2003(2) ALL MR 185
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY(NAGPUR BENCH)
R.S. MOHITE, J.
Manikgarh Cement Vs. The State Of Maharashtra & Ors.
Writ Petition No.2 of 1989
26th November, 2002
Petitioner Counsel: S/Shri SUNIL MANOHAR , AKSHAY NAIK
Respondent Counsel: Shri. A.S. SONARE
Maharashtra Land Revenue Code (1966), Ss.110, 114 - Land revenue on non-agricultural land - Fixation of non-agricultural assessment - Land notified to be urban from 5-5-1988 and assessment rate has to be fixed in terms of S.114 - For period earlier to date of notification assessment has to be based on market value - Rate fixed for earlier period arbitrary and not decided in terms of S.110 - Matter remanded for decision on basis of market value. (Paras 6,7)
2. The present writ petition impugns and seeks to quash the orders dated 30.12.1985 passed by the Sub-Divisional Officer, Rajura, in Revenue Case No.6/NAP-34/84-85 and further order dated 23.10.1986 passed by the Resident Deputy Collector, Chandrapur in Revenue Appeal No.67/NAP-34/85-86 and the order dated 29.11.1988 passed by the Additional Commissioner, Nagpur Division, Nagpur, in Appeal No.NAP/34/Gadchandur-5/1986-87.
(a) The petitioner company is in the business of manufacture of Cement. It has lands situated in Village Gadchandur, Ta. Rajura, District - Chandrapur.
(b) On 4.2.1985, the Sub-Divisional Officer, Rajura, issued an order under Section 110 of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, fixing the nonagricultural assessment in respect of lands owned by the company at Rs.0.75 paise per square meter for industrial land and 0.50 paise per square meter for residential land.
(c) On 30.12.1985, the same Sub-Divisional Officer, purporting to review his earlier order in view of the audit objection raised by the Government Auditor, fixed the fresh nonagricultural assessment at one paise per square meter in respect of both categories of land.
(d) On 23.10.1986, an appeal filed by the petitioner company under Section 247 of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code came to be rejected by the Resident Deputy Collector, Chandrapur.
(e) On 6.8.1987, the Village Gadchandur was categorised as an urban area and the said categorisation was notified in the Maharashtra Government Gazette dated 5.5.1988.
(f) On 29.11.1988, the Second Appeal under Maharashtra Land Revenue Code filed by the petitioner company came to be dismissed by the Additional Commissioner, Nagpur Division, Nagpur. However, while dismissing the appeal, notwithstanding the fact that no appeal has been filed by the Government, he doubled the rate of nonagricultural assessment and fixed the same at two paise per square meter in respect of both categories of lands.
(g) On 2.1.1989, the present writ petition has been filed impugning the aforesaid judgments as stated hereinabove.
(i) That, under Section 110(2) of the Act, the nonagricultural assessment is required to be fixed on the basis of the market rate. In the order dated 30.12.1985 as well as the subsequent order impugned in this petition, there was no reference made whatsoever to the market rate hence the assessment is arbitrary.
(ii) That in any case, the Commissioner could not have doubled the nonagricultural assessment rate at two paise per square meter because there was no appeal filed by the Government for enhancement of the rate of the nonagricultural assessment. That in any case, rate was enhanced to two paise per square meter not on the basis of actual market value, as required by Section 110(2) of the Code but was based on an untenable assumption that because the land was declared to be an urban area in 1987, the infrastructural development of the land in the year 1984 could not have been much different.
5. On behalf of the respondents, the learned Assistant Government Pleader sought to counter these arguments by stating that with effect from 5.5.1988, Gadchandur village had been notified to be an urban area and that the standard rate of nonagricultural assessment had been fixed @ six paise per square meter with effect from this date. It was his contention that if the rate was six paisa per square meter in the year 1988, the rate of two paise per square meter fixed by the Additional Commissioner prior to 5.5.1988, could not be said to be arbitrary.
6. I have heard both parties. We are concerned with the fixation of nonagricultural assessment under Section 110 of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, till 5.5.1988 i.e. the date on which the land was notified to be an urban area. There is no dispute that from 5.5.1988, the land will have to be assessed on the basis of urban area in accordance with Section 114 of the Code. So far as the period prior upto 5.5.1988 is concerned, the assessment would have to be on the footing that the area was non urban area and on the basis of principles contained in Section 110 of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code. The only criterion prescribed by Section 110 for fixation of nonagricultural assessment is the market value. I find that in none of the impugned orders, there is any attempt to discuss the market value of the land in question. The fixation made by the Sub-Divisional Officer, Rajura, was completely arbitrary. The Resident Deputy Collector, Chandrapur, in his order dated 23.10.1986 has proceeded to increase the nonagricultural assessment on erroneous footing that the nonagricultural assessment cannot be a fraction of one paise. He has arrived at this conclusion by completely ignoring the fact that section 110 of the Code provides a minimum standard which could obviously be less than one paise or two paise as provided in Section 110 of the Code. The Additional Commissioner has proceeded on a completely different footing. In an second appeal filed by the petitioner, the nonagricultural assessment has been increased from one paise per square meter to two paise per square meter on the footing that the land had been declared as urban area in 1988 and, therefore, according to him, the position of infrastructure as regards this land could not have been much different in 1984. This argument was based on surmises and not on facts. He has also not given by finding as to what could have been the market value of the land.
7. In the circumstances, I am inclined to allow this writ petition and remand the matter back to the Sub Divisional Officer, Rajura, with the direction to redetermine the nonagricultural assessment from the date of conversion of land into nonagricultural till 5.5.1988, after making enquiry as regards the market value of the land obtaining during the relevant years and basing the assessment on such market value. It is clarified that the Sub-Divisional Officer will be at liberty to pass an order relating to adjustment of the amounts already paid, if he finds it necessary to do so.