Panchayat:Repo18/Law Manual Page0270

(i) buildings if the owner thereof belongs to below poverty line and used as his own dwelling house and having a plinth area of less than thirty square metres;

(j) residential buildings constructed and given free of cost by Government or Quasi-Government Institutions or Local Self Government Institutions as part of welfare activities;

Explanation.— The exemption granted under sub-section (1) shall not extend to buildings for which rent is realised by the owners and to residential houses not being hostels attached to educational institutions and to residential houses attached to libraries.

(2) The Government and with the permission of the Government, the Village Panchayat may exempt wholly or in part any class of buildings under the ownership of any person, from the payment of tax, cess or duty under the provisions of this Act].

NOTES

Buildings and hostels used for the purpose of education and stay and owned or financed by Government; and owned by private Management of Self financing Educational Institutions cannot be treated alike. Hence, those buildings owned by private Management cannot be granted exemption from property tax. Exemption is a privilege granted to the public money and it can be said that buildings and hostels constructed and maintained by using public money is exempted from payment of property tax and the people, as a whole, is the beneficiary of this exemption. If property tax is imposed on buildings and hostels owned by the Government, that amount also will be taken from the public fund. More importantly, exemption is given to the institutions, functioning under the administrative control of the Government and to which Governmental auditing of funds and expenditure is made compulsory; whereas, the case of self - financing institutions, such control and auditing of funds are absent. – Sreenaravana Gurukulam College of Engineering, Kolenchery v. State of Kerala and Another - 2016 (4) KHC 482. [Bondu Ramaswamy v. Bangalore Development Authority, 2010 KHC 4317; Deepak Sibal v. Punjab University, 1989 KHC 841; Kan Singh etc., v. State Transport Appellate Tribunal and Others, 1987 KHC 802; Mediwell Hospital and Healthy Care Pvt. Ltd. v. Union of India, 1997 KHC 684; Mohammed Shejat Ali v. State of A. P., 1975 KHC 648; Royappa v. State of Tamil Nadu, 1974 KHC 725; T. Devadasan v. Union of India, 1964 KHC 422; Venugopala Ravi Varma Rajah v. Union of India, 1969 KHC 233; W. B. Hosiery Association v. State of Bihar, 1988 KHC 687; Referred to]

Use of the building determines the tax, rather than the tax determining the use of the building; the property having been validity put to public worship is a condition precedent, rather than a condition subsequent. In the totality of circumstances, it is very evident that conversion of the building for tax purpose would not ipso facto result in change of user. In the light of the statutory stipulation, which has already been extracted and adverted to, it is beyond the shadow of doubt that the respondent ought not to have used the building for religious purposes until it has been properly converted for the said purpose through a process known to law. The proviso to R.5(6B) extracted above makes it manifestly clear that in case of development or redevelopment of any property for religious purpose or worship, prior approval or clearance or permission and concurrence as the case may be of the District Collector concerned shall be obtained. It also further mandates that the conditions stipulated in the Manual of Guidelines to Prevent and Control Communal Disturbances and to promote Communal Harmony, which is in force, have to be complied with. When R.5(6B) of the Rules is read in conjunction with the Manual of Guidelines to Prevent and Control Communal Disturbances and to promote Communal Harmony, the conclusion is inescapable that the respondents cannot carry on any religious activity in a structure exclusively authorised for secular purpose. - Islahul Muslimeen Jama-ath, Karunagappally v. Karunagappally Grama Panchayat and Others - 2015 (2) KHC 686 : 2015 (2) KLT 259 : 2015 (2) KLJ 541 : ILR 2015 (2) Ker. 635. The case law pertains to S. 235 of the Kerala Municipality Act, 1994. The identical provisior applicable to the Kerala Panchayat Raj Act, 1994 is S. 207].

Though the exemption from property tax contemplated under S.101 of the erstwhile Municipalities Act and S.235 of the present Municipalities Act are with reference to the nature of use of building, there is marked difference in these provisions in the matter of exemption. While the erstwhile Act provided for exemption from property tax on the sole consideration of the user of the building for educational purposes; under the present Act. to become entitled for such exemption the building should be one owned and occupied by an educational institution recognised by the Government or registered with the Municipality