Delhi Govt Can’t Fix Circle Rates Without LG's Approval: SC
The Delhi government had the power to fix the circle rates of agricultural land, but it must seek concurrence of the Lieutenant Governor (LG), the Supreme Court said on February 14. The decision on circle rate could not be implemented without referring it to the LG by the Council of Ministers, the top court said.
It said that the LG was not expected to differ routinely with the decision of council of minister, and "difference should be on cogent and strong reasons".
Deciding on six issues pertaining to a long-running feud between Central and national capital governments, the SC said that circle rates were fixed for the purpose of payment of stamp duty and, therefore, it did not pertain to right over land.
It unanimously upheld the view of the Delhi High Court that the contentious notification dated August 4, 2015 for revising circle rates in national capital was issued under the provisions of Indian Stamp Act and Delhi Stamp (Prevention of Under-Valuation of Instruments) Rules, 2007.
"Circle rates are fixed for the purpose of payment of stamp duty. Therefore, they do not pertain to land namely rights in or over land, land tenures etc., or transfer of alienation of agricultural land etc. Stamp duty is not a duty on instrument but it is in reality a duty on transfer of property," it said.
The SC said that the said decision cannot be implemented without referring the same to the LG in the first instance.
"More pertinently, the decision here touches upon the governance of the UT. Therefore, we agree with the conclusion of the High Court that views of LG should have been taken before issuing circular dated August 4, 2015," It said.
The court said that in case of any contingencies where the LG and his ministers might differ, the former is supposed to refer the matter to the President. "It means that final say, in case of different between the LG and the Council of Ministers, is that of the President," it said.
With inputs from Housing News