The Madras High Court has called upon the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) to explain the new methodology adopted by it to calculate the enhanced property tax, demanded from city residents.
Justice Anita Sumanth also restrained the Corporation from demanding the enhanced amount from an individual tax payer, who had claimed that the methodology was not in accordance with law. The interim order was passed till August 3, by when the Corporation was directed to file a detailed counter to a writ petition filed by K. Balasubramaniam of Teynampet, challenging the enhanced tax demand.
According to the petitioner, the civic body could revise the property tax only in accordance with Section 100 of the Chennai City Municipal Corporation Act of 1919, and not otherwise. In 1997-98, the Corporation revised the property tax on the basis of an arbitrary procedure, termed 'plinth area basis' and such a procedure was put to challenge before the High Court. Then civic body then informed the court, through the Advocate General, that it would give up the plinth area methodology and, instead, follow Section 100 scrupulously, the petitioner said.
He further claimed that the High Court had then observed that the annual value of a property must be assessed on the basis of fair rent formula devised under the Rent Control Act. Later, the property tax was attempted to be revised on the basis of floor rate but that methodology was also given up since it was not in compliance with Section 100, Mr. Balasubramaniam said.
Now, the civic body had revised the half-yearly property tax for the petitioner's property from ₹3,695 to ₹7,170 for the year 2022-23, he said, contending that the revision was wholly arbitrary. He argued that the Corporation was attempting to camouflage plinth area basis as floor rates, following a Government Order issued on March 30 and said that the revision was illegal.