They oppose ‘unreasonable’ curbs as part of COVID-19 management and the recent police warning of slapping cases in case of any violation of rules during weddings

Former Minister S.R. Mahesh, former MLA M.K. Somashekar, and others during the meeting of wedding hall owners in Mysuru on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: M.A. SRIRAM

They oppose ‘unreasonable’ curbs as part of COVID-19 management and the recent police warning of slapping cases in case of any violation of rules during weddings

The owners of wedding halls in Mysuru have sought full waiver of property tax for one year in view of COVID-19 and took objection to the apparent warning to file criminal cases against the halls in case of any violation of guidelines issued by the government for controlling the pandemic.

The meeting was attended by former Minister and MLA S.R. Mahesh, former MLA M.K. Somashekar, K.R. Sathyanarayan, President, Mysuru Choultry Owners’ Association, C. Narayana Gowda, member of the association, and others.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Mahesh sought waiver of property tax of the marriage halls which had been hit by the pandemic and have ran out of revenue following restrictions on the conduct of functions engaging large gatherings. “All kinds of taxes that the marriage halls are supposed to pay to the government should be waived of for a period of one year,” he demanded.

He took objection to the apparent warning of legal action against the marriage halls in case of any violation in complying with the fixed rules over COVID-19. “Reconsider the decision on action against the marriage halls as the owners are ready for corrective steps in case of any errors in adhering to the rules. But it’s not correct to warn of filing criminal case against them.”

He also took objection to the classification of marriage halls as “super” commercial properties and imposing two per cent additional tax on them by the Mysuru City Corporation.

Mr. Mahesh told the marriage hall owners not to panic if any notices were served on them for clearing the tax dues, and added that he and former MLA Somashekar would support their cause. “We shall write to the government seeking waiver,” he told the meeting.

Referring to the recent police order, he said the wedding halls should not be “threatened” in connection with the enforcement of rules as they have already taken steps for containing the spread of the pandemic. “There might be some instances of slip-ups since there is constant movement of people during weddings,” he argued.

Mr. Narayana Gowda, who is also the president of Hotel Owners Association in Mysuru, said no other city in the State has the system of imposing “super commercial tax” other than Mysuru. Hotels, marriage halls and cinema halls are told to pay two per cent additional tax whereas this tax does not apply to other commercial properties. “Why the MCC has singled out these three commercial properties for the additional tax,” he asked.

Despite several appeals, there is no relief from the super tax which is being imposed since 2007, he claimed.

Mr. Gowda, who also runs a marriage hall, said the owners are planning to move to court seeking relief from the super tax in case the MCC does not consider to withdraw and impose uniform tax on all commercial properties.