Monday 18 October 2021

Whether Municipal appeal is maintainable against issuance of property tax bill?

  It is now well-settled that the right to file an appeal is a creation of the statute. Section 406(1) provides of appeals against any rateable value or tax fixed or charged under this Act. Reference to rateable value in Sub-section (1) of Section 406, necessarily, pertains to tax on property. In view of the fact that under Section 127, other taxes such as taxes on vehicles, boats, animals, octroi, etc., are also levied, Sub-section (1) of Section 406 also refers to appeals against "tax fixed or charged" under the Act. Section 406(2)(b) specifically relates to appeal against a rateable value and Sub-clause (d) relates to appeal against any amendment made in the assessment book for property tax. It is not necessary to refer to Sub-clause (d) because that pertains to deposit of tax pending the entertainment of the appeal. Sub-clause (b) and (d), as we have already observed, postulate in relation to property tax appeals being filed only against rateable value. Sub-clause (c) of Section 406(2), no doubt, contemplates filing of an appeal against any tax. But, this sub-clause contemplates an appeal against such a tax in respect of which provisions exist for filing a complaint and the complaint being disposed of. Neither the Act, nor the Rules contemplate any complaint being filed against a bill a property tax and complaints, relating to property tax can only be filed against the rateable value. The Legislative intent, therefore, clearly is that it is only at the first stage, viz., the determination of the rateable value, that the appeals will be entertained and no appeal can be preferred against a bill levying tax as a consequence of the rateable value having been determined. The reason for this is obvious. The sending of a bill levying tax would amount to a mere mathematical calculation on the basis of the rateable value which is determined. If the determination of the rateable value can only be challenged by filing an appeal under Section 406(2)(b) or (d) and the same cannot be challenged once it has become final, then providing for appeal against the tax calculated on the basis of the rateable value would be meaningless.{Para 83}

84. It may happen that the rateable Value I may have been determined in gross violation of the provisions of the Act or the Rules and without following the procedure laid down in the Rules requiring giving the opportunity of filing a complaint by giving a public notice or a special notice. Where an owner has had an occasion or opportunity to file a complaint under the Rules against the proposed rateable value, but he fails to do so, no relief can be granted to him. If, on the other hand, in a rate case, such an opportunity has not at all been afforded, then merely for equitable reasons a Court should not and cannot entertain an appeal against the bill because such a provision does not exist. The appropriate remedy in such a case will be for the owner to take recourse to the constitutional remedies provided by Article 227 or Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

Gujarat High Court
Municipal Corporation Of The City ... vs Oriental Fire & General Insurance ... on 8 September, 1994
Equivalent citations: AIR 1994 Guj 167, (1994) 2 GLR 1498
Author: B Kirpal

Bench: B Kirpal, R Abichandani
Read full Judgment here: Click here
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