Caretaker govt restrained from restructuring of FBR

ISLAMABAD  -  The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Wednesday restrained the caretaker government from restructuring of the Fed­eral Board of Revenue (FBR).

A single bench of IHC com­prising Justice Miangul Has­san Aurangzeb conducted hearing of the petition filed by Ali Saleh Hayat Kalyar, a deputy commissioner of the FBR. The petitioner moved the court through his counsel Syed Hamid Ali Shah and cited Federation of Pakistan though Secretary Cabinet Division, Secretary Ministry of Finance, Secretary Ministry of Law and Ardsher Salem Tariq, Secre­tary Task Force on Tax and FBR Reforms as respondents.

After hearing the arguments of the counsel, the court sus­pended the notification for constitution of a high-powered Implementation and Asset Dis­tribution Committee (I&ADC) to undertake all required ac­tions for the restructuring of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). Besides this, the IHC bench also issued notices to the respondents and sought a report in this matter. Kalyar adopted the stance in the pe­tition that the restructuring of the FBR is not the mandate of the caretaker government and the caretaker government should be prevented from re­structuring the FBR. The pe­titioner’s lawyer said that the committee was formed despite the Election Commission of Pakistan(ECP) has stopped it under the Election Act 2017.

He stated that the FBR’s role in delegated legislation involves implementing fiscal policies within the framework estab­lished by primary legislation, ensuring alignment with leg­islative intent, and adhering to principles set forth by the judi­ciary to maintain legality, rea­sonableness, and constitutional compliance. He prayed to the court to declare that the restruc­turing and digitalization plan of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) initiated by the caretaker government, as approved by the federal cabinet, as uncon­stitutional, illegal, unlawful, and without lawful authority.

He also requested the court to declare that the caretaker government that has no power or authority to make any poli­cy decision or long-term plan­ning then it has no power to take any initial or preliminary step in that regards. “All steps taken for restructuring of FBR be declared as no nest, nonex­istent and thus rendering it to have no legal effect whatsoev­er,” maintained the petitioner.

He added, “The impugned restructuring being in depar­ture from the statutory pro­visions and also contrary the constitutional provisions as well in conflict with funda­mental rights cannot survive on the touchstone of Articles 2-A, 3, 4, 9, 18, 23, 24 and 25 of the Constitution, the same may please be declared as in­valid and with no legal effect.”

Petitioner’s counsel prayed to the court to issue appropri­ate directions to the respon­dents, specifically the respon­dents No 1 & 2, that: “to cease the implementation of the said restructuring plan until the matter is adjudicated upon by this Honorable Court.” He further requested to provide full disclosure and justifica­tion for the restructuring plan, including details of legal amendments, administrative interventions, and any poten­tial long-term implications on fiscal policy and governance.

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