Is Amendments in GHMC Act 1955 related to Unauthorized Construction Penalty needed?

Mr. Athar Khan, President of Happy Homes Palace A Flat Owners Welfare Association, informed all the members present in the meeting related to flat owners representation submitted to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation on Revision of Property Tax, Unauthorized Construction Penalty, Building Regularisation Certificate and Occupancy Certificate, said that the officials or the Municipal Administration ministry has not responded to their 2 year old representation for review and the issue has been placed before all the contestants and contesting parties from Rajendranagar Assembly constituency.

The contents of the representation are as follows;

There is no mention in the G. O. Ms. No. 6 – Jan. 27, 2017, on nominal property tax that, MSB properties are not eligible for the concession, still the taxes were revised the Proceedings vide no. Proc. No. 10/A1/GHMC/RJNRC/2016-17, dt: 27/3/2017 and Lr. No. 3989/TC6/TAX/GHMC/2016-17, dt: 26/3//2017 were issued by Dy. Commissioner, Rajendra Nagar Circle 11(6).

The flat owners of an 18 years old residential complex had lodged a protest complaint 18 months back to the Commissioner of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation in early 2017 related to their 9 blocks Property Tax, Unauthorized Construction Penalty and Occupancy Certificate issues.

The file details are as follows;
Gr. No. 2017-01-W304238, dt: 29/1/2017.
eOffice Ref. No. 265047, dt: 030/03/2017.
Gr. No. 2017-01-W311276, dt: 10/03/2017.
eOffice Ref. No. 274704, dt: 06/04/2017.
Reminder email April. 13, 2018.

The flat owners demanded that, as per the earlier GOs of 2008 & 2015 BPS Clearance Proceedings be issued to those pending applications as all the assessed properties to whom Unauthorized Construction Penalty notices were issued, including the necessary Occupancy Certificate to the building, without levying fresh fee for it.

Even after repeated pursuance by the flat owners, silence of the officials as well as municipal administration ministry forced to this issue be placed as one of the electoral demand of the voter before all contesting political parties in the coming assembly elections in Dec. 2018, says the association Secretary Mr. Suleman.

Ex Office Bearer and a flat owner Mr. TR. Madhavan said, as an affected party along with others in the complex, forced me to search out reasons why the officials have put the grievance file to accumulate dust, as if it not a burning for a resolution. To my surprise I found under MCH act (GHMC) 1955 there are certain clauses under Section 220 A (1) on Unauthorised Construction issue. This act has been passed before formation of Telangana.

It says – Levy and Collection of penalty on unauthorized construction shall not be construed as regularisation of such unauthorized construction or reconstruction.

Penalty leviable under Section 220 A (1) shall be determined and collected by such authority and in such manner as may be prescribed. The penalty payable shall be deemed to be the property tax due [section 220 A (2)].

Mr. Madhavan questions, “After having court orders against our construction in favour of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Rajendranagar circle, why penalty was not levied immediately?”

“Why without explaining the provisos in the act, made the flat owners to apply for the regularisation of the construction with clause of demolition in case of failure of applying under Building Penalisation Scheme of 2008?”

If the act says like that, then where was need for the Telangana government to issue fresh G. O. Ms. No. 152, dt: 02/11/2015? Can’t they brought in an amendment in clause section 220 A (1) of GHMC act of 1955 by removing words “Shall not be Construed” and “Shall be Treated as regularised” as the unauthorized construction penalty going to be recurring one per annum like property tax. asks another flat owner, Mr. Indra Deo Sah.

G. O. Ms. No. 6, dt: 05/01/2016 authorized GHMC for exempting property tax of any residential building occupied by the owner, wherein the Annual Rental Value does not exceed Rs. 4100/- (I.e., Rs. 1200/- Property Tax per annum) subject to condition that the beneficiaries of exemption shall pay a nominal amount of Rs. 101/- per annum towards property tax.

No where in the orders it is mentioned Multi Storied Residential Buildings are not eligible for such exemption. After collecting property tax at Rs. 101/- for the financial year 2015-2016, where was need for the GHMC reassessing the annual rental value and adding up Unauthorized Construction Penalty ? questions Mr. Naresh Joint Secretary of the association.

Mrs. Lata Vijayakumar and couple of other residents said, “After reassessment our property’s annual rental value has not exceeded Rs. 4100/- why our property tax has been refixed ranging from Rs. 700 to Rs. 2000 per annum excluding 25% Unauthorized Construction Penalty? Why not nominal property tax of Rs. 101/- per annum excluding 25% Unauthorized Construction Penalty?”

Further in the act and under the Section 225 (4) (i) as a flat owner feel improperly assessed and request the GHMC Council and Telangana Government to reconsider the action taken under the act as well as bring in amendment in the clauses related unauthorized construction penalty and regularisation.

As all assessed properties to whom Unauthorized Construction Penalty notices were issued, as per the earlier GO BPS Clearance Proceedings and the necessary Occupancy Certificate to the buildings in our complex, without levying fresh fee for it should be issued demanded a group of flat owners.

Mr. Nayeem, Treasurer of the association said that, in the representation asked the contestants and the parties involved in the assembly election sought their cooperation and their assurance for the resolution of the matter in time bound schedule after the formation of new government.

He concluded saying only Bharatiya Janata Party gave a positive reply on taking up the issue and the rest of other contesting parties have not responded so far.

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