KARACHI: A two-member bench, headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi issued pre-admission notices the customs officials and deputy attorney general directed them to file para wise comments on a constitutional petition filed by M/s Majeed & Sons Steels Private Limited for refund of securities deposited for provisionally release under SRO 659(1)/2007.
On 30 September 2020, during the hearing, counsel for the petitioner stated that petitioner imported consignments comprising prime quality hot rolled alloy steel sheets also known as prime alloy steel billet from China, it is pertinent to mentioned here that the above stated goods were imported by the petitioner against the free trade agreement entered into Pakistan and China by virtue of SRO 659(1)/2007 dated June 30, 2007 effective from Jan o1, 2012.
He submitted that the rate of duty applicable on the alloy steel is 0% vide serial no 3144 red with column no 9 of the said notification, therefore, due to the above mentioned SRO, the goods of the petitioner are exempt from the 5 percent customs duty as claimed by the respondents, and hence 0 percent duty is payable by the petitioner for the import of prime alloy steel billets.
He further argued that despite the above facts, the customs department continues to withhold the securities deposited by the petitioner and are acting in an arbitrary manner by illegal invoking section 19A read with section 33 of the customs act, 1969 which is in complete violation of the orders passed by the customs appellate tribunal that has upheld, inter alia, that the petitioner only submitted securities at the time of provisional release which were to be released subject to the test report confirming the imported goods as alloys, said order also states that the customs department has acted beyond its statutory powers by invoking section 19A of the customs act, 1969.
Citing sectary ministry of finance, chief collector of Customs Appraisement East-Import and collector of Customs Appraisement East as respondents, petitioner pleaded the court to declare the respondents’ arbitrary decision of rejecting the refund application and not releasing the duties secured provisionally to date in discriminatory, illegal and against the spirit of the customs act, 1969.
Counsel further pleaded the court to restrain them from misapplying the provisions of section 19A read with section 33 of the customs act, 1969 and also direct them to release toe securities deposited provisionally in respect of the goods declarations.