New property tax system based on capital value ( PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION RULES, 2010.]

 

Case

 

 

 

 

By Accommodation Times News Service

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY

ORDINARY ORIGINAL CIVIL JURISDICTION

Rule 4(c) OF THE BOMBAY HIGH COURT

PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION RULES, 2010.]

PIL Petition No.  / 2013

IN THE MATTER OF:  Articles 226 and 14 of the Constitution of India

AND

In the matter of Rules for fixing capital value of lands and buildings and Rate of Taxes for Different  User Categories and irrational classifications and other anomalies resulting in arbitrariness on the part of Respondent No. 2.

AND

Thereby frustrating the Rule of Law the corner stone of any democratic society

 

Jashwant Bhaichand Mehta

Age: 71

Father’s name: Bhaichand M. Mehta

Occupation: Architect, Consulting

Engineer and Approved Valuer

Mobile number: 09820330130

PAN number AACPM 0372P

E-mail: mehtajashwant@gmail.com

Residential address: 203, Walkeshwar

Road, Panaroma, Mumbai – 400006; and

Office at 145, 146, Mittal Towers, B-Wing,

Nariman Point, Mumbai – 400021.                                ……Petitioner

Versus

(1) The States of Maharashtra,

Through the Chief Secretary

 

(2) Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai,

Through their Secretary, BMC Headquarters,

Opp. CST Station, Mumbai – 400 001.

 

(3) The Municipal Commissioner

Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai,

BMC Headquarters, Opp. CST Station,

Mumbai – 400 001.                          ….. Respondents

               PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION PETITION

THE HONOURABLE CHIEF JUSTICE

AND OTHER PUISNE JUDGES OF

THE HONOURABLE HIGH COURT

OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY

 

                                                                                              THE HUMBLE PETITION OF THE

                                                                                                      PETITIONER ABOVENAMED

MOST RESPECTFULLY SHEWETH

1.         Particulars of the Cause / Order against which the Petition is made :

 

Subject matter in brief: In this Writ Petition, the Petitioner is urging this Hon’ble Court to test the Constitutionality of impugned Rules, at the touchstone of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. The Petitioner further submits that, in the opinion of the Petitioner, however, unless the Respondent Nos.2 and 3 afford due hearings or conduct due Public hearings, to the objections and suggestions it had received pursuant to Publication of Draft Rules in 2010, the deep controversy in this case would not be fully crystallized, for this Hon’ble Court to decide upon.

 

2.   Particulars of the Petitioner(s):—

 

1. Give the social / public standing, professional status and public spirited Antecedent of the petitioner(s); if the petitioner is a social action group or organization, the names of the office-bearers must be furnished: 

Petitioner is an Architect (registered with Council of Architecture), Consulting Engineer and Approved Valuer and fellow of Institution of Engineers and Institution of Valuers and has also served on the Managing Committee of Practising Engineers Architects and Town Planners Association (PEATA) and Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI) for several years. The Petitioner has also presented papers in seminars and conferences in India and abroad and also published several papers and articles on Architecture, Town Planning and Valuation in professional journals and has also been awarded Gold medal by Institution of Valuers.  The Petitioner was also Country Representative (India) of Council on Tall Buildings & Urban Habitat (CTBUH) an International world-wide Organisation.

 Respondent No.1 is the State of Maharashtra; Respondent No.2 is the Municipal Corporation of Mumbai, incorporated under Municipal Corporation Act of 1888; Respondent No.3 is the Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai, who has, in the exercise of their powers, enacted the impugned Rules, more particularly called as “The Factors and Categories of Users of Building or Lands (Assignment of Weightages by Multiplication) Fixation of Capital Value Rules, 2010”, hereinafter for the sake of brevity referred to as “the impugned Rules”.

 

2.    State if the petitioner or any of the petitioners when there arc more than one, is or has been involved in any other civil, revenue, Criminal litigation in any, capacity before any Court or Tribunal and if so, complete details of such litigation including the subject matter thereof must be stated.

The Petitioner states that the Petitioner is not involved civil, revenue, Criminal litigation in any, capacity before any Court or Tribunal.

3.   Declaration and undertaking of the Petitioner(s):—

(1)   That the present petition is being filed by way of public interest litigation and the petitioner does not have any personal interest in the matter. The petition is being filed in the interest of maintenance of “Rule of law” and for securing the objectives enshrined in the Constitution. This PIL would benefit each and every Citizen of Mumbai.

(2)    That the entire litigation costs are being borne by the petitioner. PAN No. of the Petitioner is mentioned in the cause title above.

(3)    That a through research has been conducted in the matter raised through the petition.

(4)    That to the best of the petitioner knowledge and research, the issue raised was not dealt with or decided and that a similar or identical petition was not filed earlier by him.

(5) That the petitioner has understood that in the course of hearing of this petition the Court may require any security to be furnished towards costs or any other charges and the petitioner shall have to comply with such requirements.

 4. Facts in brief, constituting the cause:

The Petitioner states that vide Mah. Act 11 of 2009, Respondent No.1 amended the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888 (MMC Act) to enable Respondent Nos. 2 and 3 to levy property tax based on “capital value” of the properties as against the rateable value of the properties as provided for in the MMC Act, 1888, prior to the said amendment.

 

The Petitioner states that while the decision to implement the capital value system was taken way back in 2001, it was only in October 2010 that the draft rules were published by Respondent No. 2, and objections/suggestions were invited from the Public in this regard.  The last date for submitting objections/suggestions was 30th November 2010.  Hereto annexed and marked as EXHIBIT “A” is the copy of said Draft Rules No. AC/NTC/530 of 2010 -11 dated 0810.2010.

 

The Petitioner states that whilst the draft rules had provided the guidelines for fixing capital value of lands & buildings, there was a fundamental lacunae in the said draft Rules, wherein it had not furnished or provided the actual tax factors, which would have had enabled the property owner or any individual to ascertain or work out their precise tax liability. The Petitioner states that failure to publish said tax factors alongwith the Draft Rules, rendered the said publication of Draft Rules to nullity and meaningless, akin to “No Publication of Draft Rules”

 

The Petitioner states that the said tax factors applicable to various user categories were only published in second half of 2012; and no objections /suggestions were invited from the public in this regard. The Petitioner states that it was absolutely necessary to publish proposed tax factors before hand and invite objections/suggestions from the public.

 

The Petitioner states that Petitioner had vide their letter dated 30.11.2010 made detailed representation, and asked for clarification on many of the draft rules, and recorded their objections and suggestions to the said Draft Rules, including objection in respect of non publication of tax factor, as stated hereinbefore. The Petitioner states that however, no hearing whatsoever was granted to the Petitioner in this regard. Hereto annexed and marked as EXHIBIT “B” is the copy of the objections/suggestions filed by the Petitioner.

 

The Petitioner further states that in or around December, 2012, the said Rules with minor modifications along with tax factors were brought into effect and Respondent No. 2 started sending Property Assessment Tax Bills based on Capital Value of the properties; and thereby asking the property owners / occupiers to pay property tax, retrospectively w.e.f. 1.4.2010. Hereto annexed and marked as EXHIBIT “C” is the copy of the impugned Rules.

 

The Petitioner states that one of the main objects of introducing / shifting to the capital value system was to remove the disparities in tax liabilities between old and new properties / buildings. The earlier method was based on RLR (Residential Letting Rates) and the same were not published officially and it lacked transparency and it was difficult for the owners to calculate and assess their tax liability.

 

The Petitioner states that under the earlier method, the tax was collected on the basis of rateable value fixed by Respondent No.2; and the rateable value was fixed from the date of first occupation, based on certain factors, such as location of the property, i.e. ward-wise and locality-wise. The Petitioner states that rateable value of the Property remained unchanged once they were assessed and occupied (except in case of change of user); and rates were revised periodically. The Petitioner states that revised rates were applicable for newly developed properties once they were occupied, and this is the precise reason for disparity in tax liability of old properties and new properties, wherein the rateable value of old properties remained frozen once it was assessed, and the new properties were liable to pay taxes as per contemporary rateable value.

 

The Petitioner states that the earlier method of valuation have thus led to a huge disparity whereby old properties were paying much less tax as compared to new properties; and the disparity had widened with passage of time. The situation had reached a stage whereby owners of flats constructed in posh locality in South Mumbai, say forty or fifty years back, were paying lesser taxes than a newly constructed property situated even in far away suburbs like Borivali, for the equivalent area, inspite of the fact that those properties in South Mumbai commanded much higher value than the properties at far away suburbs.

 

10. The Petitioner states that, therefore, it was proposed to introduce levying of property tax based on Capital value of the property, wherein Section 154(1A) of the MMC Act obligated the Respondent No.2, inter alia, that in order to fix the Capital value of any building or land assessable to a Property tax, it shall have regard to the value of any building or land as indicated in the Stamp duty ready Reckoner, for the time being in force, as prepared under the Bombay Stamp (Determination of True market value of property) Rules 1995, as base framed under the provisions of the Bombay Stamp Act, 1958, as base value.

 

11. The Petitioner states that the intention of the Respondent No. 2 in bringing about the new system was to bring about the (1) Transparency (2) Make it Equitable and Rationalize (3) Objective and self assessable (4) Considerate and accommodative and (5) Greater compliance and less disputes. Hereto annexed and marked as EXHIBIT “D” is the power point presentation made by the Respondent No. 2 “Displaying the limitations of old system and the Salient features of new system”.

 

12. The Petitioner states that while one would appreciate the intentions of the Respondent No. 2, looking to the details including the tax factors adopted as well as the method of calculation of area of the premises adopted for arriving at the tax purpose, it seems that the remedy seems to be worst than the disease and the entire scheme of taxation is without any rational basis.  The tax factors for different user categories have been fixed without any appreciable reasoning or rational basis and the so called intention to link the tax system to capital value remained only an ‘intention’ and not put into practice; and the citizens hopes of implementation of rational method of taxation coming into practice are totally belied. Hereto annexed and marked as EXHIBIT “E” is the copy of the Rates of Property Taxes for Different User Categories.

 

13. The Petitioner now crave leave to highlight the manifest flaws in the classification so made in tax factors, in their application to various categories of users of land and Building.

 

14. The Petitioner, at this juncture seeks to clarify here that by way of this Petition, the Petitioner is not asking this Hon’ble Court, to decide what would be the ideal tax factor or what would be the correct capital value of the property. The Petitioner is impressing upon the Court about apparent and manifest irrationality in the classification in applying the tax factor; and further impressing upon the Court about the grave procedural impropriety in enacting the impugned Rules.

 

15.  The Petitioner further states that Petitioner is conscious of fact that Classification is implicit in the concept of Equality. The principle of equality does not prevent the “State” from making differentiation between persons and things. The State always has the power to have a classification on a basis of rational distinction, relevant to the particular subject. But such classification must satisfy two conditions- (1) The classification to be founded on intelligible differentia which distinguishes persons or things that are grouped from others; and (2) the differentia must have a relation to the object sought to be achieved by the legislative enactment.

The Petitioner, at the cost of repetition submits that tax factors adopted clearly shows that they have been fixed without any appreciable reasoning or rational basis and the so called intention to link the location to the market or capital value remained only an ‘intention’ and not put into practice and the citizens hopes of implementation of rational method of taxation coming into practice are totally belied.

 

(A)(i) The Petitioner submits that commercial premises have been differentiated on several counts. For Shops, the tax factor is fixed at 0.652, whereas for Office in the same building, the factor is taken at 1.303, i.e. twice of Shops. The tax factor is further categorized on the basis of use of the offices, which defies logic and rationality. Thus for an office located in the same building and on the same floor, for the business of Asset Management company or Trustee Company of Mutual Fund or Commodity exchange or companies engaged in Insurance business or Non-banking Financial Institution or Bank, the rate of taxation is double that of regular office usage (2.606% as against 1.303 percent of capital value) besides additional factor of 1.2 which means in effect the % of taxes will be 2.4 times higher than regular office.

 

(ii) The Petitioner submits that the tax factors so fixed defy all logic and common sense. A shop is doing actual trading and always attracts higher commercial value than offices, which are ordinarily situated on upper floors.  In fact, even in ready reckoner the Shops on ground floor are generally valued higher (upto 50% or even more) depending on other factors such as location of the shop and frontage on the main road. The Petitioner states that this would mean that in the same building if a person has an office on ground floor, he will be liable to pay less taxes then the person having an office at the first floor, for, the office on the ground floor could be deemed as Shop.

 

(iii) The Petitioner further submits that how BMC would distinguish if a person is also operating office in his shop; nonetheless both are used for Commercial use. The Petitioner submits that entire concept of linking taxation to the capital value is defeated with such irrational fixation of tax factor and the disparity would widen, having been adopted such classification. The Petitioner submits that there is no criteria fixed as to what part will constitute Shop and what part will constitute office, and it will be left to the discretion and wisdom of the Officers of the Respondent to decide.

 

(iv) The Petitioner further submits that what is the basis to say that Asset Management Company or Trustee Company of Mutual Fund etc. as mentioned in abovementioned are liable to pay 2.4 times than any other kind and nature of business activity; and there appears to be no appreciable reasoning to single out Asset Management companies or Trustee Company of Mutual Fund etc. to be liable to pay such huge amount of taxes than other business activities.

 

(v) The Petitioner craves leave to illustrate the aforesaid anomaly with the aid of three examples, which will show the applicability and impact of tax as per new method on (i) an office premises used as an office (ii) same office used for doing Asset Management business or running an Insurance Co. etc. as stated in para [16(A)(i)]  hereinabove (iii) taxes payable for running a shop on the ground floor and having an office in the same building on an upper floor.

 

Example No. 1, indicating the taxes payable for commercial premises in the same building if (a) used as an office doing regular business (b) used as an office doing business as Asset Management Company or as an insurance company.

An office premises of 400 sq.mtr. Built-up, on 20th floor in a R.C.C. building of 22 floors, with lift in the Nariman Point of Fort division, constructed in the year 2010, is occupied by it’s owner.  The office is covered under Zone No. 2 and Sub-zone No. 16 of the Stamp Duty Ready Reckoner for the year 2010.

 

  Detail of property Description Weightage
  Location : Zone 2/16 FortDivision  
BV Base value per sq.mtr. Rs.286400 Not Applicable
BA Built-up area of flat in sq.mtr. 400 1.00
UC User category               (Rate of tax 1.303%) Office 1.00
NTB Nature and type of building R.C.C.Building 1.00
FF Floor factor 20th floors 1.10
AF Age factor Nil 1.00

 

Capital Value (CV) = BV x BA x UC x NTB x FF x AF

= 286400 x 400 x 1.00 x 1.00 x 1.10 x 1.00

= Rs.12,60,16,000/- (Rupees Twelve Crores Sixty

Lakhs Sixteen Thousand only)

(a)  Property Tax       = 12,60,16,000 x .01303

= Rs.16,41,988/- for one year for F.Y. 2010-11 to 2014-15

= Rs.1,36,832/- for one month

= Rs.342.13 per sq.mt. per month

(b)  If the same office is used for business of Asset Management Company or doing Life Insurance, the taxes payable = 1,36,832 x 2 x 1.2 = Rs.3,28,396 per month.

= Rs. 825 per sq.mt. per month.

If the said property is completed and occupied in 2013, the taxes would go up by 45% due to increase in Ready Reckoner Rates between 2010 and 2013 in the said locality which means for (a) category the taxes payable would be Rs.1,98,406/- i.e. Rs.496.02 per sq. mt. per month and for (b) category the taxes payable would be Rs.4,76,174/- per month i.e. Rs.1190.45 per sq.mt. per month.

 Example No. 2, indicating the taxes payable for a property constructed (a) as a residential flat or (b) office doing business at the same location (c) same office being used for doing business as asset management company or as an insurance company.

(a)   A residential flat of 75 sq.mtrs. carpet area constructed in a building in 2010 and located on 5th floor in Tardeo area zone 8/69 as per Ready Reckoner.

The capital value = 75 x 1,29,800 x 1.2 x 1.0 x 1.05 x 1.0 = 1,22,66,100/- (Rupees One Crore Twenty-two lakhs Sixty-six Thousand One Hundred only)

The tax factor for residence is 0.00349

Taxes per annum        = 1,22,66,100 x 0.00349

= Rs.42,808/- per annum

= Rs.3,567/- per month

(b)   Commercial (office use)

However, if the same place in the same location was letted for regular office use, the taxes will work out as under :-

Capital value   = 1,88,000 x 75 x 1.2 x 1.0 x 1.05 x 1.0

= 1,77,66,000/- (Rupees One Crore Seventy-seven lakhs Sixty-six Thousand only)

The tax factor for office being 0.01303 (4 times higher than residence)

The taxes        = 1,77,66000 x 0.01303

= Rs. 2,31,490 per annum

= Rs. 19,290 per month (which is 5.40 times residential use)

(c)   Commercial (office but used for business of Asset Management Company or Insurance Company)

If the same place was letted out for running a business for Asset Management Company, the taxes would work out to

Rs.2,31,490 x 2 x 1.2           = Rs. 5,55,576/- per annum

 

= Rs. 46,298/- per month (12.98 times residential rate)

If the said property is constructed and occupied in 2013, the ready reckoner rates published for this zone having gone up by 67% (between 2010 and 2013) which means for residential category the taxes payable would be Rs.5956 per month and for commercial properties the rates have gone up by 44% which means for (b) category the taxes payable would be Rs.27,777/- per month and for (c) category Rs.66,669/- per month.

 Example No. 3, indicating taxes payable by shop on ground floor and office in the same building having same area on upper floor (1st to 4th).

A shop admeasuring 150 sq.mtr. on ground floor at Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg, Ghatkopar in a R.C.C. building of 15 floors with 2 lifts, constructed in 2010 which is covered under Zone No. 102 and Sub-zone No. 480 of the Stamp Duty Ready Reckoner for the year 2010.

 

  Detail of property Description Weightage
  Location : Zone 102/490 Ghatkopar  
BV Base value per sq.mtr. Rs.95300 Not Applicable
BA Built-up area of shop in sq.mtr. 150 1.00
UC User category          (Rate of tax 0.651%) Shop 1.00
NTB Nature and type of building R.C.C.Building 1.00
FF Floor factor Gr. Floor 1.00
AF Age factor One 1.00

 

(a)  Capital value of shop (CV) = BV x BA x UC x NTB x FF x AF

= 95300 x 150 x 1.00 x 1.00 x 1.00 x 1.00

= Rs. 1,42,95,000/-

 

Property Tax                = 14295000 x 0.651%

= Rs.93,060/- for 1 yr for F.Y. 2010-11 to 2014-15

= Rs.7,755/- for one month

(b)  Capital value of office   = 71500 (Base value) x 150 x 1.00 x 1.00 x 1.00 x 1.00     = Rs.1,07,25,000/-

 

Property Tax                     = 10725000 x 0.01303

= Rs. 1,39,746/- per annum

= Rs. 11,645/- per month

 

(vi) The Petitioner states that while in the earlier Rateable Value system, the ratio of taxes payable between residential and commercial categories ranged between 1.75 to 6 times, under the new system, the differential tax factor is 2 to 8 times,  besides the factor of base value which is 1.20 times for commercial properties and the difference in rates as per ready reckoner between residential and commercial properties which vary from 1.1 to 1.5 times (depending upon location of the property), and thus due to cumulative impact of all these factors, the ratio is now in the range of 2.5 to 13.5 times!  Hereto annexed and marked as EXHIBIT “F” is the copy of Guidelines adopted for letting rates by Respondent No. 2 for non-residential properties as per earlier rateable value system.

 

(vii) The Petitioner states that as per earlier rateable value system, the rateable value remained unchanged in subsequent years and hence the owners/occupants of commercial properties somehow or the other managed to absorb the high level of taxes over a period of time.  However, under the new capital value of system, the capital value of the property will be revised periodically as per the market value of the properties and hence apart from the abnormally high taxes initially payable the same will be further revised upwards in future making it virtually impossible to bear by the owners/occupants which will have an adverse effect on the trade and business in the city of Mumbai.

 

(B) The Petitioner also would like to point-out by few examples narrated below as to how the Respondent No. 2 has applied the tax factors without any appreciable reasoning. For example –

 

(i) A substation which is a common amenity for supply of power to users  has been shown in category 2 with differential factors on base value.  The substation of a residential building has a factor of 0.1, whereas a substation of a commercial building is 0.8.  How can a substation which supplies power to different users in the same premises be categorized in such a manner? From the same substation power may be supplied to shops on ground floor or residential flats on upper floor or premises used for commercial use such as consulting room of a doctor on upper floors.  How is it possible to quantify power distributed and categorize in such a situation is beyond any understanding ?

(ii) Even a porch or a podium in building has been included as a structure liable for taxes.

(iii) An effluent treatment plant which is actually treating the sewerage and thereby helping the Corporation to reduce the load on municipal sewerage is also included in the tax category.  In fact, there ought to have been a reduction in taxes payable if an effluent treatment plant is installed by the society or the owner.

(C) The Petitioner wishes to point out that the Respondent No. 2, have made an announcement that the Ready Reckoner will form the basis for determining the capital value. However, this is only half truth.  As per Ready Reckoner, the built-up area of the premises are taken on the basis of 1.2 times the actual carpet area and areas such as refuge area, air-conditioning plant room, air handling room and service floor etc. do not form part of the area to be included while arriving at the market value of the flats/offices for valuation purposes, whereas all these areas are now included for arriving at the liability for payment of tax. It may also be mentioned that as per earlier Rateable Value, all these areas were not included for tax purposes and only carpet area of the premises was the basis for calculations of taxes.

(D) The Petitioner further submits that even in case of category of open land, the tax factor proposed to be adopted defies logic. E.g. for residential category a tax factor of 0.652% is adopted, whereas for residential buildings which will be constructed on the same plot of land, the factor is 0.349%.  This could lead to a situation whereby an open land where the Respondent No. 2 is not providing any services could attract higher taxes than the residential buildings constructed on the same plot where Respondent No. 2 will be liable to provide all the services.

(E) The Petitioner submits that even for the medical facilities such as hospitals, there is a differential factor on base value such as hospital which has a base value of 1.00 and super specialty hospital which has a base value of 1.20.  What is the basis of differentiating hospitals in such different categories is not understood at all ?  The hospital is a hospital.  What will be the criteria which will bring it under super specialist category is not indicated or clarified and the tax factor should be uniform for all the hospitals.

(F) (i) The Petitioner further submits that exorbitant rates of taxation have also been imposed on Hotel Industry which will have an adverse impact leading to a scenario whereby it will be difficult for any new hotel, especially in a star category to sustain operations which will also retard the economic growth of the city of Mumbai.

(ii) The Petitioner further submits that all Hotel properties whether star / unstarred are covered under commercial rates prescribed in Ready Reckoner for arriving at capital value.  (These rates are 20% to 50% higher than residential properties).

 

(iii) The tax rate applicable for unstarred hotels is 0.651%, whereas for all star category hotels it is 1.303% (against 0.349% for residential properties). Besides an additional base value of 1.1 and 1.25 is applicable for 1-4 star hotels and 5 star hotels.  This means, in effect all 1-4 star category hotels will be liable to pay 2.2 times higher taxes than unstarred hotels and 5 starred hotels will be liable to pay 2.5 times than unstarrred Hotels.

 

(iv) The Petitioner states that the star category classification is given by the Dept. of Tourism based on services provided including the staffing, the standard of cleanliness, housekeeping, maintenance by the Hotel etc. An unstarred hotel can easily go for classification for star category if it would meet these criteria. How it will have a higher capital value is not understood at all ? The huge anomaly of taxes will be a big deterrent for any hotel to opt for star rating. Further, just because having a Star Rating does not in any manner guarantees a higher revenues for the Star Hotel.

 

(v) The Petitioner states that such a policy is self-defeating as it will retard the tourist inflow in the city of Mumbai.  The Govt. of India is keen to encourage and promote Star category hotels to improve Country’s image so as to attract tourists.  The hotel industry is one of the biggest generators of foreign exchange revenue without any outgoings from the country for earning this exchange.  It is basically a service industry.  The promotion of star category hotel is the need of the hour.

 

(vi) (a) The devastating impact of tax factors and other criteria for hotel industry will be amply clear from the copy of the bills sent by Respondent No. 2 to Taj hotel (old as well as extension) situated in Colaba.

 

(b) It will be observed that being an  old property (which consist of two buildings, the old Taj built in 1905 and extension built in early seventies), it gets a reprieve because of ‘cap’ formula of 3 times the existing taxes, whereby it has to now pay total taxes of Rs.83,18,931/- as per new system.

 

(c) However, if same property it was to be assessed as per present capital value it would have been required to pay Rs.24,77,87,757/- (Rupees Twenty Four Crores Seventy seven lakhs Eighty Seven Thousand Seven Hundred Fifty Seven only).

 

(d) The Petitioner wishes to state that if a property similar to Taj Hotel was built in 2010 in nearby vicinity, it would be required to pay  Rs.35,43,36,493/- (Rupees Thirty Five Crores Forty Three Lakhs Thirty Six Thousand Four Hundred Ninety Three Only) as it would not be eligible for 30% depreciation being new property while arriving at capital value.

 

(e) For a similar property built in 2013 the taxes would be still 64% higher due to increase in Ready Reckoner rate between 2010 & 2013 in the same zone which would mean it would be required to pay a staggering amount of Rs.58,15,80,887. (Rupees Fifty Eight Crores Fifteen Lakhs Eighty Thousand Eight Hundred Eighty Seven only).

 

(f) The Petitioner wishes to state that if such high level of taxes were to be paid even by a reputed and internationally well-known hotel like Taj it would be beyond their capacity and making it unviable to operate and it may have to close down. This clearly shows that the entire method of applying tax factor and other criteria etc. is completely flawed and requires serious reconsideration. Hereto annexed and marked as EXHIBIT “G” is the copy of the latest Bills received by Taj Hotel.

 

(vii) The Petitioner states that while in the earlier system, the differential ratio between residential properties and star-category (1-5 starred) properties was in the range of 3.25 to 5.2 times, under the capital value system considering the cumulative impact of tax factor which is 3.8 times and the base value factor of 1.1 to 1.25 and the difference due to higher ready reckoner rates between commercial (applicable to hotels) and residential category  and inclusion of all areas such as service floor, air-handling room, porch, refuge area, A.C. plant room, entrance lobby etc. for tax purposes the ratio is now as high as 7.5 to 10 times which is exorbitant and beyond the capacity for any new and some of the existing hotels which have come up in the last few years to bear and sustain operations. In future there will be periodic revision upwards which will still make it worst.

 

(G) (i) The Petitioner further submits that the tax factor and other criteria applicable for Service Apartments also defies logic. The Service Apartments have been clubbed with a 4 starred hotel category which is again lacking any appreciable reasoning. The service apartments are fully furnished apartments and with some minimum essential services provided to the guests viz. housekeeping, security and maintenance. By being clubbed with this category, they would be liable to pay 6 to 7 times or even more than the taxes payable by the furnished/unfurnished apartments leased out and located in the same area and in the vicinity.

 

(ii) The Service Apartments are preferred by relatively longer staying guests (duration of stay ranging from a week to couple of months) for economy, convenience and homely atmosphere not usually found in a Hotel.  Being very popular abroad, the Govt. of India as a policy decided to promote this category and recognised it and has formed guidelines for such accommodation as an additional classification under Hotel category.  By imposing such a heavy taxation, the entire concept is being defeated as it will make them unviable and unaffordable and will impact the economic growth of the city.

 

(iii) The retrospective charges payable w.e.f. from 01.04.2010 for all properties is also illegal and arbitrary as it is difficult for a service industry like hotels or service apartments etc. to collect taxes retrospectively from the customers who have left after their stay.

 

17. The Petitioner states that although, the intention of capital value was to reduce disparity, it is totally defeated as new properties which have become operational or occupied in the last 10-20 years have their taxes going up lot more than the older properties.  Thus, if old properties were paying Say Rs. X as tax as per the old rateable value, will now be paying Rs. 2X (in case of residential properties) or 3X (in case of commercial properties) due to cap provided under section  140A of MMC Act, 1888; whereas a relatively new property which became operational or occupied in the last 10-20 years and which were paying say Rs. 5X or Rs. 6X as tax (due to higher rateable value) will now be liable to pay Rs. 15X or Rs. 18X tax, thereby widening the gap (from Rs. 4X or Rs. 5X to Rs. 12X or Rs. 15X). Further w.e.f. 1/4/2015, as stated by Respondent No. 2 these taxes are proposed to be revised with a cap of  40% over 01.04.2010 base and hence the disparity in taxes payable will still be higher and will lead to even more disparity between the old properties and new properties than the earlier rateable value method.

 

18.       (i) The Petitioner further submits that the Respondent No. 2 has tried to justify the new capital value system by

showing projections that as compared to old system, where the tax demand was Rs.3308 crores, under the new system the demand will be Rs.2708 crores and overall the citizens will stand to benefit.  However, this is misleading and does not reveal the true picture at all. The perusal of Power point presentation of Respondent No.2, stated hereinbefore, would indicate that –

 

(ii) This figure of Rs. 3308 crores includes the huge arrears of taxes in pending litigations under properties given on leave & license basis.  Respondent No. 2 had to face endless number of litigations on account of their arbitrary method of levying taxes in this category.

 

(iii) Under this arbitrary method, the rateable value was increased several-fold w.e.f. 1/4/2001 onwards for all these properties and the taxes payable amounted to 65 to 75 percent or even higher of the license fees or compensation received or payable by the owners/occupants.

 

(iv) The Petitioner states that this situation had occurred because the taxes which at one time was around 24 percent of rateable value had been gradually hiked to 112.5% of rateable value over a period of time as the rateable once fixed could not be altered due to BMC Act and to make two ends meet, the Respondent No. 2 kept on increasing the percentage of taxes.

 

(v) However, in L/L cases, rather than adopting a realistic rateable value, the Respondent No. 2 had linked the rateable value to license fees.  Thus if license fee was say Rs.100 per sq.ft. (as per prevailing market prices), the taxes had amounted to 65 to 75 percent of the license fees leaving very little in the hands of owners.

 

(vi) While this defied common sense and even the Assessing Officers of Respondent No. 2, themselves would concede it as unreasonable they would point out that unless BMC Act was amended, they were helpless to reduce 112.5% of taxes on rateable value!

 

(vii) The Petitioner states that by its own admission, the Respondent No. 2 has stated the figure of Rs.2700 crores yet to be recovered mainly due to such pending litigations under L/L category.

 

(viii) Now when it is proposed to switch over to capital value, Respondent No.2 cannot link the license fees with the taxes, for, the capital value remains the same whether it is letted out or self-occupied and hence the tax collection from this category has been projected at a realistic level.

 

(ix) It will be observed that from this one category alone Rs.667 crores tax reduction is reflected against Rs.400 crores which the Respondent No. 2 claims as the reduction in the taxes because of the new system as compared to the earlier method. The Respondent No. 2 has already spent huge amount of money by way of legal cost to fight these litigations for recovery of taxes.

 

19. (i) The Petitioner further submits that under the guise of the new system, the amount of taxes which Respondent No. 2 is contemplating to collect is indeed shocking and startling.  The Petitioner illustrate with the Bills issued to Mittal Tower Premises Cooperative Society Ltd., an office building situated at Nariman Point, Mumbai 400 021.

 

(ii) The said building having being completed and occupied in 1981, after an upward cap of 3 times (over the taxes payable as per the Rateable Value system), the revised taxes payable are Rs.2,08,01,278/- (Rupees Two Crores Eight Lakhs One Thousand Two Hundred and Seventy-eight only).

 

(iii) However, based on capital value system, the capital value of property is Rs.764,83,42,980/- (Rupees Seven Hundred and Sixty-four crores Eighty-three lakhs Forty-two thousand Nine Hundred Eighty only) and taxes payable would be Rs.11,34,07,378/- (Rupees Eleven crores Thirty-four lakhs Seven thousand Three hundred Seventy-eight only) per annum at the rate of 1.303% of capital value.

 

(iv) The Petitioner states that the capital value of this property as per 2013 Ready Reckoner rates would be 50% higher due to upward revision and the taxes would be a staggering amount of Rs.17,01,11,067/- (Rupees Seventeen Crores One Lakh Eleven Thousand Sixty-seven only) and the same would be applicable for a newly built-up property in 2013.

 

(v) This would mean that a mere 100 such new buildings constructed from 2013 onwards like MittalTower would yield a taxation of Rs.1700 crores or even more.  This amount of Rs.1700 crores is nearly 60 percent of total taxes collected from all properties all over Mumbai. This one example, should suffice to indicate the exorbitant amount of taxes which Respondent No. 2 will be receiving if this new system meant to be ‘fair and reasonable’ will come into operation.

 

(vi) If the data is provided/published by Respondent No.2, of the expected demand/revenue likely to be generated from just one category of commercial/office buildings to be occupied/completed in next 5 years, it will be quite revealing. The Petitioner wishes to submit that the Respondent No. 2 must publish the projected figures of taxes recoverable from the new buildings to give a fair idea to the citizens of the collections contemplated by Respondent No. 2 under the new system.

Hereto annexed and marked as Exhibit “H” is the copy of Bills received by Mittal Tower Premises Cooperative Society Ltd., an office building situated at Nariman Point, Mumbai 400 021.

 

20. The Petitioner therefore submits that the tax factor should be uniform for all categories for commercial uses, for the simple reason that the differential values are already reflected in Ready Reckoner according to locations and also for ground floor and the upper floors.  To adopt differential rates for taxation as mentioned in preceding paras are therefore completely without any basis and is against the very concept of capital value system

 

21. (i) The Petitioner further states that it is the practice of Respondent No.2 to issue one consolidated Bill for payment of Municipal taxes, in the name of Society / Landlord; and the Society is liable to pay the taxes applicable.

 

(ii) The Petitioner states that, it is a common scenario in every other Society where some of the member are perennial defaulters, and the Society is left with no option but to pay the Municipality bills and proceed legally for recovery against the defaulting members and thus honest members bear the burden of those members and the society has also to incur the legal expenses for recovery.

 

(iii) The Petitioner submits that Municipal Corporations of other cities in Maharashtra such as Pune, Nashik as well as in Gujarat, as a matter of Policy, has a system whereby Property tax bills are issued  individual flat owners/members and the flat owners are liable for the payment and not the society.

 

(iv) The Petitioner states that the Respondent No. 2 has taken a stand that if the society requests, they have no objection in issuing bills individually to flat owners/members.  However, in reality, they have no intention of doing so.

 

(v) The Petitioner states that the Petitioner, on one occasion, being the

Resident Member of Panorama CHS Ltd, has  made a formal request to the concerned office of Respondent No.2 to issue Bills in the name of individual Members of the CHS. The Petitioner states that the concerned office replied to that formal request and put forward the condition to be fulfilled that consent of all the members of the Society / flat owners is must if the Bills are to be issued in the name of individual Members of the CHS. The Petitioner states that the condition so put forth is absurd, in as much as, the defaulting member would never consent for individual bills.

 

(vi) The Petitioner submits that whereas that the capital value is introduced, the Respondent No. 2 has now the data of every individual flat or premises including the tax liability and there is no ground whatsoever for the Respondent No. 2, not to put this into practice w.e.f. 1-4-2010 without any preconditions thereby streamlining the entire process of collection.

 

(vii) The Respondent No.2, as a matter of policy, like other Municipal Corporations, the Respondent No. 2 must issue bills directly to individual flat owners/members and recover the dues accordingly.

 

Hereto annexed and marked as EXHIBIT “I” is the copy of the letter sent by concerned office of Respondent No.2 to M/s. Panorama Cooperative Housing Society Ltd.

 

Hereto annexed and marked as EXHIBIT “J”  is the copy of the bill for property issued by Nashik Municipal Corporation to all flat owners individually in all societies.

 

Hereto annexed and marked as EXHIBIT “K” is the copy of the extract of the bills sent by Respondent No. 2 to Mittal Tower Premises Co-operative Society Ltd., Nariman Point, Mumbai where the capital value and tax liability of individual members is reflected.

 

22. The Petitioner submits that, apart from irrational classifications so made, there are two fundamental shortcomings in enacting the impugned Rules, as far as procedural aspect is concerned, i.e. (a) while Publishing Draft Rules in 2010, Respondent Nos.2 and 3 did not publish the applicable tax factor; and (b) No hearing whatsoever was afforded despite inviting objections and suggestions from the Public at large. The Petitioner submits that thus there is fundamental procedural impropriety on the part of Respondent Nos.2 and 3 in enacting the impugned Rules. The Petitioner submits that the entire exercise of inviting suggestions and objections pursuant to said Draft Rules of 2010, were rendered meaningless, in the absence of any hearing of said suggestions and objections.

 

23. The Petitioner submits that failure to afford any hearing, pursuant to suggestions and objections filed by the Petitioner, Respondent Nos.2 and 3 have acted arbitrarily and capriciously. The Petitioner further submits that, Petitioner has reasons to believe that Respondent Nos.2 and 3 have not granted any hearing to any of the objections and suggestions it had received pursuant to invitation of Suggestions and Objections to the Draft Rules of 2010.

 

24. (i) The Petitioner submits that at the most fundamental level, the procedural due process doctrine embodies the importance of fair pre deprivation procedures. In other words, before life, liberty and property deprivations are brought about, Courts often found it important to consider whether the procedure established for the deprivation was fair. This fair process understanding of the due process clause typically produced notice and hearing requirements.

 

(ii) The opportunity to be heard is the fundamental requisite of the due process of law. The central meaning of the due process is identified as right to notice and an opportunity to be heard.

 

(iii) In his commentaries of 1769, Blackstone has said that due process has merely protected every individual in the nation in the free enjoyment of his life, his liberty, and his property, unless declared to be forfeited by the judgment of his peers or the law of the land.

 

(iv) Although adherence to procedural aspects may often prove to be time consuming, yet that is the price one has to pay to ensure fairness in administration. Where a Statute confers wide powers on an administrative authority coupled with wide discretion, the possibility of its arbitrary use can be controlled or checked by insisting on their being exercised in a manner which can be said to be procedurally fair. These procedural aspects are being devised for ensuring fairness and promoting satisfactory decision making. Its non observance invalidates the exercise of power.

 

(v) There are six criteria against which the fairness of a procedure may

be evaluated:

(a) Representative ness: means that all affected parties should have process control and decision control at all stages of decision making.

(b) Consistency refers equal treatment to all affected parties in equal circumstances.

(c) Suppressing bias entails a procedure to prevent favoutitism or biases.

(d) The accuracy refers the ability of a procedure to reach solutions that are objectively of a high quality.

(e) Correctability is existence of opportunities to raise voice to unfair and inaccurate decisions.

(f) Finally, ethically implies the degree to which the decision making process accords with general standards of fairness and morality.

 

25. (i) The Indian Constitution most noticeable under Article 14 and 19 permitted Courts to undertake inquiries into the substantive fairness of the legislations, which Courts undertook under classification and reasonableness tests respectively.

 

(ii) Under Article 14 analysis, Courts would often measure whether Statutes were arbitrary, in that they carried out unreasonable or irrational classification, or were otherwise unconstitutional for conferring arbitrary powers on administrative authorities. The analogy between reasonabless and arbitrariness continue to punctuate the Court’s opinion.

 

(iii) In a democratic society governed by the rule of law, it is the duty of the State to do what is fair and just to the citizen and the State should not seek to defeat the legitimate claim of the citizen by adopting a legalistic attitude but should do what fairness and justice demand.

 

26. (i) The Petitioner submits that ordinarily a, tax on land or land revenue is assessed on the actual or the potential productivity of the land sought to be taxed. In other words, the tax has reference to the income actually made, or which could have been made, with due diligence, and, therefore, is levied with due regard to the incidence of the taxation.

 

(ii) The Petitioner submits that levy of Property Tax on Land & Buildings, as provided under various Municipal Statutes, is not a “Tax” per se; and Municipal bodies does not enjoy the same freedom and latitude as otherwise being enjoyed by the Parliament and State Legislature in enacting and framing tax laws. There are inherent limitations on the part of Municipal bodies to impose taxes, that is to say, they can impose taxes, “Only for the purposes of the Act” under which they are incorporated.

 

(iii) The distinction as pointed out in Goverdhandas Hargovindas V/s. Municipal Commissioner, Ahmedabad, 1964 2 SCR 608 is a deliberate one. As laid down there, the word “rate” in sec. 59 (1) must he understood to mean a tax for local purposes imposed by local authorities, the basis of which is the annual value of the lands or buildings arrived at in one of the three ways, viz., (1) the actual rent fetched by such land or building where it is actually let; (2) where it is not let, rent based on hypothetical tenancy particularly in the case of buildings; and (3) where either of these two modes is not available, by valuation based on capital value from which annual value has to be found by applying a suitable percentage which may not be the same for lands and buildings.

 

As aforesaid, in the case of buildings or lands or both, the Municipality can impose a “rate” and not a “tax”. The rate is as understood in such statutes, viz., on the basis not of capital but on’ the annual letting value as observed in, 1964 2 SCR 608 (supra) ascertained by any of the said recognized methods. The words “the basis, for each class, of the valuation” on which such rate is to be imposed indicate that the municipality can adopt any one of those basis for different classes of property, viz., buildings or lands for arriving at the annual value for each such class.

 

27. The Petitioner craves leave to narrate some of the notable observations and rulings of the Apex Court of the Country, in respect of Judicial review in matters of taxation; in respect of principles laid down as what is a rational or irrational classification; in respect of arbitrariness in State action; in respect of procedural impropriety, the attributes of tax, and Property tax, etc. The Petitioner further submits that, nevertheless, each case is to be decided on the peculiarities of its facts and circumstances, and these rulings and observations may assist this Hon’ble Court in forming its considered opinion and arriving at conclusion.

 

Hereto annexed and marked Exhibit “L” the extracts of notable observations and rulings of the Apex Court in respect of concept of Property Tax;

 

Hereto annexed and marked Exhibit “M” the extracts of notable observations and rulings of the Apex Court in respect of challenge to Taxing Statutes and Judicial review;

 

Hereto annexed and marked Exhibit “N” the extracts of notable observations and rulings of the Apex Court in respect of procedural impropriety;

 

Hereto annexed and marked Exhibit “O” the extracts of notable observations and rulings of the Apex Court in respect of limitations on the Taxation powers of Local / municipal bodies;

 

Hereto annexed and marked Exhibit “P” the extracts of notable observations and rulings of the Apex Court in respect of Classification Principles laid down;

 

Hereto annexed and marked Exhibit “Q” the extracts of notable observations and rulings of the Apex Court in respect of Article 14 and arbitrariness in State action;

 

28.       Grounds for Relief 

(i) That the Draft Rules Published by Respondent Nos.2 and 3 in 2010 were defective and incomplete, as tax factor was not furnished / disclosed in the said Draft Rules;

 

(ii) That no hearing whatsoever was afforded to the Petitioner pursuant to objections and suggestions so made by the Petitioner;

 

(iii) That impugned Rules suffer from irrational classification, of office to shop; office to office and other things as mentioned in the Petition hereinabove; also with reference to Hotel Industry and Service Apartments;

 

(iv) The proposed rates of taxation are oppressively high and would greatly impact the viability of businesses as a whole, affecting various commercial activities including Service sector, such as Hotel and Service Apartment industry etc.

 

5.    Source of information:                                                           —    

Declare the source of information of the facts pleaded in the petition and as to whether the petitioner/petitioners has/have verified the facts personally, if yes, in what manner.

The Petitioner submits that some of the information form part of Public Records, some information is furnished by Petitioner’s friends, etc.

6.    Nature and extent of injury caused/apprehended                  :   

(1) The disparity in the tax liability would substantially widen and the whole object of introducing this new system of Capital value would be in fact counter productive.

 

(2) The high rates of taxation under the new capital value will have an adverse effect on the trade and business in the city of Mumbai.

 

7.   Any representation etc. made:—

Petitioner had vide his letter dated 30.11.2010 made detailed representation, and asked for clarification on many of the draft rules, and recorded their objections and suggestions to the said Draft Rules, including objection in respect of non publication of tax factor, as stated hereinbefore. The Petitioner states that however, no hearing whatsoever was granted to the Petitioner in this regard. Hereto annexed and marked as EXHIBIT “B” is the copy of the objections/suggestions filed by the Petitioner.

 

8.   Delay, if any, in filing the petition and explanation therefor :—

(State exact period within which the petition is filed after accrual of cause of action thereof; and if there be delay in filing the petition explanation therefor)

 

The Petitioner submits that there has been no delay in filing this PIL.

 

The Petitioner further states that, having regard to the nature of grievance, Petitioner has no other efficacious remedy than to invoke the Writ jurisdiction of this Hon’ble Court.

 

The Petitioner states that the Petitioner pay the applicable Court fees of Rs.250=00.

 

The Petitioner states that Respondent Nos.1, 2 and 3 have their seat of office in Mumbai. The present Petition involves the challenge to the vires of the delegated legislation, inter alia, on the ground of it being irrational and also suffers from procedural impropriety, therefore being in breach and violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. The Petitioner states that, therefore, this Hon’ble Court can safely invoke their Writ jurisdiction to entertain the present Writ Petition and grant reliefs as prayed; and pass authoritative Orders against the Respondents.

 

The Petitioner further submit that Petitioner have not filed any other proceedings in any Court of law or in the Supreme Court, against the Respondents herein, in respect of the reliefs prayed in this Petition.

 

The Petitioner, with the leave of the Hon’ble Court, be allowed to add / amend / delete any clause in the present Petition.

 

9.   Documents relied upon:

The Petitioner rely upon the documents, the list whereof is annexed herewith.

10.    Relief (s) prayed for:—

The Petitioner therefore, most humbly prays that the Hon’ble Court in the exercise of their powers of judicial review in Writ Jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, be pleased to issue Writ of Mandamus, or any other Writ in the nature of Mandamus, or any other Order or Direction, –

(a) To Strike down the impugned Rules, being framed without affording any opportunity of hearing, being a substantial procedural impropriety;

Or

(b) To strike down the impugned Rules, as being arbitrary and thus violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India, being irrational Classifications in the said impugned Rules;

 

(c) Respondent Nos. 2 and 3 be directed to immediately afford hearings to persons who have made due representation by way of objections and suggestions, or to persons who are now making due representation by way of Objections and Suggestions to impugned Rules;

 

(d) Respondent No.3 shall be directed to furnish the projections of Tax that would be collected by Respondent No.2 under the Capital Value system;

 

(e) Respondent No.2 be directed to issue Property Tax Bills, individually, in the name of flat / unit holders, irrespective of formal request in this regard by Coop Societies etc.;

 

(f) Cost be imposed upon Respondent Nos. 2 and 3;

 

(g) For expeditious hearing of  this Petition;

 

(h) Any other relief as this Hon’ble Court deems fit, having regard to facts and circumstances of the case.

 

11.   Interim order, if prayed for:—

Interim Prayers in terms of Prayer Clause (c) and (d).

 

12.   Caveat:—

 

That no notice has been received of lodging a caveat by the opposite party or Notice of caveat has been received and the copy of this petition together with the annexure (if any) have been supplied to the caveator.

Place: Mumbai

Dated:

 

Jashwant B. Mehta

Petitioner – In – Person

 

Verification

I, Jashwant B. Mehta,  the  Petitioner in  the  above  petition  do  hereby  solemnly  declare  that what  is  stated  in  Paragraphs 1 to 4 and 7,   9 & 12 are  true  to my own  knowledge, and what  is  stated  in  Paragraphs 5, 6 and 8 are based on information and legal advice which I  believe to be true and correct.

 

Solemnly  declared  at  Mumbai    )
This      Day  of April, 2013            )

 

Petitioner

 

Before  me

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY

ORDINARY ORIGINAL CIVIL JURISDICTION

Rule 4(c) OF THE BOMBAY HIGH COURT

PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION RULES, 2010.]

PIL Petition No.                    / 2013

 

Jashwant Bhaichand Mehta                                                )

Age: 71                                                                      )

Father’s name: Bhaichand M. Mehta                    )

Occupation: Architect, Consulting                        )

Engineer and Approved Valuer                             )

Mobile number: 09820330130                              )

PAN number AACPM 0372P                                 )

E-mail: mehtajashwant@gmail.com                     )

Residential address: 203, Walkeshwar                 )

Road, Panaroma, Mumbai – 400006; and                        )

Office at 145, 146, Mittal Towers, B-Wing,         )

Nariman Point, Mumbai – 400021.                       )            ……Petitioner

 

Versus

(1) The States of Maharashtra,                               )

Through the Chief Secretary                                  )

 

(2) Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai,             )

Through their Secretary, BMC Headquarters,     )

Opp. CST Station, Mumbai – 400 001.                 )

 

(3) The Municipal Commissioner                         )

Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai,        )

BMC Headquarters, Opp. CST Station,                 )

Mumbai – 400 001.                                                  )….. Respondents

 

Memo of Appearance

To,

The Prothonotary & Senior Master

Bombay High Court

Bombay.

 

Sir,

 

Be pleased to allow me to appear and plead in Person, in the above Petition.

 

Dated this     day of April, 2013

 

Jashwant B. Mehta

Petitioner – In – Person

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY

ORDINARY ORIGINAL CIVIL JURISDICTION

Rule 4(c) OF THE BOMBAY HIGH COURT

PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION RULES, 2010.]

PIL Petition No.                    / 2013

 

Jashwant B. Mehta                                                    …. Petitioner

Versus

The State of Maharashtra & Ors                            ….Respondents

MEMORANDUM OF THE REGISTERED

ADDRESS OF THE PETITIONER

Jashwant B. Mehta

145, 146, Mittal Towers, B-Wing,

Nariman Point, Mumbai – 400021

Jashwant B. Mehta Petitioner – In – Person

 

 

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY

ORDINARY ORIGINAL CIVIL JURISDICTION

Rule 4(c) OF THE BOMBAY HIGH COURT

PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION RULES, 2010.]

PIL Petition No.                    / 2013

 

Jashwant B. Mehta                                                    …. Petitioner

Versus

The State of Maharashtra & Ors                            ….Respondents

 

LIST OF DOCUMENTS RELIED UPON

  1. Draft Rules No. AC/NTC/530 of 2010 -11 dated 0810.2010 at EXHIBIT “A”
  2. Objections/suggestions filed by the Petitioner dated 30.11.2010 at EXHIBIT “B”
  3. Impugned Rules. “The Factors and Categories of Users of Building or Lands (Assignment of Weightages by Multiplication) Fixation of Capital Value Rules, 2010” at EXHIBIT “C”
  4. Power point presentation made by the Respondent No. 2 “Displaying the limitations of old system and the Salient features of new system” at EXHIBIT “D”
  5. Rates of Property Taxes for Different User Categories at EXHIBIT “E”
  6. Guidelines adopted for letting rates by Respondent No. 2 for non-residential properties as per earlier rateable value system at EXHIBIT “F”
  7. Latest Bills received by Taj Hotel at EXHIBIT “G”
  8. Bills received by Mittal Tower Premises Cooperative Society Ltd., an office building situated at Nariman Point, Mumbai 400 021 at Exhibit “H”
  9. Letter sent by concerned office of Respondent No.2 to M/s. Panorama Cooperative Housing Society Ltd at EXHIBIT “I”

10. Property Bill issued by Nashik Municipal Corporation to all flat owners individually in all societies at EXHIBIT “J”

11. Latest Bills sent by Respondent No. 2 to Mittal Tower Premises Co-operative Society Ltd., Nariman Point, Mumbai where the capital value and tax liability of individual members is reflected at EXHIBIT “K”

12. Extracts of notable observations and rulings of the Apex Court in respect of concept of Property Tax at Exhibit “L”

13. Extracts of notable observations and rulings of the Apex Court in respect of challenge to Taxing Statutes and Judicial review at Exhibit “M”

14. Extracts of notable observations and rulings of the Apex Court in respect of procedural impropriety at Exhibit “N”

15. Extracts of notable observations and rulings of the Apex Court in respect of limitations on the Taxation powers of Local / municipal bodies at Exhibit “O”

16. Extracts of notable observations and rulings of the Apex Court in respect of Classification Principles laid down at Exhibit “P”

17. Extracts of notable observations and rulings of the Apex Court in respect of Article 14 and arbitrariness in State action at Exhibit “Q”

18. The documents referred and relied upon in the Petition.

19. The documents in the possession of the Respondents, if any.

20. Any other document, with the leave of the Hon’ble Court.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY

ORDINARY ORIGINAL CIVIL JURISDICTION

Rule 4(c) OF THE BOMBAY HIGH COURT

PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION RULES, 2010.]

PIL Petition No.                    / 2013

 

Jashwant B. Mehta                                                    …. Petitioner

Versus

The State of Maharashtra & Ors                            ….Respondents

 

AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT OF THE PETITION

I, Jashwant B. Mehta, the Petitioner, Adult, Aged about 71 years, Hindu, Indian Inhabitant of Mumbai, residing at 203, Walkeshwar Road, Panaroma, Mumbai – 400006, do hereby state on solemnly affirmation as under –

 

  1. I say that I am fully conversant with the facts of the present Petition and I am therefore able to depose to the same. I have filed the above PIL Petition, seeking prayers more particularly mentioned in the Petition.

 

  1. I, for the sake of brevity, repeat and reiterate each and every statement, submissions and contentions made in the Petition as if the same are specifically set out herein and form part and parcel of this affidavit. I affirm and verify the correctness of the each and every statement, submissions and contentions as set out in the Petition.

 

  1. I say that if the reliefs as prayed for in the Petition are not granted, would cause great harm, loss and prejudice to the Society at large. In the circumstances, the reliefs as prayed for in the Petition be granted and the Petition be made absolute with costs.

 

Solemnly declared at Mumbai       )

Dated this       day of April, 2013)

 

 

Identified by me.

 

Jashwant B. Mehta Petitioner – In – Person

Sandeep Jalan

Advocate

Before me

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY

ORDINARY ORIGINAL CIVIL JURISDICTION

Rule 4(c) OF THE BOMBAY HIGH COURT

PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION RULES, 2010.]

PIL Petition No.                    / 2013

 

Jashwant B. Mehta                                                    …. Petitioner

Versus

The State of Maharashtra & Ors                            ….Respondents

 

CERTIFICATE

To,

The Prothonotary & Senior Master

The Hon’ble Bombay High Court,

Mumbai – 400032

 

1.         The Present PIL Petition is filed where there is arbitrary conduct and failure on the part of concerned Municipal authorities to afford opportunity of hearing to the Petitioner and enacting Rules which are in breach of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

 

2.         Therefore this PIL Writ Petition is filed to secure due hearing and to strike down the said Rules, for which this Court has Jurisdiction and therefore be placed before the Division bench as per High Court Rule 636(1)(b).

 

Dated this          day of  April, 2013

 

 

Jashwant B. Mehta Petitioner – In – Person

 

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY

ORDINARY ORIGINAL CIVIL JURISDICTION

Rule 4(c) OF THE BOMBAY HIGH COURT

PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION RULES, 2010.]

PIL Petition No.                    / 2013

 

Jashwant B. Mehta                                                    …. Petitioner

Versus

The State of Maharashtra & Ors                            ….Respondents

 

 

AFFIDAVIT CUM UNDERTAKING

 

 

I, Jashwant B. Mehta, the Petitioner, Adult, Aged about 71 years, Hindu, Indian Inhabitant of Mumbai, residing at 203, Walkeshwar Road, Panaroma, Mumbai – 400006, in compliance to Rule 7 of the Public Interest Litigation Petition, under Clause (e) of Rule 4, undertakes, and do hereby solemnly affirm and say as under –

 

  1. That there is no personal gain, private motive or oblique reason in filing the present Public Interest Litigation
  2. That I will pay costs as ordered by the Court, if it is ultimately held that the petition is frivolous or has been filed for extraneous considerations or that it lacks bona fides.
  3. I will disclose the source of his/its information, leading to the filing of the Public Interest Litigation, if and when called upon by the Court, to do so.

 

Solemnly declared at Bombay                   )

Dated this       day of April, 2013               )

 

Petitioner

Before me

 

 





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