Amendments to NDMC bye-laws on rent done, SC told

Above: NDMC building in New Delhi. Photo:  The Supreme Court bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan on Thursday (May 17) was told that all requisite changes have been made in the rent bye laws under Article 226 of the constitution for the validity of the New Delhi Municipal Council (Determination of Annual Rent) Bye-laws, 2009. The counsels for the petitioner (NDMC) said that there are recommendations being made for the FY 2017-2018. The bench directed to place the final recommendations before the chairman within 2 weeks. The matter came up after a judgment passed by the high of court of Delhi. In the high court there were several writ petitions. In all these petitions barring a few no interim stay of recovery of the disputed property tax was granted. However, it was clarified that "in case at the stage of final hearing it is found the petitioner has deposited excess tax, directions can be passed for refund along with interest as is charged by R-1 from the defaulters." The reference to R-1 is to the New Delhi Municipal Council ('NDMC') which is the principal contesting Respondent in all these petitions. By the new impugned bye-laws, the NDMC brings about a change in the method of arriving at the rateable value for the purposes of property tax. It seeks to change the existing system of determining the rateable value on the basis of the annual rent at which the land or buildings may reasonably be expected to be let from year to year to a Unit Area Method ('UAM'). In the UAM, first the Unit Area Value ('UAV') i.e. per sq. ft./meter of a property is fixed with reference to the characteristics of the property such as location, occupancy, age, structure. The UAV is then multiplied by the area of the vacant land or covered space to arrive at its annual value. The new impugned Bye-laws are sought to be challenged on several grounds. Broadly it is sought to be contended that the UAM cannot be introduced by way of the new impugned bye-laws without amending the New Delhi Municipal Act, 1994 ('NDMC Act') which even as of today contemplates determination of the rateable value on the basis of the annual rent at which the land or building might reasonably be accepted to be let. The next date of hearing is July 9.

—India Legal Bureau