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Property tax penalty doubled for Marathi Signboard violation

Shops and establishments not displaying signboards in Marathi or Devanagari script will have to pay double property tax from May 1, Mumbai’s civic body said on Monday. In a release, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation also said it had decided to cancel the licence of illuminated boards (glow signs) that do not have lettering in Marathi or in Devanagari script, adding that renewing the licence will cost between Rs 25,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh.

The action is being taken for non-compliance of the Supreme Court’s directive and Rule 35 and Section 36 C of Maharashtra Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 2018 and Maharashtra Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) (Amendment) Act 2022 despite repeated concessions, it said in the release. The decision to take stern action was finalised after recently-appointed BMC commissioner-cum-administrator Bhushan Gagrani chaired a review meeting on the issue, the release.

“The Supreme Court had given two months for displaying Marathi language or Devanagari script on signboards in shops and establishments before the November 23, 2023, deadline. Thereafter, the civic body launched a drive to check for compliance from November 28, 2023,” it said. A total of 87,047 shops and establishments were checked between November 28, 2023 and March 31 this year, during which 84,007 of these, or 96.50 per cent, were found to have put up Marathi signboards, the release added. “

The BMC has issued legal notices to 3,040 shops and establishments for not displaying sign boards in Marathi language or Devanagari script. Some cases, in which notices have been issued, are being heard in court, while others appear for hearing before the Deputy Commissioner (Special) for administrative method of settling the case as per the provision in the Act,” it said.

The release said 343 cases were heard by the corporation and a fine of Rs 32 lakh was imposed, which this figure was Rs 13.94 lakh for 177 cases heard in court. Property tax to the tune of Rs 3,196 crore has been collected by BMC during 2023-24.

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