Update on 47A of Indian Stamp Act

As per section 47A of the Indian Stamp Act (West BengaL Amendment Act), if the market value of any property which is the subject of transfer, on which duty is chargeable on market value, is less than even the minimum value determined in accordance with the rules made thereunder, the registering officer appointed under the Registration Act, 1908 shall, before registering the instrument, refer the same to the Collector for determination of the market value of such property and the proper duty payable thereon before registering the property.

1. ln the captioned case M/s. Kayan Udyog Ltd. was ordered to be wound up and the Official Liquidator was directed to take the necessary steps. The Official Liquidator published an advertisement on 12.05.2006 in daily newspapers inviting offers for purchase of assets and properties of the company on “as is where is and whatever there is basis”. The Company Court confirmed the sale in favor of ASL Pvt. Ltd at Rs. Vide order dated 08.09.2006. On payment of the entire consideration, the Official Liquidator executed the Conveyance Deed on 07.05.2008 and the same was presented before the Registrar of Assurance, Calcutta for Registration. A demand Notice was issued to ASL Pvt. Ltd. informing that the market value of the property was assessed at Rs. 1.70 crores and ASL Pvt. Ltd. had to pay the deficit Stamp Duty of Rs. 5,86,000 as well as deficit Registration Fee of Rs. 92,125. Aggrieved by the demand notice, ASL Pvt. Ltd. filed the writ petition challenging the notice before the Hon’ble High Court.

2. Before the Hon’ble High Court, the respondents relied on the following 2 judgements.
2.1 Govt. of Andhra Pradesh & Ors .v. P. Laxmi Devil in which it was held that there was no provision in the original Stamp Act to empower the Revenue Authorities to make an inquiry about the value of the conveyed property.

2.2 V.N. Devadoss v. Chief Revenue Control Office-cum Inspector & Ors.2 in which it was held that The Registering Officer cannot have any reason to believe that the market value of the property was not truly set forth in an instrument of transfer executed pursuant to the order of a court, when the property was sold at a public auction after the publication of the advertisement in newspapers.

3. The Hon’ble court held that the provisions brought about by the amendment mentioned aforesaid was different from the one in Tamil Nadu and, thus, the pronouncement in V.N. Devados case will not apply. In addition, it was urged that the Ld. Single Judge vide order dated 04.12.2006 lacked the jurisdiction to give pre-emptive direction that the consideration determined for the property would be treated as value of the property for registration and stamp duty as Section 47 of the Act provides that the order passed by the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority shall be final and shall not be called into question in any civil court or before any authority.

4. The three Judges Bench of Hon’ble Supreme Court held that Section 47A is not applicable to an instrument executed by a Receiver pursuant to an order of sale passed by a civil court, after publication in newspapers. The sale conducted by the court through its officers qualifies to be an open market sale subject to the following conditions:
a) there must be wide publicity of the proposed sale and particularly there shall be publication of advertisement in at least one newspaper having wide circulation in the concerned city/town/district
b) The purchaser of the property must not be connected with or related to the authority/officer conducting the sale.


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