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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has directed Delhi Cantonment Board (DCB) not to take any coercive action against Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) in reference to a 2,600 crore property tax demand by the board for the 2016-19 period till the next date of court hearing.

The court has granted time to DCB and Centre to file their replies in the matter. The next date of hearing is on 14 September.

The plea has challenged the constitutional validity of Section 73 of the Cantonments Act, 2006 seeking a declaration that the land, forming part of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, is not a ‘cantonment’ within the meaning of the Act.

It has also sought quashing of the various letters, notices and orders issued and relied by the DCB in seeking to assess and impose property tax in the absence of any rules and bylaws being framed as required under the Cantonments Act for this purpose, and quashing of the final order dated to levy property tax of 2600 crore, besides other reliefs.

According to the plea, the part of the airport land falls in jurisdiction of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation for which DIAL pays property tax to the civic body. DCB has been demanding property tax for the remaining portion.

The plea filed by advocate Milanka Chowdhary contended that instead of explaining how it arrived at the earlier amount, DCB "completely revised the amount and sought to impose a completely arbitrary and exorbitant amount".

DIAL has further submitted that if such a huge amount is levied on it, it would be constrained to recover it through the tariff charged at the airport which would ultimately be transferred to the passengers as an undue financial burden.

PTI contributed to this story.

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