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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Cabinet in Karnataka Approves Issuance of ‘B Khatas’ for Unauthorized Properties, Targets Revenue Boost

In an effort to replicate the successful revenue model of Bengaluru, the Karnataka cabinet has approved the issuance of ‘B Khatas’ to unauthorized layouts and buildings on revenue lands across all towns and cities in the state. The cabinet also endorsed recommendations for initiating criminal proceedings against individuals involved in developing illegal layouts, imposing penalties that include imprisonment, a fine of Rs 1 lakh, and freezing the sale and registration of such unauthorized constructions. The objective is to enhance revenue collection and expand the taxation base.

To implement these measures effectively, the government plans to introduce bills amending the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976, and the Karnataka Municipalities Act, 1964, during the ongoing budget session of the assembly. These decisions align with the recommendations of the cabinet sub-committee led by Forest Minister Eshwar Khandre, tasked with exploring the feasibility of extending certain provisions to other corporations and urban local bodies statewide.

The new legislative measures aim to bring over 34.3 lakh unauthorized properties within the legal framework for tax collection. Despite having essential civic amenities like roads, electricity, and water supply, these properties have long been outside the tax net.

In a related legal development, the High Court termed the 2016 demolition of a dwelling house as illegal, directing the BBMP to compensate the owner. The court emphasized that proper notices had not been served as required by the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act. The judge directed an inquiry into the conduct of officials involved in the demolition and issued general directions for improved procedures in such matters, emphasizing verification of property owner details, conducting spot inspections before issuing notices, and providing reasonable time for compliance.

The cabinet’s decision is seen as a proactive step to address legal ambiguities surrounding tax collection from unauthorized properties and to streamline the process for improved governance.

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