Pradeep Pattanayak

Delivering a huge blow to the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and relief to the residents of Bhubaneswar, the Orissa High Court on Thursday quashed the BMC’s notification of collecting revised and hiked holding tax. 

The civic body had issued a notification in 2011 to collect holding tax at the revised and hiked rate. The hike was 10 times more than the old tax. Even, the tax was imposed on vacant plots. 

Since the notification was drawn and issued on the basis of Old Municipality Act, challenging the notification, the Bhubaneswar Confederation of Citizens Association had knocked the door of the Orissa High Court, seeking intervention and filed a petition. 

Hearing the petition, the HC had cancelled the notification and sent the same to the BMC for reconsideration. 

But the then BMC commissioner, Prem Chand Choudhary had implemented the notification as it was. The revised tax was also collected from some city dwellers. 

The petitioners had again sought the intervention of the High Court and in turn, the HC had issued a stay order. The petitioners had contended that the old Municipality Act has been abolished with the introduction of the new Act and the hiked holding tax was levied as per the old Act. 

On the basis of this, while hearing the case; the HC gave its order. 

(Reported by Gautam Panda, OTV)