The Supreme Court has issued notices to federal and provincial governments over a constitutional petition, seeking direction from the chief ministers of the four provinces to announce the Provincial Finance Commission (PFC) award.
A three-judge bench of the apex court led by Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Friday took the petition filed by Raja Munwar Ahmad.
Advocate Chaudhry Faisal Hussain appeared before the bench on behalf of the petitioner.
The petition stated that the provincial award provides uniformed legal criteria and standards for the distribution of financial resources to the grassroots level in accordance with Articles 140A and 156(2) of the Constitution and by implementing the respective local government laws, for the time being, applicable in Pakistan.
The federal and provincial governments have been named as respondents in the petition.
The petition further contended that diverting funds from tax-generating areas to other areas without providing adequate share in development funds and schemes for such areas is “not the equitable, balanced and fair distribution of funds under any law and principles of equity”.
“Absence of certain uniform standards and a legal basis for the distribution of state finances, using unfair and illegal discretion without adhering to the fundamental principle of regional equity, the tax-generating areas have been grossly ignored by the respondents.”
“This unfair financial distribution makes areas such as Karachi — that generate most of the income for the federal as well as for the provincial government — feel alienated.”
Besides, having the largest population, it receives only a meagre share from the state finance for its development, it added.
Likewise, the petition added, gas generating areas in the country were kept most backward and underdeveloped in spite of their significant contribution to the national exchequer.
“Unfortunately, a similar practice has been adopted by the other three provinces.”
The petition involves questions of public importance with reference to the enforcement of the fundamental rights conferred by the Constitution to the public at large.
The petitioner seeks a judicial embargo on “the unbridled and unchecked discretionary powers, illegally and unconstitutionally encroached by the federal and provincial governments”.
It further seeks a binding interpretation of Articles 140A, 156 and 160 of the Constitution read with all enabling provisions of laws, including the statues, regulating the local government systems in all four provinces, respectively, that deal with the fiduciary powers and authority of the respondents to bring it within the realm of constitutional reasonability.