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HC Seeks Centre, Delhi Govt Reply on PIL to Quash Circle Rates

The Delhi High Court has sought response of the Centre and the city government on a plea for quashing of the existing circle rates in the national capital.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini also directed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to file its reply whether it is "charging stamp duty on the basis of circle rates or value of the transaction, whichever is higher".

The court asked the authorities concerned to file counter affidavit by November 5.

It was hearing a PIL filed by lawyer Amit Gupta seeking a stay on the imposition and collection of stamp duty as well as transfer duty in Delhi on the basis of circle rates, till the petition is disposed of.

"In any event, the circle rate notifications themselves are arbitrary and unreasonable inasmuch as the rates have been determined without any material on record or application of mind as has been admitted by the Respondent 1 (Delhi government) in response to RTI applications, and operate to cause great injustice and hardship to the parties.

"For instance, the circle rates do not distinguish between the particular floor or a property - and circle rates for a basement floor (which can be used only for domestic storage and/or parking, and hence has a far lesser economic value) is the same as the circle rates for the ground floor," the petition, filed through advocate Anirudh Wadhwa, said.

The plea further said that the imposition of stamp duty as well as transfer duty based on circle rates is thus, arbitrary, unreasonable and clearly illegal and is significantly prejudicing each and every person in Delhi who has or is looking to get immovable property.

"Grant appropriate interim relief staying any further revision/enhancement of Circle Rates by the respondents," the petition said.

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