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ISLAMABAD: The Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi Bench has barred the Regional Tax Office (RTO) Rawalpindi from attachment of bank accounts of the taxpayer earning salary/ rental income.

The petitioner is an individual taxpayer registered with FBR under the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 and derives income from salary and rental income from properties.

The LHC has issued a directive to the FBR that no coercive measures shall be taken against the petitioner, till the next date of hearing.

“Notice be issued to the respondents for March 12, 2024. The law officer shall seek instructions from the relevant quarter(s) and also ensure submission of the report”, the LHC’s order added.

The taxpayer has requested the LHC that an appropriate writ may be issued to the RTO Rawalpindi to restrain from the recovery of the impugned amount Rs1,488,798 by way of attachment of accounts till final decision of the appeal pending before Commissioner Inland Revenue (Appeals).

The petitioner is aggrieved by tax demand amounting to Rs1,488,798 for the tax year 2018. Petitioner first appeal along with Interim Relief Application before the Commissioner (Appeals) is pending which cannot be heard due to the non-availability of the concerned Commissioner (Appeals).

Through this petition under Article 199 of the Constitution, the petitioner has challenged the action of the RTO Rawalpindi of attaching his bank accounts.

At the outset, the learned Law Officer has objected to the maintainability of this petition by submitting that the accounts of the petitioner have rightly been attached by the concerned authority as per law.

In response, Shazia Malik, advocate submits that the impugned action has been taken against the petitioner without adopting the due procedure provided under the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 (the “Ordinance”).

She next argues that under Article 4 of the Constitution, it is an inalienable right of every citizen to be treated in accordance with the law and no action detrimental to his/her life, liberty, reputation or property shall be taken except as per law.

She adds that under Article 10-A of the Constitution, it is the fundamental right of every citizen to have a fair trial and due process. She contends that the petitioner has, prima facie, an arguable case and the balance of convenience for the grant of interim relief also tilts in his favour.

The RTO Rawalpindi is pressing hard to the petitioner’s banks by way of attachment of accounts for recovery of the tax demand; hence, this petition.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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