Custom’s actions shaking confidence of importers observes SHC Will not get revenue, business will collapse: SHC observes in contempt application by Jutt Lights

KARACHI: The customs will not get any revenue, rather its actions will force businessmen to shut down, observed a customs appellate bench of High Court of Sindh on Wednesday while hearing a contempt of court application filed by Jutt Lights which imported LED lights, parts and chandeliers from China.

The petitioner moved a contempt of court application as Directorate of Intelligence and investigations (DIT) lodged a FIR despite an order of the same bench restraining them from involving petitioner in criminal case unless heard if sufficient material or evidence is found against them.

A counsel from Franklin Law Associates appeared for the applicant and referred to the order dated 25-10-2019 and said on 26-10-2017, a public holiday when custom officials remain close like other federal departments, the FIR was lodged. The bench said that then the petitioner/applicant can challenge the FIR. The counsel replied that the respondent/alleged contemnors are bound to follow the procedure and law.

In every second case, FIR is being lodged. A FIR can be lodged if there is any violation, forgery or fraud. Officials get up from slumber after 2 years, whether all the other field formations are sleeping and only DIT is active doing all, the bench observed. FIR could be lodged if there is sufficient material and based on complaint, the petitioners are registered persons and  tax payers  and must be confronted with any act of commission or omission, the bench said.

To a query by the court, a counsel appearing for the customs and DIT conceded that it was not a case of importability but of mis-declaration. The importer showed a weight of 2500 kilograms in one container and when another was put to weight a huge difference was found. The weight of two other containers was 11500 and 13500 kilograms. The modus operandi of the importers was to show less weight of selected container. The total loss of revenue is in crores of rupees, the custom’s counsel said naming Rana Enterprise and another and said more such cases are being unearthed.

The allegations means that clearance collectorates are involved and conniving with the importers, then they should have been co-accused in these FIR’s contended counsel from Franklin Law Associates.

The bench said that whenever custom officials exceed their limits and jurisdiction trouble starts, take action where-ever there is some concrete evidence, Lodging FIRs will shake the confidence of the importers and will destroy the businesses, the bench observed  adding that in cases of tax or duties, FIR’s shall be avoided.

The bench later inquired about the physical presence of importers/petitioners who appeared before the court. The bench later asked the customs to not to arrest the petitioners while adjourning further proceedings till Nov 21.

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