The Bombay High Court has said private firms appointed by the government for octroi and toll collection from vehicles have to pay stamp duty. A division bench of justices S C Dharmadhikari and Bharati Dangre was recently hearing a petition alleging non-payment of stamp duty amounting to crores of rupees since 2005 by a private firm which was appointed by seven municipal corporations in Maharashtra for collection of octroi and toll. Relying on a judgement passed by the Supreme Court last month on a similar issue, the high court said the octroi collecting contractors have to pay stamp duty under the provisions of the Bombay Stamp Act. “Such agreements between the civic body concerned and private companies cannot escape stamp duty,” it said. “The Supreme Court has already decided the issue. Now, it is not debatable,” the court further said.
The petition, filed by city resident Jeet Pratap Satyanarayan Singh through lawyer Laxman Kanal, said a company, M/s Konark Infrastructure, was the toll and octroi collecting agent of the municipal corporations in Bhiwandi, Nashik, Kalyan-Dombivali, Ulhasnagar, Mira-Bhayander and Akola. “The corporations entered into an agreement with the said company each year and hence, it was the duty of the company to pay the stamp duty and also register the documents with the registrar, under the Registration Act,” Kanal argued. According to the petition, Konark Infrastructure had not paid the said charges from 2005, resulting in loss to the public exchequer to the tune of crores of rupees. The bench, after the order on February 22, disposed of the petition.