SHC expresses anguish over DG Valuation’s conduct

KARACHI: A division bench of High Court of Sindh (SHC) comprising Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Junaid Ghaffar on Tuesday expressed annoyance over the attitude of Director General Valuation, Pakistan Customs Manzoor Memon and functioning of the directorate under him.

The court was hearing a constitution petition filed by Mehboob Re Rolling Mills against Secretary Revenue Board, Chairman FBR, Collector Port Muhammad Bin Qasim, Director General, Valuation and Director Valuation.

The ID of the petitioner is blocked despite order of the tribunal in favor of the petitioner, the counsel for petitioner submitted adding that Custom Officials are re-assessing the entire consignment.

Director General Valuation, Manzoor Memon, Collector Custom Appraisement, East Majid Yousufani appeared before the court on notice along with their counsel Masooda Siraj and Kashif Nazeer.

The court asked that why his directorate is not working and revision applications against Valuation Rulings are pending since 2-3 years. These have outlived particularly in the wake of fallen international market prices, the bench asked. Why High Court is bothered with such large number of petitions seeking identical interim relief, the court asked. You will decide the cases of only those who move the court? You can give them (importers) relief, the bench asked and suggested to Mr Manzoor Memon that in extreme cases such a concession would be legal and save high court from burden of unnecessary litigation.

An adamant DG Valuation said that he has no powers to give interim relief to the petitioners/importers. In the presence of Section 25 of the Customs Act 1969, I cannot allow any interim relief, he told the court defending the inordinate delay on ground that petitioners/applicant shy away from submitting documents summoned by the Directorate of Valuation.

Under section 81 of the Customs Act, importer has a right to challenge the VR and to seek release of his goods pending final decision against submission of surety or bank guarantee equal to diferential/disputed amount of custom duty and other taxes, the bench said. It asked the DG Valuation to settle the issue of interim relief at his end with deposition of differential amount also with the Customs authorities.

The DG Valuation argued that he is unable to grant interim relief. Khawaja Shamsul Islam, counsel in another petition of identical nature drew the attention of the court that he visited the office of the DG Valuation, meeting was held but order was not passed since three years.

Manzoor Memon addressing the lawyer attempted to reiterate his position at which the bench reprimanded him and said he shall only address the court and that too when asked for.

The court then adjourned further proceedings directing the custom officers to decide the controversy at the earliest.

The bench however warned the DG Valuation that he should mend his ways and reserved the order.

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