TATA IRON AND STEEL COMPANY LIMITED Vs. STATE OF WEST BENGAL
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: CALCUTTA)
TATA IRON AND STEEL COMPANY LIMITED
STATE OF WEST BENGAL
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Rajendra Babu, J. -
(1.)In these appeals the validity of the West Bengal Multi-Storeyed Building Tax Act, 1979 [West Bengal Act XVII of 1979] (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') is challenged by the appellants.
(2.)The learned single Judge of the High Court, who examined the matter in the first instance, rejected all the contentions put forth on behalf of the appellants and declared that the Act was a valid piece of legislation, except in regard to Section 25(2) of the Act which was held to be ultra vires and, therefore, the said Section was declared to be invalid. Against this order appeals were preferred to the Division Bench and the Division Bench affirmed the order made by the learned single Judge and dismissed the appeals. Hence, these appeals by special leave.
(3.)The impugned Act imposes a tax on 'multi-storeyed building' which expression is defined under the Act. On an earlier occasion, the West Bengal Multi-storeyed Building Tax Act, 1975 [hereinafter referred to as 'the 1975 Act'] was enacted in 1975 which also provided for tax on every multi-storeyed building or a part thereof. The validity of the 1975 Act was challenged in several writ petitions filed before the Calcutta High Court wherein the High Court took the view that the 1975 Act applied to all buildings equally in the matter of tax regardless of the cost of construction, their capacity to yield income, their use and their potentiality and thus the Legislature treated unequals as equals in their essential features as equals in the burden of taxation and held the law to be ultra vires. Thereafter, the Act was enacted in 1979 effecting several changes in the 1975 Act. The definition of the expression 'owner' is now changed and Section 3, which is the charging Section, is substantially altered. These provisions were in challenge before the High Court as is done before us now.
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