LHC Seeks Explanation of Appointment of Ineligible Person as Chairman ATIR

The Lahore High Court (LHC) has given Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the Secretaries of Establishment Division and Law, the Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP), and the Chairman/Judicial Member until May 4, 2023, to respond to the appointment of an ineligible person as Chairman of the Appellate Tribunal Inland Revenue, Pakistan (ATIR).

The LHC has served notifications on those mentioned government authorities. According to the facts of the case, the Prime Minister appointed a junior person as Chairman of ATIR via a notification dated 14.04.2023.

This notification has been challenged before the LHC, with the request that the LHC set aside the notification dated 14.04.2023 for the appointment of a junior Judicial Member as Chairman and direct the competent authority to appoint the most senior member of the ATIR as Chairman as soon as possible, in accordance with the law laid down by the Supreme Court in the Al-Jihad Trust case.

Tax lawyer Waheed Shahzad Butt told this correspondent that the Ministry of Law (MOL) has made a mockery of the law during the current government’s tenure and that the appointment of Chairman ATIR during the last two months is the second time the LHC has been approached to seek justice.

Previously, on the appointment of a junior Judicial Member as Chairman, MOL reversed the illegal notification on the merits of a constitutional challenge, Waheed Shahzad Butt Versus Federation of Pakistan (WP No. 7303/2023), but the same episode has been repeated without fear of accountability after a two-month lapse.

The LHC observed that the petitioner deemed the current appointment to be in breach of Rules 3(7) and 8 of the ATIR (Appointment of Chairperson and Members) Rules, 2020, as well as Rule 8(3-B) of the Civil Servant Rules, 1973.

Petitioner has also challenged Section 130 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001. Giving the Prime Minister jurisdiction over subordinate laws is also a violation of the law established in the M/s Mustafa Impex case (PLD 2016 SC 808) and Article 242 of the Constitution.

The petitioner was represented by Ch. Anwaar-ul-Haq, Tahir Mehmood Butt, and Khurram Shahzad Butt, and challenged a notification dated 14.04.2023, in which respondent No. 5 (Mian Tauqeer Aslam) was appointed as Chairman (BS-22), ATIR, on an acting charge basis until the regular incumbent was appointed. The petitioner has also challenged the alteration to Section 130 made by the Tax Laws Alteration Act, 2020 on the grounds that it could not have been presented as a Money Bill, as previously determined by the Supreme Court in PLD 2017 SC 28.

The notification is accepted by Mirza Nasar Ahmad, Additional Attorney General, and Syed Sajjad Haider Rizvi, Assistant Attorney General for the Federation of Pakistan. Because the rules and laws are being challenged, a notice under Order XXVII-A of the CPC is also given to the Attorney General of Pakistan.

Waqas Amjad

Wikitechlibrary is written by Waqas Amjad, a full-time Passionate Blogger interested in Tech innovations, Sports, Blogging, and writing almost everything.

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