SHC restrains customs from arresting owners of importer firm without permission of court

KARACHI: Protection from arrest in FIR can be given to a person and not to a company, observed a custom appellate bench of High Court of Sindh while accepting the amended title in a petition filed by Procon Engineering Private Limited.

The earlier in the morning directed Zain Jatoi advocate, counsel for petitioners to amend the title including the names of the owners of the petitioner company in the title as petitioners number 2-5 were not im-pleaded by names in the FIR 1/2019 dated 31-10-2019. The matter was kept aside and was taken up around 11 a.m.

The counsel submitted that petitioners imported prime quality iron and steel products from Zone (Export Processing Zone)  classifiable under Chapter 72 of Pakistan Custom Tariff under the relevant sub-chapter. The petitioners filed two goods declaration on 19-6-2019 which are not being processed and subject consignment is not being released without issuing any show cause and in absence of any adjudicating proceedings respondent no 3 has lodged a FIR wherein name of the petitioner company has been mentioned in para 7 of such FIR on allegation that petitioner company is the beneficiary of mis-declaration and evasion of duty and taxes in respect of the consignment lying at the EPZ meant for Tariff Area.

The counsel expressed apprehension that Respondents will create harassment and may arrest the petitioners. The respondents be restrained from  arrest and also to consider request for provision release of the consignment in dispute.

The bench after a detailed hearing while restraining the customs from arresting the petitioners without the permission of the court ordered issuance of pre-admission notices for 12-11-2019. The bench also sought comments by next date of hearing and also asked the customs to consider provisional release request on securing disputed amount of duty and taxes.

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