SHC summons details from Commerce Ministry in Concrete Mixer trucks case

KARACHI: The hearing of two identical constitution petitions challenging detention of 10 and 12 units Concrete Transit Mixer Trucks was adjourned till Nov 25 by a division bench of High Court of Sindh (SHC) comprising Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Muhammad Junaid Ghaffar here Wednesday.

The bench summoned a senior official Ministry of Commerce to appear before the court along with all relevant record pertaining to permissions regarding preshipment inspection companies.

The bench asked Deputy Attorney General (DAG) to ensure presence of at least officer of the level of Additional Secretary to answer queries of the bench if any. The officer shall appear with all the relevant record, the bench ordered.

Earlier the bench heard Khawaja Shamsul Islam advocate, counsel for Baig Enterprises and Haji M. Haleem Mandokhel submitted that the release of the imported trucks (adapted) was being delayed on the pretext of inspection as the certification submitted by the petitioners were not accepted by the Custom authorities.

This issue prima facie pertains to Ministry of commerce, have you approached the Ministry, asked the bench.

The counsel for petitioner submitted that he has annexed a letter of the Ministry with the instant petition issued way back in 2012 allowing release of the trucks even when certification is in dispute. The local pre-shippment inspection companies have been allowed to issue the certificate; he submitted seeking a similar treatment. After delaying the release for over 18 months, they are now shifting the burden and responsibility onto the Ministry. This would cause further delay in release of detained consignment and petitioner has already been suffering from heavy demurrage and wharfage.

The counsel relied on a judgment in CP-D 4898 of 2014 by SHC, which has held that Customs has nothing to do with the post import conversion thereof.

The bench after hearing the sides while summoning an official of Ministry of Commerce adjourned further proceedings until Nov 25.

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