A Kerala High Court Bench of Justice N Nagaresh has held that "As the nature of the land of the petitioner has been permitted to be changed pursuant to passing of a statutory order under the Kerala Land Utilisation Order, 1967, the competent authority is bound to re-assess the rate of Basic Tax in respect of the land and to make necessary entries in the Basic Tax Register, if necessary, after verifying the veracity/genuineness of the permission obtained under the Kerala Land Utilisation Order, 1967 produced by the petitioner".

Counsel Mathew Thomas and Counsel Anand Krishna appeared for the petitioner. Counsel Devisree appeared for the respondent.

The petitioner owned a property purchased in 1997. The previous owner sought permission from the Revenue Divisional Officer to use the land for non-agricultural purposes under the Kerala Land Utilisation Order, 1967. The permission was granted, but the land was not reassessed for tax purposes, still labelled as paddy land. The petitioner applied for reassessment of basic tax under the Kerala Land Tax Act, 1961, but the tahsildar did not take any action on the application.

The High Court, relying on the case of District Collector, Ernakulam and others v. Fr.Jose Uppani and others, observed that "when an applicant has secured orders under the Kerala Land Utiliation Order prior to the cut-off date on which Section 27A was introduced to the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, 2008, the competent Revenue officials are bound to consider the subsequent application submitted under the provisions of the Kerala Land Tax Act, 1961."

In light of the same, the Court directed the Tahsildar to consider the application submitted by the petitioner, in accordance with the law, and pass appropriate orders thereon within a period of one month.

Cause Title: KR Santhosh v. Revenue Divisional Officer & Ors.

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