Kharar court stays recovery of property tax by MC

In a major relief to property owners, a Kharar civil court on Tuesday stayed the recovery of property tax from residents by the Municipal Council.

Accepting a plea for a temporary injunction to prevent the civic body from collecting the tax, Civil Judge (Junior Division) Surjeet Singh ordered status quo in the matter and issued notice of motion to the MC through its executive officer (EO) and president.

The petitioners, Joginder Singh and 23 other property owners, challenged the assessment of property tax for 2007-08, which was rejected twice by the MC House but the MC authorities had issued them bills and notices for recovery of tax on the basis of the assessment.

Terming the said bills and notices as illegal, null and void and liable to be ignored, the petitioners had contended that no procedure (required under Section 65 to 67 of the Punjab Municipal Act for the imposition of property tax) was followed while assessing their property tax.

It was submitted that on the persistent demand and protest by residents, the state government had ordered reassessment of the property tax but no criteria was adopted for the exercise.

"The MC EO arbitrarily used his powers to form a sub-committee comprising three municipal councillors, who had no technical experience or knowledge to conduct the reassessment," the petitioners had contended.

The petitioners had told the court that the discrepancies and irregularities adopted in the disputed assessment and reassessment were evident from the fact that in some cases, the tax was hiked up to 200 times, while in other cases it was hiked up to 100, 50, 28, 20 and 10 times without any basis or justification.

They had further argued that the "arbitrary assessment" was not yet approved by either the MC House or the state government but the MC authorities were intimidating them into paying the hefty levy.

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