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Senate defers Tax Laws Amendment Bill for Friday

December 20, 2012

A view of the Senate in session.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari Thursday deferred the Tax Laws (Amendment) Bill 2012 for Friday after seeking sense of the house.

The controversial bill, earlier introduced in the National Assembly on Dec 17, provides tax amnesty to non-filers of tax returns aiming to bring them the tax net.

On a point of order, Senator Raza Rabbani raised objection to the laying of the bill in the Upper House of the Parliament, alleging that this was a violation of Article 73 of the Constitution as the bill was not laid simultaneously in both houses of the parliament.

Reading out the proviso of the article 73, Rabbani said that the money bill had to be laid before members of both houses of the parliament simultaneously and the Senate would have to send its recommendations to the National Assembly within 14 days.

He said that the bill had been laid before the National Assembly on Dec 17 while the same was being laid in Senate on Dec 20 which was a violation of article 73 of the Constitution. He said that the Senate had been deprived of debating and formulating its recommendations over the bill for four days.

Leader of the Opposition Senator Ishaq Dar also agreed to the notion of Rabbani and said that the bill was a serious violation of the Constitution. He also said that the government cannot declare any bill a money bill without verification by the Speaker National Assembly.

He said that under the bill, the FBR had been given powers of the parliament to introduce tax amnesty scheme which was prerogative of the Parliament. He said that finance minister should brief the Senate whether it was a money bill.

Minister of State for Finance Saleem H. Mandviwala said that the bill may be deferred for Friday and the Finance Minister may be able to answer questions by the members the same day.

Chairman Senate deferred the bill directing that any cabinet minister may appear on Friday and respond to the objections raised by the members.