New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the Delhi Cantonment Board (DCB) to not take any coercive steps against the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), which operates the national capital’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport relating to the Rs 2,600 crore property tax demand by the authority for the 2016-19 period.
A division bench of the high court presided by Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan also granted one more week to the DCB to file its response to the petition filed by DIAL challenging the said demand made by the respondent.
The bench’s directions came in while it was hearing, through video conferencing, a petition filed by DIAL seeking stay on the June 15 decision of the board demanding over Rs 2,589 crore worth property tax payable for the 2016-19 period while also asking asking DIAL to pay the same within 30 days.
After noting that both the Centre and the DCB are yet to file their replies and are seeking more time, the bench posted the matter for further hearing on September 14 while saying, “Time as sought is granted to file the replies. Meanwhile, no coercive action be taken against the petitioner (DIAL) till the next date of hearing.”
The petition filed through Atul Sharma, Milanka Chaudhary and Abhinav Agnihotri also challenged the constitutional validity of Section 73 of the Cantonments Act, 2006 while also seeking directions of the court for declaring that the land forming part of the IGI Airport is not a ‘cantonment’ within the meaning of Section 3 of the Cantonments Act.
The plea also claimed that Respondent No.3 (DCB) does not even have jurisdiction to levy property tax on the Petitioner as the power of Respondent No.3 to levy tax is only with respect to a ‘cantonment’ under Section 3 of the Cantonments Act.
“…the land forming part of the IGI Airport (being operated, managed and developed by the Petitioner) cannot be considered as cantonment within the meaning of Section 3 of the Cantonments Act as the IGI Airport neither quarters any Forces (as defined under Section 2 (u) of the Cantonments Act) nor is in the vicinity of any such place that maybe required for the service of such forces,” the Petitioner said.