SHC reserves judgment in petition by Karachi Tube Mills

KARACHI: An appellate bench of High Court of Sindh (SHC) comprising Justice Munib Akhtar and justice Omar Sial on Friday reserved judgment in a constitution petition filed by Karachi Tube Mills, importers of steel sheets, coils against encashment of sureties kept with Model Customs Collectorate, East and withholding the same instead of returning the same to the importers.

Masooda Siraj advocate, counsel for Collectorate of Customs Port Muhammad Bin Qasim and West rebutted the arguments advanced by the petitioner’s side.
She relied on judgments in Bealrus Tractor case and Orient case and said that importers have to prove that end user is not slapped with duties, taxes.She argued that petition is not maintainable as it involves question of facts.
Earlier on Thursday Naveen Merchant advocate appearing for the petitioner side submitted that petitioner imported iron steel sheets and coils and filed a Goods Declaration under PCT Heading 7225.3000 pertaining to steel sheet having Boron content upto 0.08 per cent or more and thus classified as “Allow”. The Custom Official refused to accept the GD and charged custom duty, taxes etc under PCT Heading 7208.9090. The classification dispute went to courts and later provisional release was ordered against payment of sureties with the customs department. While the MCC West and MCC Port Muhammad Bin Qasim returned the amount, East in about 500 cases withheld the same on ground thatpetitioner/importer/applicant has first to prove that duties and taxes have not been on-passed to the end consumers.
The counsel for petitioner relying on reports from Dr A.Q Khan laboratories maintained that all reports confirmed that imported consignments of the steel contained “Boron” and thus concession under Free Trade Agreement was attracted.
She referred to Section 19 A and 33 of the Pakistan Customs Act and said that refusing release of amount of sureties was illegal.

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