SHIRLY Vs. STATE OF KERALA
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
STATE OF KERALA
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K. A. Abdul Gafoor, J. -
(1.) The matter relates to assessment of building tax, construction which has been admittedly completed in the year 1981. There is no dispute regarding the liability to pay tax. The only dispute is the mode of assessment whether it has to be as per the rate prevailing as on the date of completion of the building or on the date of completion of the assessment proceedings.
(2.) S.5 of the Kerala Building Tax Act, for short 'the Act', is the charging provision. Until 10.2.1992, sub-s.(1) of S.5 was as follows:
"Subject to other provisions contained in this Act, there shall be charged a tax (hereinafter referred to as "Building Tax") at the rate specified in the schedule in respect of every building, the construction of which is completed on or after 1st day of April, 1973, and the capital value of which exceeds Rs.20,000."
This was the law prevailing when the petitioner completed the construction of the building. Admittedly by the respondents in the counter affidavit, proceedings for assessment of her buildings had commenced in terms of the said provision, and a hearing was conducted on 21.12.1989. The husband of the petitioner at the time of hearing, raised certain objection with respect to the basis for assessment collected by the Verification Officer including as to the land value. By reason of that, the assessment was delayed. By that time, Act 3 of 1992 was enforced with effect from 10.2.1992 amending S.5 of the Act. Sub-s.(1) of S.5 of the Act such amended is as follows:
"Subject to the other provisions contained in this Act, there shall be charged a tax, (hereinafter referred to as the "building tax"), based on the plinth area, at the rate specified in the Schedule of every building, the construction of which is completed on or after the appointed day".
(3.) On the basis of the schedule, there was disparity in the rates of tax to be assessed. Sub-s.(2) of S.5 was also amended by Act 3 of 1982. It was as follows:
"In the case of any building, the construction of which is completed prior to the appointed day, the assessee shall be liable to pay Building Tax, as if the Kerala Building Tax (Amendment) Act, 1992, has not come into force, provided, further that if the assessment is not initiated or completed, in such cases, before the appointed day, the assessee may by an application in writing addressed to the assessing authority, ought to be governed by the provisions in sub-s.(1) within such period, as the Government may specify in this behalf and thereupon the assessee shall be liable to pay the Building Tax, if the construction of the building is completed on or after the appointed day.";
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