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Report No. 148

3.3. Ganges Tolls Act, 1867 (1 of 1867).-

The Ganges Tolls Act, 1867 was enacted to authorise the levy of tolls on certain steamers and boats plying on the river Ganges, to be applied for the improvement of the navigation of the said river between Allahabad and Dinapore. Section 2 of the Act provides that toll not exceeding 12 annas per hundred maunds shall be payable, at such place or at one of such places as the Government shall from time to time direct in respect of every steamer, flat and boat of the burden of 200 maunds and upwards, which shall pass up or down the Ganges by such place or any one of such places.

Section 4 provides that the funds raised by the tolls payable under this Act shall be applicable towards defraying the expenses of improving and facilitating the navigation of the Ganges between Allahabad and Dinapore. The Indian Parliament passed National Waterway (Allahabad-Haldia stretch of Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly River) Act, 1982 (49 of 1982) which declares the Allahabad-Haldia stretch of the Ganga-Bagirathi-Hooghly River to be a National Waterway. The Act empowers the Government to provide for the regulation and development of that river for the purposes of shipping and development of that river for the purposes of shipping and navigation on the said waterway and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Section 9 of the said Act empowers the Central Government to levy fees at such rates as may be laid down by rules made in this behalf for services or benefits rendered in relation to the use of the National Waterway for the purposes of navigation and infrastructural facilities, etc. Thus, the Allahabad-Dinapore sector which was covered under the Ganges Tolls Act, 1867 is also covered under the National Waterway (AllahabadĀ¬Haldia stretch of the Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly River) Act, 1982.

Similarly, the object of the passage of Ganges Tolls Act was to levy tolls whereas the object of the 1982 Act is to levy fees for the services or benefits rendered in relation to use of the National Waterway. There may not be direct contradictions or inconsistencies between the two Acts, but apparently there is a possibility of some double taxation. This may be not unconstitutional, but is likely to cause inconvenience. The subject-matter to the Ganges Tolls Act seems to fall within Union List entry 89. We recommend repeal of the Act for there reasons stated above.

Repeal of certain Pre-1947 Central Acts Back

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