SHC division bench suspends single judge order in Indian buses case

KARACHI: A divisional bench of High Court of Sindh (SHC) comprising Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Zulfiqar Ahmed Khan on Wednesday suspended order passed by a single judge in Indian Buses case.

The bench was hearing an appeal filed by Pakistan Customs against order dated 17-3-2016 requiring of Pakistan Customs to return the sale proceeds to plaintiffs who claimed to have imported 15 CNG buses from Dubai.

Masooda Siraj advocate assisted by Zafar Hussain Mirza, Kashif Nazeer and Principal Appraiser (Law) Ilyas Ahsan submitted that importers of the buses made a mis-declaration and upon scrutiny and physical inspection, the buses found to be of Indian origin and fell within prohibitory  section 5 (B) (III), Appendix G  of Import Policy 2008.

The import was thus treated as smuggling and confiscated in the favor of the government. The same became government property as no ownership was claimed, the Customs maintained adding that single judge was mislead by the defendants/ plaintiffs in the suit  B92 0f 2009 in which dispute was shown to be of dispute between importer and guarantor bank (civil dispute).

The single judge failed to appreciate that confiscated goods becomes the state property and once so, no other individual could benefit from any sale proceed.

The division bench after hearing initial arguments while suspending the impugned order issued notices to the defendants for May 12.

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