ISLAMABAD: On the requ­est of attorney general’s Office, Sindh High Court (SHC) has fixed over 500 pending cases related to energy disputes for hearing, according to a source.

Two different benches of the SHC will commence on Tuesday the hearing of several appeals and civil suits concerning gas tariff, petroleum levy, Liquefied Gas Price (LPG) and Gas Infrastructure Develop­ment Cess (GIDC), etc.

Around 358 appeals, including those instituted by the government, were pending before a SHC division bench comprising Justices Naimutullah Phulpoto and Zulfikar Ali Sangi, the source told Dawn.

Around 150 civil suits filed by different litigants were fixed before the single-judge bench of Justice Mahmood Ahmed Khan.

Over 500 appeals, civil suits to be heard today

A source privy to the development told Dawn that on April 2, the attorney general for Pakistan’s (AGP) secretary wrote to the SHC registrar requesting early fixing and disposal of cases related to energy disputes.

It wasn’t clear under which law the AGP’s office requested the SHC chief justice to fix the cases, the source added.

The letter reminded the SHC registrar that a number of cases pertaining to the gas tariff, GIDC, petroleum levy, Gas Development Surcharge (GDS) on LPG, and gas price notification were pending in the court.

The letter also highlighted that in view of the prevailing economic conditions, these cases need to be decided expeditiously, the source said.

After the letter, the matter of pending litigation was placed before the SHC chief justice. Subsequently, the cases were fixed for May 6 but later adjourned till May 21.

Earlier, the AGP office wrote a letter to the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) chairman, highlighting the deficiencies in the body’s legal department that resulted in a pile-up of stay orders against tax recovery before superior courts.

The letter to the FBR head was written after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s directive to expedite the hearing of tax matters, as the delay has stalled the recovery of Rs2 trillion in revenue.

In the letter dated May 2, the AGP office said FBR’s legal teams were mishandling and mismanaging cases relating to revenue matters on mere technicalities, causing huge revenue losses to the national exchequer.

The letter had regretted that when revenue matters are decided against the FBR at the level of appellate tribunals, the bureau’s legal team do not promptly file review applications against the decisions in courts.

Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2024

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