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SC forming special bench to hear top FBR cases on priority

SC forming special bench to hear top FBR cases on priority

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on has decided to form a special bench for next week, which would decide the top five cases of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on priority basis.

Hearing a case concerning the FBR, the court also directed the Member (Legal) that their lawyers should be fully prepared and he too should remain in the courtroom.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Saqib Nisar, who headed a three-member bench, remarked that corruption had crossed limits and the FBR officials were working in connivance with thieves. They pocket half of the lawyers’ fee. Billions of rupees were stuck due to litigation and they sent non-serious cases to courts to shift the dirt to the judiciary, he added.

Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan observed that the status of FBR cases was the worst among those being heard by the courts. Its lawyers appearing before the courts did not know anything about the cases, but the judiciary was blamed for pendency, he said.

When the chief justice asked an FBR official to assist the court and how much knowledge he had about income tax laws, he replied he was Member(Operation) and the Member (Legal) was responsible for that job. At this, the chief justice said what he would say about performance if the court decided that their tax claim was wrong.

Why they didn’t challenge the tribunal’s verdict, the chief justice questioned and added that billions were disputed, but the FBR officials used to go on retirement after creating the mess. To this, Justice Ijaz added that the FBR lawyers were interested in adjournments only and multiple lawyers were appearing in a case, but the responsibility was shifted when arguments were sought.

On court’s order, the Member (Legal) appeared before the bench and said a total of 1,854 cases involving Rs38 billion were pending with the apex court, after the orders to form a special bench was passed.