KARACHI: M/s Fazal Illahi & Sons and M/s Umer Ahsan & Co approached the Sindh High Court (SHC) for release of their consignments of imported copper tubes lying at port on submission of post-dated cheques.
On December 19, 2018, counsel for the petitioners stated in his petition that the petitioners imported copper tubes from China which arrived on 2/11/2018 aboard vessel Wan Hai, and manifested dated 24/10/2018.
He submitted that during the stated period, the Pakistani rupee was under immense pressure as foreign reserves of the country dwindled and Pakistan turned to IMF and China for a potential bailout resulting in devaluation of Rs11.70 a day from Rs124.27 per USD to Rs133.64 per USD. Since the petitioners’ imports were denominated in USD as with most of the imports coming into Pakistan, such massive fluctuations in exchange rate impacted the survivability negatively of traders as the petitioners.
He argued that petitioners filed goods declaration in which respondents had neither disputed nor disproved any documents submitted by the petitioners or the goods to be found contrary to what is declared, however, petitioners surprise, the respondents issued show cause notice against them, invoking provisions of Section 32 of CA, 1969, despite no sign of proof of false statement made, forged documents submitted, incorrect declaration made or neither taxes not levied or short levied, or have been erroneously refunded, presence of which are necessary for invoking and establishing penal provisions, and without giving ample opportunity for hearing to the petitioners, the respondents in haste, issued order-in-originals levying fine and penalty on the petitioners.
Citing chairman Federal Board of Revenue, Collectorate of Customs Adjudication, Appraisement East as respondents, importers pleaded the court may direct them to release the consignments provisionally of the petitioners lying at port accruing demurrage on payment of duties and taxes, and submission of post-dated cheaques of the fine/ penalty until the matter attains finality before the relevant judicial foras.