KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) issued a notice on an application seeking contempt of court proceedings against the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Karachi Cantonment Board for allegedly flouting the court order in a case pertaining to property tax.
The bench also directed CEO Rana Manzoor Ahmed Khan to file comments by January 13, 2016. The notice was issued on an application seeking contempt of court proceedings against the cantonment board's chief over the alleged violation of the court's restraining order passed on August 6, 2013.
The case was filed by a private company seeking relief from the high court against what it pleaded were 'whimsical' and 'arbitrary' methods of the Karachi Cantonment Board in fixation of property tax. The petitioner claimed that, while taking up its constitutional petition, the high court had passed clear orders restraining the cantonment board from taking any coercive action against the petitioners till the matter was in court.
Facing the music: Property tax defaulters’ buildings to be sealed
The petitioner alleged that the new CEO, who fully knew that the SHC's restraining order was in place, disregarded the order and had the petitioner's building raided by armed men working for his cantonment board accompanied by a judicial magistrate, the cantonment's revenue officers and the local police, seeking to forcefully and illegally seal the said premises. This building is a prestigious multi-storey structure housing many multinational tenants, the petitioner argued, adding that the raiding team had surrounded the building and asked its management to vacate the premises in order to seal them.
It was stated that after meeting the legal personnel of the company and seeing the SHC orders and the receipts of payments made as property tax as directed by the court, the judicial magistrate admitted that the cantonment officials withheld material facts and misled them. Subsequently, the magistrate called off the raid.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 1st, 2016.
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