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Madras HC admits writ plea in property tax dispute

Our Legal Correspondent

Chennai , Sept. 24

THE Madras High Court has held that revision of property tax without furnishing the reasons like annual valuation of the property, area and the method of assessment of the tax could not be sustained.

Quashing the order of a panchayat in Coimbatore District revising the property tax payable by a hospital, Mr Justice P. Sathasivam said that though it was stated by the respondent (Executive Officer, Saravanampatty Panchayat) that the appeal filed by the petitioner hospital (Vimal Jyothi Hospital, Saravanampatty) was placed before the taxation appeal committee, the order revising the tax payable did not disclose the fact as to whether the petitioner was given an opportunity and whether the committee considered the objections raised in the form of grounds of appeal.

Aggrieved by the order dated December 4, 2002 of the second respondent (panchayat) asking the hospital to pay property tax as demanded within seven days, the hospital filed the writ petition to quash the order, and for a consequential direction to the respondent to grant exemption to the petitioner hospital from payment of property tax in terms of Section 83(1)(c) and (e) of the Tamil Nadu District Municipalities Act, 1920

On behalf of the hospital, it was contended that the order of the panchayat dated July 2, 2002 and the impugned order dated December 4, 2002 did not contain details regarding the assessment of the property tax, and in any event, the panchayat had not considered the objection raised by the hospital in its petition dated September 12, 2002. It was submitted on behalf of the panchayat, that the claim of the hospital was considered and rejected, and hence the property tax as demanded was to be paid.

The Judge said it was clear that the notices did not disclose the fact as to whether the hospital was given an opportunity and whether the taxation appeal committee considered the objections raised by the hospital. In the light of these infirmities, the impugned order could not be sustained. Accordingly, while quashing the order of the panchayat dated December 4, 2002, liberty was given to the panchayat to issue fresh special notice demanding property tax giving details/particulars of the building as well as the annual value, etc.

After furnishing these details and after determining the tax payable, it would be open to the panchayat to recover it from the hospital. The writ petition was allowed.

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