The Allahabad High Court on Friday stayed the recovery of stamp duty,subject to a deposit of Rs 30 lakh,from former law minister Shanti Bhushan in connection with the alleged stamp duty evasion in the purchase of a bungalow. Bhushan will have to deposit the amount within a month.
A single-judge bench of Justice Sunil Hali passed the order as it took up the plea of Bhushan against the orders passed by the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority (CCRA),Board of Revenue,and that of the Assistant Commissioner (Stamp) in connection with the alleged stamp duty evasion by him in purchase of the bungalow located on Elgin Road in the posh Civil Lines area.
On January 6,the Assistant Commissioner (Stamp) found Bhushan guilty of evading stamp duty and slapped a fine of Rs 27 lakh. In addition,Bhushan was asked to pay the difference of Rs 1.32 crore,along with interest. Bhushan had approached the CCRA in appeal against the order passed by the Assistant Commissioner.
Earlier this month,on October 8,the CCRA rejected Bhushans appeal and ordered that the recovery be made from him. Subsequently,he approached the high court.
Anurag Khanna,counsel for Bhushan,said: We appealed in the high court against both orders. Our main argument is that the purchase agreement for the bungalow was registered in 1966,while the norms related to circle rates came in 1969. Hence,the circle rates could not be applied with retrospective effect.
In his order,Assistant Commissioner (Stamp) had said Bhushan had paid Rs 46,700 towards stamp duty for purchase of the bungalow,measuring around 7,818 square metres,for Rs 1 lakh. However,the registry of the property was executed in November 2010 and the actual property rate at that point was much higher than Rs 1 lakh as claimed,the Assistant Commissioner (Stamp) had said.
According to him,the stamp duty was to be evaluated as per the date on which the two parties came for registry and not the date of agreement to purchase. Bhushans contention was that stamp duty should be calculated as per the norms existing when the sale agreement was finalised.