ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court (SC) has nullified Prime Minister (PM) powers for bypassing the cabinet.

A full bench of SC presided over by Justice Saqib Nisar declared null and void clause 2 of rule 16 on PM powers for bypassing the federal cabinet.

Justice Saqib Nisar announced 80-page reserved judgment on appeals filed against notification pertaining to enhancement in levy tax. The private companies had challenged imposition of levy tax in apex court.

SC has maintained the powers for increasing or decreasing tax rest with federal government which consists of PM and ministers. Such notification cannot be issued merely with the approval of PM. The power laid down in clause 2 of rule 16 is illegal. Promulgating any ordinance without the approval of cabinet is illegal. No law or bill can be presented in National Assembly (NA) without the approval of cabinet. The cabinet should be given proper time to consider all bills including finance bill. PM or minister or secretary cannot exercise the powers of federal government.

SC maintained in its verdict PM cannot bypass cabinet decision. Only federal cabinet can exercise federal government powers. PM will have to exercise budget powers, powers related to financial matters and discretionary powers with the approval of cabinet.  It is binding on government to abide by rules of business-1973, neither any secretary or PM and nor any federal minister is government on their own. Federal government comprises federal ministers and PM.

Notification on levy tax is illegal as it was issued without the approval of cabinet. Any ordinance if promulgated without the approval of cabinet will be illegal. The approval of cabinet is must for presenting finance bill, ordinance or law in the parliament. If PM approves any such law on his own then it will stand nullified, SC ruled.