HC directs govt to fill up vacancies in Municipal Taxation Tribunal

In a recent ruling, the Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi government to take immediate steps to fill up vacancies in the Municipal Taxation Tribunal and ensure its functionality.

The court’s order came in response to a plea filed by Deepak Sehgal challenging certain notices issued by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).

Justice Sachin Datta, in an order passed on February 14, emphasised the urgency of the matter, stating, “It is hoped and expected that expeditious steps shall be taken in this regard.” The court directed the Chief Secretary of the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) to receive a copy of the order for necessary action.

The court noted a significant backlog of cases related to the Municipal Taxation Tribunal, primarily due to its non-functionality owing to vacant positions. Under Section 169 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, the Tribunal plays a crucial role in resolving taxation disputes, but its operations have been stalled due to a lack of quorum.

Addressing Sehgal’s plea, which challenged the validity of certain demand notices issued by the SDMC and the MCD, the court highlighted procedural irregularities. Sehgal argued that he was not provided with an opportunity to present his case before the Assessment Order was issued, and the notices were based on incomplete information.

The court ordered a thorough review of Sehgal’s case, stating, “The petitioner shall be at liberty to place on record the relevant information or documents to enable the MCD to consider the pleas of the petitioner.” Additionally, the court instructed that a hearing be arranged for Sehgal by the concerned Joint Assessor and Collector.

Furthermore, the court directed the authorities to issue a speaking order or rectify the Assessment Order within four weeks. Until this process is completed, the demand notice issued to Sehgal shall remain suspended.

The ruling shed light on the broader issue of administrative vacancies within the Municipal Taxation Tribunal, which has led to a backlog of cases and delays in justice delivery.

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