LHC bench order against fuel surcharge suspended

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LAHORE: A DIVISION bench of the Lahore High Court suspended the single bench’s order regarding setting aside the levy of fuel adjustment surcharge in the electricity bills of up to 350 units per month, paying way for Nepra to receive surcharge. The bench, comprising Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Shujaat Ali Khan, issued the order on an intra-court appeal moved by the Faislabad Electricity Supply Company (Fesco) against the single bench’s order.

The appellant company contended that it was the prerogative of the federal government to levy fuel adjustment surcharge and the courts could not interfere in policy matters but Justice Muhammad Khalid Mehmood Khan, on January 28, had set aside the levy of fuel adjustment surcharge.

The appellant’s counsel said the single bench also protected luxuries because consumers using up to 350 units use air conditioners and TVs and such consumers did fall under the definition of low-income people. The counsel requested the court to set aside single bench order.

Earlier, arguing before the single bench, the petitioners counsel contended that the Pepco was getting unjustified fuel adjustment charges in the monthly electricity bills. He said the line losses and theft in Punjab were the lowest as compared to the other parts of the country while the power outages were the highest and such levy was without legal justification.

He said the country’s economy had reached at the verge of collapse whereas foreign investors were withdrawing their investment. He said even the local investors were giving priority to invest their money in foreign countries.

He requested to take notice of the glaring situation and direct authorities concerned to shun electricity loadshedding and also direct the authorities to withdraw fuel adjustment charges.

A federal government’s counsel while opposing the petitions said that fuel adjustment surcharge was not a tax but it had been included in the cost of electricity.

He said that the government was already giving subsidy of Rs300 million to the consumers. He said that a relief to the consumers could only be granted under the law.reply sought in Haj case: The Lahore High Court Monday issued notice to Ministry of Religious Affairs on a civil application complaining for not giving facilities to pilgrims in the light of Haj Policy-2013 and increasing the Haj fares.

The application was moved by Azhar Siddique, in an already pending petition challenging the Haj policy.In civil application, the petitioner submitted that the ministry had not devised the facilities to the pilgrims despite court’s clear orders. “Haj is a fundamental article of Islam, but now it has become a profitable business,” the petitioner argued.

He maintained that the ministry had deprived the masses of the religious duty by increasing the fares.He requested the court to direct the ministry to decrease the Haj travel charges and provide best facilities to the pilgrims. The judge adjourned hearing till April 11 and directed the ministry to file reply.


Courtesy: The News

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