The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court has issued a directive to plot owners in the MIDC industrial area, instructing them to settle property tax payments to the relevant Gram Panchayats for the period following the 2018-19 fiscal year 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 underscoring a disagreement regarding the method, on the basis of which arrears prior to 2018-19 have been calculated, As a result, property owners are directed to settle taxes post-2018-2019 with the respective Gram Panchayats within a period of 15 days. The Court also directed all Gram Panchayats to give tax details to the property owners.
It’s noteworthy that plot owners within the 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.
Under the banner of MIDC Industries Association, the property owners have filed a petition, citing four main grounds. Firstly, they argue that Gram Panchayats cannot demand taxes for more than the three preceding years as arrears. Secondly, they contend that the Government Resolution of 2018 cannot be retroactively applied, i.e it cannot be enforced for the period prior to 2018 (from 2000 to 2018). Thirdly, the petitioners assert that the demands issued by the Gram Panchayats lacked clarity, as they did not specify the basis nor the period for the demands. Lastly, they claim that the rules for levying taxes had not been followed and demands were issued without any assessment of properties.
The said petition was scheduled for final arguments before the court on January 30. However, the Gram Panchayat objected, stating that the property owners were not event paying taxes even for the period after 2018. Consequently, the Court dirceted the petitioners to inform property owners to pay taxes from 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 PP Kothari appeared for petitioners while AGP Shyamsi Haider and Adv PS Khubalkar appeared for the respondents.