ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday barred National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from collecting dues from industrial units and commercial consumers under the head of Fuel Price Adjustment (FPA).

A Division Bench (DB) of IHC, comprising Chief Justice IHC Justice Muhammad Anwar Kasi and Justice Noor-ul-Haq Qureshi, has directed Chief Executive Faisalabad Electricity Supply Company (FESCO) not to collect FPA till the final decision of an intra-court appeal (ICA).

In this connection, the DB also suspended the notice issued by NAB dated April 2 to the consumers for the payment of FPA arrears.

The counsel Muhammad Nawaz advocate on behalf of the industrial units filed the petition challenging the FESCO’s step to move NAB against these 52 Faisalabad based textile and manufacturing industries for collecting the dues from them.

They made Federal Ministry of Water and Power, Chairman WAPDA, Faisalabad Electricity Supply Company (FESCO), Chairman NAB, revenue officer FESCO and executive engineer FESCO as respondents in the petition.

The industrialists contended before the court that FESCO and NAB were pressurizing them to pay the FPA given the fact that the final decision is yet to come.

The petitioners prayed before the court to stop NAB from issuing notices to them till the final decision of the court in the matter.

Earlier, IHC judge Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui had declared the FPA as illegal on October 24, 2012 while an IHC division bench on March 21, 2013 in an intra court appeal (ICA) of the electric power supply companies had allowed the power supply companies to collect FPA through an interim order. Decision in the main case is yet to come.

After these court orders, power supply companies asked the NAB to proceed against the defaulters under section ‘5’ of the NAB ordinance. Legal counsel for the petitioners argued before the court that FESCO has referred the names of his clients to NAB as willful defaulters.

The counsel further argued that under section 5 of the NAB ordinance only those persons could be treated as willful defaulters who do not pay the legitimate amount on due date.

In the present matter the final decision is yet to come while the IHC single bench on October 24 had declared the collection of FPA from retrospective effect as illegal and against the fundamental rights. The said order is still intact the counsel added.

He said that the NAB is causing harassment to his clients as the NAB issued them ultimatum that by April 19 they would face disconnection.

Besides issuing the above said orders, the court also issued notices to the respondents and directed them to submit their reply in this connection on the next hearing.