Gujarat pilgrim town rest houses allowed to function

April 14th, 2011 - 12:05 am ICT by IANS  

Gandhinagar, April 13 (IANS) Dharamshalas or rest houses run by charitable trusts in the Jain pilgrimage town of Palitana can function after paying taxes applicable to commercially run guest houses, the Gujarat High Court ruled Wednesday.

A division bench of Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice Sonia Gokani granted interim relief to nine such rest houses and directed the local civic body not to take any coercive action against them.

The petitioners, various charitable trusts in Palitana, have challenged the Palitana Municipality’s move to ask the dharmshalas to pay taxes applicable to guest houses.

A counsel for the petitioners, Paurami Sheth, said that the dharmashalas were not operated for profit and were run by organisations running on donations by pilgrims.

Sheth claimed that hundreds of such dharmashalas were functioning for the convenience of Jain pilgrims.

The petitioners claimed that the trusts were paying taxes on the basis of the assessment by the local municipality till 2007.

However, in June 2007, the state government formed new property tax rules, and the local municipality jacked up the dharamshalas’ tax rates.

They further claimed that the authority had threatened to seal the premises and did not even hear their representations.

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