ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday ordered the government to immediately establish benches of Appellate Tribunal Inland Revenue (ATIR) in Quetta and Multan to provide relief to taxpayers.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan issued the orders while hearing a suo moto action regarding, “Non-Functional Tribunals/Administrative Courts on Account of Vacancies”.
During the hearing, the apex court asked the Chairman of the Appellate Tribunal Inland Revenue, Shahid Masood Manzar Bhatti, if there is any bench in Quetta, on which Mr. Bhatti said that there is no bench in Quetta and all the taxpayers from Baluchistan who want to seek relief have to travel to Karachi along with lawyers and tax officials.
The chief justice termed it injustice with the taxpayers of Baluchistan and asked why a bench could not be established in Quetta. He directed to take necessary steps to immediately set up benches of Appellate Tribunal Inland Revenue in Quetta.
Similarly, to another question about a bench in Multan, the court was told that there is no bench of Appellate Tribunal Inland Revenue in Multan and the taxpayers of Multan and adjoining areas travel to Lahore for getting justice, on which directions were issued to establish a bench immediately in Multan.
Bhatti said that a letter will be written to the Registrar of the Baluchistan High Court for a space to set up a bench and Ministry of Law and Justice will also be informed in this regard.
It may be mentioned that not only the taxpayers from Baluchistan and Multan Division has to travel a lot but their lawyers and tax officers from these areas have to attend courts costing a lot of time and money.
Syed Tauqeer Bukhari, President Rawalpindi Islamabad Tax Bar Association (RITBA), who recently said that unwarranted delay in the decision of tax cases has resulted in stuck-up revenue of Rs1260 billion, has hailed the decision of the Supreme Court terming it a big relief to the taxpayers of remote areas.