LAHORE - The Lahore High Court (LHC) has restrained the federal government from recovering the debt servicing surcharge on electricity bills at the rate of 30 paisa per unit.

The LHC on Tuesday also issued notices to the government and other respondents to submit replies and adjourned further proceedings till January 15, 2015, besides asking Attorney General of Pakistan to assist the court.

Advocate Azhar Siddique, the counsel of Flying Cement Ltd, had filed a petition challenging the unjust levy. The DS surcharge actually replicates the government’s failure to recover the electricity dues from the government institutions and now all the burden is being shifted to the consumers all across the country, the petition stated.

The petitioner was of the view that it was mere exploitation of the consumers in view of article 3 of the Constitution. He pointed out that the levy was also a violation of fundamental rights, according to Articles 9, 14, 18, 25 and 38 of the Constitution.

Siddiqui on Tuesday prayed the court to declare the surcharge unconstitutional, moreover, its recovery in bills of November 2014 and future months should be stayed.

After hearing the initial arguments, Justice Shahid Karim restrained the federal government from recovering the debt servicing surcharge on electricity bills. He also asked the AGP to assist the court, before seeking reply from the federal government and adjourned further proceedings till Jan 15, 2015.