SHC Customs appellate bench re-calls interim order, directs proceedings from hearing of show cause notice stage

KARACHI: In another decision aimed at un-necessary litigation before superior courts by challenging vires of law, Customs appellate bench of High Court of Sindh ordered re-initiation of proceedings from step wherein Show Cause Notice (SCN) was issued to the petitioners/importers.

The bench was hearing five identical petitions filed way back in 2015 challenging the vires of section 18(3) of the Customs Act 1969 and SRO 1015(1)/2014.

The bench noted that during pendency of the petitions, SCN were issued on 04-3-2105 to all the petitioners. “Although these petitions were pending on a different subject, yet interim applications were filed and injunctive orders were obtained without assisting the court on that the subject matter is different and the process and the mechanism as required to be undertaken after issuance of the show cause notices was halted”, the bench noted.

After hearing both the aides the bench  said that it is of the view that “such process and proceedings available to the Custom officials should not be halted and that too in petitions challenging the vires of the Section 18 (3) of Customs Act 1969 and the subject SROs by the petitioners”.

The bench said in the order that SCN should be responded by the petitioners and taken to a logical end by the Custom hierarchy. The bench further held that it deem appropriate to re-call interim orders passed earlier with the direction to the Customs to re-initiate the proceedings from where it ended i.e hearing of SCN. The bench with these orders adjourned the petitions till decision is made by Custom authorities in SCNs.

The bench also set the petitioners at liberty to take all such measures/defense which are available to them under the law including period of limitation.

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