Found this article in Times of India dated 21-4-12. Bangalore.
HC: Give khata, don’t insist on betterment fee
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Bangalore: Here is cheering news for lakhs of property owners in the newly added areas of BBMP.
The high court on Friday made it clear that the BBMP cannot deny registration of khata in favour of citizens on the plank of non-payment of betterment charges.
Justice BS Patil set aside the differential rates of improvement (betterment) charges fixed by the civic body by terming them ‘arbitrary and unreasonable’.
Disposing of 300 petitions challenging the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (Recovery of Improvement Expenses) Rules, 2009, the judge directed BBMP to register khata in the event land owners have satisfied all other legal requirements.
“Rule 5, which provides for collection of improvement expenses at the time of registration of khata, is set aside only to the extent that it provides for recovery of amount at the time of registration,” the court has said.
However, the judge upheld the validity of all other provisions of the Rules, including the provision for collecting betterment charges retrospectively from January 1, 2007. The Rules were notified in March 2, 2010.
The court is of the view that the provision made in the Rules for collecting the full sum runs contrary to the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act and has declared the same as illegal.
The court also observed that the differential rates of improvement fixed for different sites based on the dimensions are arbitrary and unreasonable as it cannot be held that owners of smaller sites/- lands are always economically weak and invariably utilize lesser infrastructure.
“Many areas were part of villages on the outskirts and many agriculturists, who owned lands, might have got them converted and the areas became a part of the newly constituted BBMP. They (land owners) will have to now shell out huge amount towards improvement expenses at higher rates because they posses large sites/properties,” the judge has said while reserving liberty to BBMP to undertake the exercise afresh of quantifying the betterment charges and the collection.
The BBMP had fixed rates ranging from Rs 150 per sqm to Rs 400 per sqmt for sites of various dimensions.
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