Sunday, 28 August 2016

Whether property tax can be recovered even if there is objection to said assessment list?

This brings us to the last submission of the appellants that there cannot be any recovery of the tax on the basis of the assessment list so published unless the appellants objections were disposed of under section 151. We were at first inclined to hold in the appellants favour. But a closer scrutiny of the provisions of the Act has persuaded us to reject the submission. Once we have held that the assessment list had been properly prepared in the sense that there had been no legal flaw in its preparation and publication, the valuation as mentioned in the assessment list must be given effect to till the time it is revised or amended under sections 151 or 152. In Shibji Khestshi Tacker v. The Commissioners of Dhanbad (supra) it was said that valuation and assessment lists remain in force until they are altered or amended in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Act. Alteration or amendment can take place pursuant to an order under sections 151 or 152. This is also clear from section 153 which says that "every valuation made by the Chief Executive Officer -- -- shall, subject to the provisions of sections 151 and 152, be final". The phrase 'subject to' means that until and unless the assessment list is revised or amended under section 151 or 152, the assessment list would continue to be final. This reading is in keeping with sub section (2) of section 138 which provides that every valuation and assessment list shall be valid from the date on which the list takes effect in the Corporation and until the first day of the quarter next following the competition of a new list, thus indicating that an assessment list is valid from the date of its completion. Such an assessment list is subject to "any alteration or amendment made" and to the result of any application under Section 150. What needs to be emphasised is that the assessment list as prepared is valid and is unaffected by the mere filing of an application under Section
150. If the result of the application is in favour of the owner, the assessment list must be amended to give effect to such result. Unless the application of the appellants under Section 150ends in a result which is different from the assessment list, the assessment list would continue to be operative, and the respondent can recover taxes on the basis of the assessment and valuation list despite the filing of objections under Section
150. Besides the reference to both sections 151 and 152 in Section 153 makes it clear that the same incidence relating to the recovery of taxes pending either the determination of the objections under section 151 or the adjudication of the appeal under section 152, would prevail. If this construction is not put on section 153, it would mean that by merely filing an objection, the objector would be able to effectively stop the realisation of tax on the basis of the assessment list until such time as his objection is heard and decided. This could not have been legislatively intended. As has been seen in this case that although the appellants had filed their objections in 1995, they are still pending. We, therefore, conclude that it is open to the Corporation to recover the tax as determined on the basis of the impugned assessment lists pending disposal of the appellants' applications under Section 151, until and unless, by virtue of an order under Section 151 or 152 passed thereon, the assessment list is amended or altered.
Supreme Court of India
Rai Vimal Krishna & Ors vs State Of Bihar & Ors on 7 July, 2003
Bench: Ruma Pal, B.N.Srikrishna.
           CASE NO.:
Appeal (civil)  8263 of 2001
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