The Karnataka High Court has recently quashed the order issued by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) demanding the payment of improvement fees/fees from a school over 150 years old which is proposing to build additional floors on the school campus existing by means of an extension.

A single bench of judges of Justice M Nagaprasanna authorized the motion filed by Good Shepherd Convent and rescinded the order dated 07-07-2014 issued by the company demanding an amount of Rs Rs.69,70,520.

Case details:

The Petitioners’ School, established in 1854, is situated on approximately 23 acres of land in the heart of the city. Due to the increase in student numbers and the need to create a few more classrooms, an application was filed with the BBMP in June 2014, seeking planning permission for the construction of four additional floors on campus. of the existing school. In response, a claim of Rs.69,70,520/- was raised by the BBMP for improvement fees.

Lead attorney DLNRao representing the claimant argued that the building was constructed approximately 100 years ago and that all necessary payments were made at that time. Further, improvement fees under Section 18 or 18A of the Karnataka Land Use Act would only become payable when a change of land use is requested or the land is developed for the first time. These two examples are absent in the present case.

Barrister KNPutte Gowda for the BBMP argued that the petitioner, since the date the law came into effect, has not even applied for a license or paid an improvement fee. None of the statutory fees have been paid by the petitioner on the grounds that it is a very old institution and all the fees that had to be paid before have been paid. He added that Section 18A of KTCP empowers BBMP to demand improvement fees and no fault can be found in the claim raised by BBMP.

Court findings:

The bench noted that Section 18A (of the KTCP Act) empowers the BBMP, while granting development permission for land or a building, to levy and collect from the owner of such building , a tax for the construction of the water supply system; supplement for the formation of a ring road; Surrender for the purpose of upgrading slums and surcharge for the purpose of establishing a mass rapid transit system.

He observed, “The permission requested must be for the development of land or a building. The petitioner’s request was unequivocal for the alteration and addition of four floors on the existing building.”

He noted that the petitioner had nowhere requested a change of land use, for the BBMP to require improvement fees/charges using Section 18(1) of the Act.

The court then ruled, “The petitioner did not request a change of land use, but clearly indicated in his request, in the nature of the sanction requested, such as “addition and modification”. No request was even made under Section 14A of the Act.”

He then held“Therefore, a joint reading of Section 505 of the KMC Act of 1976, Sections 18 and 18A of the KTCP Act and the Rules would lead to an unmistakable conclusion that the request made by the BBMP is contrary to law.”

Further, he said, “The argument of the learned lawyer of the BBMP that the petitioner who is established a long time ago did not seek such a sanction or paid improvement fees and the BBMP has no alternative but to raise an application under KTCP Section 18A read with Rule 37A rules without contention, as the charge or fee or the imposition of a tax at law can only be in accordance with the law. there is no provision for charging a fee, there can be no request and if there is no provision for the imposition of a tax, there can be no tax, is established principle of law.”

The court clarified that “This would not prevent the BBMP from inspecting the property and making any requests strictly in accordance with the law.

Appearance: Senior Lawyer DLNRAO, a/w Lawyer ANIRUDH ANAND, for the petitioner. Lawyer NITHYANANDA KR, HCGP FOR R1. Master KNPUTTEGOWDA, FOR R2 AND R3.

Case Title: GOOD SHEPHERD CONVENT v KARNATAKA STATE et al

Case No: APPLICATION NO 47882 OF 2014 (LB-BMP)

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 163

Order date: MAY 10, 2022

Click here to read/download the order