J&K Political Parties Say 'No Taxation Without Representation' As Lt Gov Administration Imposes Property Tax

National Conference criticised the notification of the imposition of property tax in Jammu and Kashmir, saying the notification smacks of arbitrariness.

J&K LG Manoj Sinha

As Jammu and Kashmir's government issued a notification to impose a property tax, political parties opposed the move and asked Lt Governor Manoj Sinha to leave such decisions to the elected government.

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said, “No taxation without representation”. 

“Why should people in J&K pay state taxes including the proposed property tax when we have no say in how our government is run and no say in the decision-making of J&K. We are expected to be mute spectators to all unjust decisions by Raj Bhavan,” Omar said.

Peoples Conference chairman, Sajad Lone said, “Property tax in aftermath of-an year lost post-2019, a couple of years lost to Covid, seems like a determination to turn every stone that can be turned to ensure economic euthanasia.”

“Governments have pumped billions worldwide to bump start ailing economies. In wonderment,” Lone added.

On Tuesday, Jammu and Kashmir's government issued a notification imposing property tax in Jammu and Kashmir from April 1, 2023.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 71A of the Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Act, 2000 …the Government hereby notifies the following rules for levy, assessment and collection of property tax in the Municipalities and Municipal Councils of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir,” read the notification, issued by Housing and Urban Development department.

“These rules shall be called Jammu and Kashmir Property Tax (Other Municipalities) Rules, 2023. These shall come into force from 1st of April, 2023.”

National Conference criticised the notification of the imposition of property tax in Jammu and Kashmir, saying the notification smacks of arbitrariness.

“Such decisions are taken in absence of a democratically elected government. These matters should be left to an elected government,” the NC spokesman said

While responding to the notification, National Conference spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar said, "The people of Jammu and Kashmir have been at the receiving end economically since 2019 due to the losses suffered by Aug 05, 2019, lockdown and then the successive Covid lockdowns. The imposition of the property tax will further push the people to the wall. Such decisions will make the situation even worse.”

“The people’s representatives must be given an opportunity to discuss these issues. Unfortunately, such important issues don’t face public scrutiny in the current bureaucratic set-up. It has become a habit of those in power in Delhi to issue orders, irrespective of their impact or public opinion,” Dar said.

Dar termed the decision “anti-people” and sought its immediate rollback. “Such revenue generation measures must be left to a democratically elected government in J&K,” he adds.

Since November 2018, when the legislative assembly was dissolved by the then Governor Satya Pal Malik, J&K has been without an elected government.

For the past several years, the BJP leaders have been saying the elections in J&K will be held after the Delimitation Commission completes its exercise and gives its report. On May 6 last year, Delimitation Commission finalized its two yearlong exercises recommending the creation of six additional assembly constituencies in the Jammu region and one more in the Kashmir valley. It was expected that the completion of the process of redrawing the electoral map of Jammu and Kashmir would pave the way for assembly elections in the Union Territory (UT) in 2002 itself. But the ECI slept is not announcing the polls. 

On January 18, when the Election Commission of India announced the schedule for Nagaland, Tripura, and Meghalaya Assembly polls, Omar Abdullah said it is not the Election Commission of India that is delaying the polls in J&K but it is the BJP that is holding back polls in J&K citing security situation of Jammu and Kashmir.

Omar said the BJP’s move to cite the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir is an excuse and nothing else. “After the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019, the BJP told the whole world that the militancy has ended in Jammu and Kashmir. The situation has normalized in Jammu and Kashmir. When the weather is clear and the situation is also normal, not holding the polls indicates the BJP is afraid of the polls,” Omar had said.