SHC directs Customs Tribunal to decide appeal in 6 weeks, plaintiff restrained from operating bank account, NTN

KARACHI: Justice Muhammad Shafi Siddiqui of High Court of Sindh (SHC) on Friday disposed of a suit for permanent injunction filed by Triple Tree Associates and M Tariq Rafi directing the Special Customs Appellate Tribunal, Karachi to decide the appeal filed by the plaintiff/appellant within six weeks.

The single judge earlier heard Ghulam Hyder Sheikh advocate, counsel for plaintiffs  who challenged the recovery and
attachment, blocking of accounts, NTN, User ID by defendants including Collector Customs (Appraisement) East, Assistant/ Deputy Collector and Recovery/Attachment Officers of Pakistan Customs.

Hyder Sheikh advocate submitted that the plaintiff was an “Association of Persons” who got a franchise from world renowned hotel chain “Sofitel” and imported 24 consignments of machinery for construction of a five star hotel in the city but due to law and order situation, Sofitel terminated the contract after which Custom authorities have raised the demand for payment of concessionary duty and Sales Tax.

The counsel submitted that despite the fact that appeal is pending before the appellate forum and now judgment has been reserved, yet the defendants have taken coercive measures to enforce recovery.

The counsel submitted that  Appellate Tribunal has restrained the respondents/defendants from taking measures for coercing the recovery.

Masooda Siraj and Sardar Zafar Khan advocates representing the defendants submitted that on the orders of the single bench, the accounts, NTN and User ID of the plaintiff has been de-blocked. She maintained that plaintiff is to pay rupees 88 million to the government as Custom Duty, Sales Tax etc. She prayed to the court to direct the tribunal to decide the appeal by the plaintiff expeditiously and in the mean time the plaintiff be ordered to stop transactions so that government dues recoverable from the plaintiff remain secure.

The counsel for plaintiff also agreed to the same for early resolution of the controversy at which the single judge directed the Customs Appellate Tribunal to decide the case within six weeks while the plaintiff was asked to stop bank transactions till decision by the appellate tribunal.

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