SC reserves verdict in GST case

Published: June 21, 2013
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Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry observed that the federal government should collect increased rates of taxes but only after getting its decision approved from the parliament through an act. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry observed that the federal government should collect increased rates of taxes but only after getting its decision approved from the parliament through an act. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its verdict on collection of general sales tax (GST) at increased rates proposed in the budget and said the decision would be announced a day later (today).

The apex court took suo motu notice of the collection of GST at rates proposed in the budget even before parliament passed the Finance Bill 2013 and the president signed it.

The bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprised Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry and Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman.

The bench reserved its verdict after hearing the arguments of the Attorney General of Pakistan (AG) and the lawyers representing Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra).

AG Munir A Malik perhaps sensed what the bench was thinking during the course of hearing as he asked for prospective effect of the judicial verdict regarding provisional collection of GST at increased rates.

“If the bench strikes down the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act 1931, I beseech it has to be given prospective effect as explained in different earlier judgments of the apex court. I can recognise the problem in legislation but the Peshawar High Court had upheld the validity of 1931 Act on the touchstone of Article 48 of the 1962 Constitution, which is identical to the language of Article 77 of the 1973 Constitution,” argued Malik.

Responding to the AG’s plea, Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry observed that the federal government should collect increased rates of taxes but only after getting its decision approved from the parliament through an act.

The chief justice said the Ogra would have to justify before the court the collection of 9% tax besides 16% GST.

Advocate Salman Akbar Raja representing Ogra said that the 9% tax was collected from the CNG station owners for the compression of the natural gas.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2013.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Billoo Bhaya
    Jun 21, 2013 - 4:25AM

    Good proceedings for once. The new AG is behaving like a professional unlike the Jiyala Irfan Qadir. For his own sake he should have refused the position. Yes, OGRAs and all authorities who nickle and dime the consumer should rationalize the tax-structure and collect (yes FBR right down to Tax Inspector) so that consumers know what and to whom they are paying. Please CJ and PMLN rid us of the Corruption in the Tax Department. Only 1/3 of the tax that should be collected goes to the State. If corruption is eradicated tax to GDP ratio will double or even triple within 2-3 years. Recommend

  • Alikulikhan
    Jun 21, 2013 - 6:18AM

    I don’t know what the Supreme Court will achieve from this sortie into the governments territory other than sending a message that it is a force to be reckoned with. The court should remember that this parliament is a true representative of the people. It was not ushered in with the help of NRO. The court should refrain from interfering in the will of the people.

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  • Eric Kumar
    Jun 21, 2013 - 6:20AM

    How come the sign board of Supreme court is crooked ? Is it a reflection of overall condition of the nation. ? The sign showing direction towards Supreme court building I hope is correct.

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  • citizen
    Jun 21, 2013 - 9:09AM

    @alikulikhan : as if parliament cares about people .So what option do people have? just bear? right ? I applaud CJ for this move . This tax is truly unfair . Inflation has sky rocketed .

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  • AliKuliKhan
    Jun 21, 2013 - 1:28PM

    @ citizen
    If we want democracy then we should depend on the elected members of the parliament warts n all. This tendency of relying on non-elected government officials such as judges or generals is a dangerous trend to say the least. The generals who exceed their remit can still be held accountable but the judiciary cannot be held to account for their actions. If this trend of SC interfering in the domain of the parliament does not stop it will lead to another confrontation. Remember this parliament is not headed by COAS and neither was it facilitated to power by NRO.

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