ISLAMABAD, (SANA): Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, while hearing suo motonotice case pertaining to hike in the petroleum products, has said that the parliament has not yet approved the finance bill 2013-14; therefore, it is not possible to implement tax on petroleum products.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprising Justice Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry and Justice Gulzar Ahmed on Friday conducted hearing of the suo moto notice case pertaining to hike in the petroleum products.
During the proceedings, Chief justice remarked that the court will dismiss the notice issued by federal Board of Revenue (FBR).The federal budget has proposed one percent increase in sales tax.
The Chief Justice remarked that before the approval of finance bill by the parliament, tax cannot be imposed on petroleum products.
According to sources, the Chief Justice took the suo moto notice on the note of Supreme Court Registrar. The CJP issued notices to the Attorney General of Pakistan Munir A. Malik and relevant officials.
Attorney General (AG) Munir A Malik , counsels of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) and other officials turned up to explain how the proposals, which were part of the finance bill, could be implemented without adoption of the bill by the parliament.
During the course of hearing, Chief Justice remarked as to how sales tax could be imposed without the passage of budget and approval by the President.
The AG informed the court that interim levy could be collected in advance under an act of 1931, adding that this act is a law of the Parliament. He said that implementation of the act was aimed at preventing the hoarding.
To which the chief justice said “what will you do if this increased levy was not adopted by the Parliament? Would you return back this money to the people?”
Chief Justice said that if the government can not stop the hoarding it has no right to rule, adding that those who are viewing the financial matters do not know the difference between the custom duty and the sales tax. Chief Justice said that the prices of sugar, flour and other commodities were increased with the petrol.
The court directed the FBR authorities to present a notification of increase in GST, if there is any.
At which, FBR representative said that no notification has been issued, only a declaration of Finance Minister has been issued.
OGRA counsel informed the court that only a notification of increase in rates of CNG and kerosene oil was issued.
Upon which, the chief Justice warned that all such notifications could be suspended by the court.
The bench also expressed concern over the increased levy on edible oil. “It seems there is no check and balance,” Chief Justice observed.
Chief Justice directed the Chairman FBR to immediately make correction in the notification issued pertaining to increase in the GST and make recovery of the amount received.
Chief Justice said that constitution and the law do not allow recovery of such amount, adding that FBR has no authority to make recovery of such tax without approval of the parliament.
Chief Justice said that to increase the prices of products before the budget is approved and to put extra burden on the people is violation of the human rights.
The Attorney General requested for time for preparation of the case and Chief Justice asked the AG to come with preparation. The court adjourned hearing of the case till June 18.