A Division Bench of Andhra Pradesh High Court, comprising Justice V.V.S. Rao and Justice Ramesh Ranganathan, on Monday granted conditional stay on the collection of property tax by the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation. The bench was dealing with a writ petition filed by Sheelanagar Upkeep and Welfare Association and others.
They contended that the enhancement was beyond the statutory 75 per cent. They further averred that the enhancement ranged from 150 to 500 per cent.
The bench made it clear that stay of further proceedings was being given subject to the petitioners paying 75 per cent from the pre-revised property tax. The bench made it clear that citizens should pay with 75 per cent enhancement within two weeks and directed the corporation to file the counter affidavit.
Visakhapatnam Staff Reporter adds: In view of the AP High Court's interim stay on property tax, the CPI (M) has demanded that revised demand notices be issued to those who have not paid the tax and it be adjusted against future tax payable in case of those who have already paid.
At a press conference here on Monday, CPI (M) city secretary B. Ganga Rao and Floor Leader in GVMC Botta Eswaramma said the Mayor should immediately convene the general body of the GVMC and take people-friendly steps to implement the order without going in for an appeal.
Ms. Eswaramma demanded that fresh demand notices be issued to those whose tax liability had exceeded 75 per cent increase and had not paid the tax and adjust it against future tax to those who paid it.
The government memo on property tax was opposed in the court contending that the GVMC resolution urging the government to limit the increase to 50 per cent was ignored, the GOs issued in 2002 and 2007 capping the hike were not taken into consideration and the Assessment of Property Tax Rules 9, 10 and 11 of Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Act were violated.
Victory for people'
Mr. Ganga Rao described the order as a slap in the face for the ruling Congress and a victory for people. The writ petition was filed by eight persons, including Ms. Eswaramma, Deputy Floor Leader K. Vimala, CPI (M) leaders V.S. Padmanabha Raju and A. Ajay Sarma, Visakhapatnam Apartment Residents' Welfare Association vice-president G. Vijay Kumar and representatives of Sheelanagar Upkeep and Welfare Association.
Secretary of Kakaninagar Residential Welfare Association V. Prabhavati, also a petitioner, was present.