LAHORE: Justice Shams Mahmood Mirza of Lahore High Court on Friday stayed the recovery of luxury tax on houses on more than two kanals.

He also sought replies from the provincial government and other respondents on a petition challenging the imposition of luxury tax on large houses.

Petitioner Zain Shehzad said last year, the government imposed luxury tax by amending Section 8 of the Finance Act and later withdrew it after the tax was challenged in court. He said the government had charged the same tax this year. The provincial government had levied a luxury tax on houses located in areas specified as Category A under the Punjab Urban Immovable Property Tax Act, 1958.

He said the tax slab of Rs0.5 million was imposed on houses built on two kanals and above but less than four kanals; Rs1 million tax was announced for houses measuring four kanals and above but less than eight kanals; Rs1.5 million was imposed on houses built on eight kanals and more.

He said the government was now sending tax notices to home owners. “The tax is unjust,” he said. The government already charged property tax and the new tax was unnecessary and discriminatory, he said.
“Certain posh residential areas including Cantonment and Defence Housing Authority were exempt from the luxury tax,” he said. Shehzad accused the government of using coercive means to recover the tax. He requested the court to declare the tax illegal and set aside the notices issued to them by the Excise and Taxation Department.

Sadiq seeks dismissal of election petition
Lahore High Court on Friday asked counsel of both parties to present their final arguments on a petition seeking the dismissal of a petition against National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq pending before an election tribunal.

Advocate Asjad Saeed, representing Sadiq, said Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan had filed a petition in the election tribunal challenging Sadiq’s victory from NA-122. He said Khan had failed to present relevant documents. He had also not attached an affidavit while filing the suit. According to a Supreme Court order, no one could file a petition without attaching an affidavit, he said. Saeed requested the court to dismiss the petition.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan of the LHC asked the counsel of both parties to present final arguments on the petition.

Sadiq was elected from NA-122, defeating PTI chief Imran Khan. Khan had requested the court to order a recount of votes cast in the constituency.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 4th, 2014.