ISLAMABAD    -   The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday issued stay order in a petition challenging hefty increase in property tax by Municipal Corporation Islamabad (MCI) in the federal capital.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani conducted hearing of the petition moved by Naib Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Mian Muhammad Aslam and issued notices to Capital Development Authority (CDA) and MCI directing them to submit their reply in this matter. The court also summoned Director Revenue of CDA to appear before the court in person on the next hearing and deferred the proceedings for two weeks.

Mian Aslam moved the court through his counsel Zulfiqar Ali Abbasi Advocate and cited the federal government, Capital Development Authority and Revenue Directorate CDA as respondents.

He adopted in his petition that MCI had made a 200 per cent increase in property tax in Islamabad while misusing its powers and prayed the court to set aside the decision of MCI regarding increase in property tax.

He stated that the respondents issued demand notice for the payment of property tax in regard to a house of the petitioner, wherein, the respondents demanded an exaggerated/excessive property tax of Rs279,644 which is about 200 times than the property tax levied by the respondents in the last year.

The petitioner maintained that the said demand notice has been issued by the respondents illegally, unlawfully, without any justification and demanded an exaggerated and excessive amount on account of property tax from the petitioner.

According to the petition, “The respondents have burdened the petitioner while imposing such about 200 times excessive property tax upon the petitioner and that too is without any justification and prior intimation, hence not only the fundamental rights of the petitioner guaranteed by the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973.”

He argued, “The acts and conducts of the respondents by issuing the impugned demand notice are violative of the Article 9, 4, 10-A, 22, 23 and 25 of the Constitution of Pakistan.”

Therefore, he prayed to the court that the said demand notice may be set aside being illegal, unlawful, unjustifiable and excessive than the actual payable/liveable property tax and the same is arbitrary, discriminatory to the extent of the petitioner as well as people of Islamabad.

He also requested the court to issue directions to the respondents to correct the petitioner’s property tax demand notice and issue afresh correct demand notice of property to the petitioner.

Talking to the journalists outside the court, JI leader Muhammad Aslam said that his party would also hold protest in the city along with contesting the case in court against this hefty increase in the property tax. He termed the increase in property tax as additional burden on citizens of capital adding that the decision was taken at the time when the public was already facing price hike and unemployment.

He urged the lawmakers, MCI and CDA to address this issue of public interest on priority basis.