CHENNAI: The Madras high court on Wednesday expressed its exasperation with Chennai’s city fathers for flouting rules that mandated revision of property tax at least once every four years. It also reacted with frustration at the corporation’s failure to pass a resolution to amend the tax since 1998 and, in the case of the busy transit centre of Koyambedu, since 1996.
It said Chennai was the only exception with all other local bodies in the state completing property tax revision within the fixed time. The matter came up for hearing on a petition by two shopkeepers who contested the property tax the corporation demanded for their shops in Koyambedu between 1996 and 2015.
“It is to note that the trust and faith reposed by the voters in their councilors have been frustrated by the conduct of the elected councilors,” and directing the authorities to furnish the details of loss of revenue, incurred because of non-revision of property tax since 1998. Rapping councillors and mayors in office during this period, Justice N Kirubakaran said, “Instead of discharging their duties… they [mayors and councillors] fight over petty issues in council meetings.”
“It has been said that councillors promptly descend on construction sites for various reasons instead of doing their duties,” the judge said. Justice Kirubakaran then asked the authorities to answer a series of questions:
1. Why had the corporation failed to revise property tax for properties in the city?
2. What was the total amount be payable to the corporation in case if the levy had been revised in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014?
3. What would the enhanced sum amount to for the years mentioned, which would be the total loss caused, due to non-revision of property tax?
4. What time does the corporation require to revise property tax?
5. Are proper steps being taken to recover unpaid property tax?
6. Are the amounts payable for the corporation’s properties revised and levied promptly?
Posting the matter for further hearing on November 30, the judge said, “Once details regarding the losses caused to the local body are placed [before the court] it would pass appropriate orders on levying the amounts (incurred as loss) on appropriate people.”
Credits ET Realty