Islamabad - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday served notices on federation, national electric power regularity authority (NEPRA), water & power development authority (WAPDA) and Islamabad electric supply company (IESCO) in a petition challenging Neelum-Jhelum surcharge being received from the electricity consumers every month.
A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Athar Minallah conducted the hearing of the petition moved by Imdad Hussain who approached the court through his counsel Yasir Mehmood Advocate.
The court also directed them to submit comprehensive reply within 15 days about why the Neelum-Jhelum surcharge had been mentioned in electricity bills despite the fact the Neelum-Jhelum was an under-construction project. The petitioner has cited federation of Pakistan through secretary ministry of water & power, national electric power regularity authority (NEPRA) through its chairman, water & power development authority (WAPDA) and Islamabad electric supply company (IESCO) as respondents.
In his petition, he maintained that the respondents imposed NJS through a notification dated January 04, 2008. He added that the notification that is valid till December 31, 2015 issued prematurely, illegally and without jurisdiction.
The counsel for the petitioner stated that the NJS forcibly imposed on the public at large by the respondents was liable to be set aside.
He adopted that presently the electricity from the Neelum-Jhelum power project is neither being supplied by the respondents and nor being utilised by the petitioner and public at large, so its forcible advance payment from the public at large is totally unconstitutional.
He continued that under article 77 of the constitution, taxability is to be determined by the legislature through the act of parliament and the executive authorities have no power to impose any such tax. In this view NJS is violative of the constitution.
Advocate Yasir contended that NJS is also in violation of article 157(2)(b) which provides that a tax on consumption of electricity only be imposed through a law and that too by the government of the province.
He maintained that the imposition of impugned levy in the monthly bills under the head of NJS amounts to compulsory exaction of money and the same is in violation of article 24 of the constitution. He added that none of the relevant laws like the Electricity Act 1910, WAPDA Act 1858 and the NEPRA Act, provide for the imposition of any surcharge for the under construction project. Therefore, he prayed to the court to declare NJS void ab initio and respondents be restrained from effecting recovery of any amount under the head of NJS by adding the same in the current monthly bills.