ISLAMABAD: A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court came to the rescue of the top taxman when it quashed a Lahore High Court (LHC) show-cause notice sent to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman and revenue division secretary Asim Ahmed for his non-appearance before the high court.
Headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, the SC bench took up the federal government’s appeal against the order of LHC Chief Justice Mohammad Qasim for issuance of notice to the secretary seeking cause for his failure to appear before the LHC in person on June 3.
While disposing of the appeal moved through Additional Attorney General Chaudhry Aamir Rehman on June 14, the apex court observed that the reasons offered by the FBR secretary had substance and it would be just that his request made in the prayer of the application was taken into consideration by the high court and the matter be listed for hearing again sometime in July.
Official had been served show-cause notice after he failed to appear in court
Until then no action be taken on the show-cause notice that may have been issued to the applicant, the apex court order said.
The LHC chief justice is reaching superannuation on July 5.
In his written explanation before the LHC on June 9, the revenue secretary had pleaded exemption from personal appearance due to the preparation of budget, which was to be presented before the National Assembly on June 11.
The secretary had also explained that he along with his team had been working round the week without any holiday for budget preparation and ancillary tasks and duties.
Therefore, his personal appearance be exempted for the next couple of weeks in the interest of justice and fair play, he pleaded, adding that the relevant officers of the revenue department would appear before the LHC along with the relevant record which had also been furnished before the high court on June 8.
The matter revolves around a petition before the LHC by Messrs Usman Trade Linkers, involved in the manufacturing and export of foods and confectionary items, seeking tax refund to the tune of Rs2.5 billion.
According to the appeal, the LHC did not consider FBR submissions, stating that the secretary did not deliberately avoid appearance in person before the high court but the circumstances compelled him to do so.
Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2021