Mumbai civic body draws flak for asking charitable institutions to pay property tax

Last week, the BMC had issued notices to several schools run by charitable trusts, stating that their exemption has been revoked.

mumbai Updated: May 26, 2018 00:08 IST
Sagar Pillai
Sagar Pillai
Hindustan Times
mumbai news,mumbai civic body,BMC
The BMC’s assessment and collection department had issued a circular in January last year to review exemptions given to schools and scrutinise them under certain merit. (HT Photo)

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) evoked criticism from the civic standing committee members on Friday, after it revoked the exemption of property tax given to charitable institutions.

Last week, the BMC had issued notices to several schools run by charitable trusts, stating that their exemption has been revoked.

The BMC’s assessment and collection department had issued a circular in January last year to review exemptions given to schools and scrutinise them under certain merit.

The criteria for exemptions included facilities given to students belonging to economically weaker sections, whether they are charged with concessional rates or any amount has been reserved as a fund for educational benefit.

They reviewed several institutions for a year and then issued notices.

Congress councillor Asif Zakaria requested municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta to look into the matter.

Zakaria said, “All aided schools are registered with the charity commissioner and as per section 143 (1) (a) of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, building and lands or portions thereof exclusively occupied for public worship or for charitable purpose are exempted. So, granting these schools exemption is as per the law. Nearly 80% of schools will be affected by this move.”

Rais Shaikh, Samajwadi Party leader backed Zakaria’s point of order and said the decision was unacceptable.

Father Frazer Mascarenhas, manager of St Stanislaus High School in Bandra, said, “We are already struggling with the economic burden on the school. The cancellation of exemption will make things worse and we may have to shut down. We appeal to BMC to continue with the earlier exemption for property tax.”

First Published: May 26, 2018 00:08 IST