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Bombay HC notice to PMC on plea challenging calculation, collection of property tax

“The high court heard the petition challenging the PMC over its calculation and collection of property tax while issuing notice to the PMC to respond in two weeks,” said Satya Muley, a lawyer representing the petitioners.

The Bombay High Court has issued notice to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) on the alleged irregularities and collection of property tax by the civic body on a petition filed by 41 residents of Balewadi.

“The high court heard the petition challenging the PMC over its calculation and collection of property tax while issuing notice to the PMC to respond in two weeks,” said Satya Muley, a lawyer representing the petitioners. The next hearing would be held on June 24.

Forty one residents of Balewadi have approached the high court challenging the PMC over levying of property tax saying it is discriminatory and non-transparent. They have sought a stay on implementation of two Government Resolutions (GR) of the state government related to the property tax of PMC.

The petitioners referred to the government resolutions dated October 25, 2018 and August 1, 2019 on the basis of which the PMC was levying the property tax. “The GR issued by the state government and implemented by PMC are arbitrary, discriminative, retrospective and non-transparent,” they said in the petition.

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As per the GR of 2019, they said the state government had rescinded the civic body resolution of 1970, which allowed 40 per cent concession on estimated annual rent and 15 per cent deduction for repair and maintenance on annual rent while calculating Annual Rateable Value (ARV) of the residential property occupied by the owner. However, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), in its audit report of state government for 2013-14, pointed out that while determining the ARV of properties in PMC, deduction of repairs from the annual rent was incorrectly allowed at 15 per cent as against 10 per cent. The state government on October 25, 2018, suspended the civic body resolution of 1970.

Further, the PMC, citing the May 28, 2019 communication of the state government, decided to recover excess amount arising due to grant of concession of 15 per cent instead of 10 per cent from the year 2010-11, said the petition.

“The PMC has discriminately implemented the GR, dated August 1, 2019, of state government, only to the newly assessed properties without considering the ARV of similarly situated properties. Thus, we have to approach the high court,” said the petitioners.

Also, the PMC has carried out retrospective taxation, lack of reasonable classification among old and new properties, petitioners stated. “Can the PMC levy property tax or arrears retrospectively for the billing period prior to the date of GR,” the petition said.

Thus, the petition prayed for the prohibition of implementation of GR issued on August 1, 2019 while declaring that its implementation from retrospective effect is illegal. Also, the court should direct the PMC to calculate and charge the annual property tax to be collected from self-occupied properties in the city in a prospective manner and provide a breakup of calculation of property tax, it said.

The petitioners also prayed the court to quash and set aside the GR issued on October 25, 2018 and August 1, 2019 after going through the legality and validity. The PMC should also be directed to ensure equality and parity in the calculation and charging of property tax for similarly situated properties.

There should be a stay on the implementation of GR on August 1, 2019 till the final disposal of the petition and continue the financial benefit to all the petitioners and similar property owners in the city, it said.

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