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Legal departments of FBR, IR major cause for delay despite stay orders: SHC

Legal departments of FBR, IR major cause for delay despite stay orders: SHC

KARACHI: A two-member bench, headed by Justice Junaid Ghaffar and Justice Agha Faisal issues notices the Chairman FBR, as well as Member IR (Operations) and Member Legal FBR and informed them that no comments have been filed in most of the petitions by their concerned departments which is causing delay and is impediment in early disposal of such cases.

On 19 February 2021, court releases interim order and observed in its order that “these matters are in respect of section 65B of the income tax ordinance, challenging amendments through which (as contended) the incentives granted to the petitioners have been unilaterally withdrawn despite being assured a fixed period and are pending since 2019, whereas, no comments have been filed in most of the petitions, despite this, arguments were made by the petitioners’ counsel on Nov 19, 2020, and since then are pending.

On Jan 28, 2021, no one proceeded on behalf of the department as brief was held on behalf of Ameer Bux Metlo Advocate, being busy before another bench, whereas, Muhammad Taseer Khan, Advocate argued that he has not received comments, today, again Mujeeb Zeeshan Advocate hold brief for Ameer Bux Metlo, Advocate and submits that he out of station, whereas no other counsel present on behalf of the department is willing to proceed with these matters”.

Court further observed in its order that “Abdul Qadeer, Deputy Commissioner Inland Revenue has today come to the court for the first time, while confronted, he submits that he is the departmental representative of the IR, however, he is not in a position to proceed of assist in any manner and request for time, this conduct of the department is despite there being restraining orders against them. We may observe that this bench has been constituted by the Chief Justice to decide tax matters, wherein stay orders are operating for more than six months, however, despite our best efforts, this is the department (in majority of the cases) which is causing delay and is impediment in early disposal of such cases.

It appears that no positive effort is forthcoming on the part of FBR’s departments, in the circumstances, let copy of this order be sent to the Chairman FBR, as well as Member IR (Operations) and Member Legal FBR, for information, since we have a heavy board and there are numerous matters of like nature, which can be heard and decided expeditiously, we are compelled to order the office to note that these matters may not be treated as partly heard, and be fixed accordingly on the next date”.