Pricol Packaging Limited vs The District Revenue Officer ...

on 29 September, 2009

Madras High Court Madras High Court Pricol Packaging Limited vs The District Revenue Officer ... on 29 September, 2009 DATED: 29.9.2009 CORAM: THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE P.JYOTHIMANI W.P.No.2076 of 2009 Pricol Packaging Limited rep. by its Authorised Signatory M.Haja Moideen 702/7 (Old No.1087A) Avinashi Road Coimbatore Vs. 1. The District Revenue Officer (Stamps) Coimbatore. 2. The Sub Registrar Registration Department Mettupalayam. 3. The Tahsildar Tahsildar's Office Mettupalayam. .. Respondents PRAYER: Petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for issue of a writ of Certiorari to call for the records of the first respondent in his proceedings bearing M.P.No.871/M/2008, dated 7.11.2008 and quash the same. For Petitioner : Ms.P.T.Asha for M/s.Sarvabhauman Associates For Respondents : Mr.V.Arun Additional Government Pleader ORDER
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641 037 .. Petitioner

Pricol Packaging Limited vs The District Revenue Officer ... on 29 September, 2009

The writ petition is directed against the order of the first respondent District Revenue Officer (Stamps), Coimbatore dated 7.11.2008. By the impugned order, the first respondent has directed the petitioner to pay deficit stamp duty of Rs.11,49,272/-. 2.1. The petitioner-Company has purchased the lands comprised in Survey Nos.161/1 (1.07.= Acres), 166/2 (0.57 Acres), 166/3 (0.47 Acres), 166/4 (0.60.= Acres) and 177/2 (1.41 Acres) of a total extent of 4.13 Acres at Jadayampalayam Village, Mettupalayam from its previous owner, M/s.Prime Agri Solutions (India) Limited together with a tiled roof building and 4/6th share in the well and motor pump set thereon for a consideration of Rs.33,20,000/- under a sale deed executed on 10.3.2008. 2.2. The second respondent, before whom the document was produced for registration on 10.3.2008, has registered the document as document No.2830 of 2008. However, the matter was referred to the Special Tahsildar (Stamps), Coimbatore for an enquiry regarding the valuation, claiming a deficit stamp duty of Rs.20,99,800/-. 2.3. According to the petitioner, there was an enquiry called for to be conducted on 13.5.2008 without denoting the place. On 16.7.2008, the petitioner received a notice from the Assistant Executive Engineer, Madurai regarding inspection and an inspection was effected on 21.7.2008 on the basis of a direction given by the first respondent dated 19.6.2008. The grievance of the petitioner is that the letter of the first respondent dated 19.6.2008 has not been served on the petitioner. The second respondent has given details about the inspection report of the Assistant Executive Engineer, Madurai dated 23.7.2008 and directed the petitioner to pay Rs.20,99,800/- as deficit stamp duty. 2.4. The case of the petitioner is that the inspection was not properly done and requested a fresh inspection by the first respondent. It was thereafter, under the impugned order dated 7.11.2008, the stamp duty of Rs.14,14,872/- was arrived at and after deducting the stamp duty already paid, an amount of Rs.11,49,272/- was directed to be paid. 2.5. It is the complaint of the petitioner that even though the impugned order refers about Form-I notice dated 12.5.2008 and undated Form-II notice, these notices have not been received by the petitioner and according to the petitioner the respondents have not followed the procedure contemplated under Section 47-A of the Indian Stamp Act (for brevity, "the Act") and the Tamil Nadu Stamp (Prevention of under valuation of instruments) Rules, 1968 (for brevity, "the Rules"). 3. Ms.P.T.Asha, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner submits that even though inspection was done by the Assistant Executive Engineer, Madurai, Form-I and Form-II notices have not been served on the petitioner and the only the inspection report was admittedly served on the petitioner. The case of the petitioner is that the enquiry has not been properly done and apart from the impugned notice there was no communication received by the petitioner at all and therefore, according to her, the enquiry is vitiated since the provisions of the Act and the Rules have not been followed. She would rely upon the judgment of this Court in Tata Coffee Limited v. The State of Tamil Nadu and others, 2008-3-LW-286. 4. On the other hand, it is the contention of the learned Additional Government Pleader that the Assistant Executive Engineer, Madurai has in fact conducted inspection in the presence of the representative of the petitioner-company, after giving notice to the petitioner, and all the requirements under the Act as well as the Rules have been followed. He has also produced the original file. 5.1. A reference to the impugned order shows that when proceedings under Section 47-A of the Act were initiated, Form-I notice dated 12.5.2008 was stated to have been issued calling for objections, for which the petitioner has given its objection stating that the land purchased was agricultural land and the guideline value was followed for the purpose of payment of stamp duty and that the market value is less than the guideline value and therefore, requested for a fresh enquiry. 5.2. The impugned order also shows that, after the objection was received, a spot inspection was conducted on 22.10.2008 by the Special Tahsildar (Stamps), Coimbatore in the presence of the representative of the petitioner-company. 5.3. The impugned order also shows that there is an industrial building near the property and in fact the Assistant Executive Engineer, Madurai has assessed the value and as per the records of the Sub Registrar, the deficit stamp duty of Rs.20,99,800/- was to be collected. However, since major portions surrounding the land are agricultural lands, the value fixed by the second respondent was not taken into consideration by the first respondent and on enquiry it was found that the agricultural lands were sold at the rate of Rs.25 Lakhs per acre. However, the persons who gave statements have failed to give written statements and taking note of the said fact, the first respondent has fixed the rate of the land at Rs.25 Lakhs per acre and on that basis directed the above said amount to be paid. 5.4. The order of the first respondent also
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Pricol Packaging Limited vs The District Revenue Officer ... on 29 September, 2009

shows that if the petitioner desires to file an appeal, the same can be done as per Section 47-A(5) of the Act. 6. A reference to the file produced by the respondent shows that the notice under Form-I, which is as per Rule 4 of the Rules, dated 12.5.2008 has been sent by registered post to both the petitioner as well as the vendor and the same has been received in the office of the petitioner with the office seal on 17.5.2008 as it is evidenced by the acknowledgement received by the first respondent on 21.5.2008. This is certainly a service within the terms of Rule 15 of the above said Rules. 7. It is in response to the said communication in Form-I, the petitioner has, in fact, sent a reply containing no date, however stated to have been received in the office of the first respondent on 30.7.2008, as it is found in the seal of the first respondent on the said letter of the petitioner. The only objection raised by the petitioner under the said letter is that "We have paid stamp duty of 2,65,600/- on stamp paper but the Sub Registrar-Mettupalayam has raised a demand for an additional stamp duty of Rs.20,99,800/- based on the guideline value for respective survey nos. All the above mentioned lands are adjoining to each other but there is a huge variation in the guideline value and market value in much lower than the guideline value. Hence we request you to inspect the property to arrive at the valuation of the property for the purpose of computing stamp duty.". 8. It is pursuant to the said objection raised by the petitioner, the Special Tahsildar (Stamps), Coimbatore has conducted a spot inspection on 22.10.2008, as it is seen in the inspection report. The said report shows that, during the inspection, the representatives of the petitioner-company were present. The Special Tahsildar (Stamps), Coimbatore has fixed the value at the rate of Rs.25 Lakhs per acre and accepting the same, the first respondent has fixed the market value at Rs.25 Lakhs per acre. A reference to the report shows that a spot inspection was conducted in the presence of the representatives of the petitioner-company and enquiry was made to ascertain the value. The persons who participated in the enquiry have given statements, but failed to give written statements and based on their submission the valuation has been arrived at by the first respondent. 9. The said provisional order having been fixed, notice in Form-II, as per the requirement of Rule 6 of the Rules, has been issued by the first respondent on 22.10.2008 along with the said copy of the provisional order of the first respondent dated 22.10.2008 and a reference to the file shows that in fact the representative of the petitioner one Haja Moideen has received the order under his signature. It was thereafter the final order came to be passed as per Rule 7 of the Rules by first respondent under the impugned order dated 7.11.2008. It is relevant to point out that the impugned order itself has been received by the same person Mr.Haja Moideen under his signature on 8.11.2008, based on which the present writ petition has been filed. 10. The original file which has been produced in this case clearly shows that both Form-I and Form-II notices along with the provisional order passed by the first respondent have been served on the representative of the petitioner-company, viz., Form-I notice having been served by registered post, Form-II having been received by the representative of the petitioner-company, who has in fact received the impugned order also, based on which the writ petition has been filed. Therefore, it is not possible to accept the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner that notices in Form-I and Form-II have not been served at all. 11. In such factual situation, as it is seen in the file and having found that the Rules have been followed while conducting the enquiry under Section 47-A(1) of the Act, I do not see any reason to interfere with the impugned order. 12. This Court in Tata Coffee Limited v. The State of Tamil Nadu and others, 2008-3-LW-286 has held that while serving Form-I or Form-II notice and impugned order, the provisions of Rule 15 of the Rules have to be followed and if the same is not followed it should be presumed that enquiry contemplated under Section 47-A of the Act has not been properly done. The ratio laid down in the above said judgment has no application to the facts and circumstances of the present case, since, on record, it is clear that the procedure contemplated as per the Rules has been followed.
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Pricol Packaging Limited vs The District Revenue Officer ... on 29 September, 2009

13. The impugned order also shows that if the deficit stamp duty is not paid, the petitioner is liable to pay interest at the rate of 2% per month which is as per Section 47-A(4) of the Act. 14. It is also further relevant to point out that the petitioner is having a right of appeal under Section 47-A(5) of the Act to the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority and such appeal has to be filed within two months from the date of receipt of the Collector's order. The petitioner without exhausting the appellate remedy available has approached this Court by filing the present writ petition which is not maintainable since there is an effective alternate remedy available under the Act. In such circumstances, there is absolutely no merit in the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner. The writ petition fails and the same is dismissed. No costs. Consequently, M.P.Nos.1 and 2 of 2009 are closed. sasi To: 1. The District Revenue Officer (Stamps) Coimbatore. 2. The Sub Registrar Registration Department Mettupalayam. 3. The Tahsildar Tahsildar's Office Mettupalayam

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