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The Madras High Court (HC) on Tuesday directed the Corporation of Chennai to seal all the 729 shops in Koyembedu market in Chennai over non-payment of the non-revised property tax till date.
Justice N Kirubakaran passed the interim order on a writ petition by Kulasekaran and R Padmanabhan, two shop owners at the market.
He also directed the Commissioner of Police, Chennai to provide appropriate protection to authorities at the time of sealing of the shops and posted the matter for compliance to July 20.
The court had earlier directed the petitioners to deposit Rs 25,883 with the Chennai Corporation after they had challenged the demand for property tax in respect of their shops in Koyambedu, from 1996 up to 2015.
During the hearing on November 23 last year, the Court was informed that even though the last revision of the property tax in Chennai was made during 1998-1999, till date no revision has been made.
When the Judge had sought to know as to why the Corporation Council had not passed any resolution revising the property tax for every five years, it was stated that though the officials had given the proposal for revision to the Corporation Council, there was no response from it.
When the matter came up on Tuesday, it was reported that of 2,325 shops, 1,566 shop owners have paid the property tax of Rs 2,95,39,481, before April 27 this year and thereafter, 30 shop owners have paid tax of Rs 13,33,866 before June 29 and only the remaining 729 shop owners have to pay the property tax to the tune of Rs 2,48,23,891.
The judge in his order said, "It is pertinent to note that the property tax sought to be collected from the shop owners in Koyambedu is not the revised tax, as the last tax revision took place only in the year 1998."
According to the provisions of the City Municipal Corporation Act, 1919, property tax had to be revised once in four years and as per the provisions, four revisions should have taken place after the revision in the year 1998, he noted.
However, the officials of the city corporation had deliberately failed to revise the tax for political gains, he added.
While so, even the non-revised 1998 rate property tax has not been paid by 729 shop owners.
The respondent officials are directed to seal the shops for which the tax amount has not been paid, the judge said.
The judge then issued a notice to the special government pleader representing the Commissioner of Police as respondent and directed him to inform the impleaded official about the present order.