P L D 2002 LAHORE 416




Per Karamat Nazir Bhandari, JConstitution of Pakistan (1973), Arts. 199 & 87-
R/w Federal Investigation Agency Act, 1974 (VIII of 1975)-

Plain reading of subsection (1) hardly admits of any doubt as to the command contained in this section. It authorizes the Federal Government to constitute the agency “for inquiry into, and investigation of, the offences specified in the Schedule, including an attempt………””The meaning is very clear that the Agency can inquire into and investigate the offences mentioned in Item no. 1 of the Schedule. I see no ambiguity in the words used in section 3 of the Act. There is no word limiting or restricting the power of the Agency to inquire into and investigate offences specified in the Schedule, but committed in respect of the Banks owned and managed by Federal Government. I see no reason to read into subsection (1) of section 3 of the Act, the words “Committed in respect of or in relation to Government owned/managed Banks”. At the cost of repetition it may be restated that if the language of the enacting part is clear and unambiguous, there is no need to refer to the preamble. I, therefore, hold that the Agency had competently registered and investigated the cases and that F.I.Rs. could not be quashed on the ground that the Agency lacked power to register the cases.

For the sake of arguments let us assume that there is some doubt and ambiguity in section 3(1) of the Act and in order to remove the same, let us revert to the preamble. The language of the preamble has been reproduced above. In all the cases before us F.I.Rs. have been registered for offences in banks which are private but are Scheduled Banks within the meaning of Banking Companies Ordinance, 1962/State Bank of Pakistan Act, 1956. Now does an offence committed in such banks be said to be an offence committed “in connection with matter concerning the Federal Government, and for matters connected therewith”. It will be seen that the words used in the preamble are of wide import. It is not disputed by learned counsel for the petitioners that banking is a subject allocated by the Constitution, to the Federation. It is borne in the Legislative List of the Federation (Article 87 read with Federal Legislative List, Fourth Schedule, Part I, Item No. 28 to the Constitution). Currency, whether local or foreign, is also a Federal subject. The Banks deal in money/currency. Nobody can transact Banking business in Pakistan without being registered as a Banking Company. The State Bank of Pakistan grants registration to Banks as also confers the status of Scheduled Bank. The State Bank is required to supervise the banking business in Pakistan and under the statute (State Bank Act, 1956) any direction issued by the State Bank is binding on the Banks and has to be complied with. State Bank fixes the banks rate and also determines and controls the credit policies of the Banks. The banking, therefore, is a manner concerning the Federal Government. Just to emphasize, if God forbid Banks fail in this country or for lack of confidence, there is a rush for money on banks, the whole economy may crumble and suffer colossal losses. Can it be said, therefore, that if criminal offence are committed in private banks, it does not concerned the Federal Government or this is not connected with a matter concerning the Federal Government? To me the answer is clear and it is YES.

For the above reasons, we hold that the Federal Investigation Agency has the jurisdiction to inquire into and investigate the offences taking place in or in relation to private banks (not owned or managed by Federal Government), which are Scheduled Bank within the meaning of Banking Companies Ordinance, 1962 read with State Bank of Pakistan Act, 1956. [p. 423 & 424] B & C

Ashtar Ausaf Ali for Appellants.

Khawaja Saeed-uz-Zafar, Dy. A.G for Pakistan
for Respondents NO. 1 & 2

Zahid Hamid for Respondent no. 3

Dates of hearing : 5th, 12th, 22nd, 24th and 25th April, 2002

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