The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court recently directed the plot owners in MIDC industrial area to make payment of the property taxes for a period after 2018-19 financial year to the respective Gram Panchayats within 15 days. The time limit will end on February 14.
The Division Bench of Justices Avinash Gharote and M S Jawalkar, issued the order on January 30, and highlighted that since there was a dispute regarding the method, on the basis of which arrears prior to 2018-19 have been calculated, the property owners should pay the taxes post 2018-2019 to the Gram Panchayats within a period of 15 days. The Court also directed all the Gram Panchayats to give details of the taxes to the property owners.
It is important to note that the plot owners in MIDC industrial area have challenged the demand for property tax raised by Sonegaon Gram Panchayat, Digdoh Gram Panchayat, Wadi Gram Panchayat and Nildoh Gram Panchayat.
The property owners, under the banner of MIDC Industries Association, have filed the petition raising four grounds. The first point they raised was that the Gram Panchayats cannot demand tax for more than three preceding years as arrears. Second point the petitioners made that the G.R. of 2018 cannot be applied retrospectively i.e for the period prior to 2018. (2000 to 2018) while the third point was that the demand issued by Gram Panchayats were vague and did not clarify anything, neither the basis nor the period. The last point was that the rules for levying taxes had not been followed and demands were issued without any assessment of properties.
The said petition was listed on January 30 before the court for final arguments. However the Gram Panchayat raised an objection stating that the property owners were not even paying taxes for the period after 2018. Thus, the Court directed the petitioners to inform property owners to pay taxes for period 2018 onwards. The Court was of the view that the dispute pertains to period prior to 2018 therefore the property owners should at least pay the taxes from 2018 onwards.
Advocate P P Kothari appeared for petitioners while AGP Shyamsi Haider and Adv P S Khubalkar appeared for the respondents.