ISLAMABAD: Two days after surrendering to the public protest by withdrawing a controversial ordinance that offered an amnesty of Rs210 billion to large companies without a prior audit, the federal government asked the Supreme Court for a hearing out of turn of pending cases related to Gas Cess Infrastructure Development Tax (GIDC).
On Friday, Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan submitted a formal request to the trial court with a plea to deal with GIDC-related cases out of turn. "This Honorable Court may be pleased to deal with cases, out of turn and fix it at an early date, as appropriate for the Honorable Court," the request says.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan, while withdrawing the GIDC Ordinance (Amendment) 2019, had ordered the attorney general to move the SC for an early decision on the matter in accordance with the relevant laws.
The GIDC controversy called attention when the government enacted a controversial ordinance last week with an offer to grant a financial amnesty of Rs210bn to large companies, including fertilizers, general industry, power generation companies, K-Electric and the sector of CNG
According to a PM Office statement, the total amount caught in the GIDC litigation from 2012 to 2018 has increased to Rs417bn.
AG files a request for an off-duty hearing on the matter involving Rs.
On Friday, the AG office submitted the application to the trial court stating that the cases related to the GIDC Law 2015 involved huge amounts of government revenue. He indicated that the matter had been pending since 2017 and that petitions had been filed against the judgment of the Superior Court of Peshawar (PHC) confirming the wishes of the law. As a large amount of government revenue remained stagnant due to the cases, the court was requested to deal with the cases out of turn, the request said.
Through its May 31, 2017, the PHC rejected a set of petitions that questioned the validity of the GIDC Law 2015 alleging that the transgression of the legislative authority by the federation does not qualify as a violation of the fundamental rights of the citizens and, therefore, of the petitioners. before the higher court they were not harmed persons within the meaning of article 199 of the Constitution and, therefore, do not have locus standi to challenge the validity of the act.
Exclusive Authority of Parliament
The PHC in its trial had also argued that when Article 142 (a) was read with Article 154 of the Constitution, it became clear that parliament had the exclusive authority to legislate on Entries in Part II of the Federal Legislative List of the Constitution.
Previously, the GIDC Law was approved by the National Assembly in December 2011 imposing transfers to gas consumers, in addition to the domestic sector, to develop infrastructure for a series of projects, including the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India (TAPI) Gas Pipeline Project and the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project and for equalizing prices of imported alternative fuels, including LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas).
But on April 15, 2015, the court of first instance rejected the federal government's petition seeking the revision of its verdict of August 22, 2014 and clarified that the collection of more than Rs100 billion under the GIDC Law does not It could be reimbursed to industrial gas consumers from whom it was recovered. The law then GIDC had legalized the recovery of non-domestic consumers, mainly industries.
Later, when the GIDC ordinance expired, the National Assembly and the Senate approved the GIDC Law 2015 and repealed the GIDC Law 2011.
Moved by lead attorney Makhdoom Ali Khan on behalf of 499 different CNG stations of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, one of the petitions had requested a restraining order to impose or collect GIDC on the gas supplied to CNG stations.
The petition had also been submitted to the higher court to order the authorities to refrain from taking coercive measures against CNG stations, which include, among others, the disconnection of the gas supply during the processing of the petition and to rectify and amend the invoices already issued accordingly.
The petitioners had claimed that the federal government violated the legislative limits of parliament by enacting the GIDC Law 2015, since any law that violated the fundamental right was considered void and could only be revived or revived after the fundamental right was suspended or amended. .
In the present case, the GIDC law was never presented, discussed or approved by the Common Interest Council (ICC) and its promulgation, therefore, contravenes Articles 153 and 154 of the Constitution, as well as the federal scheme.
The petition argued that any charge, which was illegal when imposed, could not be validated by subsequent legislation nor could a tax be subsequently validated under the pretext of a fee.
Posted in Dawn, September 7, 2019