Sindh High Court Declares FBR Ultimate Authority On IR Officers’ Transfers

Sindh High Court (SHC) has declared that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is fully empowered to transfer officers of the Audit Cadre in Inland Revenue Department anywhere in the field formations including Special Duty without any assignment.

The SHC has issued an order against the auditors of FBR who have challenged the tax regulator’s order that the (petitioners) shall not be posted as Unit In-charge in field formations and shall not be assigned assessment-related functions and duties.

The petitioners (auditors) have primarily impugned Letter dated 25.02.2022 as well as Paragraph-3 1 of Notification dated 28.10.2015 pursuant to which it has been clarified by FBR that officers of Audit Cadre in Inland Revenue Department (petitioners herein) shall not be posted as Unit In-charge in field formations and shall not be assigned assessment related functions and duties.

Petitioners being Assistant Directors in the Audit department are also officers of Inland Revenue; hence, entitled and eligible to exercise all such powers as are otherwise conferred upon other officers of Inland Revenue Department, auditors contested.

On the other hand, the counsel appearing for the Federal Board of Revenue submits that the impugned Letter, as well as the notification, are purely administrative in nature, whereas, they relate to the terms and conditions of service of the Petitioners; hence the Petitions are incompetent.

The counsel has further argued that FBR has the responsibility to oversee the administrative affairs; whereas, the impugned decision has been taken with consultation of the Federation Public Service Commission, therefore, no case is made out. The learned Assistant Attorney General has adopted the arguments of learned Counsel for FBR.

SHC stated that the petitioners are admittedly Civil Servants and perusal of Section 105 of the Civil Servants Act, 1973, reflects that every Civil Servant shall be liable to serve anywhere within or outside the Province to any post under Government, Federal Government, or any Provincial Government or local authority, as the case may be.

There isn’t any concept of a vested right in posting of a Civil Servant who can be posted anywhere and cannot demand or seek posting or transfer at a place of his choice. It is not their right to seek a specific posting or assignment of assessment or field formation as contended. They could also be posted as Officers on Special Duty without any assignment, and this merely, without any other plausible cause, does not by itself give a cause of action to seek enforcement of any constitutional right.

Being civil servants they are bound to obey the order of FBR and postings so assigned for which while entering into service they had agreed; hence seeking a person-specific relief for some special posting or assignment is not per-se a right, which could be enforced through this Court.

They will still remain Officers of Inland Revenue, even if they are not assigned any field formation or assessment-related duties. In fact, they claim to be auditors; therefore, it would be better if they remain as auditors, instead of seeking an assessment-related assignment.