SC raises key questions in FBR data digitisation case - Pakistan Today

SC raises key questions in FBR data digitisation case

ISLAMABAD: A bench of the Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday raised key questions in a case related to digitisation of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) data.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed heard a case related to Pakistan Revenue Automation Private Limited (PRAL).

During the proceedings, the chief justice asked as to why the FBR did not design the software itself. “Why extremely sensitive data of the FBR was handed over to a private company? How the FBR benefiting from the PRAL?” the bench asked.

The attorney general argued that the PRAL is not a private entity, but rather it is a public limited company. He said that the PRAL provides the software to the FBR after its designing and the FBR enters the data in it. It is not the job of the company to collect tax data, he further said.

The FBR chairperson informed the court that the people with technical qualifications do not join the civil service due to lower salaries. “My salary is lesser than the GM of the PRAL,” the FBR chief said.

“We know the game FBR officers play with online passwords,” the chief justice said. “Billions of rupees tax refunds released without any basis,” the chief judge further said. “There are several cases of illegal tax refunds pending in the court,” Justice Gulzar Ahmed said.

“What is the benefit of the online system when it used for cheating,” the bench questioned.

Justice Sajjad Ali Shah observed such companies are formed for making money. “Why does the government not perform the job itself?” he asked.