Sunday, October 17

Superior Court of Justice of Murcia | The TSJ of the Region resolves more than 570 appeals on the Tajo-Segura water tariff in a single procedure

The Contentious-Administrative Chamber of the Superior Court of Justice of the Region of Murcia (TSJMU) has resolved 573 appeals against the liquidation practiced by the Segura Hydrographic Confederation in concept of the tariff for the use of the water from the Tajo-Segura aqueduct after issuing a sentence in an appeal processed on a preferential basis and whose effects extend to the multitude of cases with the same purpose presented in that body.

The Central Union of Irrigators of the Tajo-Segura Aqueduct (Scrats), representing different communities of irrigators, requested the revocation of many resolutions of the Regional Economic-Administrative Court of the Region of Murcia (TEAR) and the cancellation of the settlement for the “Water Use Fee”, with a refund of the amounts paid by the appellants and the corresponding interest.

As a large number of contentious-administrative appeals are being filed against resolutions of the Murcia TEAR relating to the settlement of the Tajo-Segura transfer fee, and given that these, up to a total of 573, had the same purpose, except as refers to the amount, by order of November 5, 2019, in accordance with the provisions of Article 37 of the Law regulating the Contentious-Administrative Jurisdiction, Section 2 agreed the processing “on a preferential basis” of one of the appeals filed, suspending that of the rest of the resources until a sentence is passed in this procedure, designated as a witness lawsuit.

In a ruling of last May, the Chamber agreed to dismiss the contentious-administrative appeal number 131/19 filed by the Scrats on behalf of a community of irrigators and, in November, the sentence became final, with the inadmissibility by the Supreme Court of the appeal. brought.

Once the judgment was notified to the parties affected by the suspension of the 572 appeals whose processing had been paralyzed, they chose to withdraw from the procedure, managing the Common Service for the Order of Procedure (SCOP) the withdrawal of matters pending resolution. The almost 600 decrees issued by the Lawyer of the Administration of Justice of the aforementioned service in the last days, accepting the interested withdrawal, they end with the processing of all the procedures, resolved with a single resolution of the Chamber.

The bottom line

The appellants alleged that the liquidation violated the principle of economic capacity “since the rate establishes a theoretical tax base, such as the concessionary or committed allocation, which is the maximum allocation volume established for the irrigation community.”

And they stressed that, as of June 2017, «the Administration unexpectedly changes its criteria and alters the liquidations that during these 37 years it had been practicing, by modifying the base corresponding to the concepts of amortization cost of works and fixed operating expenses, which will no longer be the effective volume of water supplied, but the theoretical maximum allocation that would correspond to each community of irrigators ». Decision attributed to the fact that «from May 2017, one month before the new liquidations until April 2018, there was no transfer, in accordance with the existing hydrological situation and in compliance with the operating rules of the Tajo-Segura transfer itself».

The Chamber, collecting the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court, recalls that the rate is broken down into three concepts: the amortization of the cost of the works, the fixed operating expenses and the variable operating expenses and clarifies that to calculate the tax base each component must be applied on a different volume, specifically the first and the second on the committed concession allocation, while the third will be on the actually produced consumption. “And if in the past the legal mandate has not been fulfilled, such action contrary to the law cannot protect its perpetuation in the future.”

“It is true that, unlike previous periods, in the current circumstances the exact application of the provisions of the Law is especially burdensome,” the magistrates acknowledge in the ruling, “and perhaps it would be desirable that measures be adopted in accordance with the circumstances. of the specific moment in which the Law that mitigate the harsh effects of it at this time», They concluded.

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