LAHORE - The Lahore High Court on Monday directed the federal government as well as the Federal Board of Revenue to submit replies to a petition challenging levy of regulatory duty on import of 700 items.

A local company had moved the petition, submitting that the federal finance minister under the Finance Act 2017 had imposed regulatory duty on the import of 700 items. However, the prior permission was not sought from the parliament, said the petitioner.

The company said the federal finance minister had been empowered through section 18(3) of the Finance Act, 2017, which was tantamount to undermining the supremacy of the parliament, as an individual could not be allowed to assume the role of parliament. The petitioner said levy of regulatory duty was violation of fundamental rights of freedom of trade and business as well as Rules of Business 1973.

The petitioner asked the court to set aside Statutory Regulatory Oder (SRO) issued by the Federal Board of Revenue and declare the Section 18(3) of the Finance Act 2017 repugnant to the Constitution.

After hearing initial arguments, Justice Shahid Karim issued notice to the respondents and sought reply.