SHC adjourns hearing till Feb 25 delay detention, Demurrage case

KARACHI: A division bench of High Court of Sindh comprising Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abassi and Justice Mahmood A Khan on Thursday adjourned hearing of three petitions and two Special Custom Reference Applications (SCRAs) till Feb 25.

The petitions pertains to honoring delay detention and demurrage certificates issued by the customs department to container freight stations or Off Dock Terminals, shipping lines etc. The petitioners questions the excessive amount of charges raised and collected by the terminal operators.

At the outset of today’s hearing, counsel for respondents submitted that they have recommended hundred per cent waiver in respect of consignment by NGO Sahara Welfare Trust. We need only few more days to settle the case, submitted the counsel for respondent customs and terminal operators.

The petitions are filed by Sahara Public Right Welfare, M/s Bulls Eye Advertising (Pvt) Ltd, M/s BNN Enterprises VS Fed. of Pakistan and Others M/s Elysium Corporation & another while customs have filed Spl. Cus. Ref. A. 145/2019 Spl. Cus. Ref. A. 146/2019 against BNN Enterprises and M/s. Mehran International.

Taimoor Ahmed, counsel for BNN Enterprises submitted that as per customs laws, the respondents are bound to honor the delay and detention certificate and for waiver of demurrage charges if the delay is caused due to custom’s side and vice versa if importer is responsible for delay, he is liable to pay the entire assessed amount. In fact the burden is on federal government, he added.

The bench at this stage observed that importers are beneficiaries as their goods are kept secured. The importers have to cover the expenses for safe custody of goods. It seems illogical that while a container costs rupees 200000 but the charges accumulates to 4,000,000, the bench noted.

Arsalan Wahid advocate, counsel for Elysium Corporation argued that Collector Customs is the final authority and responsible to settle the issue while the terminal operators or shipping lines are bound to follow orders of the Collector concerned.

The bench later put of further proceedings till Feb 25 when it will hear and decide the law points raised in the petitions as well as SCRA’s.

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