SC fines FBR for filing frivolous petition against own officer

Updated March 26, 2020


“It is an activity merely to linger on the proceedings," says Justice Gulzar. — APP/File
“It is an activity merely to linger on the proceedings," says Justice Gulzar. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Sup­re­me Court has fined the federal tax authority for filing a frivolous petition meant only to linger on and deny legitimate rights to a senior officer of its own department.

“It is an activity merely to linger on the proceedings and keep increasing the miseries of the respondent in order to deny him the legitimate right,” observed a three-judge SC bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed.

The bench had taken up an appeal instituted by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) against the Aug 6, 2019 order of the Federal Service Tribunal (FST) accepting the respondent’s plea in the present case.

The apex court, while rejecting the petition, imposed a fine of Rs10,000 on the FBR with a directive to deposit the amount with the court’s additional registrar (judicial) for its onward payment to Mohammad Sharif Awan, a grade-21 officer of the Inland Revenue Service and a respondent in the case.

Mr Awan, then a grade-19 officer, had joined the FBR headquarters in Islamabad on Aug 15, 2011 after completing a deputation period with the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) as finance director.

He had duly applied for the IJP/performance allowance as per the procedure which required an interview by a selection committee of the tax department. Nevertheless, the FBR administration had failed to constitute the requisite committee for about seven years despite written requests and reminders made by Mr Awan from time to time.

As per the guidelines issued by the FBR, the IJP is a special allowance which is equal to 100 per cent of basic pay and awarded to those employees of the tax department who are selected through the process of certain eligibility criteria.

During all these years, the officer rendered his services to different positions, including Inland Revenue commissioner and director of Inter­nal Audit and Training, during the period of which he also earned good performance evaluation reports and annual rewards from time to time and got promotions to grade-20 and subsequently to grade-21.

Mr Awan, who appeared in person before the apex court, accused the tax department of creating miseries that he had to face in the shape of illegal proceedings, delayed promotions, financial loss and mental torture.

In its order, the Supreme Court observed that Mr Awan had informed it that the matter regarding the payment of IJP allowance had already been decided by the apex court through a judgement in 2010 — a fact which was not denied by the tax department.

The chief justice wondered that when the apex court had already pronounced a judgement on the very aspect of the matter, then why the tax department had filed the petition.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2020