that in respect of the past years as well, the official year will be official year, which will occur after the withdrawal of the stay order, that is, commencing from 1st April, 1982, or in any case 1st April, 1981.
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