Revenue Recovery; C.K. Chandrasekharan Vs. State [Kerala High Court, 24-06-2016]

Kerala Revenue Recovery Act – Section 50 – Bidding the property on behalf of the Government – Subsequent payment after sale of property – Remitted the tax arrears under the amnesty scheme directly to the Government – Held, Once the sale is confirmed in favour of the Government, the right in respect of the property vests with the Government. The right to get reconveyance arises only if there is a statutory provision which enables such re-conveyance, or by a scheme formulated by the Government, or if there is a contract between the parties for the same. There cannot be any situation where permission should be granted to re-convey the land merely for the reason that the amount has been subsequently remitted by the petitioner under the Amnesty scheme.

Sale of Property


IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM

A.M. SHAFFIQUE, J.

W.P.C.No.8062 of 2010

Dated this the 24th day of June 2016

PETITIONER(S)

C.K. CHANDRASEKHARAN, AGED 68 YEARS, S/O. KRISHNAN, CHERINKAL VEEDU, PATTANCHERRY, CHITTUR TALUK, PALAKKAD DISTRICT. BY ADV. SRI.K.P.BALAGOPAL.

RESPONDENT(S)

1. STATE OF KERALA, REPRESENTED BY THE CHIEF SECRETARY TO GOVERNMENT, SECRETARIAT, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM.

2. THE DISTRICT COLLECTOR, PALAKKAD DISTRICT, CIVIL STATION, PALAKKAD.

3. THE TAHSILDAR, REVENUE RECOVERY, CHITTUR, PALAKKAD.

4. THE COMMERCIAL TAX OFFICER, OFFICE OF THE COMMERCIAL TAX OFFICER, CHITTUR, PALAKKAD.

BY SR. GOVT. PLEADER SRI.LIJU V.STEPHEN.

J U D G M E N T

This writ petition is filed challenging Ext.P5 by which the request of the petitioner to re-convey the ‘bought in land’ has been rejected by the District Collector. Petitioner further seeks for a direction to respondents 1 and 2 to consider re-conveyance of these properties which were purchased by the Government in auction.

2. The facts involved in the writ petition would disclose that the petitioner was an assessee under the

Kerala General Sales Tax Act

(hereinafter referred to as ‘the Act’). His taxable turn over for the years 1995-96 and 1996-97 was estimated and an assessment order was passed, which was confirmed in appeal. The matter was again taken up before the Tribunal who also confirmed the order of the 1 st appellate authority. Petitioner preferred revision before the High Court and the matter was remitted back to the Tribunal. The Tribunal, by order dated 06/11/2008, allowed the appeal with certain observations. It is stated that during the pendency of the appeal, revenue recovery proceedings were taken for recovery of tax dues and the property of the petitioner was sold in auction on 15/12/2006. Since there were no bidders, the Government purchased the property as bought-in-land. The property was having an extent of 41.11 Ares in Survey No.561/2, 18.40 Ares in Survey No.560/9 and 4.65 Ares in Survey No.550/17. The sale was confirmed on 26/11/2007. It is submitted that pursuant to the order passed by the Tribunal, assessment orders were passed and the petitioner remitted the amount under the amnesty scheme on 15/01/2009 as evident from Ext.P3 receipt. Petitioner thereafter submitted Ext.P4 representation before the District Collector seeking re-conveyance of his properties. A reply was sent by the District Collector as Ext.P5, that re-conveyance of property sold in auction/bought-inland is not contemplated in the Kerala Finance Act, 2008 and therefore the said request cannot be considered. Petitioner submitted further reply as Ext.P6 on 30/10/2009 requesting for reconveyance. But since no action has been taken in the matter, this writ petition is filed.

3. In the Counter affidavit filed, it is stated that revenue recovery proceedings were initiated against the petitioner for realization of Rs.64,74,883/- towards sales tax dues. Since the defaulter did not remit the dues, revenue recovery proceedings were taken. When such proceedings were taken and the properties were proclaimed for sale, petitioner approached this Court by filing WP(C) No. 18805/2006. Stay was granted on the petitioner remitting Rs.5 lakhs within two weeks. Petitioner did not comply with the said condition. Therefore the property was again put up for auction sale on 23/08/2006 and the same was adjourned several times and finally on 15/12/2006, since there were no bidders, the property was bid in favour of the Government and taken as ‘bought-in-land’. The sale was confirmed on 26/11/2007. Subsequently the requisitioning authority had withdrawn the revenue recovery proceedings since the petitioner remitted the tax arrears under the amnesty scheme directly to the Government. It is also contended that the amnesty scheme does not provide re-conveyance of the land already sold under the Revenue Recovery Act.

4. Heard the learned counsel for the petitioner and the learned Government Pleader appearing on behalf of the respondents.

5. Kerala Revenue Recovery Act is an Act promulgated for the purpose of recovery of arrears of public revenue in the State of Kerala. KGST Act also provides for a provision by way of Section 23(2)(a) that the amount due under the Act can be recovered as a public revenue due on land. Specific provision is provided under the Act for bidding the property on behalf of the Government, by virtue of Section 50, which reads as under:

50. Bidding on behalf of Government

(1) When an immovable property is put up for sale at the time and place specified in the notice under clause (2) of Section 49 for the recovery of arrears of public revenue due on land, if there be no bid or if the highest bid be insufficient to cover the said arrears and those subsequently accruing due. upto the date of sale, together with interest and cost of process, the officer conducting the sale shall postpone the sale to another date which shall not be later than sixty days from the date of the first sale and give notice of the subsequent sale as required under clause (4) of Section 49.

(2) When the property is put up for sale on the date to which it was postponed under sub-section (1) at the time and place specified in the notice,-

(i) if there be no bid, the officer conducting the sale may purchase the property on behalf of the Government for an amount of ten paise;

(ii) if the highest bid be insufficient to cover the arrears referred to in sub-section (1) and those subsequently accruing due upto the date of the sale and interest and cost of process, such officer may bid on behalf of the Government for an amount higher than such bid by ten paise, and in either case the Government shall acquire the property subject to the provisions of this Act.

(3) The provisions of clause (3) of Section 49 and Section 84 shall not apply to cases where immovable property is purchased on behalf of the Government under this section.

(4) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, after the confirmation of the sale, all the right, title and interest of the defaulter, purchased on behalf of the Government, shall be deemed to have vested in the Government from the date of purchase and if the defaulter is in actual possession of the property or if he is entitled to possession, the Collector or the authorised officer shall, immediately after the confirmation of the sale, take possession of the property. If the Collector or the authorised officer is opposed or impeded in taking possession, he shall, if a Magistrate, enforce the surrender of the land to himself and, if not a Magistrate, he shall apply to a Magistrate, and such Magistrate shall enforce the surrender of the land to the Collector or the authorised officer as the case may be.”

6. The settled position of law is that once the sale is confirmed in favour of the Government, the right in respect of the property vests with the Government. The right to get reconveyance arises only if there is a statutory provision which enables such re-conveyance, or by a scheme formulated by the Government, or if there is a contract between the parties for the same. In