The Allahabad High Court asserts the Collector’s power to decide land market value during the sale deed execution or a proximate period. This verdict addresses challenges under the Stamp Act, emphasizing the significance of the Collector’s role in property valuation.

Collector’s Authority Affirmed by Allahabad High Court

In a recent judgment, the Allahabad High Court clarified the Collector’s jurisdiction to establish the market value of land either during the execution of the sale deed or in a reasonably proximate period. This ruling emerged in response to challenges under the Stamp Act, highlighting the pivotal role of the Collector in determining property valuation.

Background and Legal Challenge

The case involved purchasers who claimed to have acquired land in District Gonda through a registered sale deed, with stamp duty affixed at agricultural rates. Despite paying a higher market value, stamp duty was calculated based on the sale consideration. Subsequent inspections revealed developments on the land, leading to proceedings against the petitioners.

Key Legal Arguments

The petitioners contended that they had already paid an excess amount during the land purchase, and the inspection was conducted later, influencing the valuation. They relied on the decision in Smt. Omwati vs. Commissioner, Meerut, arguing against considering the future market value for fair market assessment.

Court Verdict and Rationale

The High Court, referring to its previous decisions, emphasized that the Collector’s authority shouldn’t be unduly restricted. The market value determination is not bound by circle rates, and the Collector uses material evidence to ensure accurate property valuation.

The Court noted that the inspection occurred within a reasonable timeframe, revealing the land’s developments, including carved plots, existing roads, and installed electricity poles. This led to the conclusion that the land was being prepared for residential use, justifying the valuation under U.P. Stamp (Valuation of Property) Rules, 1997.

Rejection of Petitioners’ Argument

The Court dismissed the petitioners’ argument about having deposited an excess amount, stating that the amount paid by them was less than the Collector’s determined market value. Consequently, the writ petition was rejected.

This judgment reinforces the Collector’s pivotal role in property valuation, emphasizing the importance of considering the land’s status during the sale deed execution or a closely associated period.

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