KARACHI: The Custom officials at a port of entry are competent to take cognizance and action if any mis-declaration, contravention or evasion of duty is found, re-affirms High Court of Sindh dismissing a constitution petition filed by Manaco International.

The Collector of Port Muhammad Bin Qasim and DIT were main respondents in the petition as they have seized a consignment of toiletries imported by the petitioner company. The consignment was destined for Dry Port at Quetta and was thus under trans-shipment from Port Qasim Karachi.

Aqil Ahmed Advocate appearing for the petitioner company argued that scrutiny of the consignment was to be made at Quetta Dry Port and thus respondent collectorate and officials at Port Qasim have no jurisdiction to scrutinize the goods without notice to the petitioner, detaining and seizing the same. The counsel for petitioner argued that action by the respondent custom officers was violation of Section 121 and 123 of the Customs Act 1969 read with Customs General Order No 15, of 1989 (CGO-15), dated 21-10-1989. He also placed reliance on Rule 335(4) of Customs Rule 2001 and maintained that under these rules only custom authorities at Quetta have the jurisdiction to examine the goods.

Khalid Rajpar Advocate, counsel for main respondents rebutting the arguments by the counsel for petitioner submitted that the none of the provisions of law relied upon by the petitioner’s counsel are applicable in the matter. He argued that respondents found that goods imported fall into banned category as these were of Indian and Israeli origin falling under prohibitory clause 2(a) of para 5 of Import Policy 2020. He said that volume of goods imported was also mis-declared while 214 per cent increase in quantity was found on physical examination.

The bench after hearing arguments and on the basis of case laws, dicta laid down by the Supreme Court of Pakistan held that law gives ample powers to the authorities of the port where the consignment have arrived to physically examine the goods and to randomly check the same.

The bench further held that law clearly envisages initiation of action against a person for mis-declaration either with regard to weight or description of the goods.

The bench on the basis of facts and established misdeclaration, contravention dismissed the petition.