KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) directed customs officials to strictly act as per law on a petition filed by customs agents, who have been booked in two separates first information reports (FIRs) for submitting fake, forged two pay orders.
On 31 March 2020, during the hearing of petition, a two-member bench also directed customs officials to submit their comments on no coercive action shall be taken against them for next date of hearing.
During the hearing, counsel for the importer namely Mohsin and Muhammad Nihal Rafi argued that two FIRs have been lodged by customs officials inter alia against M/s Voroly Impex in which the petitioners have also been implicated as accused no 4&5 on the allegation of representing M/s Voroly Impex before the customs and production of fake, forged and fabricated two pay orders amounting to Rs1,430,919 as well as amounting to Rs2,323,683 against two goods declarations in Appraisement R&D (East) Karachi as securities which were later on detected to be forged and fake.
He further said that petitioners being customs agents cannot be implicated in the crime as the act of customs agent is to represent and act on behalf of the importers before the customs department on their behalf, section 209 of customs act, 1969 clearly stipulates the duties and responsibilities of customs agent, which mentions that where and duty is not levied or is short-levied or erroneously refunded on account of any reason other than willful act, negligence or default of the agent, such duty shall not be recovered from the agent.
Citing chairman FBR, collector of Customs Appraisement East, the appraising officer/IO Appraisement East as respondents, petitioners pleaded the court to declare that respondents cannot implicate the petitioners in said FIRs pursuant to performance their services under section 209 of customs act, 1969.
They also pleaded the court to declare that implication of the petitioners FIRs by the respondents is mala fide, arbitrary, unlawful, un-constitutional and of no legal effect.