JOHARI MAL Vs. STATE OF RAJASTHAN
HIGH COURT OF RAJASTHAN
STATE OF RAJASTHAN
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(1.)I have before me a group of four writ petitions by which the several petitioners challenge the vires of Sections 104 and 107 of the Rajasthan Municipalities Act, 1959 (Act No. 38 of 1959, hereinafter called the Act), as also certain notifications issued by the State Government in exercise of its powers under Section 104 of the act imposing octroi in the concerning municipalities. As the writ petitions raise common questions, they can conveniently be disposed of together.
(2.)I may give the facts with, reference to writ petition No. 1503/64 Joharimal and others v. The State of Rajasthan and another. Writ Petition No. 1533 of 1964 jaishiv and others v. The State of Rajasthan and another is identical with joharimal's writ petition. Both these writ petitions relate to Abu Road Municipality. Writ Petition No. 1832 of 1964 Shivcharan Lal and others v. The State of rajasthan and another is for Bari Municipality in district Bharatpur and the fourth writ petition Prabhu Dayal and others v. The State of Rajasthan and another concerns the Municipal Board Kota.
(3.)JOHARIMAL states that in the Municipality of Abu Road, the Municipal Board had imposed octroi duty in the year 1951 after going through the procedure prescribed for imposition of octroi duty. According to the petitioner, the Municipal Board imposed this duty after ascertaining the public opinion. The octroi duty on cloth was 1/9 per cent, and as it was found to be high, the Municipal Board later on reduced it to 50 Paise per cent. The grievance of the petitioner is that the State government published a notification on 20th August, 1964, imposing octroi duty on various commodities including cloth, silver and gold. The notification has been placed on record and it is Ex. 6. It is dated 10th April, 1964, and has been issued by the State Government in exercise of its powers under Section 104 of the Act. Textiles and yarn occur at items Nos. 62 and 63 respectively of this notification and gold and silver bullion and articles thereof appear at item No. 81 in the notification. A perusal of these items shows that octroi duty is chargeable on them at the rate of 1 per cent. The petitioner's grievance is that before issuing the notification Ex. 6, neither the State Government nor the Board had ascertained the wishes of the public. The petitioner proceeds to say that Section 104 of the Act is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution and also by this provision, the Legislature has delegated its functions of imposing tax by law to the State Government which, according to the petitioner, amounts to excessive delegation so as to be void. It is pointed out that wide and arbitrary powers have been placed in the hands of the slate Government in the matter of imposition of taxes mentioned therein without affording any guidance to the State Government as to how it has to exercise its powers. It is contended that the State Government is left to pick and choose between the various commodities which it may take for imposition of octroi and likewise it may prescribe different rates of taxes for the same commodity for different municipalities. Thus according to the petitioner, the powers granted to the State Government by Section 104 are arbitrary and are in clear contravention of the provisions of Article 14 of the Constitution. Then as regards Section 107 of the Act it is pointed out that the power of granting exemption from taxes is likewise arbitrary.
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