SHC defines domain of Customs, Customs Appellate Tribunal, SCRA by department allowed in blankets case

KARACHI: The custom department has exclusive domain to assess any goods and determine and finalize (provisional or final) assessment while the Special Customs Tribunal can set aside a Valuation Ruling if issued in violation of Section 25 of the Customs Act 1969.

This was held by a Custom Appellate bench of High Court of Sindh while hearing a Special Custom Reference Application filed by the department impugning an order of the tribunal which while setting aside a VR issued in 2020 ordered revival of old VR issued in 2017.

The bench also disapproved the order of the tribunal directing the custom officials to finalize the provisional assessment on the basis of revived 2017 VR. The bench said that tribunal cannot pass order in respect of issues which are not part of pleading.

The bench said that respondents themselves maintain that Valuation Ruling expires after 90 days and thereafter new VR is to be issued as per section 25 of the Customs Act 1969. How the 2017 VR can be revived and under what authority, Tribunal can issue direction for finalization of assessment as per old VR, the bench observed setting aside the order of the tribunal to the extent of direction and revival of old 2017 VR.

The bench however maintained the order of the tribunal which sat aside the VR 2020 for being issued in violation of section 25 (proper procedure not followed including participation of the stake holders in determination of new VR).

The bench however clarified for all times to come that provisional or final assessment is exclusive domain of the department concerned.

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