ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Wednesday dismissed the federation’s review petition against its judgment on Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC).

The federation in November last year had filed the review petition in the Supreme Court against its judgment on GIDC, passed on August 22, 2014. “The cess could not have been introduced through a money bill under Article 73 of the Constitution - the same was, therefore, not validly levied in accordance with the Constitution,” the judgment said.

The federal government in the review petition informed that it is facing immense difficulties over the refund of Rs84 billion, which was collected under GIDC, on the direction of Peshawar High Court. The government also contended that in view of the nature of GIDC and applicable legal principles, the money already collected under GIDC Act is not required to be refunded.

A three-judge bench, headed by chief justice Nasir ul Mulk, was hearing the federation review petition. The court observed that in order to make its order ineffective the government promulgated the ordinance. After the Supreme Count the federal government issued Gas Infrastructure Development Cess Ordinance, 2014 on 25th September 2014.

The chief justice said after issuance of the ordinance there was no need to file the review petition against its judgment. The bench said the Sindh Assembly also did legislation to make the august court judgment ineffective.

Dismissing the review petition against GIDC, the bench said it would decide about refunding of gas surcharge to the consumers when the petition would be filed on it.

Attorney General Salman Butt representing the federation argued that imposing tax and expanding its scope is the policy matter, which is solely the jurisdiction of the government. He said the courts usually do not interfere in such matter. He said infrastructure development surcharge was introduced in the 1962 Constitution, adding it was a valid tax. He also referred the Indian Supreme Court judgments, saying the Indian Court had avoided to interfere in the policy matter.

Makhdoom Ali Khan, appearing on behalf of CNG station owners and other companies, contended that the government itself is in confusion. On one hand it had issued ordinance and on the other hand filed the review petition against the apex court judgment. He said when a new law was introduced it means the government had accepted the judgment. He said the issue of ordinance on gas surcharge is already pending in the High Courts, while the Lahore High Court had partially heard the matter. He said that the High Court has to decide whether the new is lawful or illegal. He said if there is flaw in the SC judgment on GIDC then it could be examined some other time.

The chief justice remarked when the federal government issued the ordinance then it made the judgment ineffective, therefore, there was no need of review petition. Justice Ijaz Chaudhry said when the judgment attained finality then it could not be reviewed.

Advocate Abid Zuberi argued that benefit of refund of surcharge should be given to the consumers and the Nepra has authority to refund the cess. He requested the court to issue direction to Nepra in this regard. However, the chief justice said when this matter would come up before it then they would pass an order on it.