Constitution disallows PM’s ‘solo flight’: SC rejects govt’s review appeal

Constitution disallows PM’s ‘solo flight’: SC rejects govt’s review appeal


ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court dismissed a review appeal by the federal government on Friday over its ruling that the prime minister is not above the cabinet and he cannot take decisions on financial matters and make statutory regulatory orders (SROs) without the federal cabinet’s scrutiny and approval.

The constitution does not allow the prime minister to take a solo flight, Justice Saqib Nisar said.

He added that powers of tax exemption and tax levies belong to the federal government. “Nowhere does the constitution state that the prime minister or a single minister is the federal government.”

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on August 19, this year, struck down the impugned notifications for withdrawing exemption of sales tax to the companies, importing cellular phones and textile goods.

The court accepted the appeals filed by the petitioners, the companies importing cellular phones and textile goods, against the judgment of Islamabad High Court (IHC). The court clarified that in passing, it has in the past consistently held that greater latitude is allowed in relation to beneficial notifications and that principle still applies.

The counsels of cellular phones and textile goods importers’ argued that the federal government earlier had granted them certain exemptions from sales tax, but subsequently these exemptions were either withdrawn or tax rates modified vide notifications No.280(1)/2013 and 460(1)/2013, which were issued under the provisions of Sales Tax Act, 1990.

The importers had challenged the notifications before the IHC that those were not in accordance with Section 3 of the Sales Act. The high court, however, dismissed their petitions. The importers had filed appeals against the IHC verdict in the apex court. The court on Thursday set it aside.

The judgment authored by Justice Mian Saqib Nisar ruled that the prime minister cannot take decisions by himself, or by supplanting or ignoring the cabinet because the power to take decisions is vested with the federal government i.e. the cabinet, and leader of the House and unilateral decisions taken by him would be a usurpation of power.-Web Desk