SHC to decide whether container charges fall under section 14 A of Customs Act 1969 Sahara welfare organization case

KARACHI: A customs appellate bench of High Court of Sindh (SHC) adjourned hearing of a number of petitions pertaining to the non acceptance of delay detention and demurrages certificate till Feb 13.

Taking up a number of identical petitions or related ones including one filed by an NGO Sahara Welfare Organization, the bench noted that section 14 A is binding on the respondent including customs, shipping lines and container freight stations/off dock terminals.

The bench was informed by the respondent side that the judgment by a bench of High Court of Sindh on Jan 06 has been suspended providing opportunity to them 14 A of Customs Act 1969 is under challenge and till this is decided how can be petitions could be heard, the bench observed.

Ms Dil Khurram Shaheen advocate appearing for the petitioner NGO placed a 2008 judgment before the court and said in view of the judgment, the issue in hand has attained finality. She said that petitioner is ready to submit handling charges of rupees 100,000 while  such charges are rupees 14000 per container.

The counsel for respondent container terminals said that they have rental charges of rupees 6,600,000 against each container as they are being cared after since 543 days.

The counsel for petitioner  rebutted the claim and said if the detention and delay is due to the officials, the petitioner are free of any responsibility or payment and everything except handling charges are covered under section 14-A.

The  counsel for container terminals later sought time to seek instructions at which the bench deferred further hearing till Feb 13 while asking him to inform the court that what maximum concession could be offered to the NGO.

The bench also observed that if by Feb 13 no order is obtained from apex court by the respondents, they will be expected to entertain the delay detention certificates.

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