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2015 (11) TMI 1794

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..... s and hostels owned and maintained by private management of self-financing institutions, the public money has not been involved. Put it differently, this exemption is a privilege granted to the public money and it can be said that buildings and hostels constructed and maintained by using public money is exempted from payment of property tax and the people, as a whole, is the beneficiary of this exemption. If property tax is imposed on buildings and hostels owned by the Government, that amount also will be taken from the public fund. More importantly, exemption is given to the institutions, functioning under the administrative control of the Government and to which Governmental auditing of funds and expenditure is made compulsory; whereas , the case of self-financing institutions, such control and auditing of funds are absent. Secondly, the expression 'self financing' itself shows that such institutions are having their own fee structure, which cannot be compared with fees of a Government College. Though, it is regulated and controlled by the above referred statute, it is much higher than that of Government Colleges, wherein a nominal fee alone is collected from the students .....

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..... ancing Educational Institutions, is discriminatory and violative of Art.14 of the Constitution of India. 2. The petitioner/Engineering College is a self-financing college, affiliated to the Mahatma Gandhi University, recognised and controlled by the Kerala Professional Colleges or Institutions (Prohibition of Capitation Fees, Regulation of Admission, Fixation of Non-exploitative fee and other measures to ensure equity and excellence in professional Education) Act, 2006 (for short 'the Act'). It is needless to say, the admission, fixation of fees and allied matters are controlled by the authorities under the said Act. But solely on the reason that the buildings and hostels are not owned by the Government or not aided or functioning with the financial assistance of the Government, it cannot be discriminated, in violative of Art.14 of the Constitution of India, by imposing property tax, unlike the buildings and hostels owned or financed by the Government which stand exempted under Sec.207 of the Kerala Panchayat Raj Act, the learned counsel argued. 3. Before embarking an enquiry on the said question, the scope and extent of the constitutional requirements under Art.14 of the C .....

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..... not a condition of the guarantee of equal protection that all transactions, properties, objects or persons of the same genes must be affected by it or none at all. It is for the legislature to determine the objects on which tax is to be levied and the rates thereof". 5. In Royappa v. State of Tamil Nadu [(1974) 4 SCC 3), the Supreme Court held as follows:   "Both Articles 14 and 16 deal with equality and inhibits against discrimination. It was declared that principle of equality should not be subjected to a narrow pedantic or lexicographic approach. We cannot countenance any attempt to truncate its all-embracing scope and meaning, for to do so would be to violate its activity magnitude. Equality is a dynamic concept with many aspects and dimensions and it cannot be "cribbed, cabined and confined" within traditional and doctranise limits". 6. In Bondu Ramaswamy v. Bangalore Development Authority [(2010) 7 SCC 129], the Supreme Court held that Article 14 would apply only when invidious discrimination is meted out to equals and similarly circumstanced without any rational basis or relationship in that behalf. 7. In Deepak Sibval v. Punjab University [AIR .....

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..... d expenditure is made compulsory; whereas , the case of self-financing institutions, such control and auditing of funds are absent. 9. Secondly, the expression 'self financing' itself shows that such institutions are having their own fee structure, which cannot be compared with fees of a Government College. Though, it is regulated and controlled by the above referred statute, it is much higher than that of Government Colleges, wherein a nominal fee alone is collected from the students and certain rooms are reserved for students from socially and economically backward classes, in the hostels owned by the Government. In my view, this classification on the aforesaid basis is a rational one and there is an intelligible differentia in this classification. Self-financing Educational Institutions form a separate class, different from the Educational Institutions owned and financed or aided by the Government and the discrimination made under Sec.207(b) of the Panchayat Raj Act is marked by intelligible differentia. 10. Thirdly, it is the case of the petitioner that the petitioner's institution is also governed and regulated by the the Kerala Professional Colleges or Institution .....

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