Wednesday, March 21, 2007

RTI Expose - Bungling in Pune MC property tax bills

Civic activist Vihar Durve has brought to light how citizens have been harassed by the municipal property tax department through wrong assessment of their properties and inflated property tax bills.

To drive home his point, Durve has gathered information under the Right to Information Act (RTI) about 80 court cases filed by taxpayers who had moved court challenging the wrong assessment of their properties.

In an official reply to Durve on March 2,2007, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) admitted that all 80 cases — decided by the Pune small causes court and the Pune district courts from 1999 till 2004 — had gone against the PMC. In all 80 cases, the court directed the PMC to refund the additional amount collected as taxes along with interest. The PMC said it has so far refunded Rs 1.83 crore, besides paying Rs 4.3 lakh as interest.

"The very fact that the PMC did not dare to challenge the lower court order by moving the high court and refunded the amount proves that the tax assessment was grossly incorrect," Durve told TOI.

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