The Sindh High Court (SHC) has set aside the adverse findings and recommendations of the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO) against an Additional Commissioner (Audit) of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Imran Qadeer, who was accused of mal-administration by a taxpayer.

The SHC, in its judgment delivered by Justice Muhammad Junaid Ghaffar, observed that the FTO had passed the order without giving any notice or opportunity of hearing to the FBR officer, and had also exceeded its jurisdiction and ignored the judgments of the constitutional courts on the scope and limits of the FTO Ordinance.

The SHC noted that the FTO had recommended that the FBR officer was not suitable for any field posting, while deciding a complaint filed by M/s Helium Pvt Ltd, a taxpayer who had challenged the audit conducted by the FBR officer.

The SHC held that such an act of the FTO was in violation of the principles of natural justice, as well as the settled law that the FTO cannot become the supervisory body or authority of all the employees of FBR, and that the FTO is bound to accept the interpretation of the constitutional courts on its powers and jurisdiction.

The SHC also remarked that the act of the FTO in passing such orders, time and again, by completely ignoring the dictum laid down by the courts, appeared to be contemptuous and against the law. The SHC, however, showed restraint and decided not to initiate any proceedings against the office of the FTO, and left it open to be taken up in an appropriate case in the future.

The SHC allowed the petition filed by the FBR officer and set aside the findings of the FTO at Para 5 and 6 (iv) of its order.