KARACHI: A single decision by the High Court of Sindh which bounded authorities of Pakistan Customs to decide the cases of provisional release under section 81 of the Pakistan Customs ACT 1969 in case where valuation came under dispute and faces challenge before Director General, Valuation under section 25, will save the importers from delay, demurrage and other extra charges.

According to details, the importers were forced to file constitution petitions as Custom officials denied provisional release under section 81 although the importers were ready to pay the disputed amount of duty, taxes and other levies. This resulted in a large number of fresh cases burdening the customs appellate bench.

The SHC custom appellate bench recently took the view that custom authorities are bound to allow applications for provisional release under section 81 of the Customs Act 1969.

The court was of the view that once valuation is disputed and application challenging assessment was filed under section 25 of the Customs Act, the custom authorities must act as per their own act and law, consider and decide the applications for benefit of provisional release made b ythe importers.

The bench while hearing five identical petitions including one by Dany Technologies represented by Franklin Law Associates on a previous hearing summoned Chief Collector South, Pakistan Customs and other officials including Director Valuation, Collectors etc and inquired about implementation of orders of the court.

Ms Suriya Ahmed Butt, Chief Collector South, Chief Collector South through her counsel submitted that for universal, uniform application of law she has issued a circular.A copy of the circular was also placed on record which read that In order to ensure the expeditious disposal of the provisional assessment requests in all the three collectorates falling in the jurisdiction of Chief Commissioner, South, it is hereby directed that the appropriate officer, after due scrutinyof the fact/document produced shall expeditiously decide the cases of provisional assessment strictly in accordance with law i.e the statutory provisions and the judgments of the Honorable Courts. The Collectors were also directed to ensure that necessary guidance is provided to the assessing officer under their administrative control for uniform application of the law.

As the petitioners expressed satisfaction over the circular which has solved a major impediment in release of imported items due to valuation dispute, the bench accepted the same and disposed of the petitions for having served their purpose.