SHC DISMISSES PETITION IN VEHICLE CASE

KARACHI: A constitution petition seeking implementation of orders of release of a vehicle passed by Special Customs Appellate Tribunal (SCTA) was dismissed while a connected Special Customs Reference Application (SCRA) filed by the Pakistan Customs was allowed by a division bench of High Court of Sindh (SHC) comprising Justice Muhammad Junaid Ghaffar and Justice Agha Faisal.

The petition was filed by one Umer Zahid Malik whose Toyota Premio car was  intercepted and detained for being smuggled one. The petitioner presented documentas of a Toyota Corona  instead of Toyota Premio but failed to produce the import papers.

The department presented the vehicle for forensic test and report said that chassis number was welded at the place of original chasis number after which a Show Cause Notice was issued to the owner/petitioner.

The petitioner failed to respond to the SCN and also remained absent from adjudication proceedings. An Order in Original was passed which was assailed before the SCAT which ordered the release of the vehicle.

The petitioner through Ms Dil Khurram Shaheen advocate  filed the petition for implementation of the order passed in favor of the appellant/owner while the department filed SCRA against the order of the tribunal.

Khalid Rajpar advocate appeared for the Pakistan Customs in SCRA. The bench perusing the documentation noted that documentation on seized vehicle pertains to a Toyota Premio but the documents relied upon in the impugned judgment pertain to a Toyota Corona and that forensic report categorically says that chassis number of the vehicle is fake digit as present chassis sheet is welded and replaced at the site of original chassis number.

The bench also perused the documents placed before the bench by the petitioner’s counsel and noted that  a document contain name of the vehicle as “Toyota Corona Premium”. The bench held that word “Premium” was over-written just to “masquerade as Premio”. The court also found other discrepancies in documents of Registration.

The bench noted that Special Customs Appellate Tribunal failed to notice these major faults in Registration and other documents produced by the petitioner/ owner of the vehicle to justify the import of the said vehicle.

The bench in its order observed the SCTA failed to appreciate the “unassailed Foresnic Report” and contradictory documents submitted by the owner/ petitioner/appellant. The bench which framed the most relevant question of law i.e “Whether by producing registration book in respect of the vehicle having tampered chassis, burden of proof of lawful possession in terms of clause (89) of Sub section (1) read with sub section (2) of Section 156 and 187 of the Customs Act 1969 stands discharge”.

The bench dismissed the petition while allowed the SCRA filed by the department sending the order to the SCAT as required by section 196 (5) of the Customs Act 1969.

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