LAHORE - A division bench of the Supreme Court here Monday dismissed a petition which prayed for hearing of a case against riba (usury) by the Lahore High Court instead of the Federal Shariat Court whereto the matter was remanded for fresh hearing in the year 2000 by Shariat Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court while deciding a review petition moved by the UBL against the FSC decision which had declared riba un-Islamic. Before the Bench of Justice Mian Hamid Farooq and Justice Muhammad Furrukh Mahmud the petition filed by M/s Danish Brothers etc. versus Federation of Pakistan was argued by MA Farani advocate. He contended that the matter as to make effective the declaration of riba un-Islamic, fell in the jurisdiction of the High Court not in the Federal Shariat Court as it was previously done. He said there are 11 Quranic verses and as many as 46 Ahadith Mubarka prohibiting riba. The counsel said riba is a constitutional matter and in view of the bar contained in Article 203-B(c) and Article 38-F of the Constitution, FSC got no jurisdiction to entertain the petition on the subject of knowing whether bank markup fell in the definition of riba and also whether commercial loans also fall in the same definition. He said the High Court under its Constitutional jurisdiction Article 199, was competent to determine the said questions and effectuate implementation of the decision, if it declares markup un-Islamic as being riba. The counsel also argued to oust the jurisdiction of Shariat Appellate Bench to deal with the matter and said, the declaration of Shariat Court has to take prospective effect which has to let hundreds to go scot free after they had received interest in billions. The Counsel said Article 38(F) has called for elimination of riba as early as possible and being a constitutional matter, it could befittingly decided and implemented by the High Court under Article 199. The court on that put a query to the counsel whether declaring riba un-Islamic does not fall in the ambit of Constitution? The counsel said it did but the High Court is the proper forum to decide the same, therefore the matter may be remanded to that. While explaining the jurisdiction of FSC he referred to Article 203(D) 1 of the Constitution and argued, the FSC may examine and decide whether or not a provision in law is repugnant to the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah. And the law, he added, includes any custom or usage having the force of law but does not include a constitutional law whose determination falls in the jurisdiction of the High Court. The court did not agree with the counsel and referred to Article 203(G) of the Constitution which read under the title 'Bar of Jurisdiction' that 'save as provided in Article 203F, no court of tribunal, including the Supreme Court and the High Court, shall entertain any proceedings or exercise any power or jurisdiction in respect of any matter within the power or Jurisdiction of the Federal Shariat Court." On the strength of this clear provision, the court dismissed the petition and rejected the pray that the matter be referred to the High Court. It may be mentioned that FSC took up the issue of riba in a petition filed by Dr Mahmoodur Rahman and declared it un-Islamic as received by the bank as mark-up/interest. The Shariat Appellate Bench deciding appeal on the decision in 2000 up-held the FSC decision and fixed time to render the economic system pure of riba. However, before expiry of that period, the UBL filed a review petition on which the court remanded the matter to FSC for fresh hearing while setting aside the earlier orders. The matter is still pending.