BENGALURU: The High Court on Thursday pulled up BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad for mindlessly rejecting an application filed by a charitable educational institution seeking tax exemption, saying that it shocks the ‘conscience of the citizens’.
The commissioner had passed an order against the Sisters of Precious Blood, a registered organisation which runs Aradhana School at Arakere, stating that it is not entitled to property tax exemption as it is making profit by conducting dance and karate classes.
The court also pulled up Assistant Revenue Officer (ARO) N Prakash, Ward No. 193. The institution had filed a petition contending that the commissioner’s order was based on the ARO’s report. The commissioner passed the order on December 28, 2016. A notice was issued to the institution on March 16 to pay `25.06 lakh as property tax for 2008-09 to 2015-16.
Justice Vineet Kothari gave a week’s time to the officials to pass a fresh order.Justice Kothari asked the ARO: “How many children were learning karate and dance? Why do you think that these activities are not part of education?”
The ARO replied that 20-30 students are attending karate classes and 10-15 are learning dance and added that the institute collects extra fee for these. The judge then said that the extra fee was to pay the coach.
“I was disturbed seeing your report. I will grant you some time to pass a sensible order, since the commissioner himself intended to visit the school. Then a lenient view can be shown towards you,” Justice Kothari said while adjourning the case to July 19.