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Tamil Baptist School Committee Namakkal represented by its Treasurer & Correspondent of Strict Baptist Mission High School, Namakkal by David Livingston v/s The State of Tamil Nadu rep. by its Secretary Revenue Department, Chennai & Others

    W.P.Nos. 37905 of 2005 & 2017 of 2006

    Decided On, 25 July 2022

    At, High Court of Judicature at Madras

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE N. ANAND VENKATESH

    For the Petitioner: R.D. Ashok Kumar, S.N. Ravichandran, Santhanam, Advocates. For the Respondents: R1to R3, C. Sathish, Government Advocate.



Judgment Text

(Prayer in W.P. No.37905 of 2005 : Writ Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying to issue a Writ of Mandamus or any other appropriate writ or order to for bear the IIIrd respondent from enforcing the Distraint order dated 8.11.2005 issued under section 8 of the Revenue Recovery Act against any of the premises or movable or immovable properties of the Tamil Baptist School committee Namakkal and Strict Baptist Mission High School Namakkal.

Prayer in W.P. No.2017 of 2006 : Writ Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying to issue a Writ of Mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or direction in the nature of writ forbearing the respondent from proceeding against the petitioner-s property situated in survey No.478/1A Block No.14 & 19 in Namakkal Village Namakkal Dist. to the extent of 35,316 sq.ft. in pursuant to the Demand Notice dated 3.10.2005 without following the procedure.)

Common Order:

The issue involved in both the Writ Petitions are common and hence they are taken up together, heard and disposed of through this common order.

2. The petitioner in W.P. No.37905 of 2005 is the school committee who have sought for the issue of Writ of Mandamus to forebear the 3rd respondent from enforcing the distraint order dated 08.11.2005 issued under the Revenue Recovery Act against the properties belonging to the school committee.

3. W.P. No.2017 of 2006 has been filed by the subsequent purchaser of the subject property seeking for the very same relief.

4. When these Writ Petitions came up for hearing on 08.06.2022, this Court passed the following order:

“The Subject matter of challenge in both these writ petitions pertains to the proceedings initiated by the respondent for recovery of the Urban Land Tax that is due and payable by the petitioner in WP No.37905 of 2005 and for a direction forbearing the respondent from proceeding against the property in which the school is run by the petitioner in WP No.2017 of 2006.

2. A specific stand has been taken in the affidavit filed in support of the writ petition in WP No.2017 of 2006 to the effect that the school in question is an aided minority school.

3. Section 29 of the Tamil Nadu Urban Land Tax Act, 1966, (hereinafter called as the “Act”) deals with exemptions in cases where the Act will not apply. One such exemption is extended to the Urban Land used by schools and it is dealt with under Section 6(h) of the Act. The respondent has not specifically denied in the counter affidavit regarding the fact that the school is an aided school. Therefore, according to the learned counsel for the petitioner, the levy of urban land tax itself is not sustainable and the consequent distraint order is also liable to be interfered with by this Court.

4. The learned Government Advocate appearing on behalf of the respondent shall take instructions with regard to the status of the school and if the school is an aided school and the aid is granted by the Government, there is no question of imposing Urban Land Tax on such a school

5. Post these writ petitions for final hearing on 23.06.2022.“

5. Heard Mr. R.D.Ashok Kumar, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner in W.P. No.37905 of 2005 and Mr. R. Santhanam, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner in W.P. No.2017 of 2006 and Mr.C. Sathish, learned Government Advocate appearing on behalf of the respondents in both the Writ Petitions.

6. The petitioner in W.P. No.37905 of 2005 has taken a very specific stand at Paragraph 8(b) of the affidavit as follows:

8. I submit that the action of the IIIrd respondent in demanding the urban land tax from the petitioner committee and school is wholly illegal and totally without jurisdiction for the following reasons:

....

b. The Salem District Tamil Strict Baptist Society has sold the site and the school building in favour of Devairakam on 21.07.1993, and from the date of sale the Salem District Tamil Strict Baptist Society has nothing to do with the urban land or the school. The petitioner committee and the school is not in occupation of the site and the school building as a tenant or as an occupier under the Salem District Tamil District Baptist Society and therefore the urban land tax assessed in respect of the said society cannot be recovered from the petitioner.

7. The additional counter affidavit filed by the respondent in W.P.No.2017/16 states as follows:

5. It is pertinent to state that the Strict Baptist Mission High School, rep by its correspondent filed a W.P. No.37905 of 2005 in paragraph 8(b) of the affidavit stated as follows:~ The petitioner committee and the school is not in occupation of the site and building as a tenant or as an occupier under Salem District Tamil District Baptist society. It is submitted that the said school-s correspondent himself admitted that the said school is not in occupation, hence the individual owner, namely the petitioner is liable to pay the ULT Tax. Further in W.P. No.37905 of 2005 in paragraph 5 of the affidavit stated as follows:~ The petitioner society sent a reply on 14.10.2005 to the 3rd respondent informing him that the land and building belong one Thiru Devairakam the petitioner committee is not owner of the land and the petitioner committee is running school with the permission of the owner Thiru. Devairakam, who is president of the petitioner committee. It is submitted that the petitioner having purchased the said property for valuable sale consideration from the said society and therefore, he is liable to pay Urban Land Tax to the respondent.

6. It is further submitted that the petitioner is allegedly claiming that he is entitled to get exemption under Sec. 29A of the ULT Act is not correct. Admittedly the petitioner is owing 35316 sq. feet, under Sec 29(A) (a) if the extent of land exceeds more than 2 grounds, he must pay the ULT Tax and therefore, the petitioner is liable to pay the ULT Tax to the respondent. Hence the petitioner is not entitled to get any relief.

7. It is submitted that the land is owned by the individual person, who is the petitioner herein. Hence the petitioner is not entitled to claim exemption under Sec 29(d) (ii) (h) of the ULT Act.

8. It is clear from the above that the petitioner in W.P. No.37905/2005 has nothing to do with the subject property and if at all, the respondent is proceeding further to collect the Urban Land Tax, they will proceed against the petitioner in W.P. No.2017/16, who cannot seek for any exemption since t

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he property is in individual capacity and he is owning lands in excess of 2 grounds and therefore, must pay the necessary Urban Land Tax. 9. In view of the above, the respondent in W.P. No.2017/16 is directed to issue a fresh notice to the petitioner therein to proceed further to recover the arrears of Urban Land Tax with respect to the subject property. Insofar as the petitioner in W.P. No.37905/2005 is concerned, they are in no way connected with the subject property since they have already sold the property and they will not get into the picture while the respondent proceeds further to collect the Urban Land Tax from the petitioner in W.P. No.2017 of 2006. Both the Writ Petitions are disposed of accordingly. No Costs.
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