This commission holds that the provision of Yes/No answer to the Appellant, based on the records available with the Respondent, FBR is warranted under the provisions of the Act, 2017 and also as it is a matter of public importance under Article 19-A of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan on the following grounds:
- Section 25 of the Act, 2017 trumps and overrides provisions of Income Tax Ordinance 2001 with regard to disclosure, or, otherwise of information/records held by the Respondent, FBR.
- The secrecy clauses of the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 can supplement but cannot supplant provisions of the Act, 2017.
- the appellant has not sought access to documents but only sought whether or not the public money /tax is collected on the amount received (as show in the documentary evidence provided by the appellant) which only requires Yes/No answer, based on the records available with the Respondent, FBR.
- The question of privacy concerns does not arise as if the answer is in the affirmative, instead of bringing into disrepute name of the individual concerned, would enhance his reputation as a person who abides by the laws of the land and pays due taxes. (The Respondent, FBR celebrates and acknowledges citizens who pay their taxes)
- If the answer of the Respondent, FBR, based on the records available, is in the negative, it would bring to the fore the fact that the amount in question is either still kept hidden from the FBR, or, officials concerned are not performing their functions properly and efficiently, hence help promote public accountability, one of the core objectives behind the enactment of the Act, 2017