Court issues notice against imposition of property tax in J-K

Property Tax

SRINAGAR — The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has issued notices to the Government of India and the Government of Jammu and Kashmir in a plea challenging the constitutionality of the imposition of property tax in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The legality of the imposition of the property tax was challenged by a local petitioner, stating that Section 96 of the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 which was invoked to issue the J&K Reorganization (Adaptation of State Laws) Third Order, 2020 and amend the J&K Municipal Corporation Act, 2000 for levy of property tax, suffers from the vice of excessive delegation.

The petitioner, while filing the plea, filed through Advocate Taha Khalil states, “The words “amendment” and “repeal” have been incorporated in the section implying the designation and devolvement of essential legislative functions upon executive limb of the government. The power to amend and or repeal any existing law is a policy decision which, in a democratic setup, is only exercised through a body of elected representatives, therefore, the vesting of powers to amend and or repeal laws with the Executive authorities is a bizarre precedence of usurping the power, authority and jurisdiction of the legislative assembly of Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.”

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The plea states that such excessive delegation violates Articles 14, 21, 246, 265, 300A, Schedule VII, Doctrine of Federalism and other express provisions of the Constitution.

The petitioner further argues that the imposition of property tax, without proper legislation and public consultation, violates Article 265 of the Constitution of India. “The haste and malice on the part of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir goes against established legislative practice,” he adds.

Furthermore, it is contended that the imposition of property tax on the petitioner is in violation of Article 300A of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to acquire and enjoy property. The petitioner argues that the imposition of property tax deprives them of their right to the enjoyment of their property and, as a result, violates their right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.

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In view of the said grounds, the petitioner has urged the Court to quash the impugned orders and issue any other appropriate direction for protecting the constitutional provisions and the doctrine of federalism.

The matter is now listed for the next hearing on July 24 this year.

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