ISLAMABAD -- The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday turned down a petition by the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) filed against the report of Sugar Inquiry Commission (SIC) allowing the government to take action in this matter in accordance with the law.
A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petition challenging the report of Sugar Inquiry Commission and dismissed the same after hearing the arguments of all the parties.
Permitting the government to take action in this matter and declaring the formation of the SIC as legal, Justice Athar noted in the verdict, 'the constitution
of the Commission vide notification, dated 16.03.2020, read with notification, dated 25.03.2020 and pursuant thereto its proceedings and report, dated 21.05.2020 have not been found to be ultra vires the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Act, 2017 nor in violation of the fundamental rights of the petitioners.'
The court noted that the Federal Government is empowered under section 18(b)(i) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 to send a reference to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) but declared that such a decision has to be taken in accordance with the law. He made it clear that the report of the SIC dated May 21 was 'lawfully considered by the Federal Cabinet in its meeting' held on the same date. However, the IHC bench declared that the functions and powers vested in the Federal Government cannot be delegated.
Therefore, the court maintained that the decision of the Federal Cabinet to the extent of delegating its functions and powers to Shehzad Akbar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior and approval of 'Action Matrix' is not in consonance with the law laid down by the august Supreme Court.
The bench stated in the order that the Attorney General, taking a fair stance, has stated that he would advise the competent authority to submit the proposed action(s) for the consideration of the Federal Cabinet.
The Federal Cabinet after considering the proposed action(s) shall be at liberty to take such decisions as it may deem appropriate. This Court expects that the decisions taken shall be in conformity with the provisions of the relevant statutes e.g. the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, the Company Act, 2017, etc,' maintained the court.
Justice Athar said that this Court further expects that while dealing with...