SCP dismiss Customs petition in Concrete Steel Mixer case

ISLAMABAD: An full bench of Supreme Court of Pakistan comprising Chief Justice Mian Saquib Nisar, Justice Faisal Arab andJustice Sajjad Ali Shah dismissed a constitutional petition filed by Collector Customs against Eastern Construction Company.

The petitioner assailed an order of High Court of Sindh  in Special Customs Reference Applications (SCRAs) 88-102 of 2014 pertaining to imported old and used Concrete Mixer Trucks. The petitioners sought clearance of these construction vehicles under PCT heading 8705.4000 while customs detained the vehicles on ground that import of this kind of vehicles is illegal.

Raja Muhammad  Iqbal advocate, counsel for petitioner appearing before the apex court maintained that the trucks were modified/adopted by fitting, welding of concrete mixer drum on the chasis frame. He maintained that all formalities were completed including issuance of show cause notice, confiscation of vehicle (s), imposition of personal fine on importer as well as upon pre-shipment inspection company.

The customs hierarchy reject the appeal under the Customs Act 1969 against which the appeal was filed before Special Customs Appellate Tribunal.

The tribunal allowed the appeal by the appellant/importer holding that the vehicles in dispute are importable in terms of Item 9 of the Import Policy Order 2013.

Pakistan Customs filed SCRAs against the tribunal’s judgment which we dismissed by the SHC against which the a leave to appeal was sought by the petitioner.

Pakistan Customs in SCRA before SHC referred to a report by shed staff  and submitted that mixer was made of low grade material, fitted with ordinary  iron steel drum, many essential characters missing to qualify as concrete Transit Mixer and it was likely that after removal of the drum, vehicle could be used as truck and therefore confiscation was right.

The SHC dismissed the SCRA on ground that merely on presumption, apprehension vehicle (s) could not be confiscated.

The apex court dismissed the leave to appeal/constitution petition filed by Pakistan Customs and said in its order that “apprehension of the petitioner were aptly responded in para 10 of the impugned judgment and there is no need to interfere with the impugned judgment”.

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