Mumbai: Double property tax for shops without Marathi signboards

09 April,2024 07:08 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Prajakta Kasale

The municipal commissioner ordered strict penalties for non-compliant establishments in the city

The high court has imposed a total fine of Rs 13.94 lakh on shops

Key Highlights

The BMC commissioner has instructed to slap double property tax as a fine on shops and establishments for not putting Marathi sign boards. Even the licence issued for glow sign boards will also be cancelled with immediate effect. According to the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment & Conditions of Service) (Amendment) Act, 2022, all shops in the state must display Marathi signboards in the Devanagari script.

In case there are multiple languages, the Devanagari font is not to be smaller than the others. The action against errant shops was stopped in November 2022 after an SC order put a stay on it. In an order on September 25, 2023, the SC gave establishments two months to comply with the Marathi signboard norm. Subsequently, on November 28, the BMC resumed action.

Municipal Commissioner and Administrator Bhushan Gagrani reviewed matters related to shops and establishments, licencing procedures, etc on Monday and gave instructions to concerned officers to take strict action against the defaulters. Gagarani directed that shops and establishments without nameplates in the Marathi language should be charged double property tax from May 1, and appropriate administrative action should be initiated for the same. Also, licences issued by the Licence Department of the municipal corporation for illuminated boards (glow sign boards), should be cancelled with immediate effect, and their security deposit forfeited.

An official from the BMC said "Even though there isn't any law to double the property tax for non-Marathi signboards, the penalty is equivalent to the cost of property tax of premises and the municipal commissioner can take a call on it. Similarly, if the glow sign board licence is revoked, the concerned establishment owners will have to bear the burden of expenses from at least Rs 25,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh for getting a new license, making the board, etc.

A total of 87,047 shops and establishments have been inspected from November 28, 2023 till March 31, 2024. Out of this 84,007 - about 96.50 per cent of shops and establishments were found to have put up nameplates written in Marathi Devanagari. Legal notices were issued to the remaining 3,040 shops and establishments that did not put up the boards as per the rules.

Deputy Commissioner (Special) Kiran Dighavkar said, "A total of 1,928 cases reached the high court. After hearing a total of 177 cases, the high court has imposed a total fine of R13.94 lakh on the related shops and establishments. The remaining 1,751 cases are in the process. Similarly, out of 916 cases that came up for hearing before the municipal administration, a total fine of R31.86 lakh has been imposed in 343 cases."

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