Const. Petition Nos. D-1141, 1142, 1143, 1144, 1145,
1146, 1147, 1148, 1149, 1177 & 2308 Of 2009.
Order with signature of the Judge
1.For Katcha Peshi
2.For hearing of Misc. 6533/09 (Stay).
Date of hearing: 20.01.2010.
M/s. Sirajul Haque Memon & Arshad Siraj Memon, Advocate for the petitioners.
Mr. Jawaid Farooqui, Advocate for the respondent.
Mr. Ashiq Raza, D.A.G.
IRFAN SAADAT KHAN, J: - These petitions are filed by the Companies engaged in the business of insurance. The petitioners have challenged that certain amendments have been made in Finance Act 2008 (F.A. 2008) concerning the business carried out by the petitioners which according to them are being misinterpreted by the respondent. The petitioners have submitted that the action of the respondents is not only malafide but is also contrary to the intention of the legislature and therefore through these petitions have prayed that the action of the respondents may be declared ultra vires.
2. M/s. Sirajul Haque Memon & Arshad Siraj Memon appeared on behalf of the petitioners and submitted that prior to the various amendments made through F.A 2008, the petitioners were sharing the risk with the foreign enterprises in the transaction of re-insurance and were not required to deduct any tax at source on such transactions with the non-resident enterprises as the Government of Pakistan (GOP) is having Agreements For Avoidance Of Double Taxation (AFAODT) with some countries and these enterprises belong to those countries which do not have any Permanent Establishment (P.E.) in Pakistan. As per the learned counsel the department is misinterpreting the provisions of the Ordinance wherein various amendments have been made vide F.A. 2008 and are now demanding that tax should be deducted at source in respect of the reinsurance payments made by the petitioners to the foreign enterprises with whom the GOP already have AFAODT. As per the counsel there is no dispute with regard to deduction of tax at source is concerned in respect of the foreign enterprises with whom GOP do not have AFAODT as in such cases the petitioner were and are deducting the applicable tax at source. According to the learned counsel the provisions of treaty have an overriding effect over the tax laws and even after the amendments made in the said F.A. 2008, the petitioners are not legally obliged to deduct the tax at source in respect of the payments
made by them to
their foreign enterprises in respect of the reinsurance amounts. They further
submitted that the provisions of section 101 of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001
(The Ordinance) are subservient to section 107 of the Ordinance hence the petitioners
are not legally obliged to deduct any tax at source in respect of the payments
made to foreign non-resident insurance companies, which are not having any P.E.
in Pakistan. In support of their contention they have relied upon unreported
decision given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of Pakistan in Civil Petitions
No.542, 543 & 544-K of 1999, dated 25.05.2000.
3. Mr. Javed Farooqui advocate appeared on behalf of the respondents and submitted that prior to the amendments made in the F.A.2008 no deduction of tax at source was required in respect of payments of reinsurance premium made to the foreign countries with whom the GOP has AFAODT. However after the amendments made in F.A. 2008 it has now become incumbent upon the petitioners to deduct the tax at source in respect of the said re-insurance amounts paid to such non-resident companies. He further submitted that these amendments were aimed with the object that now the law makers wants to tax this amount which previously was not being taxed. He submitted that the re-insurance amounts would now be deemed as Pakistan source income and now the petitioners are legally obliged to deduct the tax at source on the amounts prior to remitting the same to the foreign enterprises. He further submitted that the present petitions are pre-mature as the respondents have passed orders under the provisions of Section 161 of the Ordinance, and the respondents have the legal remedy available to them to file appeals, if aggrieved, with the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals). In his view these petitions are liable to be dismissed in limine as the petitioners have alternate remedy available to them; hence the recourse adopted by the Petitioners in filing the present petitions under Article 199 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973 is uncalled for. Mr. Ashiq Raza, DAG has adopted the arguments of Mr. Javed Farooqui, Advocate.
4. Learned counsel for the petitioners by giving their rebuttal vehemently opposed the objections raised by the counsel for the Department and submitted that no efficacious remedy is available to them. The matter is regarding fiscal rights based upon statutory instrument which could only be determined in writ jurisdiction. In support thereof they relied upon a number of decisions which have been elaborately discussed in the written synopsis filed by them. They therefore prayed that these petitions may be allowed with cost by holding that the action of the respondent is not only malafide but also ultra vires.
5. We have heard all the learned counsel at length and have also considered the verbal as well as written arguments advanced by them. Before adverting to the legal controversies raised by the learned counsel we first would like to reproduce herein below the amendments made through F.A. 2008:-
(a) “insertion of sub-section (1AA) in Section 152 stipulating that every person making payment of Insurance premium or re-insurance premium to a non-resident person shall deduct tax from the gross amount paid at the rate (of 5%) specified in Division-II of Part III of the First Schedule.
(b) Corresponding amendment was made to treat such amount of tax deducted as a final tax on the income of the non-resident by insertion of sub-section (1BB) in Section 152.
(c) Further corresponding amendment was also made in Rule 5 of Fourth Schedule by inserting sub-rule (4) to the effect that no deduction shall be allowed for any expenditure on account of insurance premium paid to an overseas insurance or re-insurance company or a local agent of an overseas insurance company until tax at the rate of 5% is withheld on the gross amount of insurance or re-insurance premium.”
6. Briefly, stated the petitioners are Public Limited Companies and are engaged in the business of Insurance. The income of the insurance business is computed under Section 99 of the Ordinance while the procedure of computing the income is given in the Fourth Schedule to the said Ordinance. The petitioners are carrying on business of insurance which is controlled and regulated through Insurance Ordinance 2000. In this kind of business a contract of insurance is drawn for any property, life etc. and the Insurance Company assumes the risk thereto and for which purpose charges a stipulated sum of amount from the insured person commonly known as the premium. In order to share the risk for any heavy loss, which could be beyond the capacity of Insurance Company, transactions of re-insurance are undertaken wherein a foreign Insurance Company share such risk with the Pakistani Company and for which purpose charges re-insurance premium from the Pakistani Company, which the Pakistani Company eventually remits to them. The terms insurance and re-insurance have been defined in Section 2 of the Insurance Ordinance 2000, which are reproduced herein below:-
“(xxvii) “insurance” means the business of entering into an carrying out policies or contracts, by whatever name called, whereby, in consideration of a premium received, a person promises to make payment to another person contingent upon the happening of an event, specified in the contract, on the happening of which the second-named person suffers loss, and includes reinsurance and retrocession:
(Hi) “reinsurance” means a contract of insurance under which the event, specified in the contract , contingent upon the happening of which payment is promised to be made to the policy holder there under; is payment by the policy holder of a claim or claims made against the policy holder under another contract or contracts of insurance issued by that policy holder.”
7. The GOP entered into AFAODT with a number of countries and in most of these agreement it has been agreed bilaterally not to charge the tax subject to the condition that such foreign country should not have a P.E. in other country. Prior to the amendments made in F.A. 2008 the petitioners were not required to deduct the tax on such re-insurance remittances to non-resident enterprises which have the AFAODT with Pakistan and which do not have a P.E. in Pakistan. However after the amendments made in the F.A. 2008 the respondents are now demanding from the petitioners not only to deduct the tax on such re-insurance payments but also threatening them that penal action as provided under the law will be taken if no tax is deducted at source by the petitioners.
8. Before examining the contentions raised by the petitioner that the action taken by the respondent is not only malafide but also contrary to the intention of the legislature. We would like to deal with the issue that whether in the present circumstances the invoking of the constitutional jurisdiction under Article 199 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is warranted or not. The learned counsel for the petitioner in support thereof have invited our attention to a number of decisions given by the superior courts, wherein it has been held that “where the impugned order/action is without jurisdiction and malafide or is contrary to law or mis-application of law or assumption of jurisdiction is based upon mis-reading of provisions of law then in such cases petitions are maintainable even though the machinery is provided for redressal”. In the case of Usmania Glass Sheet Factory Vs. Sales Tax Officer ( PLD 1970 SC 2005) it was held that:
“The objection of the respondent that the appellant had alternative remedies by departmental means is also not of much substance. It has been held by this Court that in a case where the dispute arises between the parties in respect of a fiscal right based upon a statutory instrument the same can be easily determined in writ jurisdiction.”
In another decision National Bank of Pakistan Vs. Wafaqi Mohtasib (Ombudsman), Karachi (PLD 1992 Karachi 339), it was held that:
“When assumption of jurisdiction is clearly based upon misreading of the provisions of law, it is, and has always been a valid ground for interference in writ jurisdiction”
In another decision reported as Pak Land Cement Vs. CBR and others (2007 PTD 1524), it was held that
“Nevertheless, it is equally well-settled that the alternate remedy must be equally efficacious and learned counsel for the petitioners seems to be correct in asserting that statutory remedies had become illusory on account of a clear expression of the opinion on the subject by the respondent No.2 to whom the appellate body was a subordinate”.
9. In the instant petitions also the learned counsel for the petitioner has challenged the very authority of the Respondent No.4 in mis-interpreting the provisions of the law which as per the learned counsel is not only malafide but also contrary to law and is also a mis-application of the law. We, therefore in the light of the decisions noted supra have come to the conclusion that the matter does require an authoritative pronouncement in view of the allegations made by the learned counsel. At this juncture we also would like to refer a decision given by a D.B. of this Court in Pirani Engineering Vs. Federal Board of Revenue (2000 PTD 809) wherein it was held that “a reviewing authority had already expressed his opinion in the form of an administrative order, therefore, filing of an appeal or revision/review before such authority was mere illusory in nature and was not efficacious remedy and it was held that the petition was maintainable.” In the instant petitions also it was explained by the learned counsel for the petitioners that in certain petitions the CIT has already refused to issue nil withholding certificate to the petitioners and again going to the department for revision etc. would be an exercise in futility and mere illusory in nature. We, therefore, over-rule the objection raised by the learned counsel appearing for the respondent that these Constitution Petitions are not maintainable.
10. In order to appreciate the issue involved in the present petitions, we first have to examine the relevant provisions of the Ordinance in detail. The new sub-section 13A has been introduced in Section 101 through which any amount paid on account of insurance or re-insurance would be deemed as Pakistan source income. As per this Section any business income of non-resident is to be treated as Pakistan source income which is directly or indirectly attributed to P.E. of the non-resident person. Section 107 of the Ordinance deals with the Avoidance of Double tax and Prevention of fiscal evasion and states about the determination of Pakistan source income of the non-resident person. Section 152 of the Ordinance states that every person making the payment to non-resident is legally obliged to deduct tax at source at the rate of 5% as specified in Division II of Part 3 of the First Schedule to the Ordinance. It was argued by the learned counsel for the petitioners that Respondent No.2 vide Circular No.5 of 2008, issued explanatory note with regard to certain amendments made in F.A. 2008, whereby it was specifically mentioned that the tax payer would not be required to obtain nil withholding certificate from the Commissioner where the payment of non-resident company falls under AFAODT. It is further clarified in the said circular that this is being done to reduce the hassle of tax payers from getting exemption certificate for remittance of such amount without deduction of tax as per the provisions of treaty. The respondent No.2 thereafter issued a corrigendum dated 27.8.2008 clarifying that those tax payers are not required to obtain exemption certificate from the Commissioner in cases where the payments made to non-resident companies are made on reduced rate as per AFAODT. The Respondent No.4 thereafter issued the impugned show cause notices under the provisions of Section 161 read with Section 205 of the Ordinance asking the petitioners to explain as to why tax has not been deducted at source in respect of the payments made to the said non-residents in respect of re-insurance amounts and further to explain as to why penal action as permissible under the law may not be taken against them for not deducting the said tax. As per the learned counsel the provisions of Section 107 of the Ordinance have an over riding effect over the other provisions of the Ordinance and any entity or enterprise having no P.E. in Pakistan could not be taxed in respect of its business profit earned in Pakistan. For the sake of ease of reference the said section is reproduced herein below:
107. Agreements for the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion.- (1) The Federal Government may enter into an agreement with the government of a foreign country for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income imposed under this Ordinance and under the corresponding laws in force in that country, and may, by notification in the official Gazette make such provisions as may be necessary for implementing the agreement.
(2) Where any agreement is made in accordance with sub-section (1),the agreement and the provisions made by notification for implementing the agreement shall, notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, have effect in so far as they provide for –
(a) relief from the tax payable under this Ordinance;
(b) the determination of the Pakistan-source income of nonresident persons;
(c) where all the operations of a business are not carried on within Pakistan, the determination of the income attributable to operations carried on within and outside Pakistan, or the income chargeable to tax in Pakistan in the hands of nonresident persons, including their agents, branches, and permanent establishments in Pakistan;
(d) the determination of the income to be attributed to any resident person having a special relationship with a non-resident person; and
(e) the exchange of information for the prevention of fiscal evasion or avoidance of taxes on income chargeable under this Ordinance and under the corresponding laws in force in that other country.
(3) Notwithstanding anything in sub-sections (1) or (2), any agreement referred to in sub-section (1) may include provisions for the relief from tax for any period before the commencement of this Ordinance or before the making of the agreement.
11. In support of their contention the learned counsel have relied upon a decision given by this Court in ITA 297 of 1997, which subsequently was approved by the Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan in 542 - 544-K of 1999. The Honourable High Court vide its decision observed as under :-
“A plain reading of Section 163 of the Income Tax Ordinance is sufficient to hold that existence of a duly executed treaty between the Government of Pakistan and any country would oust the application of the Income Tax Ordinance and provide over riding effect to the treaty in respect of the matters enumerated in Clauses (a) to (e) of sub-section (2) of Section 163 of the Income Tax Ordinance and avoidance of Rule 20 of the Income Tax Rules, 1986 would be covered by clause (a) of Section 163 (2) of the Income Tax Ordinance. The presence of specific clause in the treaty for ousting the application of the Income Tax Ordinance and the rules made there under is not a condition or requirement for giving over riding effect to the provisions of the treaty and ousting the application of the Income Tax Ordinance. “
It would not be out of place to mention that the provision of Section 163 of the repealed Ordinance is in para materia with Section 107 of the Ordinance, 2001.
12. In an another case M/s. American Express Bank Karachi Vs. Commissioner of Income Tax (2009 PTD 1791) it was held by a Division Bench of this Court that “provisions of the treaty prevail over provisions of the Income Tax Ordinance and it is a settled law that special laws prevail over general laws”. In an another case Mountains Estate Mineral Enterprises Vs. Commissioner of Income Tax (2008 PTD 1087) it was held that “where the applicant have no P.E. in Pakistan, their income is exempt under the provisions of AFAODT and the incomes generated in this regard are not taxable in Pakistan”. It is trite law that the question of deduction of tax does not arise where the payments made to the non-residents are exempt from tax. However prior to remitting the amount by a Pakistani Company to the non-resident Company the said Pakistani Company has to first obtain a nil withholding certificate from the concerned Commissioner who after satisfaction grants the same to the concerned Pakistani Company. The onus in this regard definitely lies on the Pakistani Company to satisfy the concerned Commissioner that the amount which is being remitted does not require any deduction of tax at source. There is also no denying of the fact that the petitioners have business connection with the non-resident companies and it is for the petitioners to satisfy that the amounts being remitted by them could not be considered to be the incomes accruing/arising in Pakistan or these payments could not be considered as Pakistan source income. It is for the Petitioner to prove that the non-resident companies have no business connection in Pakistan and the provisions of Ordinance are not attracted, in the cases where in their opinion the provisions of AFAODT are attracted. It is also a settled law that in the case of an enterprise of contracting State with which Pakistan has a treaty, the provision of the treaty will determine the rights and obligations of the said non-resident company.
13. As per the learned counsel of the petitioner the amounts of re-insurance payments made to a foreign enterprises have been deemed to be the Pakistan source income but in view of the explicit definition of the term P.E. as given in AFAODT the term “except in regard to re-insurance” has been specifically excluded from the term P.E., meaning thereby that the designers of the international treaties do not want this payment to be taxed in the State from where these payments are being made to the other contracting State. The perusal of the various treaties would show that in these treaties while defining the term P.E. the insurance enterprise of contracting state shall be deemed to have P.E. in the other contracting State if it collects premium in respect of that other State except “re-insurance premium”. It would not be out of place to mention that this clause is un-amended even today. In the instant Petitions also petitioners are not legally obliged to make any deduction of tax at source due to the reason that this type of payment falls outside the ambit and scope of the Ordinance and by no stretch of imagination be taxed either as that of Pakistan source income or could be legally deemed to be the income accruing or arising in Pakistan.
14. The upshot of the above discussion is that the claim of the Petitioner is two fold; their first submission is that as the provisions of the treaty have an overriding effect over the tax laws hence the amounts of the re-insurance premium could not be taxed either as Pakistan source income or could be legally deemed to be the payments accruing/arising in Pakistan. The next claim of the Petitioner is that since the payment which they are making to the non-resident foreign enterprises is not liable to tax in Pakistan, hence they are not legally bound to deduct any tax at source in respect of the payments being made to the foreign enterprises.
15. However in our opinion the re-insurance premiums paid to the foreign enterprises where AFAODT is available would fall outside the scope of the Tax because of the fact that the provision of Section 107 of the Ordinance, which has remained un-amended even today, have an over riding effect and prevail over the ordinary tax laws, as specifically discussed in the decisions referred supra. It would not be out of place to mention that the amendments made in Section 101 & 152 of the Ordinance vide F.A.2008 do not start with the non-obstente clause “notwithstanding anything contained in this ordinance or any other law for the time being in force” makes, in our view, these provisions still subservient to those provisions of the law which have an overriding fact over the sections.
16. Now coming to the second limb of the argument of the petitioner that the respondents are misinterpreting the provisions of F.A. 2008 in demanding that prior to remitting these amounts to the foreign enterprises the petitioner are under the legal obligation to obtain a nil withholding certificate from the Commissioner as per the provision of Section 152 (5) of the Ordinance. In our view the issue can also be judged from another angle. We find that although the provision of section 152(5) of the Ordinance directs a taxpayer to seek approval from the Commissioner for remitting the payment to the non-resident without deduction of tax, however, they do not specify as to the penal consequences in the event the approval is not obtained. We also note that the legislature has used the word “shall” requiring the person to furnish to the Commissioner the relevant information should he choose to obtain the approval under section 152(5) of the Ordinance, and states as under –
“the person shall, before making the payment, furnish to the Commissioner a notice in writing setting out –
(a) the name and address of the non-resident person; and
(b) the nature and amount of the payment.”
17. A view is taken by the counsel of the department that by using the word “shall”, the legislature has made the above provision mandatory in nature and defiance whereof must result in action against the taxpayer. However, we are not impressed with this argument for the reason that section 152 of the Ordinance as a whole does not specify the consequences of not following the requirement of informing the Commissioner if the person chooses to make the payment without deduction of tax. We are of the view that merely on the basis of the use of the word “shall” it could not be construed that it is a mandatory provision of law but is a directory provision and for not following a directory provision, a taxpayer cannot be penalized. We are guided in this regard by the decision given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of Pakistan in the case of Niaz Muhammad Khan V/s Mian Fazal Raqib PLD 1974 S.C. 134, wherein the Hon’ble Apex Court observed as under:
“As a general rule, however, a statute is understood to be directory when it contains matter merely of direction, but not when those directions are followed up by an express provision that, in default of following them, the acts shall be null and void. ‘To put it differently, if the act is mandatory disobedience entails serious legal consequences amounting to the invalidity of the act done in disobedience to the provisions.”
Similar view was adopted in the decision Mian Asif Islam v/s Mian Muhammad Asif and others PLD 2001 Supreme Court 499.
In (2003) 259 ITR 1 – Hemalatha Gargya v/s. CIT, the Supreme Court of India discussed the mandatory effect of the provisions of section 67(1) of the Indian Income Tax Act, 1961 and held as under –
“The use of the word “shall” in a statute, ordinarily speaking, means that the statutory provision is mandatory. It is construed as such unless there is something in the context in which the world is used which would justify a departure from this meaning. There is nothing in the language of the provisions of the scheme which would justify such a departure. On the other hand, the provisions of section 67(2) make it abundantly clear that if the declarant fails to pay the tax within the period of three months as specified, the declaration filed shall be deemed never to have been made under the scheme. In other words, the consequences of non-compliance with the provisions of section 67(1) relating to the payment have been provided. It is well settled that when consequences of the failure to comply with the prescribed requirement is provided by the statute itself, there can be no manner of doubt that such statutory requirement must be interpreted as mandatory (see Maqbul Ahmad v. Onkar Pratap Narian Singh, AIR 1935 PC 85, 88).”
18. Conversely, the provisions of sub-section (5A) of section 152 of the Ordinance also require the Commissioner to pass an order within 30 days of the receipt of the application from the taxpayer under section 152(5) of the Ordinance. Here also, the word “shall” has been used. However, it has not been specified as to what will happen in case the Commissioner does not pass an order within the period provided in section 152(5A) of the Ordinance. Accordingly, we can safely say that these provisions are also not mandatory. Although by going with the argument of the counsel for the department that the provisions of section 152(5) of the Ordinance are mandatory, it can be said that the provisions of section 152(5A) of the Ordinance are also mandatory but as stated above, we are not inclined to hold this for the reason that mere use of the word “shall” does not make a provision mandatory.
19. Interestingly, the provisions of section 161 of the Ordinance also do not say that failure to comply with the provisions of section 152(5) of the Ordinance must result in an action against the taxpayer treating him personally liable to pay the amount of tax not deducted by him since he has not obtained the approval from the Commissioner as envisaged in section 152(5) and (5A) of the Ordinance above. It is well established that while interpreting the statutes, the Court has to find out as to what the intention of the legislature was and what the object of the provision was. Intention is the essence of the statute and the intention of the legislature as embodied in the statute constitutes the law thereof. We find that section 101 of the Ordinance contains the scope as to the “Geographical source of income” liable to Pakistan tax. Unless it is established that a certain payment has some nexus with Pakistan, the same cannot be brought to tax in Pakistan. Where Double Tax Treaties operate, the Ordinance by virtue of its section 107 becomes non-operative and the taxation of the particular amount is then governed by the respective Double Tax Treaty. Accordingly, if a payment is not chargeable to tax under the Double Tax Treaty, the same cannot be held liable to deduction of tax for, a tax which is not ultimately payable cannot be collected in advance as has been held by the Hon’ble Lahore High Court in 1998 PTD 2116, Union Bank Limited V. Federation of Pakistan.
20. We are therefore, of the view that unless it is established that the payment is chargeable to tax in Pakistan, action under section 161 of the Ordinance against the taxpayer cannot be taken merely for the reason that he has not obtained approval from the Commissioner in terms of section 152(5) of the Ordinance as discussed above. Moreover, the related expense can also not been disallowed in terms of section 21(c) of the Ordinance which itself makes it clear that a deduction claimed can only be disallowed if the tax if required under the Ordinance is not deducted. While holding this, we are guided by the well-settled principal of law that where a provision is open to two reasonably possible interpretation, then, the interpretation which favors the taxpayer has to be adopted.
21. The learned counsel of the respondent has also shown his apprehension that in the case a payment is made to a non-resident without deduction of tax at source that portion of tax is gone for ever and the exchequer will loose its due share of tax. We do not subscribe to this argument of the learned counsel as the answer to this argument is given in Circular 5 of 2008 by specifically mentioning that:
“2. It is also clarified that in the wake of amendment made in sub-section (5) of section 152 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 vide Finance Act,2008 the taxpayer is not required to give notice to the Commissioner in respect of ‘payments liable to reduce rate under the relevant agreement for avoidance of double tax’. This amendment does not absolve the taxpayers from the disclosure of such payments in the quarterly/annual statement of deduction of tax u/s 152 of the Ordinance as prescribed under rule 58 of the Income Tax Rules 2002. All payments made to a non-resident person; whether exempt or liable to reduce rate of tax are required to be recorded in the aforesaid statement to be filed by the payment”.-
22. It would not be out of place to mention that in the case of wrong or mis-declaration in respect of the quarterly/ annual statements filed by a tax payer would entail the said tax payment to the penal provisions as provided under the law and the department has every authority under the law while examining the quarterly/ annual statements filed by a tax payer and to ask for the details concerning these statements.
23. We therefore are of the opinion that in the case where the payment of re-insurance is being made to the non-residents which is covered under AFAODT, they are entitled to exemption. Hence while agreeing with the contentions raised by the counsel for the petitioners that issuance of exemption certificate was wrongly declined to the petitioners, we allow these Constitution Petitions. As a result thereof the show cause notices issued under Section 161/205 of the Ordinance and the orders passed in respect thereof by the respondents are accordingly hereby quashed.
24. In view of the discussion made supra all the above petitions are disposed of in the above terms, alongwith the listed applications. There shall however no orders as to cost.
Dated: March 2010