Tribunal observes customs officials can re-asses cleared consignments, issue fresh show cause notice

KARACHI: Customs Appellate Tribunal has observed that customs officials can file appeal against cleared consignments with a fresh show cause notice.
The tribunal deposed of several appeals by the consolidated judgment observing that customs authorities were not bound under the law to file an appeal against the original order of assessment.
According to the appeals, consignments of preserved fruits packed in cane were imported and claimed exemption for payment of sales tax in terms of Serial No. 15 of Table I and note 1 of the Sixth Schedule to the Sales Tax Act, 1990. After completion of examination, the customs officers passed assessment order under Section 80 of the Customs Act, 1990, read with Rule 438 of Sub Chapter III of Chapter XXI of Customs Rules, 2001 and transmitted view message for payment of additional amount of duty and taxes, which were paid, consequent to which the competent and expressed authority passed clearance order under Section 83 and Rule 442 ibid and the appellant obtained the clearance from the terminal.
Another officer of Customs passed assessment order on the pretext that the benefit of Serial No. 15 was extended inadvertently and the appellant was asked to pay an additional amount for obtaining clearance. Ignoring the fact that clearance has already been obtained, the assessment order was impugned before Collector of Customs (Appeals), who rejected the appeal.
The counsel for the appellant contended that the passing of assessment/clearance order by the authority defined in Section 2(a) of the Customs Act, 1969, the transaction stood past and closed matter in every aspect. The said order cannot be substituted with any other order as a subsequent order cannot be allowed to pile upon an existing order, as it is not permitted under law.
Objection of the counsel of the appellant was that customs officials had no jurisdiction to interfere in the matters of sales tax and income tax. The proceedings in respect of recovery of sales tax and income tax falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of Inland Revenue, therefore, the order of re-assessment as well as order-in-appeal should be declared as void-ab-initio.
The tribunal observed that Section 46 of Sales Tax Act, 1990, authorizes the Appellate Tribunal Inland Revenue to hear and decide the matter against an order passed by the Sales Tax Officer. Therefore, the objection of learned counsel for the appellant is not sustainable in the eye of law. “Even otherwise after voluntarily participating in proceedings before collector, this objection could not be allowed to raise,” the tribunal added.
The appellant also raised another objection was that internal auditor has no authority to re-assess/interfere in the matter is also not tenable because the matter was agitated by appraiser who had all the authority in the matter.
The objection of the appellant that the impugned goods were covered under Serial No. 15 of the VI Schedule is also not correct, because the Serial No. 15 of VI Schedule deals with the imported goods from Afghanistan while the appellant imported the food stuff from Philippines. The court observed that law relied by the counsel of the appellant also does not apply in the appeal.

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