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Shimla Municipal Corporation told to file affidavit on house tax levy method
March, 25th 2014

The Himachal Pradesh high court on Monday directed the Shimla Municipal Corporation to file an affidavit before March 26, indicating whether they have recovered house tax dues relating to financial year 2012-13 and on what basis this tax has been recovered. The court posted the matter for March 26.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan passed these orders on a petition taken up suo motu by the court regarding non-realization of house tax by Shimla MC.

SMC on Monday filed an application in the high court to permit it to raise house tax bills for 2013-14 on old pattern till the state government takes a final decision on its resolution dated January 22 this year. House tax of Rs 2.5 crore is due from various central and government departments, corporations, boards etc., whereas the financial year was coming to a close on March 31, it said.

In an earlier order dated March 22 last year, the high court had directed the civic body to collect house tax as per old system subject to determination of new system of levying tax, which was to be adjusted in case there is change in methodology of tax collection. On April 29 last year, it directed SMC to frame bye-laws in this regard forthwith.

A public hearing was held on January 17 and 18 on the proposed draft bye-laws for levy of tax on unit area method and a special meeting of the house was convened on January 22 this year, which resolved that tax system should be reasonable and there should be provision to exempt certain categories like agricultural land, area classified as green belt, for single women, widows, senior citizens above 80 years and for property occupied for self-purposes.

The matter was referred to the state government for amendment in existing provisions of unit area tax method by re-amending the HP Municipal Corporation Act, 1994, which is pending before the state government.

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