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Bombay HC: Collector has No Power to Revise Stamp Duty Once it’s Already Been Levied & Paid

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Stamp Duty Law Insider

Aastha Thakur

Published on: 08 August 2022 at 19:40 IST

The Bombay HC ruled that the Collector of Stamps under the Maharashtra Stamp Act cannot revise stamp duty once it has been levied and paid. The Court set aside notices stating that the petitioner has defaulted on stamp duty for a deed of assignment.

Another show cause notice was also set aside by the court seeking reason why the petitioner’s properties shouldn’t be attached for non-payment of the alleged outstanding amount of more than Rs. 1 Crore.

Sitting Judge Justice Bharati Dangre reasoned that, “In the scheme of the enactment, once the Collector certifies an endorsement on the document depicting payment of full duty, then adjudication becomes effective and final and, it is not open for him to reopen the said adjudication.”

In 2009, Vasudev Babayya Kamat had gave his legal lease rights, title and interest in 1 acre plot at Mouje Oshiwara to Sukoon Constructions Pvt. (the petititoner). The petitioner in exchange of land rights and ownership paid the stamp duty of over amount of Rs. 30 lakhs on this deed of assignment as determined by the Collector, back in 2010.

In Dec 2013, notice was issued by the Collector of Stamps stating that the deed was inadequately stamped, as per the audit office. In 2019, the petitioner again received 2 demand notice demanding the stamp duty of over Rs. 26 lakhs and another was regarding the fine to be paid of amount Rs. 74 lakhs.

The petitioner challenged these demand notices and the show-cause notices issued before the Bombay HC.

The counsel for petitioner contended that the Collector acted in violation of principled of natural justice as no opportunity was given to give explanation. Relying on Guruashish Construction Pvt. Ltd. v. Collector of Stamps it was submitted that as the endorsement is revised within the limitation period of 6 years as per the Section 53-A of the Maharashtra Stamps Act. Therefore, the revision of stamp duty is ex-facie illegal and without jurisdiction of the Collector.

The Court stated that, “the Collector could not have revised the stamp duty upon the Deed of Assignment, when he has already once levied the stamp duty and endorsed a certificate to that effect on the Deed and, based on which the stamp duty was also paid by the petitioner.”

It was further added that, “Collector has acted beyond his authorized powers as the stamp duty was not properly levy on and since he had become functus officio, he has no authority to exercise the power of revising the duty, as this power is solely vested with the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority under Section 53-A of the Stamp Act.”

Agreeing with the petitioner counsel contention, the Court set aside the show cause notice and the demand notice issued to the petitioner.