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Vyara Agricultural Produce Market Committee, Vyara Vs. Vyara Nagar Panchayat, Vyara and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectOther Taxes
CourtGujarat High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Civil Appln. No. 82 of 1979
Judge
Reported inAIR1985Guj204; (1985)1GLR355
ActsGujarat Gram and Nagar Panchayats Taxes and Fees Rules, 1964 - Rules 2 and 7(2); Bombay General Clauses Act, 1904 - Sections 3(26); Gujarat Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1964 - Sections 10(2); Constitution of India - Articles 226 and 227
AppellantVyara Agricultural Produce Market Committee, Vyara
RespondentVyara Nagar Panchayat, Vyara and anr.
Appellant Advocate S.K. Zaveri, Adv.
Respondent Advocate D.U. Shah, Adv. and; M.B. Gandhi, Asstt. Government Pleader
Excerpt:
- - it is the contention of the petitioner that vyara nagar panchayat failed to give facility of public lights within the market yard. 291 of the constitution was entered into by such ruler and in respect of which exemption from a tax on houses and lands was enjoyed by such ruler immediately before the aforesaid date; 7(2) clearly indicates that the legislature intended to give exemption only to those bodies specified in that rule......1961, holding that the petitioner is not entitled to have exemption from tax levied by the vyara nagar panchayat, vyara -respondent 1.2. the petitioner-market committee was paying tax to the nagar panchayat in respect of its buildings and lands as the market yard was within the limits of vyara nagar panchayat. it is the contention of the petitioner that vyara nagar panchayat failed to give facility of public lights within the market yard. thereafter when the nagar panchayat issued bills for taxes for buildings and lands of the petitioner market committee, the petitioner refused to pay the taxes and entered into correspondence with the authorities.3. the chairman of the nagar panchayat thereafter issues a warrant on 20-4-1977 for attachment of the property of the market committee for.....
Judgment:
ORDER

1. The petitioner Vyara Agricultural Produce Market Committee has filed this Special Civil Application against the judgment and order D/- 8-12-1978 passed by the Additional Commissioner, Gujarat State, Gandhinagar, in Revision Application N o. 182/77 under S. 305 Gujarat Panchayats Act, 1961, holding that the petitioner is not entitled to have exemption from tax levied by the Vyara Nagar Panchayat, Vyara -respondent 1.

2. The petitioner-Market Committee was paying tax to the Nagar Panchayat in respect of its buildings and lands as the market yard was within the limits of Vyara Nagar Panchayat. It is the contention of the petitioner that Vyara Nagar Panchayat failed to give facility of public lights within the market yard. Thereafter when the Nagar Panchayat issued bills for taxes for buildings and lands of the petitioner Market Committee, the petitioner refused to pay the taxes and entered into correspondence with the authorities.

3. The Chairman of the Nagar Panchayat thereafter issues a warrant on 20-4-1977 for attachment of the property of the Market Committee for recovery of tax amounting to Rs. 705. 35p. and Rs. 55/- as cost of notice of demand. Some property of the petitioner was attached. The petitioner thereupon filed an appeal before the District Panchayat which was numbered as Appeal No. 13/77. The Appellate Committee of the District Panchayat, Surat, by its order D/- 13th July, 1977, allowed the said appeal and held that under R. 7, Gujarat Gram and Nagar Panchayats Taxes and Fees Rules, 1964, the buildings of the petitioner Market Committee were exempt from taxation and, therefore, the Nagar Panchayat was directed to refund the tax recovered from the petitioner Market Committee. Against the said order, respondent 1 Vyara Nagar Panchayat preferred a revision application before the Development Commissioner, Gujarat State. After considering R. 7(2) and S. 10(2), Gujarat Agricultural Produce Markets Act, the Additional Development Commissioner held that the Agricultural Produce Market Committee was not entitled to have exemption as it is not a 'local authority' as defined under R. 2(c) Gujarat Gram and Nagar Panchayats Taxes and Fees Rules, 1964.

4. Therefore, the question which requires decision in this case is whether the petitioner - Vyara Agricultural Produce Market Commit-tee is entitled to claim exemption under R. 7(2), Gujarat Gram and Nagar Panchayats Taxes and Fees Rules, 1964. The said rule is set out below:

'7(2) The following buildings and lands shall be exempted from the levy of tax under sub-r. (1), namely : -

(a) buildings and lands belonging to a local authority and used or intended to be used solely for a public purpose and not used or intended to be used for purposes of profit;

(b) (1) buildings and lands belonging to-

(i) the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation, and

(ii) the Gujarat State Electricity Board;

(2) buildings and lands belonging to any other statutory corporation used or intended to be used solely for a public purpose and not used or intended to be used for purposes of profit;

(c) buildings and lands belonging to Government whether or not used or intended to be used for purposes of profit;

(d) buildings and lands used solely for religious, educational or charitable purpose;

(e) buildings and lands the capital value of which is less than rupees 100/- or annual letting value of which is not more than Rs. 6/-;

(f) buildings and lands belonging to a Ruler of Indian State as defined in clause (22) of Art. 366 of the Constitution not used or intended to be used for purposes of profit, situated within the limits of the gram or nagar which formed part of such Indian State immediately before the date on which any covenant or agreement referred to in clause (1) of Art. 291 of the Constitution was entered into by such Ruler and in respect of which exemption from a tax on houses and lands was enjoyed by such Ruler immediately before the aforesaid date;

(g) buildings and lands belonging to a member of the personnel of the United States Technical Co-operation Mission not used or intended to be used for purposes of profit;

(h) buildings and lands selected for development under village housing projects scheme;

(i) house sites set apart for landless agricultural workers;'

Sub-rule (2) gives an exhaustive list giving exemption to buildings and lands owned by various bodies. Sub-rule (2)(a) states that buildings and lands belonging to a local authority and used or intended to be used solely for a public purpose and not used or intended to be used for purposes of profit shall be exempted from the levy of tax under sub-r. (1). Therefore, for getting exemption for building and lands it must be (1) of local authority, (2) it must be used or intended to be used solely for a public purpose and (3) not used or intended to be used for purposes of profit. Now, in this case it is the contention of the Nagar Panchayat that the petitioner is not a local authority and secondly the buildings and lands are not used for the public purpose but they are used for purposes of profit.

5. Rule 2(c) defines the word 'local authority' as under: -

'2(c) 'Local authority' means-

(1) a Corporation constituted under the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporation Act, 1949.

(2) a Municipality constituted under-

(i) the Bombay Municipal Boroughs Act, 1925 (Bombay XVIII of 1925),

(ii) the Bombay Municipal Boroughs Act, 1925 (Bombay XVIII of 1925) as adopted and applied to the Saurashtra area and as extended to the Kutch area of the State of Gujarat.

(iii) the Bombay District Municipal Act, 1901 (Bombay III of 1901);

(iv) the Bombay Municipal Act, 1901 (Bombay 11 of 190 1) as adapted and applied to the Saurashtra area of the State of Gujarat, or

(v) any other corresponding law.

(3) a Cantonment Board constituted under the Cantonments Act, 1924 (11 of 1924);

(4) A Taluka Panchayat or a district panchayat constituted under the Gujarat Panchayats Act, 1961 (Gujarat VI of 1962);'

From this definition it is clear that the agricultural produce market committee is not included within the definition of 'local authority'. The definition prescribed in this rule nowhere states that the word 'local authority' would mean 'local authority' as defined in S. 3(26) Bombay General Clauses Act, 1904. The definition of 'local authority 'is restricted by the rules only to the authorities which are specified in this rule. Therefore, it cannot be said that an extended meaning should be given to the word 'local authority' as defined under S. 3(26), Bombay General Clauses' Act.

6. Section 10(2), Gujarat Agricultural Produce Markets Act, in terms states that a market committee shall be deemed to be a local authority within the meaning of clause (26) of S. 3, Bombay General Clauses Act, 1904. But under the rules framed under the Panchayats Act for levying taxes and fees R. 2(c) gives precise meaning to the word 'local authority'. As per the said definition, only Municipal bodies constituted under different Acts, Cantonment Board constituted under the Cantonments Act and taluka Panchayats or district panchayats constituted under the Gujarat Panchayats; Act would be included. Therefore, even if the market committee constituted under the Gujarat Agricultural Produce Markets Act is deemed to be a local authority within the meaning of clause (26) of S. 3 of the Bombay General Clauses Act, 1904, yet it would not be a local authority for the purposes of taxes and fees levied under the Gujarat Gram and Nagar Pancbayats Taxes and Fees Rules. Further, an exhaustive list of the corporate bodies owning buildings and lands within the gram or Nagar Panchayats under R. 7(2) clearly indicates that the Legislature intended to give exemption only to those bodies specified in that rule. This rule nowhere states that for the purposes of taxes and fees the local authority would mean the 'local authority' as defined under S. 3 clause (26), Bombay General Clauses Act. Only a restricted meaning is given to the word 'local authority' under R. 2(c) of the Rules. Therefore, no extended meaning can be given to the word 'local authority' meaning thereby that it would include all -other bodies which would be a local authority within the meaning of clause (26), S. 3 Bombay General Clauses Act. For the purpose of these Rules, 'local authority' would mean only those authorities which are included under the said rule. It is only Municipal bodies, Cantonment Boards or taluka panchayat or district panchayat.

7. The learned advocate for the petitioner further contended that under S. 10, Gujarat Agricultural Produce Markets Act, the petitioner is a corporation sole having a perpetual succession and a common seal and, therefore, under R. 7(2) the petitioner would be entitled to claim exemption as any other statutory Corporation which uses or intends to use solely for a public purpose and not uses or intends to use for the purposes of profit the buildings and lands belonging to it. There cannot be any doubt that the petitioner is a statutory Corporation. S. 10(l) in terms provides that every market committee shall be a body corporate by such name as the Director may specify by notification in the Official Gazette and it shall have perpetual succession and a common seal. It can sue and be sued in its corporate name. Still, however, the question would be whether the buildings and lands belonging to the petitioner are used or intended to be used solely for a public purpose and not used or intended to be used for purposes of profit and this being a question of fact it cannot be considered in this petition which is filed under Art. 227 against the judgment and order passed by the Additional Development Commissioner. The Additional Development Commissioner had not decided whether the buildings and lands belonging to the petitioner are used or intended to be used solely for a public purpose and are not used or intended to be used for purposes of profit. As this question is left open and as it was not raised before the District Development Officer that the petitioner is a Corporation which is entitled to claim exemption under R. 7(2)(b)(2) it would be in the interest of justice to direct the District Development Officer to decide the matter afresh after giving an opportunity to the petitioner and to the Panchayat to lead necessary evidence on the question whether the buildings and lands belonging to the are not used or intended to be used for purposes of profit.

8. In the result, the petition is partly allowed. The judgment and order at Annexure 'B' passed by the Additional Development Commissioner and also the order at Annexure 'A' passed by the Appeal Committee, District Panchayat, Surat are quashed and set aside and the matter is remanded back to Appeal Committee, District Panchayat, Surat, for its fresh decision in accordance with law in the light of the observations made above. As the matter is every old one. The Appeal Committee. District Panchayat, Surat, is directed to decide the matter as far as possible within three months from the receipt of the writ of this Court. Rule made absolute to the aforesaid extent. There will be no order as to costs.

9. Petition partly allowed.


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