“Land Valuation Dispute: Allahabad High Court Upholds Collector’s Decision on Fair Market Value Despite Petitioners’ Challenge”

Case Title: Saurabha Srivastava And 2 Ors v. State Of U.P. Thru. Secy. Revenue Deptt. Lko. And 4 Ors.

Case No: WRIT – C No. – 12 of 2024

Decided on: 9th January, 2024

CORAM: Hon’ble Abdul Moin, J.


Facts of the Case

The petitioners have filed this writ suit seeking relief from the Collector of Gonda’s and the Additional Commissioner (Administrative-II) of Devipatan Mandal Gonda’s orders dated 20-07-2022 and 6-7-2023, respectively. The contested orders were issued in response to an inspection report that revealed that the petitioners, who had bought agricultural property in Durgaganj, Tehsil Tarabganj, District Gonda, had engaged in planning, road building, and electrical pole installation. After determining the market value under the U.P. Stamp (Valuation of Property) Rules, 1997, the authorities imposed extra stamp duty, registration fees, and fines. Dissatisfied with the decisions, the petitioners filed an unsuccessful appeal, resulting in the current writ petition.

The petitioners contend that the authorities overpriced the land based on its potential use, notwithstanding the fact that the examination occurred after the sale transaction was executed. They argue that the government should have valued the land based on its present use rather than speculating on its possible future use. The respondents, represented by Sri Vikram Soni, contend that the Full Bench decision in Smt. Pushpa Sareen vs. State of U.P. and others supports their view that the Collector can take into account the possible use of the land at the time of execution. Furthermore, they claim that the value is in accordance with the U.P. Stamp (Valuation of Property) Rules, 1997.

After hearing the arguments, the court dismisses the petitioners’ claims, noting that the inspection took place within a reasonable period after the sale deed and that the Collector’s judgement of fair market value is supported by the regulations. The writ petition is dismissed, and the challenged orders are upheld.

Legal Provisions

The legal issues at issue in this case are essentially the U.P. Stamp Act of 1899 and the U.P. Stamp (Valuation of Property) Rules of 1997. The petitioner disputes the impugned orders concerning the imposition of stamp duty and penalty on the acquisition of a parcel of land. The Collector commenced proceedings under Section 47-A of the U.P. Stamp Act, 1899, based on an inspection report suggesting unauthorised planning and building on the disputed land. The petitioner claims that the valuation was incorrectly based on future use and disputes the evaluation in accordance with the Rules of 1997.


The dispute involves the interpretation and execution of Section 47-A of the U.P. Stamp Act, especially the Collector’s power to establish the market value of the property. The issue is whether the Collector can consider the land’s probable future use in determining its fair market value. The case also looks into the significance of circle rates and their influence on market value determination. The petitioner challenges the authorities’ assessment technique, while the respondents use a Full Bench decision (Smt. Pushpa Sareen vs. State of U.P. and others – 2015 (3) ADJ 136) to buttress their stance on the Collector’s discretion in determining possible land use.

Courts analysis and decision

The writ suit was filed in response to orders issued by the Learned Collector Gonda and Additional Commissioner (Administrative-II) Devipatan Mandal Gonda on 20-07-2022 and 6-7-2023, respectively. The petitioners had acquired agricultural property, and an investigation indicated planning activities on the site, prompting actions under Section 47-A of the Indian Stamp Act of 1899. The competent authorities judged the fair market value to be Rs.3900 per square metre, with stamp duty, penalty and registration costs imposed. The petitioners claimed that an excessive sum was paid during the transaction and that the valuation was dependent on future land usage. The court, citing a Full Bench decision, found that the Collector’s power extends beyond present usage to prospective future use, and that an inspection done close to the sale justified the assessment. The court also dismissed the circle rate argument, citing the Collector’s jurisdiction to assess market value based on significant facts.

In the end, the writ petition was dismissed, with the Collector’s value upheld and the grounds on excess payment, prospective usage, and circle rate rejected. The court found no grounds for intervention, upholding the decision of the competent authorities in assessing the fair market value of the land.


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Written by- Aastha Ganesh Tiwari

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