Nomination Rejection Over Tax Default Claims


selective focus photo of brown and blue hourglass on stones
selective focus photo of brown and blue hourglass on stones

In a recent judgment, the Lahore High Court's Appellate Tribunal overturned the Returning Officer's (RO) decision to reject Yaar Gul Khan's nomination papers for PP-138, Sheikhupura-III. The decision underscores the importance of thorough verification and procedural fairness in election processes.

Key Areas:

Initial Rejection: The Returning Officer rejected Khan's nomination papers on December 30, 2023, citing two instances of default: an outstanding amount of Rs. 6,688,750/- to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Rs. 476,448/- in arrears of token tax for vehicles as recorded by the Excise and Taxation Department.

Payment of Arrears: Khan's counsel provided receipts showing that the arrears of the Excise and Taxation Department had been paid. The court verified this with the Excise and Taxation Department, which confirmed the payment and stated that no dues were outstanding against Khan under the head of Motor Vehicle Tax.

Outstanding FBR Liability: The FBR representative confirmed that an amount of Rs. 466,250/- was outstanding against Khan, stemming from a tax period in 2016-2017. This liability was not initially mentioned in the Returning Officer’s order, leading to confusion. Upon realizing this, Khan's counsel expressed surprise and committed to paying this amount to ensure compliance.

Court’s Analysis: The court noted that the large outstanding amount cited by the Returning Officer was not consistent with the most recent adjudicated amount. It emphasized the importance of accurate information and procedural fairness, particularly when fundamental rights under Article 17(2) of the Constitution of Pakistan are at stake.

Conclusion: Judge Rasaal Hasan Syed concluded that the reasons for rejecting Khan's nomination papers had been adequately addressed. Both instances of alleged default were resolved, thus nullifying the Returning Officer’s grounds for rejection. Consequently, the court set aside the Returning Officer’s order and accepted Khan's nomination papers.

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