SHC reserves judgment in 30 year old Sales Tax case

KARACHI: The judgment was reserved in a more than 30 year old case pertaining to Sales tax filed by Hamdard (Waqf) Laboratories against tax authorities.

A divisional bench of Sindh High Court (SHC) comprising Justice Irfan Saadat Khan and Justice Zafar Ahmed Rajput heard the case which was filed in 1986. The petitioner Hamdard challenged the demand of rupees 2.5 million raised by the Sales tax department on sale of “Honey” sold in tubes by the petitioner. The department served a show cause notice that during a survey evasion of Sales tax was detected and period of default was between 3-4 years (past). The petitioner claimed exemption maintaining that item on which ST was alleged to have been evaded is a medicine.

The levy/demand was challenged at which an order in original was passed by the competent tax authority rejecting the exemption plea against which the petition was filed before SHC. Initially A.K. Brohi advocate and later Mansoor Khan, father of Anwar Mansoor Khan Advocate appeared for the petitioner Waqf Trust.

Today Shakeel Ahmed advocate, counsel for respondent department appeared and contended that honey is food stuff and a food supplement. It cannot be dubbed a medicine; he submitted relying on versus from the Holy Quran and book of interpretation “Tafheem-ul-Quran”. He said honey is a curer and laboratories world over after scientific tests on composition declared it to be a natural product as no human activity is involved in production of the product.

He also referred to the literature of the petitioner and said that list of medicine did not include the item in dispute.  He said that literature of petitioner itself recognizes the honey as multi-purpose food supplement which could also be used as or in the medicines. The bench after completion of arguments from both the sides reserved the judgment to be announced later.

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