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P.D. Paul Vs. the Tahsildar, Chittoor and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectOther Taxes
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Appeal No. 43 of 1966
Judge
Reported inAIR1967Ker239
ActsKerala Plantations (Additional Tax) Act, 1960 - Sections 3(1)(5); Kerala Land Tax, 1961 - Sections 2(1) and 5
AppellantP.D. Paul
RespondentThe Tahsildar, Chittoor and anr.
Appellant Advocate Joseph Vithayathil and; Varghese Kalliath, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateGovt. Pleader
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredBabu v. State of Kerala
Excerpt:
- .....base of the plantation tax is possession of the land while that of the basic tax is ownership of land. the plantation fax is payable by the holder of the land as defined in the act being the person in possession and the basic tax is payable by the landholder as defined in the other act who need not necessarily be a person in possession as held in babu v. state of kerala, 1965 ker lt 944=(air 1966 ker 165), the plantation tax is not based on the extent of the land but on 'a specified type of user for specified types of crop' 4. great stress was laid by learned counsel on the word 'additional' not only inthe short title of the act but also in the charging section, and also on the provision in section 3(5) of the act. section 3(5) reads: 'the tax charged under this section shall be in.....
Judgment:

Velu Pillai, J.

1. The question for decision in this writ appeal is whether the Appellant who holds a plantation on lease from Government is liable to pay plantation tax in respect of it under the Kerala Plantation (Additional Tax) Act, I960, Act 17 of 1960, hereinafter referred to as the Act. The principal contention of the appellant was that the plantation in question being 'land belonging to Government' and therefore exempt from basic tax under the Kerala Land Tax Act. 1961. Act 13 of 1961, and plantation tax being additional to basic tax, the appellant is not liable.

2. Plantation is defined in Section 2(6) of the Act as follows.----

' 'plantation' means land used for growing one or more of the following:--

(i) cocoanut trees;

(ii) arecanut trees;

(iii) rubber plants;

(iv) coffee plants:

(v) tea plants:

(vi) cardamom plants;

(vii) pepper vines.'

Section 3(1) which is the charging Section in the Act reads:--

'Subject to the other provisions contained in this Act for every financial year commencing on and from the first day of April, 1960, there shall he charged in respect of the lands comprised in plantations held by a person on the corresponding valuation date an additional lax (hereinafter referred to as 'plantation tax') at the rates specified in Schedule I; and the person holding such plantations shall be liable to pay the plantation tax.'

The words 'to hold' are defined in Section 2(8) of the Act as meaning 'to be in possession of the plantation as owner or as tenant or as mortgagee in possession' The charging Section in Act 13 of 1961 is Section 5 and the material parts of if are as follows:--

'(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act there shall he charged and levied a tax called 'basic tax' on all lands of whatever description and field under whatever tenure.-

**** (2) The basic tax charged on any land shall be paid by the landholder of that land.'

3. Though both plantation fax and basic tax are 'taxes on lands' within the domain of legislative entry 49 in List II of the Constitution, there is no doubt in our minds, that the two are different imposts The base of the plantation tax is possession of the land while that of the basic tax is ownership of land. The plantation fax is payable by the holder of the land as defined in the Act being the person in possession and the basic tax is payable by the landholder as defined in the other Act who need not necessarily be a person in possession As held in Babu v. State of Kerala, 1965 Ker LT 944=(AIR 1966 Ker 165), the plantation tax is not based on the extent of the land but on 'a specified type of user for specified types of crop'

4. Great stress was laid by learned Counsel on the word 'additional' not only inthe short title of the Act but also in the charging section, and also on the provision in Section 3(5) of the Act. Section 3(5) reads:

'The tax charged under this section shall be in addition to the basic tax payable in respect of those lands under the Land Tax Act, 1955 .'

By Section 2(1) of Act 13 of 1961 'lands belonging to the Government' are exempt from the incidence of basic tax and the plantation in respect of which the appellant has been assessed under the Act is land belonging to Government and therefore exempt from basic tax. From the use of the word 'additional' and from Section 3(5) of the Act, it by no means follows that there is under the Act no levy of plantation tax wherever there is no levy of basic lax For this inference to be made we must have more compelling data. The plantation tax is additional wherever there is basic tax, they are cumulative where both subsist. Nothing would have been easier for the legislature than to provide expressly for the result contended for. There is no exemption in the application of the Act as in Section 3 of Act 13 of 1961 The scheme of the Act is that it applies to all plantations as defined in the Act and the charge is imposed by Section 3(1) of the Act on every plantation in this view the intendment of Section 3(5) of the Act is only to clarify beyond doubt that the levy of the basic tax in respect of a plantation is no answer to a claim for plantation tax in respect of it Section 3(5) has to be so read, as if the words 'if any' were inserted after the words 'basic tax payable' We therefore agree with the learned single Judge in holding that the appellant's plantation is subject to levy under the Act, though it is land exempt from the payment of basic tax

5. In coming to this conclusion, we haveassumed, as contended by learned Counsel forthe appellant, that Government cannot bebound by a fiscal enactment to pay the taxunto themselves and that if the plantation inquestion had not been leased to the appellantbut had remained in the possession of Government plantation tax would not have to hepaid This principle, however has no repercussion, on the question whether the appellant, as the tenant in possession of the plantation is not liable to pay plantation tax. Wehold that he is liable in this view, the writappeal has to fall and has to be dismissed: wedo so without any order as to costs


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