The Federal Tax Ombudsman has jurisdiction to investigate any allegation of maladministration on the part of Revenue Division or Tax Employee, however, subsection (2) of section 9 of the Ordinance excludes from the jurisdiction of Federal Tax Ombudsman matters which:
are subjudice before a court of competent jurisdiction or tribunal or board or authority on the date of receipt of a complaint, reference or motion by him; or
assessment of income or wealth,
determination of liability of tax or duty,
classification or valuation of goods,
interpretation of law, rules and regulations relating to such assessment, determination, classification or valuation,
in respect of which legal remedies of appeal, review or revision are available under the Relevant Legislation.
Important cases on the Point of Jurisdiction
Many cases have been decided on the point of jurisdiction by Hon’ble Federal Tax Ombudsman. The few leading cases in which such points have been elaborated are as under:-
“……..Bias is a state of mind which if exhibited by words, expression or body language or such expression, lead to a belief or suspicion in the mind of a party that he will not have a fair deal. But to determine whether particular alleged facts do constitute a bias does not depend on the perception, thinking, conviction or belief of the party. The test is whether a reasonable man apprised of full facts would conclude that there is likelihood of bias or reasonable suspicion of bias….”
“……..The learned counsel for the department referred to section 9 of the Establishment of the Federal Tax Ombudsman Ordinance (hereinafter called the Ordinance) and submitted that in the matter the jurisdiction of the Federal Tax Ombudsman is ousted by these provisions. He referred to the preamble of the Ordinance, the definition of the term ‘mal-administration’ and the provisions of the section 9 of the Ordinance. According to the learned counsel in the matters, which are subjudice, the Federal Tax Ombudsman has the jurisdiction to investigate and recommend where mal-administration relates to the person and not the merits of the case. The learned counsel has made a distinction keeping in view the facts that the Ordinance is intended to provide remedy for injustice done and mal-administration committed by the tax functionaries. When it was pointed out that definition of mal-administration is wide and even a decision or process which is contrary to law falls within this category and therefore unless the matter is probed on merits it cannot be ascertained whether it is contrary to law or not? The learned counsel responded that in such situation the Federal Tax Ombudsman may pinpoint mal-administration and the decision should be left to the authority before which the case is subjudice. In the maters which are subjudice before any Court or Authority the Federal Tax Ombudsman has jurisdiction to investigate and pinpoint mal-administration and give recommendation in respect of allegations of mal-administration. Even if the argument of the learned counsel is accepted then such recommendation placed before the authority seized with the matter will be bound to comply. This is so because the adjudicating authorities under the relevant legislation except the Tribunal and the Courts fall under the Revenue Division. Therefore any recommendation made even in manner as suggested by the learned counsel for the respondent will be binding on CBR and authorities under its administrative control. So far clause (b) of sub section 2 of section 9 is concerned it is to be noted that if it is literally interpreted then hardly the Federal Tax Ombudsman would be able to intervene in any matter.
The learned counsel for the complainant has raised objection to the jurisdiction of the Federal Tax Ombudsman. In order to correctly appreciate the jurisdiction conferred by the Establishment of the Office of Federal Tax Ombudsman Ordinance 2000 (hereinafter referred as the Ordinance), it is necessary to understand the objects and the intention of the statute in creating this office. I do not feel it necessary to go in detailed background of the establishment of this institution, suffice to say that due to mal-administration prevalent in tax administration against which serious complaints were made by the assessees, general public, Chamber of Commerce, trade Bodies, Tax Bar Association and even the officials as well it was considered to be the need of the time to establish an institution independent of the tax departments to oversee their functioning and redress injustice done to the aggrieved parties. According to the preamble of the Ordinance, which indicates its intention object and purpose, it was thought expedient to provide for the appointment of the Federal Tax Ombudsman to diagnose, investigate, redress and rectify any injustice done to a person through mal-administration by functionaries administering tax laws. Each and every word of this preamble points out to the object and purpose mainly to redress and rectify any injustice done to a person through mal-administration by the tax employees. With this object the term “mal-administration” was defined in sub section 3 of section 2 of the Ordinance, which is wide in term, inclusive in nature and covers most of the irregularities and illegalities in administering tax laws. According to term “mal-administration” a decision, process, recommendation, act of omission or commission which is contrary of law, rules or regulations or is a departure from established practice or procedure, unless it is a bonafide and for valid reasons falls within the definition of mal-administration. Further such decision, process or recommendation which is perverse, arbitrary or unreasonable, unjust, biased, oppressive, or discriminatory or is based on irrelevant ground or involves the exercise of power, or the failure or refusal to do so, for corrupt or improper motives is covered by the term mal-administration. Therefore, a decision, process, recommendation can be challenged on the aforestated grounds. This is not the end of the definition, which further provides that where the tax employee commits neglect, inattention, delay, incompetence, inefficiency and ineptitude in the administration or discharge of duties and responsibilities it is hit by mal-administration. Apart from this the act of mal-administration includes issuance of repeated notices, unnecessary attendance or prolonged hearings while deciding cases involving assessment of income or wealth, determination of liability of tax or duty, classification or valuation of goods, settlement of claims of refunds, rebate or duty drawback or determination of fiscal and tax concession or exemptions. This is another category of mal-administration, which is committed during the proceedings enumerated therein. It further classifies certain acts of mal-administration in relation to refunds, which include willful errors in the determining of refunds, rebates or duty drawbacks or deliberate withholding or non-payment of already determined refund. Coercive methods of tax recovery in cases where default in payment of tax or duty is not apparent from the record is also mal-administration. Clause (vii) of sub section 3 of section 2 specifies that avoidance of disciplinary action against an officer or official whose order of assessment or valuation is held by a competent appellate authority to be vindictive, capricious, biased or patently illegal amounts to mal-administration.
These provisions are wide enough to cover the illegality and misconduct in the overall working of the tax employees. If we read the object of the statute in the light of the definition of mal-administration it will be clear that it was the intention of the legislature to authorize the Federal Tax Ombudsman and empower him to diagnose, investigate, redress and rectify any injustice done to a person through the mal-administration elucidated herein above which can be extended to such acts which may be termed as mal-administration in the generic sense.
Coming to the question of jurisdiction reference is to be made to sub section (1) of section 9 of the Ordinance, which confers jurisdiction on the Federal Tax Ombudsman to investigate any allegation of mal-administration on the part of the Revenue Division or any tax employee subject to sub section (2). This clearly stipulates that the legislature has vested wide power to investigate where mal-administration is alleged against the Revenue Division or any tax employee. Sub section 2 (a) of section 9, provides that the Federal Tax Ombudsman shall not have jurisdiction to investigate or inquire into matters, which are subjudice on the date of the receipt of a complaint, reference or motion. It therefore, contemplates that jurisdiction will be barred only if the complaint is filed during the pendency of any matter before any court of competent jurisdiction or tribunal or Board or authority. But where the complaint has been filed before the pendency of proceeding, jurisdiction will not be barred. Furthermore where the matter is subjudice but the mal-administration alleged is independ of such matter the jurisdiction will not be barred.
While challenging the jurisdiction the emphasis is mostly on sub clause (b) of sub section 2 of section 9 of the Ordinance which states that jurisdiction will not be exercised in the matters which relate to assessment of income or wealth (b) determination of tax or duty (c) classification or valuation of goods (d) interpretation of law, rules and regulations relating to such assessment determination, classification or valuation in respect of which legal remedies of appeal, review or revision are available under the law. The literal construction as pressed by the learned counsel seems to be that if legal remedies of appeal, review or revision are provided under the relevant law in respect of assessment, determination of liability of tax, classification or valuation, interpretation of law rules and regulations, the Federal Tax Ombudsman will not have jurisdiction. This interpretation negates the very object of the Ordinance and makes its completely paralyzed because hardly there will be any tax statute which does not provide for appeal, review or revision. At this stage it is necessary to understand the principles of interpretation. To begin with it cannot be denied that the Ordinance is a welfare, beneficial and remedial statute. It intends to provide relief to the aggrieved parties against acts of mal-administration, excesses, injustice and corruption. While interpreting any provision, which is beneficial in nature the object and intention of the legislature can neither be ignored nor by passed. This should be the determining factor while interpreting the provisions of such legislation. The superior courts in Pakistan and abroad, and jurists are of the opinion that a beneficial legislation should be interpreted in a manner to advance the remedy and suppress the mischief. The interpretation should be made fairly to make the remedy secure. The provisions of such statute must be construed with reference to their context and with due regard to the object to be achieved and mischief to be prevented otherwise the intention of the statute will be defeated. Any construction, which whittles down the object and produces absurd result, cannot be accepted. Ajmal Mian J. (as he then was) in Nawaz Sharif’s case PLD 1993 SC 493 observed that interpretation should be dynamic and approach progressive. Such pronouncements approve that the purpose of a beneficial or remedial statute is to keep the system of jurisprudence upto date in harmony with new ideas, new concepts and the needs of the society. A construction, which promotes improvement and justice in the system and eradicates the defects and evils should be favored over one, which perpetuates wrong.
In interpreting provision of a beneficial legislation the court always favours interpretation which promotes the benefits of such statutes (AIR 1960 SC 137, (1994) 1 SCC 243). All over trend in U.K., U.S., Pakistan and India is to favour a beneficial and liberal construction to save the object of the legislation. “In his book “Discipline of Law” Lord Denning has stated that ‘intention seeking’ is preferred to ‘strict construction’ and that the literal approach is in disuse” (Interpretation of Taxing Statute by Justice Markanday Katju). This purposive interpretation is now well accepted and well recognized in preference to the literal interpretation, which may bring conflict, absurdity and completely negate the object and purpose of legislation. The American view as expressed in Corps Juris Secondum and Suthernland on Statutory Construction indicates that the rules of strict construction should be applied with due regard to the wishes of the legislature as expressed in the statute and not so strictly as to defeat the legislative purpose and produce unreasonable results.
Maxwell has observed as follows:-
“There are certain objects which the legislature is presumed not to intend, and a construction which would lead to any of them is therefore to be avoided. It is not infrequently necessary, therefore, to limit the effect of the words contained in an enactment (specially general words) and some times to depart not only from their primary and literal meaning but also from the rules of grammatical construction in cases where it seems highly improbable that the primary or grammatical meaning actually express the real intention of the Legislature. It is regarded as more reasonable to hold that Legislature expressed its intention in a slovenly manner than that a meaning should be given to them which could not have been intended.”
Although there are authorities which prefer a literal interpretation yet as discussed above these are considered waning ideas and concepts which are being replaced by principle of purposive interpretation.
Cross on Statutory Construction has quoted Pinner vs Everett (1969)3 AER 257 that “….. The grammatical and ordinary sense of the words is to be adhered to unless that would lead to some absurdity or some repugnance or inconsistency with the rest of the instrument, in which case the grammatical and ordinary sense of the words may be modified so as to avoid absurdity and inconsistency, but no further.”
In Maunsell vs Olins (1975) AC 373 (391) it was observed
“…….the language is presumed to be used in its primary sense, unless it stultifies the purpose of the statue, or otherwise produces some injustice, absurdity, anomaly or contradiction in which some secondary sense may be preferred”.
In Argon (Cargo Ex) Gandeb vs Brown LR5 PC 134 the Privy Council observed:
“It is a very useful rule in the construction of statutes, to adhere to the ordinary meaning of the words used and to the grammatical construction, unless that is at variance with the intention of the Legislature to be collected from the statutes itself or leads to any manifest absurdity of repugnancy in which case the language may be varied or modified so as to avoid such inconvenience but no further.”
This dictum is being followed as is obvious from the forementioned judgments. It is now well settled that where primary construction defeats manifest purpose of a statute, leads to unjust results, absurdity, repugnancy, inconsistency or manifest contradiction departure from the plain or primary meaning is permitted.
In view of the aforestated discussion it is clear that the Ordinance being a beneficial legislation, its provisions should be interpreted in the manner, which may advance the object of the enactment by advancing the remedy provided under it and suppressing the mischief it seeks to eradicate. In view of these principles if we examine sub section 2 of section 9 of the Ordinance it becomes clear that a strict literal interpretation will completely negate the object of the legislation and no remedy can be provided in any matter, which falls within the category of mal-administration. The main reason being that in matters where tax or duty is assessed, liability of tax or duty is determined, classification or valuation of goods are made under relevant legislation there is always a provision for appeal, review or revision. Thus according to the department, in respect of matters enumerated above in spite of mal-administration and corruption alleged by a complainant, the Federal Tax Ombudsman will have no jurisdiction. But this is a misinterpretation of the provisions as it cannot be the intention of the legislature to appoint the Federal Tax Ombudsman vest him with power and authority but bar the jurisdiction to exercise power and authority. Such interpretation is bound to create absurdity, will not advance the remedy and allow the mischief to continue and grow. It will create embarrassing result and will make the entire institution powerless. Therefore; an interpretation of the provisions under discussion has to be made in a harmonious manner, keeping in view the object and intention of the legislature. Thus in matters in which mal-administration has been alleged which are independent of a subjudice matter in a case filed before the filing of the complaint the Federal Tax Ombudsman will have jurisdiction to investigate. Where in respect of any of the items enumerated in clause (b) of sub section (2) mal-administration is alleged inter alia on the ground that the decision or process is contrary to law, the Federal Tax Ombudsman will have jurisdiction to investigate into the allegation and it cannot be argued that because it relates to assessment, determination of tax, duty or liability or valuation it cannot be investigated for want of jurisdiction. Thus in these enumerated matters mal-administration can be identified even in cases which affect decision, process or findings and make such recommendations as are permissible under law. Such interpretation is harmonious and in consonance with the intention of the enactment. The objection to jurisdiction is over ruled.…..”
At another place addressing to the point of jurisdiction it was decided by the Hon’ble Federal Tax Ombudsman as :-
REVIEW APPLICATION NO.39
COMPLAINT NO.1209-L OF 2001
“…….The first arguments taken up by the representatives of the applicant were in the context of ground No. (x) indicated in para 1 above. It was contended that jurisdiction of this Office was ousted in the case because another shareholder in Corporation House Ltd viz M/s National Fertilizer Corporation Ltd had filed a writ petition in Lahore High Court on 17-7-2001 on the same points as contained in the complaint filed by NESPAK. In this connection reference was made to section 9 (2) (a) of the Establishment of the Office of the Federal Tax Ombudsman Ordinance 2000 which reads as under:
“(2) The Federal Tax Ombudsman shall not have jurisdiction to investigate or inquire into matters which—
are subjudice before a court of competent jurisdiction or tribunal or board or authority on the date of the receipt of a complaint, reference or motion by him;”
It was argued that at the time of filing of the complaint the “matter” was subjudice before the Lahore High Court in a writ petition. It was contended that it was not necessary that the writ petition should have been filed by the complainant company itself because the words used in section 9(2) are “investigate or inquire into matters”. It was contended that though it was true that the complainant company had not filed the writ petition, the “matter” as such was subjudice before the Lahore High Court since it had been raised by a co-shareholder. It was stated that the matter related to the recovery of wealth tax arrears of Corporation House from its shareholders and this “matter” was subjudice on the date of filing of the complaint.
It was further argued that the spirit of section 9(2) (a) of the Ordinance is that administrative or executive determination is to yield to judicial determination and, therefore, executive determination should not preempt or anticipate judicial determination. Thus if the Lahore High Court did not accept NFC’s plea, an anomalous situation was bound to arise. It was also contended that it was the responsibility of the complainant to inform this Office that a writ petition had been filed by a co-shareholder on the same issue and if this information had been provided by the complainant, the findings of this Office would have been quite different. Reference was also made to the Supreme Court judgements reported as 1993 SCMR 1513 and PLD 1998 SC 363. A reference was further made to clause (b) of section 9(2) of the Ordinance and it was contended that the scheme of this clause also was that where judicial or quasi, judicial interpretation was possible, the jurisdiction of this Office was ousted…..”
Further Stated That
REVIEW APPLICATION NO.39
“……. i) As discussed above the applicant referred to the words “investigate or inquire into matters” in section 9(2) of the Ordinance to show that it was not necessary that the complainant’s own case should be subjudice before a court for the jurisdiction of this Office to be ousted but that if the same “matter” was subjudice in any other case, the jurisdiction of this Office would still be ousted. This contention is, however, quite untenable. It is evident in fact that the applicant has not considered sub-section (2) of section 9 in its proper context and has taken certain words from the sub-section out of their proper context. In this connection the contents of sub-section (1) of the said section 9 are important which sub-section reads as under:
“(1) Subject to sub-section (2), the Federal Tax Ombudsman may on a complaint by any aggrieved person, or on a reference by the President, the Senate or the National Assembly, as the case may be, or on a motion of the Supreme Court or a High Court made during the course of any proceedings before it or of his own motion, investigate any allegation of mal-administration on the part of the Revenue Division or any Tax Employee.”
It is obvious that the word “matters” has been used in sub-section (2) in the context of any of the matters referred to in sub-section (1), viz matters pertaining to a complaint by an aggrieved person or matters pertaining to a reference or motion referred to in the said sub-section. It is also obvious from sub-section (1) that the matter must be related to a specific allegation of mal-administration on the part of the Revenue Division or a tax employee. Thus the matters referred to in sub-section (1) obviously relate to a specific allegation of mal-administration in a complaint, reference or motion and the word “matters” in sub-section (2) relates to the matters referred to in sub-section (1) involving a specific allegation of mal-administration. The word “matters” in sub-section (2) can, therefore, not be considered to pertain to a matter which is not referred to in sub-section (1) or to another case not referred to in the said sub-section. Thus the fact that M/s National Fertilizer Corporation (NFC) had statedly filed a writ petition before the Lahore High Court which involved the same issue can in no way oust the jurisdiction of this Office in the complaint filed by NESPAK.
It can also not be accepted that if this Office was aware of the filing of the writ petition by National Fertilizer Corporation (NFC) the outcome of NESPAK’s complaint would have been different. In fact the applicant has not been able to properly elaborate as to what different outcome was likely. If the applicant, however, meant that the investigation would have been held in abeyance till the decision by the Lahore High Court on NFC’s writ petition this certainly would be a mere presumption. It must be noted that the Establishment of the Office of the Federal Tax Ombudsman Ordinance, 2000 envisages a speedy disposal of complaints, references or motions and proceedings under the Ordinance are not normally kept in abeyance in such situations since this would unnecessarily jeopardize the interests of the complainant. Again there was no question of dismissing NESPAK’s complaint in view of the discussion at (i) above.
The applicant’s reference to Supreme Court Judgement reported as 1993 SCMR 1523 is also not much to the point. The applicant has referred to the dictum alluded to by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in para 9 of the judgement viz “what is excluded by express words could not be included on any principle of interpretation”. It was argued that since the jurisdiction of this Office was specifically excluded under section 9(2) of the Ordinance it can not be assumed through any interpretation of the statute. It has, however, been discussed at (i) above, that jurisdiction of this Office was not ousted in terms of section 9(2)(a) of the Ordinance. As regards the provisions of section 9(2)(b) these were referred to here in order to strengthen the argument that where judicial pronouncement was possible, so called administrative findings should not pre-empt the said pronouncement. The matter has already been discussed at (i) above and the distinction between administrative findings and judicial pronouncement is also not relevant in the context of the powers exercised under the Establishment of the Office of the Federal Tax Ombudsman Ordinance, 2000. These powers are exercised in cases of “mal-administration” which by definition includes any decision or act which is contrary to law or is arbitrary or unjust. In the instant case it had been seen that on the facts of the case the action of the applicant was contrary to law and was obviously unfair and unjust to the complainant. Under the circumstances there can be no valid argument on behalf of the applicant to show that the jurisdiction of this Office was excluded in the case.
As regards the Supreme Court judgement reported as PLD 1998 SC 363 the applicant’s representative referred to the findings of the Hon’ble Supreme Court that a party had the right to apply for review by the Supreme Court if he was aggrieved by the orders on three grounds viz discovery of new and important matter or evidence which despite due diligence could not be produced by him at the relevant time, or on account of some mistake or error apparent on the face of the record or for any other sufficient reason. A reference was further made to the following principles relating to review of Supreme Court judgements as contained in the said case:
That every judgment pronounced by the Supreme Court is presumed to be a considered, solemn and final decision on all points arising out of the case;
That if the Court has taken a conscious and deliberate decision on a point of fact or law, a review petition will not lie;
That the fact the view canvassed in the review petition is more reasonable than the view found favour with the Court in the judgment/order of which review is sought, is not sufficient to sustain a review petition;
That simpliciter the factum that a material irregularity was committed would not be sufficient to review a judgment/order but if the material irregularity was of such a nature, as to convert the process from being one in aid of justice to a process of injustice, a review petition would lie;
That simpliciter the fact that the conclusion recorded in a judgment/order is wrong does not warrant review of the same but if the conclusion is wrong because something obvious has been overlooked by the Court or it has failed to consider some important aspect of the matter, a review petition would lie;
That if the error in the judgment/order is so manifest and is floating on the surface, which is so material that had the same been noticed prior to the rendering of the judgment, the conclusion would have been different, in such a case a review petition would lie;
That the power of review cannot be invoked as a routine matter to rehear a case which has already been decided nor change of a counsel would warrant sustaining of a review petition but the same can be pressed into service where a glaring omission or patent mistake has crept in earlier by judicial fallibility;
That the Constitution does not place any restriction on the power of the Supreme Court to review its earlier decisions or even to depart from them nor the doctrine stare decisis will come in its way so long as review is warranted in view of the significant impact on the fundamental rights of citizens or in the interest of public good;
That the Court is competent to review its judgment/order suo moto without any formal application.…….”
CHAPTER - II REACHING OUT TO THE STAKEHOLDERS
In view of the need for creating public awareness, the Federal Tax Ombudsman Justice ® Munir A. Sheikh interacted regularly with the electronic and print media. His panel discussion with journalists, advocates and officials of Chambers of Commerce and Industries were also published by the newspapers and telecast by various business channels.
Decisions for the Federal Tax Ombudsman on the complaints of the aggrieved taxpayers were published and newspapers also highlighted performance of this institution and the role it played in redressal of the grievances of complainants.
The Federal Tax Ombudsman actively participated in various seminars, meetings etc. He addressed Associations of Trade Commerce and Industry all over the country to introduce to them the objectives of the establishment of his office.
On 1st February, 2006 he attended dinner at Aiwan-e-Sadar in the honour of Abduluallh Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia.On March 17th 2006 he attended the inaugural session of Asia Pacific Tax Conference 2006 on Tax System –A Catalyst for Economic Development. On March 18th 2006 he was Chief Guest at annual dinner of Income Tax Bar Association Karachi. On April 15th 2006 he attended the dinner at Islamabad Aiwan-e-Sadar in honour of Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.
On April 21, 2006 he presided over the seminar on “The achievements of the officers of Federal Tax Ombudsman” at Faisalabad organized by All Pakistan Tax Bar Association. On April 22nd 2006 he was Chief Guest at the seminar organized by Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the “Role of Federal Tax Ombudsman in resolving tax problems and curbing the maladministration in federal taxes”. On the same day he visited the Faisalabad University and planted a Memorial tree. On the same evening he visited the expo at Faisalabad as Guest of Honour and there he interacted with office beares and other members of the Chamber and Industry and Business Community. On 23rd April 2006 District and Senior Judge Faisalabad along with Senior Civil Judges called on Hon’ble FTO. On the same day the delegation of Faisalabad Tax Bar Assoction called on the Hon’ble FTO. On 1st May 2006 he visited Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry where he was Chief Guest at a reception. On 5th May 2006 he visited Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry as Chief Guest and highlighted “The role and objectives of FTO.” On 6th May 2006 he was Chief Guest at the seminar on “Role of Federal Tax Ombudsman in Present Scenario” organized by Multan Tax Bar Association. On 12th May 2006 he attended conference to Celebrate 50th years of the Supreme Court of Pakistan organised by Sindh High Court Bar Association, Karachi. The same evening he attended dinner hosted by Governor of Sindh, Dr. Ishrat Ul Ebad Khan in honour of Chief Justice of Pakistan.
On 13th May 2006 he was Guest of Honour in the Seminar on “Judicial Reforms and Continuing Legal Education” at Karachi organized by the President and Members of Managing Committee of Sindh High Court Bar Association. The same evening he attended dinner in honour of Chief Justice of Pakistan on the 50th Anniversary of the Supreme Court of Pakistan
On May 20, 2006 he visited Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industry and presided over the meeting with the office bearers of the Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industry. There he announced that a Regional Office of the Federal Tax Ombudsman will be established at Provisional Headquarter Quetta on the demand of Chamber of Commerce and Tax Bar. On 15th of July 2006 he visited Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry and presided over the seminar organised by Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry Peshawar. There on the demand of members of Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Tax Bar he announced establishment of a Regional Office of F.T.O at Peshawar. He visited the office of the Deputy Collector Customs, Torkhum. On the same night he was the Chief Guest at a dinner hosted by the Collector of Customs Peshawar.
On July 9, 2006 he attended dinner hosted by Mr. Shamim Ahmad, High Commissioner of Bangladesh in honour of Mr. Shah Muhammad Abdul Hussain, Minister of State Finance Government of Bangladesh. He hosted a lunch on July 12, 2006 in honour of Mr. Shah Muhammad Abdul Hussain, Minister of State for Finance, Government of Bangladesh.
On July 28, 2006 he visited Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry where he was the Chief Guest at the reception. On July 29, 2006 he was Chief Guest at the seminar organized by Hyderabad Tax Bar Association. On August 14, 2006 he attended the concluding ceremony of the International Judicial Conference. On August 14, 2006 he attended the dinner hosted by the President of Pakistan in the honour of participants of International Judicial Conference.
On November 8, 2006 he was Chief Guest in a seminar organized by Mir Khalil-ur-Rehman Memorial Society on the Iqbal Day.
On December 14, 2006 he attended dinner hosted by Mr. Javed Sadiq Malik, Wafaqi Mohtasib, Islamabad in the honour of delegation of the board of directors of Asian Ombudsman Association. On December 15, 2006 he hosted the dinner in honour of the delegations of the Board of Directors of Asian Ombudsmen Association.
CHAPTER - III ORGANIZATIONAL SETUP
The Office of the Federal Tax Ombudsman was established in September, 2000 through an Ordinance called “Establishment of the Office of the Federal Tax Ombudsman Ordinance, 2000” with Headquarters at Islamabad and two Regional Offices each at Karachi and Lahore for speedy disposal of the grievances and complaints of the stakeholders.
The Headquarters of the Office of the Federal Tax Ombudsman is located at the Constitution Avenue, Islamabad. Due to inadequate space measuring 6000 sq.ft. provided to this Office in the Engineering Development Board Building the officers and staff are sharing the limited accommodation which is affecting their performance and efficiency. With the courtesy of the Chief Justice of Pakistan and the Honourable Judges of Supreme Court, the Accounts Branch and the Record Room of this Office are temporarily housed in a Bungalow at Supreme Court Judges Enclave. Therefore, unless the accommodation problem is solved by providing additional accommodation in this Building by removing the WTO Wing of M/o Commerce, it would not be possible for the staff of FTO to function efficiently and smoothly. Alternatively, the office of the FTO may be allotted a piece of land in Islamabad for construction of its own Office Building. This requires consideration at the level of President of Pakistan.
The Regional Office of Federal Tax Ombudsman at Karachi was set up at the 14th floor, NIC building, Abbasi Shaheed Road, off Shahrah-e-Faisal, Karachi in April, 2001 and at Lahore in Bungalow No.186-A, Scotch Corner, Upper Mall, Lahore w.e.f. June, 2001.
PROGRAMME OF OPENING OTHER REGIONAL OFFICES
This Office has planned to open two Regional Offices of the Federal Tax Ombudsman at Peshawar and Quetta during 2007-2008 keeping in view persistent demand of stakeholders of the areas.
At the time of creation of the office of the Federal Tax Ombudsman a staff strength of 243 posts was sanctioned by the Ministry of Finance. However, this Office subsequently in response to the Government’s directive of Restructuring and Rightsizing Committee reduced the said strength to 146 posts. The breakup of staff of is at page No. 3 The Federal Tax Ombudsman in his Head Office at Islamabad has a Secretary (BS-22), Three Advisors, a Director General (BS-20), one Registrar BS-(20), two Consultants, three Directors, one Secretary to FTO (BS-19), one Assistant Registrar, one Assistant Director and their supporting staff to do the judicial and investigation work.
In the Regional Office of the FTO at Karachi, there are three Advisers and one Consultant drawn from retired Officers of the Income Tax, Customs Groups and Bureaucracy. The administration side is looked after by a Director, a Deputy Director and two Assistant Directors and supporting staff. In Regional Office, Lahore there are three Advisers, one Director, one Deputy Director and an Assistant Director with supporting staff.
An Organogram of the Office of Federal Tax Ombudsman is at page No.24
The Ministry of Finance had allocated Rs.36.443 million to this Office for the Financial Year 2005-2006 as per details at page No.25.
As intimated in the last year Annual Report, this office has encountered difficulties in efficient management of men and material due to the absence of special delegation of administrative and financial powers. A Summary in this regard has been submitted to the Ministry of Finance for approval for the smooth running of this office on the same pattern as allowed to the High Courts, Supreme Court, Election Commission of Pakistan and the Wafaqi Mohtasib. No response has yet been received from that Ministry.
RULES AND REGULATIONS
The Rules for regulating the procedure for the conduct of business or the exercise of powers under the Ordinance as envisaged by Section 10(11), have already been framed as the “Federal Tax Ombudsman Investigation and Disposal of Complaints Regulations, 2001”. The Service Rules for appointment of staff under Section 8 of the Ordinance were framed in consultation with Finance Division and Establishment Division which have since been approved by the President of Pakistan.
The Federal Tax Ombudsman is a voting member of the Asian Ombudsman Association and the International Ombudsman Institute. The following delegations visited Pakistan during 2006 and called on the Federal Tax Ombudsman and exchanged views and experience regarding effectiveness of the Office of Federal Tax Ombudsman:-
i. A delegation from Bangladesh lead by their State Minister for Finance called on the Hon’ble Federal Tax Ombudsman and discussed about the role and functions of the newly established Tax Ombudsman in their country.
ii. Hon’ble Federal Tax Ombudsman hosted a dinner in honour of the Board of Directors of Asian Ombudsman Association. The interaction with the members of the Board of Directors of Asian Ombudsman Association was very fruitful.