LAHORE: Last week, Lahore High Court declared illegal a still head duty imposed by the Excise and Taxation Department on all Pakistan-made foreign liquor and beer to be sold outside of the province. The duty was imposed on July 1, 2015.
Justice Shahid Karim passed the order on a petition moved by Murree Brewery Company Limited and Sindh Wine Merchants’ Welfare Association.
The judge remarked that the Parliament could make laws for the entire or a part of the country but a provincial assembly could do so only for the province or a part of it.
He said laws that could have an extra-territorial or inter-provincial operation were beyond the mandate of a provincial assembly. He said such laws were beyond the scope of Article 141 (extent of federal and provincial laws) of the Constitution.
‘Don’t tax liquor sold outside Punjab’
“If they affect freedom of trade, commerce and intercourse, such laws also impinge upon the rights guaranteed in Article 151 (inter-provincial trade),” he said.
Shahid Hamid, counsel for the petitioners, had said that the levy impinged upon freedoms enshrined in Article 151 (1) of the Constitution. He said that in an earlier order the LHC had declared such a levy against the free trade clause.
The counsel said the imposition of the duty had rendered petitioners uncompetitive Sindh’s markets. He said under the “duty follows consumption” policy outlined in the Punjab Excise Manual, the petitioners were not liable to pay the still head excise duty to the Punjab government.
“They are liable only to pay duty imposed by the Sindh government under the Sindh Abkari Act 1878,” he said.
The petitioner said that Rs600 per gallon had been added to the price of PMFLB products, raising the price of liquor to Rs4,399 per gallon and beer to Rs310 per litre in Sindh.
Lahore High Court last week allowed Royal Palm Golf and Country Club administration to manage services temporarily without disturbing the possession of Pakistan Railways.
Justice Shams Mahmood Mirza passed the order on a petition moved by Mainland Husnain Pakistan Limited, the Royal Palm administration.
Supreme Court Bar Association President Syed Ali Zafar, Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, Advocate Umar Riaz and Advocate Haroon Rashid appeared before the court on behalf of the petitioner.
Busted: Cache of liquor seized
The judge, in his order, remarked that in view of arguments made by counsels of both parties and in order to protect standard of services, sporting facilities and other services could be managed by the club’s management without disturbing the possession of Pakistan Railways. The judge passed the order as an interim measure.
The respondents were directed to allow the management of the club to restore golf services for the members.
The order said that by consent of the parties, the finance department would be managed by a committee headed by KPMG, a chartered accountant firm.
Kamran Yousifi, a senior partner of the KPMG, would head the committee which includes Pervaiz Qureshi, director of the club and Ghulam Murtaza, of the Pakistan Railways.
The committee shall take decisions by a majority vote, the judge said. All the parties must render full assistance to the head of the committee, the judge said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2016.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ