Nellore Information Directory

VIJAYAWADA:  The Andhra Pradesh High Court has directed the Nellore Municipal Corporation (NMC) to return Rs 34.12 lakh along with interest to a petitioner from whom the civic body forcibly collected property tax.



The court observed that the action of the corporation officials was unilateral and anti-constitutional. Further, the court stated that it is a case of the State harassing a citizen and it should be condemned.

The case pertains to the serving of a notice on G Vijayalakshmi, who owns a building complex, by the corporation in 2011, increasing the property tax from Rs 52,200 to Rs 1,68,600. When she approached the High Court, it asked her to file a petition in the Nellore senior civil judge court.

A petition was filed in the senior civil judge court in 2012 and the court had struck down the notice served by the corporation, enhancing the property tax and allowed the NMC to increase the tax by 50%. The court asked the corporation to adjust the already paid enhanced property tax in the future notices to be served on the household for payment of property tax.

As the corporation failed to do so, Vijayalakshmi filed an Execution Petition (EP) in the court seeking implementation of the orders. In response, the municipal commissioner filed a memo that the amount would be adjusted in the next property tax notices, following which the petition was closed.

The court issued proceedings detailing the property tax to be paid by Vijayalakshmi, the excess amount she paid and also the amount to be returned by the corporation. The court, in the proceedings, said the corporation should adjust `13.71 lakh in the future property tax notices.

Meanwhile, the corporation on February 19 this year, issued a notice asking Vijayalakshmi to pay Rs 34.12 lakh as tax. The officials did not give any reasons for payment of the amount. Though she submitted the court orders, the officials had sealed the complex and also took a cheque for Rs 34.12 lakh by pressurising her.

Vijayalakshmi approached the High Court recently. When the matter came up for hearing before Justice Rao Raghunandan Rao, the NMC commissioner filed a counter stating that they filed the memo in the civil court that the tax would be adjusted in future notices.

Taking strong exception to the counter and the words used in it, the court said that the corporation officials had crossed their limits and failed to implement the assurance they had given to the court.

It directed the NMC commissioner to return Rs 34.12 lakh with 24 per cent interest per annum to Vijayalakshmi. Further, the court asked the municipal corporation to pay another Rs 25,000 to the petitioner towards legal expenses.