ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned the hearing of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) case till October 29.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Mushir Alam and comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah heard the case.

During the course of proceedings, Advocate Makhdoom Ali Khan, counsel for a private company, continued arguments from SC Karachi Registry through video link and stated that the Peshawar High Court and the Supreme Court had declared that no tax could be imposed without the approval of Parliament and the cabinet.  The government was of the view that this was not a tax as it was an infrastructure development cess and it had said the money would be used to improve gas infrastructure, he added.He said that since it was not a money bill, no cabinet approval was required.

He said that the Supreme Court rejected the government’s stance and dismissed the appeals. The money taken from cess was to be used on the Pak-Iran gas pipeline and other projects.Justice Faisal Arab remarked that work was still continuing on the Pak-Iran gas pipeline project. Makhdoom Ali Khan said that government was permitted for the imposition of any kind of tax but it needed to get the protection of federal legislative list for its implementation. Justice Faisal Arab questioned for what will be status of the legislation which was approved by both houses [Senate and National Assembly]. The lawyer replied that the tax law will be illegal if it was implemented without the protection of federal legislative list and such cases were also pending in the Lahore High Court (LHC).

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah remarked that the Peshawar High Court (PHC) had not ruled for the illegitimacy of a levy tax in its verdict, however, the verdict of LHC was pending. He remarked that any ruling from the top court will make the high court’s verdict ‘ineffective’. KP deputy advocate general pleaded the court to club all rulings in the GIDC case.