Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court has said that the practice of issuing ‘B’ Khatas as illegal. The court also ordered the BBMP to include all properties in the Form A Register and issue property identification numbers (PIN) to all properties irrespective of being assessed or not for levying property tax. The orders, which have put the BBMP in royal fix, came from the court of Justice Ram Mohan Reddy, three weeks ago after he concluded hearing of writ petition numbers 6734-6751/2013 (LB-BMP) three weeks ago.
‘B’ Khata properties are those unauthorized constructions in the city built on lands without valid sanctions and approvals. ‘B’ Khata is not an entitlement to the property, but simply an acknowledgement that tax for the said property is being paid to the government. It is not a title deed and is just an identification entered in a register titled “B” and hence the name ‘B’ Khata – it is 8%not considered as a valid Khata extract.
Now lakhs of property owners who are in an unenviable position due to the purchases in unapproved layouts, with regards to obtaining khatas for their properties, have some hope. But not so fast….
BBMP commissioner M Lakshminarayana said, “To get the information about the properties which are under the tax net we keep two different registers. Those properties which do not have clear titles are registered in B register (‘B’ Khata).
“There are around 14 lakh property holders in city having registered in Form A while around 2 lakh property holders do not have clear titles. Such properties are registered in Form B. I cannot issue Form A to every property which do not have clear titles. “I will make a submission before the court stating the difficulty I face.”
The court order was delivered with respect to a petition filed by 20 members belonging to Bangalore Kshatriya Komparpanth Samaj which had challenged BBMP’s issuance of ‘B’ Khata to them. Residents of Sharadamba Residency situated in Dubasi Palya, Valagerahalli, Kengeri Hobli in Bengaluru South taluk approached the High Court led by Shanta M Gad, Veena Shivanand Naik and Seema Mahesh Nayak.
The writ petition was filed seeking the quashing of the order dated August 18, 2011 passed by assistant revenue officer to the extent of issuing ‘B’ Khata to the occupants of the Sharadamba Residency. They sought a court direction to the civic officials to issue transfers of khata number in the 8 registry corporation in accordance with the provisions of the section 114 of the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act, 1976.
Section 108-A (3) states that the BBMP may levy and collect the property tax from every building, vacant land or boh including a building constructed in violation of the provisions of building by-law or in an unauthorised layout or in a revenue land or from a building occupied without issuance of occupancy or completion certificate except the building constructed illegally in government land, land belonging to any local body, any statutory body or an organisation owned or controlled by the government.
The property tax collected from such building shall be maintained in a separate register, which is referred to as the ‘B’ Register.
Further, section 108-A was inserted by Act No 2/2009 with effect from January 13, 2009 and on the same day BBMP property tax rules 2009 was also brought into force. Rule 11 of the rules reads: “The property tax collected from the owner/occupier in respect of property assessed to tax shall be maintained in property tax register in Form A and in respect of un-assessed properties shall be maintained in a register in Form B.
The court maintained that there can be no more doubt that the words ‘unassessed properties’ in Rule 11 of the rules is inconsistent with section 108-A of the act relating to levy and collection of property tax on all properties falling within the territorial jurisdiction of BBMP.
The BBMP officials claimed that the circular dated August 28, 2009 issued by the commissioner says the names should be recorded in register in Form B.
But the judge maintained that the guidelines issued by BBMP relating to recording names in register in Form B in respect of levy and collection of property tax over vacant land and buildings do not comply with sanctions and approvals under the various applicable enactments and in the In the absence of statutory compulsions either under section 108-A of the Act or the rules, and in the light of the inconsistency the circular is without authority of law and therefore the order.