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SHC seeks comments on petition filed by Atlas Hitec releasing consignments

SHC seeks comments on petition filed by Atlas Hitec releasing consignments

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) issued notices to the customs department and deputy attorney general on a constitutional petition filed by Atlas Hitec Private Limited seeking release order of its imported consignments without payment of additional customs duty under the impugned SROs 630(1)/2018 & 670(1)/2019. On November 04, 2019, a two-member bench, headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi heard the matter. During the hearing, counsel for the petitioner argued that on March 23, 2016 the customs officials issued automotive development policy 2016-21 (ADP 2016-21) through the ADP 2016-21, the respondent made a solemn commitment and notified a five year tariff plan of customs duties to be applicable on import of, inter alia, raw materials, sub-components, components, sub-assemblies for motorcycles. He further informs the court that in order to implement and give effect to the ADP 2016-21, the respondent notified the five year tariff plan for the automotive sector through notification no 2(9)/2013-LED-II on 02/06/2016 and ministry of finance issued SRO 482(1)/2016 dated 29/06/2019 (SR0 482) and rates for raw materials, sub-components, components were amended in SRO 655, in the result of the ADP 2016-21 and the amendments made through SRO 482 was that the petitioner was provided with a fixed regime for the payment of customs duty on its imports for the period 2016-21. Counsel further argued that having fulfilled conditions stipulated in the ADP 2016-21 and having relied upon binding and enforceable commitments made by the respondent (a) (b), the petitioner acquired a vested right which could not be withdrawn, rescinded or nullified by the change in the five year plan including by imposition of any customs duty or any additional customs duty, on 24/05/2018 the respondent issued SRO 630(1)/2018 superseding SRO 1178, it illegally increased the rate of additional customs duty from 1% to 2%, the additional customs duty, however, was not applicable to imports made under SRO 630, however, on 28/06/2019 customs officials issued SRO 670(1)/2019 (2nd impugned SRO) under section 18(5) of the customs act, 1969  SRO 630 and custom duty have been created on 2% on goods falling under tariff slab of 0%, 3% and 11pc, 4% on good falling under tariff slab of 16% and. 7% on goods falling under tariff slab of 20% and high slabs including slabs of specific rates. Citing secretary Ministry of Industries and Production Appraisement West, Collector of Customs Appraisement West, East and Port Muhammad Bin Qasim as respondents, petitioner pleaded the court to declare that the above mentioned SROs are illegal, mala fide and arbitrary and restrain them from taking any coercive action against the petitioner till final order in this petition.