ISLAMABAD  -     A writ petition seeking court’s directions to bar prime minister’s advisor on finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh from presenting federal budget in the National Assembly was Friday moved in the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

The petition was filed by Shahid Orakzai who cited speaker National Assembly, Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and secretary law as respondents. Orakzai challenged this issue under Rule 184 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business.

He raised questions whether any person who has not taken oath as the minister of finance can present the budget in the National Assembly and whether an advisor under Article 93 can act as the finance minister of the federal government.

He stated that attention of this court is drawn to Rule 184. “For the present, there is no minister of finance in the Federal Cabinet.

Respondent No 2 is an advisor, inducted under Article 93, who is still to take oath as the federal minister,” said the petition.

The petitioner quoted clause (3) of Article 255, Where under the constitution, a person is required to take an oath before he enters upon an office. He contended that respondent No 2 has not made any oath under Article 92 and as for the advisor under Article 93, there is simply no oath given in the constitution.

Therefore, he said this court needs to direct the speaker not to allow any other member of the Federal Cabinet to present the budget until he takes the responsibility as minister in-charge as laid down in Rule 184.

He argued that clause (3) of Article 92 does not empower the advisor to take part in the budget session because he is not entitled to vote by virtue of that article.

Therefore, he prayed to the court to declare that non-elected person, even though as advisor to the prime minister is legally empowered to present the national budget. Only a minister who is duly authorised by the prime minister and designated as minister in-charge shall present the budget and the finance bill 2019-20.

He also requested the court to direct the speaker to make sure that the procedure given in rules is not bypassed and nothing is permitted on the floor which makes the budget controversial.