ISLAMABAD  -    The Supreme Court on Wednesday withdrew the interim order passed by former chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar and restored all taxes on crediting the card by cellular network subscribers.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Ijazul Ahsan after briefly hearing the case pertaining to unreasonable deduction of charges and taxes by cellular companies announced its judgment and restored the taxes.

The order stated that all the interim orders for suspension of taxes are withdrawn and all taxes shall remain intact. The top court further observed that it shall not interfere into tax and revenue related matters in this case.

The suo moto notice was taken by former chief justice Nisar on May 3, 2018, on the grounds that the matter involved public interest. The ex-CJP later on June 11 last year had suspended the deduction of taxes.

According to the reports of Federal Board of Revenue and provincial revenue departments, the exchequer suffered a loss of more than Rs 100 billion due to the interim order passed by former chief justice.  During the hearing, Justice Isa questioned whether suo moto jurisdiction can be invoked in this matter.

However, Justice Ahsan remarked that deduction of taxes from those not falling within the definition of taxpayer is violation of fundamental rights.

He inquired the Attorney General for Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan regarding instructions from Prime Minister on the matter of Advance Tax.

AGP replied he could not meet with the premier but the Income Tax Ordinance is clear on Advance Tax. He contended that whether a person is filer or non filer he is liable to pay tax under the Ordinance.

He also challenged the suo moto jurisdiction in tax matters and argued that relevant Income Tax Commissioner could be approached for exemption.

He added that there is no precedent of suo moto on tax matters. He said the interim order deprived the government of major revenue.

AGP contended that revenue of the country will be decreased by 40 percent if Chapter 12 of ITO is declared ultra vires.

Advocate General Sindh Salman Talibud Din contended that Director General of Human Rights Cell written a note for suo moto notice on the complaints viral on social media and contended that the interim order does not mention anywhere regarding violation of fundamental rights.

He informed the bench that the issue of taxes went viral on social media and suo moto was taken contending that only a judge can put a note.

However, chief justice observed that anyone can put the note and the practice has been done in past.

Justice Isa asked whether the relevant authorities were directed for explanation on a note on which suo moto was taken.

The chief justice remarked that the stage has been passed and now it is impossible for the bench to go back.  Justice Ahsan remarked that the bench is hearing the review case. The bench restoring deduction of taxes disposed of suo moto case.