The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has empowered the J&K administration to impose property taxes through the municipal corporations, municipal councils and municipal committees in the Union Territory, evoking criticism from the regional parties.
In an order, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla issued several amendments in the Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Act, 2000 and Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Corporation Act, 2000 carried through the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization (Adaptation of State Laws) Order, 2020.
The former State of J&K had provisions to impose property tax in the laws enacted by the then Legislature.
The MHA has substituted Sections 72 to 80 and now Section 72 states in the previous Acts of 2000: “Unless exempted under this Act or any other law for the time being in force, Property Tax shall be levied on all lands and buildings or vacant lands or both situated within the municipal area… The property tax shall be levied at such percentage not exceeding 15% of the taxable annual value of land and building or vacant land or both as the Government may, by notification, from time to time specify.”
According to the order, every owner or occupier, who is liable to pay property tax, shall every year submit to the Executive Officer or any officer authorized by him in this behalf a return in the prescribed form within the stipulated period and in the prescribed manner.”
It said the property tax assessed and levied shall be subject to revision once in three years by enhancing the tax by such percentage not exceeding 10% of the tax as may be prescribed, commencing from the financial year from which the property tax is determined.
Reacting to the decision, Peoples Democratic Party leader Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra tweeted, “These new provisions not only erode the followed convention but will have serious negative repercussions in the future. Wisely, it will create more chances of corruption now. Period! #NayaJizya #NayaKashmir.”