Lahore High Court Stops Govt From Levying Fee On Power Consumers Without TV Sets
The Lahore High Court has restrained the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting from levying TV fee on electricity consumers who do not possess television sets.
Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh passed the order while disposing of a public interest petition challenging the levy of fee in monthly power bills.
Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had filed the petition through Advocate Sheraz Zaka.
The counsel argued that Rs.35 was being recovered under the head of TV fee through electricity bills sent to mosques, shrines, graveyards and even citizens who did not have television sets. He said the fee was discriminatory and in violation of fundamental rights of citizens.
He also alleged that revenue recovered through the TV fee had been used for running advertisement campaigns of the government, which was unjust.
A government counsel and legal adviser of the Pakistan Television Corporation argued that the fee had been imposed in accordance with Wireless Telegraphy Act 1933, read with Television Receiver Apparatus Rules 1970.
Justice Sheikh questioned as to how the TV fee could be levied on those who did not have the sets.
The judge observed that the fee could only be imposed in lieu of services and not on those who did not avail such services.
Electricity consumers who did not possess TV sets would be required to submit their affidavits to their respective electricity distribution companies to avail exemption from the recovery of the TV fee.
The government’s counsel undertook before the court that the fee would not be recovered from the consumers having no television sets.
Justice Sheikh disposed of the petition in the light of the government’s undertaking.
Previously published in DAWN and republished here with permission.