Madras HC Pulls up Chennai Corporation for not Revising Property Tax Rate for more than Two Decades

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The Madras High Court has pulled up the Greater Chennai Corporation for not revising the property taxes for nearly 20 years for the safeguarding of political interests.

A Public Interest Litigation has been filed to direct the local bodies to formulate and notify transparent and uniform rules, procedures and applicable rates for determining property taxes by the Assessment authorities in respect of all categories of buildings throughout Greater Chennai Corporation areas. The appellant wants a fair levying and collection of property tax as there are many malpractices by the officials in the levy of property tax and collection.

The division bench comprising of Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice P Velmurugan observed, “It is a known fact that last revision of property tax in Chennai was only during 1998. Though every five years, the property tax has to be revised, the successive Governments deliberately omitted to revise the property tax for their political interest. They are afraid that due to the revision of property tax, their electoral fortunes will be affected. The past and present Governments are not exceptions. As per the statute, if the revision of property tax should have been done during 1998, the subsequent revisions could have been during 2003, 2008,2013 & 2018. The five revisions could have augmented the income of the Chennai Corporation. . . . . .The local body, as well as the Government, should have enough funds for the purpose of providing all the amenities to the citizens. In the absence of sufficient funds, the Corporation is unable to pay the compensation for loss of properties caused due to 2015 deluge. There is a shortage of staff also since the Corporation is not in a position to pay for their salary and therefore, recruitment could not be made. The revision which has been made after 20 years at the instance of this Court is also suspended. The sufferer is only the common man. Hence, steps should be taken by the committee to give the recommendations at the earliest.

The Commissioner of Corporation, Greater Chennai Corporation and the Secretary, Municipal Administration, and Water Supply Department, Chennai has been directed to appear before the court on 18th February 2020.