Criticising the BBMP for its ‘naming and shaming’ drive to collect property tax from Wipro, the High Court on Thursday chided the Palike for its laxity in responding to objections.
Justice H G Ramesh said, “In the 21st century, you (BBMP) behave in an uncivilised manner by beating drums in front of their office. However when it comes to your response to their objections, you hardly file anything and seek more time to respond.” He further observed, “They (Wipro) are asking for breakups of tax figures and are ready to sign a cheque for the tax dues at your office. But you (BBMP) are unable to properly argue the matter and only respond with a few lines as your response. And you want `16.47 crore from them.”
The Court made the scathing statements after the BBMP’s counsel sought two weeks time to respond on the grounds that the Palike was holding a meeting on the matter. The Court extended the earlier stay order granted till December 10.
The BBMP had earlier threatened legal action against Wipro, claiming it owed `16.47 crore in property tax dues. It had issued notices to the company warning of seizure of its properties for tax evasion.
Soon after this, Wipro filed a petition claiming it had been defamed by the BBMP’s drum beating campaign in front of its offices over tax evasion charges and sought breakups of tax figures.
‘Clear TG Halli of Polluting Units’
The High Court on Thursday asked the state government to prepare an action plan to close down industrial units and godowns in the protected Tippagondanahalli reservoir catchment area.
Justice A N Venugopala Gowda passed the order on a batch of petitions seeking implementation of the state government’s November 2003 notification on maintenance of greenery in the catchment area. The reservoir supplies water to the northern parts of Bangalore. The court said the government should hold a meeting with all departments concerned, including BESCOM, to clear the catchment area of encroachments and polluting units.
The petitioners had contended that river Arkavathi will be polluted if no steps were taken to close the units. The water level at the reservoir has gone down because of the encroachments, and Bangalore will lose a major source of drinking water if the area is not protected, petitioners had submitted.