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M/s. First Choice Realty LLP., Represented by its Partner, Chennai v/s The Inspector General of Registration, The Chief Revenue Control Officer, Chennai & Others

    C.M.A. No. 462 of 2021

    Decided On, 24 February 2021

    At, High Court of Judicature at Madras

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE S.M. SUBRAMANIAM

    For the Appellant: M/s. Dwarakesh Prabhakaran, Advocate. For the Respondents: M/s. T.M. Pappiah, Special Government Pleader.



Judgment Text

(Prayer :Civil Miscellaneous Appeal filed under Section 47-A (10) of the Indian Stamp Act, against the order dated 16.03.2020 (“Impugned order”) received on 21.05.2020 passed in Appeal No.54402/N1/2016 on the file of the 1st respondent i.e., the Inspector General of Registration, Santhome High Road, Chennai – 600 004.)

1. The Civil Miscellaneous Appeal on hand is preferred against the order dated 16.03.2020 passed by the 1st respondent with reference to the Guideline Value fixed in respect of the registration of documents by the appellant.

2. In view of the fact that the Original Authority fixed the Market Value as Guideline Value, which is a sum of Rs.19,000/- per sq.ft, the appellant preferred an appeal to the Inspector General of Registration.

3. The Inspector General of Registration adjudicated the issues with reference to the facts and well as the grounds placed before him. The 1st respondent also accepted the Guideline Value fixed by the original authority i.e., Rs.19,000/- per sq.ft.

4. Challenging the fixation, the learned counsel for the appellant contended that the procedures as contemplated under the Indian Stamp Act and the connected Rules are violated. There was no proper adjudication in respect of the Market Value to be fixed by following the procedures as contemplated. No notice or opportunity was provided as prescribed under the Rules. Thus, the appellant is prevented from availing the benefit of the Provisions of the Act and Rules.

5. The learned counsel for the appellant placing reliance on six documents, which were registered during the year 2017 and 2018. It is contended that based on the said documents, the benefit of lesser valuation must be extended to the appellant also. It is contended that the Registration was done in the year 2016 by the appellant and during the very next year, the Registration gets further consideration of lesser market value. While so, the appellant is entitled to avail such a benefit, in view of the fact that the Rule contemplates an enquiry is to be conducted by issuing notice to the appellant. Such a procedure has not been followed and therefore, the order of the Inspector General is perverse and is to be set aside.

6. The learned counsel for the appellant is of an opinion that the 1st respondent was unduly fixated of the 'guideline value' of the property which value by its very nature cannot be assumed to be the market value of the sale property. The 1st respondent has placed unwarranted and misplaced reliance on the 'guideline value' as the Explanation to Section 47-A of the Act specifically states that the market value “shall be estimated to be the price which.....such property would have fetched or would fetch, if sold in the open market on the date of execution of the instrument of conveyance...”

7. The learned counsel solicited the attention of this Court with reference to the Explanation to Rule 3 of the 1968 Rules, which prescribes as follows:

“Explanation – The “Guideline Register” supplied to the officers is intended merely to assist them to ascertain prima facie whether the market value has been truly set forth in the instruments. The entries made therein regarding the value of properties cannot be a substitute for market price. Such entries will not foreclose the enquiry of the Collector under Section 47-A of the Act or fetter the discretion of the authorities concerned to satisfy themselves on the reasonableness or otherwise of the value expressed in the documents.”

8. At the outset, it is contended that the appellant had registered their documents in the year 2016 and 6 documents were registered in the year 2017 and 2018, which are conferred with the benefit of reduced guideline value and such a reduction must be extended to the appellant also by following the procedures as contemplated under the Act and Rules.

9. The learned Special Government Pleader objected the contentions by stating that all those procedures now raised were followed by the committee, while considering the market value and fixing the guidelines value. The committee duly constituted under the provisions of the Rules, headed by the Chairmanship of District Collector, gone into those aspects and fixed the guideline value. Once the guideline value is fixed by the competent committee, that became final as far as the Registration is concerned and any subsequent concessions or the reduction made, would not have any retrospective application unless specified in the order. In other words, the reduced guidelines value cannot be applied retrospectively, so as to extend the benefit to the persons, who registered their documents prior to such reduced guideline value. Thus, the very claim set out by the appellant is untenable and liable to be rejected.

10. Rule 5 of the Tamil Nadu Stamp (Prevention of Under Valuation of Instrument) Rules, 1968 contemplates “Principles for Determination of Guideline Value”. Accordingly, the committee constituted under the leadership of District Collector, conducted an enquiry and fixed the guideline value. The guideline value ascertained is notified in the Government website by passing a Government Order. Thus, the persons, who all are registering their respective documents, are bound by such guidelines value notified by the Government.

11. The Inspector General of Registration in the impugned order dated 16.03.2020, categorically considered the facts and circumstances and arrived a conclusion that the market value fixed during the relevant point of time, when the appellant registered the document was Rs.19,000/- per sq.ft and accordingly, the appellant is liable to pay the Stamp duty.

12. The details considered with reference to the market value and fixation of guideline value is as under:

“TABLE LANGUAGE”

13. The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in the case of State of Rajastan Vs. M/s.Khandaka Jain Jewellers in Civil Appeal No.5273 of 2007 dated 16.11.2007, held as follows:

“15. In the case of Sub-Registrar, Kodad Town and Mandal (Supra), the learned single Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court felt persuaded on account of 30 years' long litigation and therefore, declined to send the papers back to the Collector for valuation at the market value. With great respect, the view taken by the learned single Judge is against the principles of interpretation of a taxing statute. Therefore, we are of the opinion that the view taken by the learned single Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court is not correct.

16. Accordingly, we are of the opinion that the view taken by the learned single Judge as well as by the Division Bench cannot be sustained and the same is set aside. The Collector shall determine was the valuation of the instrument on the basis of the market value of the property at the date when the document was tendered by the respondent for registration, and the respondent shall pay the stamp duty charges and surcharge, if any, as assessed by the Collector as per the provisions of the Act. The appeal of the State is allowed. No order as to costs.

14. This Court is of the considered opinion that as far as the documents registered by the appellant are concerned, there was no dispute that the registration was done during the year 2016. It is an admitted fact that the reduction of guidelines value was implemented during the year 2017 and 2018. Now,

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the appellant seeks retrospective implementation of the reduced guidelines, so as to get benefit of stamp duty. Such retrospective benefit cannot be extended in respect of the guidelines value unless a policy decision is taken in this regard by the Government. 15. In the present case, no such decision was taken admittedly by the Government. Thus, the guidelines value as on the date of registration must be the guidelines value for all purposes and accordingly, the appellant is liable to pay the stamp duty with reference to the documents registered by the appellant during the year 2016 and this Court do not find any infirmity as such and accordingly, the impugned order dated 16.03.2020 passed in Appeal No.54402/N1/2016 stands confirmed and the Civil Miscellaneous Appeal in C.M.A.No.462 of 2021 is dismissed. No costs.
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