ISLAMABAD   -    The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday turned down a writ petition seeking court’s directions to bar Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh from presenting Federal budget in the National Assembly.

A single Bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar MinAllah conducted hearing of the writ petition filed by Shahid Orakzai and dismissed it declaring it as inadmissible.

The petitioner cited Speaker National Assembly, Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and Secretary Law as respondents in his petition.

Orakzai challenged the presentation of Federal budget in the National Assembly under Rule 184 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly.

He raised the legal 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 Adviser 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 Adviser, 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 Adviser under Article 93, there is simply no oath given in the Constitution. Therefore, he said that 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 Adviser 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 Adviser 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.