Clarification in the wake of doubts raised by many citizens
It is the plinth area and not the carpet area that the Coimbatore Corporation considers in assessing Property Tax. Any contrary argument that people put forth is based on rules that are not in force, explains M. Sundararajan, Assistant Commissioner, Revenue.
His clarification comes in the wake of questions raised by residents and civil society activists. They contend that the Corporation ought to assess the property tax on the basis of carpet area. It is wrong to take into account the plinth area. The activists say they have obtained documents under the Right to Information Act that substantiate their claim.
Mr. Sundararajan says that the State Government brought in the Tamil Nadu Municipal Laws Second Amendment Act in 1998 — also called the Act 34 of 1998 — to change the property tax assessment pattern. The Act says that municipalities and corporations should go by the carpet area to arrive at the property tax.
But Act 34 of 1998 is the amending act for Act 65 of 1997. In drafting Act 65 of 1997, the State Government had said that it would come into effect from the date on which it notified the effective date. The Government had, however, not notified the effective date for Act 65 of 1997, thereby not making it effective.
As a consequence there of, the Act 34 of 1998 was also not effective as it was only an amending act to Act 65 of 1997, Mr. Sundararajan says and cites a July 28, 2004 letter from the Commissioner of Municipal Administration.
The letter states: “In amending Acts 65 of 1997 and 34 of 1998 certain sections of Tamil Nadu District Municipalities Act and other Corporation Acts were amended. The amendments mainly relate to property tax management in municipalities and corporations. In Section 2 of Act 65 of 1997, it is specifically indicated that the amendments would come into effect from the date on which the effective date is notified by the Government. In Act 34 of 1998, which is [the] amending Act for 65 of 1997, even though it has been mentioned that it would come into immediate effect, since the main Act 65 of 1997 itself is yet to be made effective, Act 34 of 1998 also [does] not come into effect.”
To strengthen his argument, Mr. Sundararajan says that the Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation Act that is in force empowers the Corporation Council to determine the ways to assess property tax. And, the Council vide resolution 403 of November 4, 1998 clearly states that the Corporation has to consider the plinth area.
He says that he has communicated the same to the RTI applicant as an erroneous data was furnished.