Petition on betterment charges dismissed

The High Court on Friday dismissed a batch of petitions filed by various builders and developers and apartment owners seeking quashing of the circulars and demand notices issued to them to pay betterment charges and improvement charges for properties coming up in the newly added BBMP areas.

The petitioners, Gokulam Shelters Pvt. Ltd, Mantri Developers Pvt Ltd., Manyata Reality and others approached the court seeking directions to quash the circulars and notices issued to them by the Assistant Revenue Officer BBMP asking them to pay betterment charges and improvement charges for properties owned by them.

 BBMP had calculated the charges at the rate of Rs 250 per square metre for properties falling under the jurisdiction of newly added areas in BBMP and Rs 200 in for 100 wards which were already existing. The petitioners had contended that the charges calculated by BBMP were unscientific and high. They had also challenged the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (Recovery of Improvement Expenses) Rules, 2009.

Justice L Narayanaswamy, in his order said that the circular and the demand made by BBMP are justified. However, the judge said the payment of improvement charges cannot be made a ‘pre-condition’ for registration, transfer, bifurcation, amalgamation of khata, grant of sanction plan among others. These have to be considered subject to payment of improvement charges either at once or at instalments wherein the owners have to pay interest beyond one year.  The order said, if any individual has any grievance in paying improvement charges, the person can contest it before the forum concerned.

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