Constitutional Petitions (CPs)
CPs are also called Writ Petitions (WP) are filed before the High Court under Article 199 of the Constitution against:
- An illegal action by a government official i.e. an action not allowed under the law or
- An action required to be taken as per law, but is not being taken by a government official or
- To challenge vires of some enactment i.e. in violation of the dictates of the constitution.
A CP is maintainable if:
- The party is an aggrieved party i.e. a fundamental right as guaranteed under the Constitution is threatened.
- There is no adequate, alternate and efficacious remedy available,
- No factual controversies are involved etc.
While the Limitation Act, 1908 does not apply to CPs, however there is a concept of ‘laches’ i.e. the delay in filing a CP from the date of cause of action needs to be explained. Therefore, it is important to immediately take legal action, whenever required.
In case the issue is with respect to some Provincial Laws, the Provincial Government is a compulsory party and in CPs with respect to some Federal Law, the Federal Government is a necessary party. If both Provincial and Federal laws are involved then both Provincial and Federal governments can be made party like in the petitions of Federal Excise Duty Vs. Sindh Sales Tax on Services.
Private parties can also be made Respondents in a Constitutional Petition, especially when some restraining order is desired.
The procedure in CPs is as under:
- Filing of CP
- Preliminary Hearing and Issue of notices upon Respondents.
- Comments by Respondents, if required
- Rejoinder by the Petitioner, if required
So far, we have filed a number of Constitutional Petitions w.r.t. Income Tax, Federal Sales Tax, Federal Excise Duty (FED), Customs duty including Anti-dumping duty, Sindh Sales Tax on Services, WWF, SWWF, SWPPF, SESSI, Property Tax under Cantonment, Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA), Public-Private-Partnership-Project, Foreign Exchange Circular, Merger, NAB reference, etc.