An ex-servicemen from Hyderabad used the RTI act in order to get his due. As per the state government all ex-servicemen/widows are exempted from paying property tax for any one house owned by them.
An Ex-Serviceman had to struggle for 9 long years with the civic authorities to get exemption from property tax. After repeated failures to get his due, he used the RTI act and woke up the civic authorities from their slumber.
This is the story of an ex-serviceman who had to struggle with the civic authorities for 9 long years to get his due. Mr. PP Sebastian worked in the Indian Air Force and is now settled in Hyderabad. He had to run after the local municipal authorities for 9 long years to get his property tax exemption order.
The Background Story
Most state governments extend a variety of welfare measures for serving personnel and ex-servicemen. The erstwhile Andhra Pradesh Government also extended similar facilities to ex-servicemen. As per the orders of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh State government, all serving army personnel and ex-servicemen/widows are exempted from paying property tax for any one house owned by them.
18. Exemption from property tax one house/property of Ex-Servicemen/widows/serving personnel when it is occupied by the Widows/Ex-Servicemen and by the family in case of serving personnel for their self dwelling purpose.
Application for exemption filed in 2006
Mr. Sebastian applied for property tax exemption in October 2006 in accordance to the Government Order. He submitted his application to Alwal Municipality, duly submitting all the required certificates. Instead of granting him exemption, the civic authorities kept sending him property tax bills. Moreover, the ex-serviceman received threatening calls to clear his dues
This is to bring to your kind notice that, I am ex-serviceman and had applied for tax exemption on 23rd October, 2006 as per the regulation after paying tax twice. I am yet to receive my tax exemption papers from your end.
Instead I have been receiving property tax bill every year. I had approached 4 to 5 times pertaining to my tax exemption as soon as the receipt of the property tax bill. But I have received no reply from Alwal Municipality so far.
RTI to the Rescue
Meanwhile in 2007, the Alwal Municipality was merged into the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). After repeated trials to know the status of his earlier application, Mr. Sebastian was exhausted and was resigned to his fate.
In early 2013, Mr. Sebastian came to know of Right to Information (RTI) through an awareness workshop. As soon as he realized its power, he filed an application under RTI with the GHMC authorities to know the status of his earlier request for property tax exemption.
After repeated follow-ups and intervention from the State Information Commission, the GHMC finally admitted that they had lost his application that was filed in 2006. They also requested Mr. Sebastian to submit all the documents once again to initiate further action.
With reference to subject cited, it is to inform that the application related to Exemption of Property Tax pertains to——– situated at Temple Alwal was given in erstwhile Alwal Municipality on 23.10.2006. Efforts were made to trace out the application, but the same is not traced out. Therfore, you are requested to kindly submit the required documents for taking further necessary action for exemption of property tax of above said property.
Finally, after submitting the application once again, the GHMC issued the property tax exemption order in December 2015.
In exercise of the powers conferred as per the M.C.H Act 1955 and in accordance with the Government Orders, Vide Ref 2nd cited the following Property (Assessment) is hereby temporarily exempted from the payment of Property tax with effect from 01.04.2007 till further orders, since the under mentioned premises are under the possession of Ex-Serviceman/ Widow of Ex-Serviceman/Serving Army Personnel.
|H.No. & Locality||Name of the Assessee||Exemption|
Asst.No. Amount per annum
‘If not for RTI, I would not have got this exemption’
‘If not for RTI, I would not have got this exemption. Thanks for my living God who guided me to that workshop’, Mr. Sebastian said. He is now a contented individual who feels that every citizen should know and use RTI.