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District Co-Operative Bank Ltd. vs Zila Parishad on 11 January, 1991

Allahabad High Court
District Co-Operative Bank Ltd. vs Zila Parishad on 11 January, 1991
Equivalent citations: 1993 76 CompCas 61 All
Author: A Verma
Bench: A Verma, R Gulati


JUDGMENT

A.N. Verma, J.

1. The District Co-operative Bank Ltd. has several branches of the Bank spread over the district of Gorakhpur. The bank is challenging the levy of circumstances and property tax by the Zila Parishad of Gorakhpur on its various branches on the ground that the Zila Parishad is not competent to levy the said tax on each of the branches of the bank.

2. The contention of learned counsel for the petitioner is supported by a direct decision of this court in the case of Zila Sahkari Bank Lid. v. Zila Parishad [1981] UPLBEC 201. The controversy involved in this case was whether the Zila Parishad is entitled to levy the circumstances and property tax on each of the branches of the bank separately. Relying on an earlier decision of this court in the case of State Bank of India v. Zila Parishad, AIR 1980 AWC 550 ; [1981] UPLBEC 119, the Bench ruled that it was not competent to the Zila Parishad to collect circumstances and property tax through each of the branches of the bank lying within the local limits of the Zila Parishad separately. In State Bank of India’s case [1981] UPLBEC 119 (All) the position was that the Zila Parishad of Gorakhpur was collecting circumstances and property tax from each of the branches of the State Bank separately. Striking down the levy, the Bench observed that the bank was a juristic person which carries on business within the jurisdiction of the Zila Parishad through its staff posted at various branch offices of the bank. The various branches through

which the bank was carrying on business were not separate entities each engaged in a distinct business of its own. The branches of the bank were not natural persons and, consequently, they could not be taxed separately. The branch offices do not carry on the business on their own. When a branch office is established, it is the principal bank which carries on the business as a juristic person in the area through its staff posted or attached to the branch offices.

3. With respect, we entirely agree with the above dictum. The Zila Parishad had no power to levy the tax on each branch of the bank separately.

4. In the result, the petition succeeds and is allowed. The respondent
Zila Parishad is directed not to recover circumstances and property tax
for various years in respect of the business carried on by the petitioner
through each of its branches separately. The tax already collected is liable
to be refunded to the petitioner. There will, however, be no order as to
costs.

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