KARACHI:- A division bench of High Court of Sindh (SHC) comprising Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Muhammad Junaid Ghaffar on Tuesday allowed Huffaz Seamless Pipe Industries Ltd to withdraw a constitution petition filed against delay in renewal of Private Bonding Ware House (PBWH) license.

The bench earlier heard Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Salman Talibuddin appearing for the Secretary Revenue Board and Khawaja Shamsul Islam advocate, counsel for petitioner. Khawaja shamsul Islam requested the court to allow the withdrawal which was opposed by the DAG who said that withdrawal should be unconditional and that court shall record in its order that custom authorities are at liberty to audit the imported goods as audit is to commence from tomorrow i.e. 18-11-2015.

Earlier the court noted that Chief Collector Customs has passed an order, which shall be followed by the respondents. If collect orate has any grievance against the order of the Chief Collector then they can lodge a complaint with Chairman FBR, the bench observed.

Salman Talibuddin representing federal government and FBR said that it is case of evasion of custom duty and taxes to the tune of rupees 650 million. This honorable bench has allowed Customs to conduct the audit and Chief Collector Custom has also ordered to determine the liabilities on “average basis”, while it would be appropriate if the liabilities are adjudged on the basis of audit, DAG Salman Talibuddin submitted.

He expressed apprehension that after withdrawing the petitioner, petitioners would rely on the order to delay the proceeding of audit. The bench said and later recorded in its order that respondent Pakistan Customs is free to undertake an audit of the goods while the petitioner is also at liberty to challenge the result of audit and to seek remedy if aggrieved by audit report.

The Customs can pass an order a-fresh (regarding audit) and proceed under the laws, the bench said in its order. Huffaz Industries filed the petition against Secretary Revenue Board, Chairman FBR, Collector, Additional and Assistant Collectors of Model Customs Collectorate, Appraisement, Hyderabad, maintaining that they are the only manufacturer of seamless pipes in the country who were forced to closed down due to bureaucratic delay by the custom officials. According to the petitioner they are the importers of basic raw material “special round steel bars” which are not produced in Pakistan and the raw material is exempted from duty. The petitioner maintains that in the annual budget 2014, custom duty at a rate of 5 per cent was levied and few months later Regulatory Duty at a rate of 15 per cent was slapped upon. This resulted in making the imported seamless pipe cheaper than manufactured at manufacturing warehouse of the petitioner. The petitioner stopped the manufacturing, informed the authorities, and later sought renewal of bonding license but it was delayed. More than 650 workers are sitting idle since two and a half months, submitted the counsel for petitioner complaining against respondents. Later the bench acceded to the request and disposed of the petition as “withdrawn”.