BENGALURU: In a setback to builders, developers and land owners, the High Court on Friday dismissed the petitions challenging the revised betterment charges fixed for properties before and after formation of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
Upholding the July 1, 2014 circular issued by BBMP, Justice L Narayanaswamy said BBMP followed the principles laid down and had taken the works to be carried out into consideration while fixing the fee. Gokulam Shelters Pvt Ltd, Vasanthapura, and others had challenged the circular.
“The rate was fixed based on the recommendations of the experts committee, subjected to scrutiny and ultimately a reduced rate than the one prescribed by the committee is fixed in the circular,” the judge noted.
However, Justice Narayanaswamy clarified that the payment of improvement charges cannot be made a pre-condition for registration/ transfer/ bifurcation/ amalgamation of khata, grant of sanction plan, etc.
If any individual has any grievances as to payment of improvement charges already, he/she agitate before the forum concerned, he said. The judge added, “It is not the case of petitioners that their properties are not situated in under-developed area and not the case what works stated in the proceedings of the expert committee to be carried on, all the works are already carried on and no such works need to be undertaken by the corporation.
“The anxiety expressed by the petitioners is only with regard to whether the corporation would spend the amount so collected in respect of the very work and of their area only. That they can always complain, if the said works are not executed by the corporation,” the judge noted.
The petitioners had contended that BBMP cannot fix betterment charges unilaterally without proper assessment of development works undertaken or to be undertaken in the wards.
10 per cent penalty
Betterment charges of `250 per sq mtr was fixed in respect of the converted properties falling under the jurisdiction of newly added areas to the BBMP and `200 in the 100 old wards which already existed prior to 2007. BBMP has also resolved to impose penalty of 10 per cent on the improvement expenses per year if the party does not pay the same within one year which is approved by the Corporation on May 28, 2014.