The Cantonment board in January 2012 passed a resolution in its board meeting for the collectrion of toll (entry fees) in the cantonment area.
Last year the Cantonment had announced that from April 1, 2011 all vehicle(commercial) users will have to pay an entry tax or toll, and he said this was done under Section 67 (e) of Cantonments Act-2006.
But for some or the other reason it was not implemented.
Now the board has finally decided to start toll collection for commercial vehicles entering their area.
The toll fixed for different vehicles are as follows:
Private buses Rs 20
Private trucks Rs 20
Mini commercial vehicles Rs 15
Three-wheelers/ autorickshaws Rs 15
Tractor and tailors carrying goods Rs 15
Tempos Rs 10.
Earlier 6 toll collection centers were to be set up which will given on contract and would be set up at Congress Road, Circuit House, Congress Road, Military Vinayak Mandir, Ganeshpur Circle, Benon Smith High School, Sanchayani Circle and Gogte Circle. But now it is heard they will begin with four.
Can the Cantonment charge such a toll?
This section 67 of the Cantonments Act, 2006 refers to the Charging of fees. And in it sub sec a- mentions license fee on vehicles and animals.
But the notable fact to this act is Section 66 General power of taxation.
Which has a clause which reads “ In addition to the taxes specified in sub- section (1) the Board may, for the purposes of this Act, impose any tax which under any enactment for the time being in force may be imposed in any municipality in the State in which the cantonment is situated”
Now this is very important and the same has been quoted by a court order as well then under the case of Ramgarh Cantonment board Vs State of Jharkhand and others.
In its order in the above case the court said that, Cantonment board cannot levy the tax which cannot be levied by the Municipality. Further it said that, The cantonment board did not have any authority or competence to levy tax on entry of vehicles in the cantonment area under Sec 60 of the Cantonments Act of 1924.
In another case Ajay Goyal vs State Of Uttarakhand And Others on 10 May, 2011 the High court of Uttarakhand observed “In the light of the aforesaid, we are of the opinion that once the power to levy tax on entry of vehicles under Section 128 of the Municipalities Act is withdrawn, the Cantonment Board loses the power to levy tax on entry of vehicles in the cantonment area under Section 60 of the Cantonments Act in as much as the power to levy tax under Section 60 (1) of the Cantonments Act is Dependant upon and coextensive with the corresponding power given in the Municipalities Act.”
The CEO of the Cantonment board Belgaum says that they are imposing the toll as all other cantonments are also imposing the same.