A three-member bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday heard the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess case. The bench was headed by Justice Mushir Alam and also comprised of Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah.A gas company’s counsel in his arguments told the bench that the Parliament could not bypass the Council of Common Interest (CCI) over the matter. The bench remarked that the CCI doesn’t have the power of legislation. It sends the matter to the parliament after taking a decision. The council’s forum provides provinces an opportunity to explain their stances and it is meant to create consensus among the federating units, the bench said.The CCI was completely neglected in the matter of imposition of the levy, the counsel said. The CCI is a robust forum but its session doesn’t happen due to various reasons, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah observed.No policy of the CCI came to fore with regard to the GIDC, Justice Shah further said. The government could draft a bill on the cess and ask the CCI to consider it, Justice Faisal Arab said. The bill can be amended according to the council’s policy on the matter, Justice Arab observed. “The council could also said that the levy could not be enforced on the natural gas,” the counsel argued. “Tell (the court) the levy is a tax or fee,” Justice Musheer Alam asked. The matter could be sent to the Chief Justice if a larger bench needed,” Justice Musheer Alam said.“Why the levy is not a fee,” Justice Mansoor Ali Shah asked. “The levy can be called service fee,” Justice Faisal Arab observed. One who use should pay the levy fee, he added.The government is urging for payment of fee on the natural gas service, the counsel said. This cess will not be implemented over domestic consumers, he further said. The court adjourned the case hearing till the next week.In previous hearing of the case the lawyer of a private gas company, Muneer A Malik, in his arguments via video-link pleaded the court to adjourn the hearing due to Supreme Court Bar’s annual elections. Justice Mushir Alam questioned the attorney general regarding the postponement of the hearing.To this, the attorney general replied that he is not opposing the adjournment; however, it is a sensitive case. He added that the government has already submitted an appeal for early hearing of GIDC case which should be conducted on a daily basis.Later, the top court accepted Malik’s plea and adjourned the hearing for one week. The federal government had moved to the Supreme Court over Gas Infrastructure Development Cess ordinance and sought early hearing of the case.Following the directives of the Prime Minister Imran Khan, Attorney General had filed a petition at the top court’s registrar office which sought immediate hearing of the GIDC case.It is pertinent to mention here that Prime Minister Imran Khan had decided to withdraw the GIDC ordinance on September 04 in view of the controversy surrounding the law that allowed waiving Rs 210 billion of the GIDC.