The Bombay High Court on Wednesday set aside a demand made by the Collector of Mumbai for arrears of land revenue to the tune of Rs 4.40 crore from a residential housing society of former judges of the High Court.
The court in its order noted that the state government, considering the request made by the Samata Cooperative Housing Society, allotted a plot of land in South Mumbai near Mantralaya to the society. On January 21, 1990, the government communicated its decision to fix the valuation of the land leased to the society at a rate of Rs 1,050 per sqm and to fix the rate of lease rent at 6.5 per cent of market value as determined by the government.
When a PIL challenged the allotment of the land to the society, the court passed an order in August 1990 setting aside the reduction allowed by the state government in lease rent from 8 per cent to 6.5 per cent of market value.
The matter went up to the Supreme Court, which upheld the High Court order and further granted liberty to the society to apply to the government afresh for reconsideration of the original rent fixation.
On November 25, 2016, the then Collector of Mumbai issued a demand notice claiming separate rent for commercial usage of the plot, claiming a sum of Rs 4.40 crore for the period between October 1, 1989 and December 31, 2016.
The court noted that it is recorded in the demand notice itself that this was based on an imaginary area calculated to be 15 per cent, whereas, according to the society, the actual area put for commercial use is less.