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KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC) has struck down SRO 583(I) 2017 by declaring it illegal and ultra vires of the constitution.

A division bench of SHC comprised of Justice Muhammad Junaid Ghaffar and Justice Agha Faisal in a written order gave the verdict against the SRO 583(I) 2017 after concluding the hearing recently.

In multiple petitions, petitioners assailed SRO 583(I)/2017 dated 01.07.2017 and sought for the instrument to be declared as ultra vires / nullity in law, upon the premise that same has been issued in violation of the constitution in the light of the verdict of by the Supreme Court in Mustafa Impex case.

In Mustafa Impex, Supreme Court inter alia enunciated that where a power is conferred by statue on the federal government then such power can only be exercised exclusively by the federal cabinet. It was further held that fiscal notifications enhancing the levy of any tax by a Secretary or Minister are ultra vires.

Petitioners challenged certain amendments to the sales tax regime, applicable thereto, brought about vide the said SRO. Petitioners stated while the constitution envisaged such variation in the incidence of taxation to be brought about by the Federal Government, however, the said variation was brought by the Board with the approval of the Federal Minister-in-charge.

Order said that respondents’ counsel also conceded that the said SRO was hit by the ratio of Mustafa Impex; hence, the only issue before us was the import of the validation clause. Bench ruled that SRO 583(I)/2017 dated 01.07.2017 is ultra vires and of no legal effect, being in violation of the law.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021