LAHORE: A petition has been filed in the Lahore High Court challenging the exemption from income tax on property sales granted to retired and serving army personnel and bureau­crats in the budget for fiscal year 2024-25.

The petition filed by citizen Mashkoor Hussain through Advocate Nade­­em Sarwar pleaded that the tax exemption given to the bureaucrats and military personnel was in violation of the equality clause of the Constitution, which stated “all persons are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law”.

The petitioner argued that the impugned tax exe­­mption amounted to exploitation of people as the ruling elites got the exemption by misusing their position while the common citizens — the paymaster of state functionaries — are forced to pay heavy taxes.

He contended that Arti­cle 8 of the Constitution stated that laws inconsistent with the fundamental rights were to be void. Therefore, he said, the amendment made to the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 to grant exemption to the bureaucrats and military personnel was a violation of various articles of the Constitution.

The petitioner reques­ted the court to strike down Section 236-C of the Finance Act 2024 granting the impugned tax exemption for the bureaucrats and army men, except the war-wounded armed force personnel and martyrs.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2024

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