–Marriage halls association rejects govt’s decision to impose Rs20,000 tax
LAHORE: Despite the Supreme Court (SC) orders, the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has failed to regularise the unregistered and illegal marriage halls in the city while the Punjab Marriage Halls Association (PMHA) has rejected the government’s decision to impose Rs 20,000 tax on marriage halls.
Last year, the SC had restrained the illegal marriage halls from further reservation of functions and ordered the LDA to submit a comprehensive report about action taken against the illegal halls. Former chief justice Saqib Nisar had strictly ordered to regularise the illegal and unregistered marriage halls after a list of 164 marriage halls was submitted to the top court.
According to reliable sources in the LDA, these halls did not have approved construction maps and only nine halls were following the rules and regulation.
Most of these marriage halls, located on main roads or markets, cause traffic jams due to absence of parking areas and the situation hasn’t changed despite the apex court’s orders, they added.
Sources claimed that the LDA officials have a close alliance with marriage halls’ ‘mafia’ and they protect each other, suggesting that the senior officials should intervene and keep a regular check on the illegal marriage halls.
While talking to Pakistan Today, LDA spokesperson Suhail Janjua said, “We had published a list of illegal halls that were not following the rules and regulations. The court had given a time of five years to the owners and between this period, we cannot do anything”.
‘HALL TAX UNACCEPTABLE’:
On the other hand, the president and general secretary of PMHA along with other members have rejected the government’s Rs 20,000 tax on marriage halls. They protested against the revised taxation near Lahore Press Club on Tuesday.
“We just collect the tax from our client and pay to FBR [Federal Board of Revenue]. Till 30 June 2018, there was only 5 per cent of tax over the bill of Rs 10,000 but after 1st July 2018, on the bill of 10,000, the tax is 20,000 which is a load on poor marriage hall owners. Everyone cannot afford the new tax,” they complained while demanding the government to review its decision.
Munir Gilani, owner of a marriage hall, told Pakistan Today, “The government should categorise the marriage halls and define their capacity.”
He was of the view that small marriage halls, which fall in the third category and allow not more than 200 guests, should be given relief.