Lahore court stays WCB action to recover property tax from shopkeepers
LAHORE – The civil court on Wednesday restrained the Walton Cantonment Board (WCB) from recovering property tax amounting Rs 4.2 millions from the local shopkeepers, besides barring it from sealing their shops.
The court, while issuing stay order, also directed the WCB to submit detail written reply till 22 October.
Civil Judge Mubashir Hussain Awan passed the orders on the civil suit for permanent injunctions moved by the residents of Chungi Amer Sadhu through Advocate Mian Dawood and Rafiq Ahmad Bhatti Advocate.
The counsels argued that the WCB has issued a recovery notice for property tax amounting to Rs 4.2 millions, including arrears of Rs 3.4 milion for previous years.
The counsels pointed out that the petitioners are paying the tax regularly and the deposit slips are also annexed with the petitions.
The last two deposit slips of the WCB also clearly shows that no arrears are pending against the shopkeepers, the counsel argued, adding that latest demand of the property tax amounting to Rs 0.764 million also based on wrong assessment and based on malafide intention because the petitioners had paid Rs40,288 property tax for 2018 and 2019 each.
“Under what law the property tax can be increased suddenly from few thousands to Rs. 0.764 million,” the counsel further highlighted.
Referring the record submitted by the WBC in the civil court, Mian Dawood Advocate raising objections said that the assessment notices are not only anti-dated and hand written but also the dates of the said notices are contradictory from each other.
He argued that the cantonment board had never published the lists of class of persons and areas falling in the cantonment area which is mandatory under The Cantonment Act 1924 before assessing and levying the taxes.
The counsel prayed for setting aside and declaring illegal the recovery notices for property tax issued by the WCB.
The legal advisor of WCB also appeared before the court and raised objection on the jurisdiction of the civil court for hearing the cases related to the cantonment boards. He requested the court to dismiss the suit.
The petitioners’ counsels produced the copies of the judgments of the Supreme Court as well as Lahore High Court and argued that these judicial precedents clearly shows that the civil courts have jurisdiction to adjudicate the matter related to the cantonment board if the functionaries of the cantonment board have committed any illegalities.
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