No property tax on renting Dharamshala for marriages: Punjab High Court.
The Punjab High Court, on 13th February, 2023, in Shri Daulat Ram Khan v/s State of Haryana and others (CWP-5348-2007 (O&M), held that Dharamshala that are rented at a nominal rate for the purpose of marriages shall not be charged with property tax. The judgement was presided by Honourable Ms. Justice Ritu Bahri and Honourable Mrs. Justice Manisha Batra.
FACTS OF THE CASE:
The petitioner sough the writ of certiorari against order of auction. The tax on lands and buildings of the petitioner was assessed, and the assessed was served with a notice of demand, including arrears in the prescribed form. The Joint Commissioner, exercising the power of Commissioner under 401(2) of Haryana Municipal Act, 1994 ordered the attachment of Khan Daulat Dharamshala and other buildings constructed thereon. It was held by the Department that the petitioner was making use of the Dharamshala and charging money for marriages. However, the petitioner had not rented the building for profit making or for other commercial functions. The learned counsel for the petitioner referred the judgement given in Digamber Jain Society for Child Welfare (Registered), Faridabad and another v/s State of Haryana. Here, the Court had ruled that “all buildings and land or portions thereof used exclusively for educational purposes where fees at rates prescribed by Government or equivalent to Government school are charges were exempted from payment of house tax.”
The Court held that by using the Dharamshala for conducting marriages, it serves as an extension to the further services of the community and does not amount to any commercial activity. Instead, private institutions which makes marriages profitable and run businesses around the tradition would constitute as a commercial activity for conducting marriages.
The Court held that if at nominal rate, Dharamshala is provided for the purpose of marriage, then it will be exempted from property tax.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY ARYA THAKUR.