ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has been moved against the collection of Neelum-Jhelum surcharge being collected from consumers through electricity bills every month.
The petitioner submitted in the court that the Neelum-Jhelum Surcharge, imposed through a notification on January 4, 2008 and valid till December 31, 2015, was illegally, without jurisdiction and tantamount to abuse of power.
Surcharge of Rs`15-40 is collected from consumers and it increases with units usage.
Citing the Water and Power Ministry secretary and heads of National Electric Power Regularity Authority (Nepra), Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) and Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) as respondents, the petition said that presently electricity from the Neelum-Jhelum Power Project was neither being supplied nor utilised by the public, thus its forcible advance payment is unconstitutional.
It also states that the levy is also in violation of Article 157 (2) (b) of the Constitution which provides that a tax on consumption of electricity can only be imposed through a law and that too by the provincial government.
The petitioner also pointed out that none of the relevant laws, such as the Electricity Act 1910, Wapda Act 1958 and the Nepra Act 1997, provide for imposition of surcharge for an under-construction project.
The petitioner requested the court to declare the surcharge illegal and restrain the respondents from collecting any amount in consumers’ monthly bills.