Opposition stalls proceedings demanding that High Court's interim order be made applicable to all
The general body meeting of the GVMC was adjourned on Monday after a determined opposition stalled the proceedings demanding that an interim order of the AP High Court be made applicable to all property tax-payers as the increase effected by the civic body was abnormal.
As soon as the meeting began, TDP Floor Leader P. Mutyala Naidu said since not everyone could go to court and obtain relief, the interim order of the High Court limiting the property tax increase to 75 per cent to those, who approached it be made applicable to all assessees.
Members of the Opposition comprising TDP, CPI(M), CPI, and YSR Congress went to the podium raising slogans and demanding a ruling by Mayor Pulusu Janardhana Rao. The Mayor adjourned the meeting for a while.
When the meeting had begun again, the protest resumed. The Mayor said since the issue was in the court it could not be discussed. He said in the new taxes levied, 50,000 had no increase and for 90,000 properties the increase was between 10 per cent and 50 per cent. If the 75 per cent increase was made applicable, even their tax would go up. The court's interim order was also only in respect of the petitioners.
Commissioner B. Ramanjaneyulu said following a decision taken by the council for five years from 2002 property tax was not increased after which the gazette notifications were made. On the corporation resolution urging the government to limit the increase to 50 per cent, the government directed that the gazette notification be implemented and no increase on percentage basis could be made.
He said under Section 122 sub-section 1 (B), a local body could not go against the order of the State government. If the meeting made any suggestions, that too keeping in view the court's order, they would be mentioned in the counter-affidavit filed before the court. However, no resolution could be made as the case was still pending. If the court ordered a 75 per cent increase, it would be implemented. The corporation's notices put the increase in tax from Rs.63 crore to Rs.123 crore. However, if the court order was applied to all it would come down to Rs.112 crore.
CPI(M) Floor Leader Botta Eswaramma said while SEZs and private ports were being given exemption the poor were burdened with the abnormal property tax. CPI's A.J. Stalin questioned the memo issued by the government even as the GO on maximum percentage of increase was in force.