ISLAMABAD, \(SANA): Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry , while hearing suo moto notice case pertaining to imposition of General Sales Tax (GST) on petroleum products without parliament’s approval, has said that the court knows that government can not be run without imposing taxes but the tax should be collected according to the law and regulation. Chief justice said that prima facie the 1931 act is contradictory to the constitution, adding that the tax could not be collected priror to the approval of the budget. The apex court has reserved its verdict on the case and would announce the verdict today (Friday).
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Thursday conducted hearing of the suo moto notice case pertaining to imposition of General Sales Tax (GST) on petroleum products without parliament’s approval. Attorney General of Pakistan and chiefs of FBR and OGRA had submitted their replies.
The Chief Justice observed that the tax collected from the masses sans parliament’s approval was illegal which should be returned back to the people. “It’s a legal requirement which must be fulfilled,” he said.
During the hearing, the chief justice observed that increase in sales tax had led to rise in the prices of food items. He said that one percent increase in the GST caused 15 percent surge in the prices.
The chief justice asked as to who would resort to the parliament if the rulers kept imposing taxes on their own.
He said that court is not stopping the government from imposing the tax but it should work within constitutional limits.
The way FBR imposed 1 percent increase in the GST is unacceptable, Chief Justice said.
He remarked that if ‘interim’ procedure of tax imposition allowed once, parliament’s role will remain no more affective.
On the other hand, OGRA’s counsel Salman Akram Raja informed the court that government member can not oppose budget recommendations under article 63 (A) of the Constitution.
He said that authorities were sure that GST hike will be approved, thus, prices were increased immediately.
Chief Justice said that the budget was yet to be approved but it was started to collect billions of rupees from the masses on the basis of proposal.
Chief Justice said that 1931 Act apparently seems conflicting with the constitution, adding that tax can not be collected prior to the approval of the budget.
Salman Akram Raja said that there are examples wherein tax is being collected prior to the approval, adding that the governments are keeping on collecting taxes before that and the artificial crises of the petroleum products would be created if the tax is not collected from here on.
Chief Justice said that let the parliament to approve the tax then the court would not have any objection, adding that where would be the authority of the parliament if the administration would itself make decisions. Chief justice said that the 9 percent additional tax is being collected on CNG and it would rise up to 26 percent with the one percent increase in the tax.
Chief Justice said that the amount collected from the people should be returned to them, adding that it is demand of the law that is responsibility of the government to fulfill the rights of the people. He said that according to the newspapers the price hike has reached to 15 percent.
Representing PML-N Secretary General Iqbal Zaffar Jhagra, Ikram Chaudhry Advocate said that the money collected from the masses should be taken back, adding that billions of rupees were collected from the masses on one notification. Chief justice hailed the arguments of Ikram Chaudhry. The court reserved the verdict which will be announced to day (Friday).