(Prayer: This Civil Miscellaneous Appeal is filed under Section 47-A(10) of the Indian Stamp Act 2/ 1899 r/w. 104 of C.P.C., against the order of the learned Chief Controlling Revenue Authority and Inspector General of Registration dated 14.06.2012 received by the appellant on 16.12.2013 made in No.5996/N1/2005 modifying the order of the learned District Revenue Officer (Stamps), Chennai dated 22.09.2003 passed in Na.Ka.Ce.Pa.No.53/2003 A5.)
1. The Civil Miscellaneous Appeal on hand is preferred against the order dated 14.06.2012 passed by the Competent Authority/ Inspector General of Registration under Section 47-A(5) of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899.
2. The impugned order has been passed pursuant to the orders passed by this Court on 06.08.2010 in CMA.Nos.3964 to 3967 of 2004, remanding the matter back to the respondents for reconsideration and the earlier order passed by the Competent Authority was set aside. The appellant states that four documents were registered as detailed hereunder:-
The registrations were executed on 07.02.2003 and 19.02.3003 respectively. The authorities found that the documents were undervalued and initiated proceedings under Section 47-A of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899. The revised assessment was made with reference to the value of the subject property and the impugned order was passed on 20.09.2004 and the appellant had filed CMA.Nos.3964 to 3967 of 2004 and this Court passed an order on 06.08.2010, remanding the matter back to the authorities concerned for reconsideration and the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant reiterated that even after remand of the matter, the Competent Authority has not considered the value in accordance with the rules and by considering the factual details. It is contended by the learned counsel that neither the details of the survey numbers of the adjacent lands are furnished nor an opportunity was provided to the appellant to defend their case. Further, the Authorities have considered and fixed the stamp duty per square feet which is not correct as far as the sale deed executed by the appellant is concerned. The appellant had purchased larger extent of land measuring 3.97 acres. Therefore, the square feet assessment is improper and not in consonance with Rule 5 of the Tamil Nadu Stamp (Prevention of Undervaluation of Instruments) Rules, 1968. The learned counsel for the appellant solicited the attention of this Court with reference to the reasonings recorded by the Competent Authority in the impugned order that certain developments occurred subsequent to the sale deed cannot be taken into consideration and thus, based on the erroneous consideration, the revised assessment is made and therefore, the impugned order is liable to be scrapped. The subject property situates in Coastal Regulation Zone and the certificate issued by the Tahsildar in this regard is also produced for consideration. There is no provision to seek for construction of a house. Even now, the property remains as vacant land. Therefore, the relevant factors are not considered by the respondents while fixing the stamp duty. The learned counsel appearing for the appellant by relying on the judgments made a submission that the Competent Authorities are bound to consider all the relevant factors and the valuation is to be done by assigning reasons. In other words, it is contended that the impugned order is unreasonable and not supported with any acceptable documents and therefore, the appeal is to be allowed.
3. The learned Special Government Pleader appearing on behalf of the respondents objected the said contentions of the appellant by stating that the authorities have taken into consideration all the factors and relevant provisions with reference to the Tamil Nadu Stamp (Prevention of Undervaluation of Instruments) Rules, 1968. The registration executed with reference to the adjacent areas and the lands in the nearby vicinity were taken into consideration and accordingly, the valuation was made. It is not correct to state that with reference to other document, the valuation was done. By taking into consideration the development during the relevant point of time i.e., in the year 2003 and further, taking into consideration of the registration done in respect of the adjacent lands as well as the property in the nearby vicinity and accordingly, the valuation was done and therefore, there is no infirmity as such. The appellant has been provided with an opportunity to defend his case. The agent appointed by the appellant represented the case of the appellant. Therefore, the opportunity is provided as contemplated under the statute and as directed by this Court in the order dated 06.08.2010 and accordingly, the assessment was made and the stamp duty was fixed.
4. Considering the arguments, this Court is bound to consider the provisions of the Rule 5(a) of the Tamil Nadu Stamp (Prevention of Undervaluation of Instruments) Rules, 1968 which contemplates the Principles for determination of market value and the same reads as follows:
“5. Principles for determination of market value-
The Collector shall, as far as possible, have also regard to the following points in arriving, at the provisional market value,
(a) In the case of lands -
(i) classification of the land as dry, manavari, wet and the like ;
(ii) classification under various tarams in the settlement register and accounts ;
(iii) the rate of revenue assessment for each classification ;
(iv) other factors which influence the valuation of the land in question;
(v) points, if any, mentioned by the parties to the instrument or any other person which require special consideration ;
(vi) value of adjacent land or lands in the vicinity ;
(vii) average yield from the land, nearness to road and market, distance from village site, level of land, transport facilities, facilities available for irrigation such as tanks, wells and pumpsets;
(viii) the nature of crops raised on the land; and
[(ix) the use of land, domestic, commercial, industrial or agricultural purposes and also the appreciation in value when an agricultural land is being converted to a residential, commercial or an industrial land.]”
5. Rule 5(a)(i) denotes classification of the land as dry, manavari, wet and the like; clause (vi) stipulates the value of adjacent lands or lands in the vicinity and clause (iv) enumerates other factors which influence the valuation of the land in question. It states that the Authorities Competent has to consider the factors surrounding the land, more specifically, the factors influence the valuation of the land in question and also the values of land in the nearby vicinity. The Rule contemplates not only the adjacent lands but also the land in the near vicinity and further empowers the Authorities to consider the other factors which influence the land in question. Thus, wide powers are provided to the Competent Authority under the Rules to make assessment in order to protect revenue of the State. Thus, the Authorities Competent are bound to consider all these factors before assessment and fixing the valuation.
6. The question arises whether the spirit of the Rules stated above has been considered by the Competent Authorities or not? Undoubtedly, the earlier order passed by the Authority was set aside and the matter was remanded back for reconsideration. Accordingly, the respondent/Authority conducted an enquiry and personal hearing was provided on 25.03.2011, 13.06.2011, 18.07.2011, 18.08.2011, 13.09.2011 & 03.10.2011. The inspection report of the District Registrar dated 30.04.2012 was also considered by the Competent Authority. The contentions raised on behalf of the appellant were taken note of and the Competent Authority relied on the inspection report of the District Registrar (Administration). Though the present position of the land surrounded by the adjacent lands reveals that such properties were developed and divided and lay outs were formulated and many residential buildings were constructed. The findings in this regard are available in para 4 of the impugned order which reads as follows:
7. In this context, the respondent/Competent Authority gone into the documents registered with reference to the adjacent properties and the lands in the nearby vicinity. Five documents were referred and those five documents were also related to the same locality. In view of the fact that the Rule permits the Authorities to consider the value of the lands in the nearby vicinity, this Court is of the opinion that the contentions of the appellant in this regard deserves no merits. The appellant states that the distance between the lands taken into consideration as well as the subject properties are not made available nor the survey numbers of the documents are not provided. The learned Special Government Pleader replied by stating that all those documents are public documents and also open to the appellant to view them using survey numbers and raise their objections, if any discrepancy arises.
8. Considering those documents, the respondent/Competent Authority arrived at the finding that the appellant purchased the vast extent of land measuring 3.97 acres and the value was assessed with reference to the year 2003, during which the subject properties were registered. Accordingly, the respondent/Authority fixed the minimum value in respect of other documents referred which is Rs.233/- per square feet and accordingly, arrived at the conclusion that the stamp duty payable for one acre is Rs.81,19,610/-. The said fixation is done by taking note of all other factors and by assessing the value of the subject land, by taking note of the registration done in respect of the adjacent lands and the lands in the nearby vicinity. This being the exercise done by the respondents. This Court is of the considered opinion that the appellant has not made out any acceptable ground for interfering with the findings of the respondent/Competent Authority.
9. The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in the case of Tamil Nadu Chief Controlling Revenue Authority cum Inspector General of Registration & others Vs. A. G. Syed Mohideen in SLP (Civil) No.15623 of 2019 made an observation that the High Court was in error in observing that
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the fixation of the value in the instant case was based on future development. The valuation was based on parameters in Rule 5 and as such, the conclusion drawn by the High Court in respect of the issue in question was erroneous. 10. The said observation of the Hon'ble Apex Court unambiguously reflects that the Authorities Competent are bound to consider the factors contemplated under Rule 5 of the Tamil Nadu Stamp (Prevention of Undervaluation of Instruments) Rules, 1968. In the present case, the respondent/Inspector General of Registration had considered the classification of lands, value of the adjacent lands or the lands in the nearby vicinity and other factors which influence the lands in question and also taking note of the fact that the property has already been developed even in the year 2003, this Court does not find any perversity or infirmity and therefore, no interference is called for, with reference to the impugned order. Accordingly, the impugned order dated 14.06.2012 stands confirmed and the Civil Miscellaneous Appeal is dismissed. Consequently, connected Miscellaneous Petition is closed. There shall be no orders as to costs.