KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) has ordered MCC Port Mohammad Bin Qasim to release 16 units used transit mixer trucks imported by M/s Eastern Construction Company, which were detained for being imported in violation of Import Policy Order.

Collector MCC Port Qasim Surayya Ahmed Butt, however, decided to challenge the SHC judgment before the Supreme Court of Pakistan. It is pertinent to mention here that MCC Appraisement West is already in Supreme Court in a similar case.

According to the details, MCC Port Qasim had detained 16 units of old and used transit mixer trucks claiming that the same were imported in violation of Import Policy Order. The Importers approached Customs Appellate Tribunal, which ruled in favor of the importer and ordered release of the vehicles.

Customs then approached Sindh High Court against the verdict of the Tribunal. Customs is of the view that Tribunal erred white holding that the impugned vehicles are classifiable under PCT Heading 8705.4000 meant for ‘Specialized Vehicles’.

The Customs contended through the counsel that this was a case of mis-declaration by the importer, whereby, they, while ignoring and by violating the terms of import Policy Order, 2013, attempted to import old and used trucks classifiable under PCT Heading 8704.2219, in the garb of old and used concrete transit mixer trucks in connivance with pre-shipment company.

It added that in the garb of concrete transit mixer trucks, the importers attempted to get the release of the old and used trucks by temporarily installing mixer on such trucks, which will not be used for the cement industry and may be used for normal transportation of goods by removing such mixer.

Customs argued that since the importers have deliberately mis-declared the HS Code, therefore, the impugned order passed by Customs Appellate Tribunal may be set-aside.

The importers through their counsel vehemently opposed the contention of the Customs for being factually incorrect and legally not sustainable.

The SHC observed that there seems no error or perversity on the finding of facts as recorded by the Customs Appellate Tribunal in the impugned order, which depicts correct legal position.

The Court noted that import of the vehicles has been made by the importers after complying with legal requirements, whereas, status and physical specification has duly been confirmed by the Ministry of Commerce, who is to regulate the import and export of the goods.

The Court observe that the Customs Authorities without any factual or legal basis, disallowed the release of the subject vehicles merely on the presumption hat the respondent will not use the imported concrete transit mixers for mixing and transportation of liquid cement, and may subsequently use such vehicles as normal loading trucks for transportation of other goods, by removing the welded, adopted and fabricated concrete transit mixer.

It maintained that nothing has been brought on record either to show that any of the terms and conditions of the import Policy Order 2013, have been violated by the importer, even, there is no allegation that the importer construction company, has ever misused such import of old concrete transit mixer trucks.

The Sindh High Court upheld the judgment of Tribunal and dismissed the application of MCC Port Qasim.

It may be mentioned here that Pakistan Customs has already initiated a crackdown against the import of old and used trucks in the garb of sprinkle lorries, prime movers and concrete mixer trucks. Quite recently, as many as 19 FIRs were lodged against M/s Quick Contractors and Traders for attempting to clear old trucks on fake PSI certificates.