SCAT allows appeals in Monosodium Gluatamate case

KARACHI: Deciding three identical appeals filed by Usama Enterprises, Marhaba Trading Corporation and  Universal Trading, Special Customs Appellate Tribunal headed by its chairman/member judicial II, Mr Sajid Abbasi, allowed the same on ground of jurisdiction and delayed action by the respondent customs authorities.

The respondents include Collector Custom (Appeals), Additional Collector Customs, Model Collectorate of PaCCS, Director of Post Clearance Audit (PCA), Deputy Collector, Customs (Recovery) and Attachment Officer, Recovery, MCC  Appraisment, East. The appeals impugned Order in Appeal passed by Collector Custom (Appeals).

The appellants relying on a judgment by High Court of Sindh in Customs Reference 157/2008 titled S.M. Naqi  versus Collector Customs, Adjudication I and others. According to the details, appellants imported consignments of Monosodium Glutamate (Chinese Salt) and filed GD. The same were cleared while the appellants availed exemption from Sales Tax and Income Tax under SRO 525 (1) of 2006 and SRO 638 of 2005 simultaneously after assessment made under PCT Heading 2922.4210. The consignment were put to scrutiny and customs raised recovery of rupees 875,630.

The appellants/importers filed the appeal and Order in Original was passed against the appellants by Collector Customs (Adjudication) on ground that Monosodium Glutamate is not a dye  intermediate product but is a food additive and a flavour enhancer and hence exemption was not applicable.

The ONO was appealed which was also decided against the appellants/importers which was assailed before the Special Customs Appellate Tribunal.

The tribunal after hearing the sides relied on Sadia Jabbar case and held that action by the custom authorities was delayed by 877 days and therefore hit by law. The tribunal also noted that respondents despite service of summons did not attend the proceedings and also the custom authorities have no jurisdiction in matters related to Sales Tax or Income Tax.

The bench in view of above allowed the appeals deciding the issue which lingered on since 2012.

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