SHC to decide whether letter of Ministry or Rule is superior

KARACHI: Whether a private letter by a ministry is superior to a rule, was a question argued at length on Tuesday before a division bench of High Court of Sindh in respect of goods detained by the custom authorities.

Khalid Javed Khan advocate appeared for the petitioner whose four truck load was confiscated by the Directorate of Intelligence & Investigations (DIT) on charge that the same are covered under section 2 S of the Customs Act 1969. He said that the value has been determined and differential amount was also paid but yet the consignment is being held on the basis of a letter from Ministries of Industries & Production  dated 5-9-2000 notifying 11 items. To a query by the bench he said that goods in dispute are not from the list. He argued that Custom Rules introduced in 2011 now governs the case in hand. He said that custom officials have conceded that the items detained or held are freely importable  and none falls under prohibitory clause under Import Policy Rules.

Zain Jatoi advocate appearing for respondents referred to a SRO 566 of 2005 and said if there is evasion of duty or tax, the section 2 s will be applicable. He also contended that the petitioner filed GD’s declaring his goods to be processed ones  while as per examination report these are non processed ones.

Khalid Javed Khan advocate argued that if there is a conflict between a Rule and SRO, SRO will be deemed to be null and void.  He said that as respondents conceded that goods in dispute are freely importable, the charge of smuggling vanishes.

Zain Jatoi later sought time for preparation to answer points raised by the counsel for petitioner. The bench allowing the request adjourned further proceedings till Nov 11 with the direction to Mr Jatoi to supply copy of SRO 566 of 2005 to the petitioner side.

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