SHC dismisses Prime Movers case, slaps cost of rupees 5000 on petition

SHC dismisses Prime Movers case, slaps cost of rupees 5000 on petitioner

KARACHI: A divisional bench of High Court of Sindh (SHC) comprising Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Zulfiqar Ahmed Khan on Friday dismissed a constitution petition challenging seizure of 26 Prime Movers on ground that so–called importers cannot be allowed to take undue advantage of Import Policy allowing concessionary rate of Custom Duty and taxes etc.

The bench announcing a judgment this morning, reserved earlier in petition by Burki and Co and others said that government allowed the policy to encourage the "construction sector".

According to details 26 Prime Movers of 380 Horse Power (HP) and above were imported by a Construction Company for use in its different projects but later these were found at an auto shop for sale. The Customs seized the vehicles against which the petition was found.

Khalid Jawed advocate appearing for the petitioner submitted that the vehicles were imported under clause 9 (ii) (5) of the Import Policy Order 2013. He sought a declaration that Prime Movers fell under the PCT heading 8701.2040. He said that only three conditions apply first being the vehicles complaint with Euro II emission standards, second being in good working condition and third a certification that these are serviceable for at least five years. He said that since importer company has no project in hand at relevant time they can offer the same for sale in open market.

The bench perusing the relevant rules and arguments by the contesting sides held that it was mandatory that construction company importing the vehicles shall be registered with Pakistan Engineering Council and that machinery imported is used in construction projects alone.

The bench observed that merely setting up a company and naming it as ABC Construction company whose actual business is to import Prime Movers and sell them in open market taking benefit of the Import Policy cannot go un-noticed. The provision of the policy 2013 shows that government by offering incentive wanted to encourage the construction industry being the largest employer as it propels more than 20 industries.

“It appears to us that Rising Sun (a company on papers only) imported these Prime Movers. The Prime Movers imported under the garb of clause 9 of the Import Policy Order 2013 and found at show room of petitioners for onward sale to public were right detained and seized by the respondents (Custom Officers)”, the bench held dismissing the petition with imposing a fine of rupees 5000.

The bench also directed the respondents investigate as to how these Prime Movers were released  without having pass through the strict conditions and submit a report to MIT II in 20 days from the day of order passed.

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