KARACHI: Sindh High Court has set aside the orders of Customs Appellate Tribunal, which declared Valuation Rulings 1728, 1719 and 1720 of 2022 as illegal and void.

The Tribunal comprising Abdul Basit Chaudhry and Shakil Abbasi had declared the above-mentioned Valuation Rulings as illegal and directed Customs to assess the consignments of secondary quality HRC, CRC and GP Steel sheets under Section 25(1) of the Customs Act.

Section 25(1) provides that the consignments should be assessed as per the values declared by the importer. It may be mentioned here that usually importers declare their consignments at highly under-stated values to evade government revenue.

Moreover, the Tribunal advised the Customs to refund the provisional duty/taxes secured from the importers. Further, Tribunal ordered the High Court Nazir to refund the security deposit secured from importers, which is absolutely out of Tribunal’s jurisdiction.

Sardar Zafar Hussain Advocate appeared on behalf of Directorate General Customs Valuation, Port Qasim, Customs Appraisement East, West and SAPT before the Sindh High Court. After deliberations the Court provided interim relief to the Customs Valuation Department and set aside the judgments of Customs Appellate Tribunal.

The Customs Appellate Tribunal’s recent decisions have come under scrutiny.

The situation also suggests that the members of the Tribunal failed to fully grasp the facts before them. This raises concerns about the Tribunal’s ability to appreciate the true and accurate facts and apply independent judgment.

The apparent act of copy-pasting facts has come under scrutiny, further complicating the work of the Court, despite the Tribunal being the final fact-finding forum in the tax hierarchy, as per established legal principles.