Proper Forum for Challenging Customs Valuation Ruling

Proper Forum for Challenging Customs Valuation Ruling Alternate Remedy Case Laws Constitutional Law Customs Government Duties Knowledge - Constitutional Law Lahore High Court Litigation & Arbitration Solutions - Constitutional Law Tax Mr. Justice Shahid Jamil Khan in his judgment has decided the issue regarding proper forum for challenging customs valuation ruling in Intra Court Appeal No. 241 of 2015.

1. This judgment shall also decide a connected writ petition, as common question, under similar facts, needs determination.

2. This appeal is against order dated 16.01.2015 passed by learned Single Judge of this Court, whereby writ petition filed by the appellant was dismissed.

3. Learned counsel for the appellant submits that the appellant/ petitioner had challenged Valuation Ruling, as well as, validity of Office Order No.04/APR/MISC/AFU/823/2012-13/19 dated 03.01.2012 issued by Additional Collector-I, Airfreight Unit, Lahore (respondent No.4), whereby the method of valuation was circulated and was being, allegedly, followed throughout Pakistan. However, learned Single Judge upheld the method of valuation given in the office order.

4. After preliminary arguments, learned counsel for the respondents was confronted to show legal authority, under which respondent No.4 had circulated the impugned office order and was followed by other Collectorates. He referred to Section 25A of the Customs Act, 1969 (“Act of 1969”) to contend that jurisdiction was assigned to the Additional Collector through SRO 371(I)/2002 dated 15.06.2002 (“SRO”). However, he could not justify that respondent No.4 had any authority/jurisdiction to circulate, the method of valuation, in shape of the office order, to be followed by others.

5. Heard, record perused.

6. Provisions of Section 25A need examination, therefore, are reproduced:

“25A. Power to determine the customs value.—(1) Notwithstanding the provisions contained in section 25, the Collector of Customs on his own motion, or the Director of Customs Valuation on his own motion or on a reference made to him by any person or an officer of Customs, may determine the customs value of any goods or category of goods imported into or exported out of Pakistan, after following the methods laid down in section 25, whichever is applicable.

(2) The Customs value determined under sub-section (1) shall be the applicable customs value for assessment of the relevant imported or exported goods.

(3) In case of any conflict in the customs value determined under sub-section (1), the Director-General of Customs Valuation shall determine the applicable customs value.

(4) The customs value determined under sub-section (1) or, as the case may be, under sub-section (3), shall be applicable until and unless revised or rescinded by the competent authority.”

Examination of this Section shows that it confers jurisdiction to determine the customs value of relevant goods imported into or exported out of Pakistan. The phrase ‘relevant imported or exported goods’ as used in subsection (2), denotes the goods within jurisdiction of the officer of customs authorized under this Section. Under its subsection (3), in case of any conflict, the Director General of Customs Valuation has been given authority to determine the value. The valuation ruling, under this Section is binding, as envisaged under subsection (4), unless revised or rescinded by Competent Authority. It appears; the Competent Authority is Director General Valuation, before whom a revision petition can be filed under Section 25D, within thirty days, by a person aggrieved of the valuation ruling. Under the Section 25D, a Court can also refer for determination of value by the Director General. The Section is reproduced:

“25D. Revision of the value determined.—Where the customs value has been determined under section 25A by the Collector of Customs or Director of Valuation the revision petition may be filed before the Director-General of Valuation within thirty days from the date of determination of customs value and any proceeding pending before any court, authority or tribunal shall be referred to the Director-General for the decision.”

Necessary corollary of the examination of provisions, supra, is; the valuation ruling, impugned through writ petition, is binding only in the area of jurisdiction assigned to respondent No.4 through above noted SRO. Its circulation, on the pretext of uniform application, is not supported by any provision of the Act of 1969. Under Section 223 of the Act of 1969, Federal Board of Revenue (“FBR”) alone has power to circulate orders, instructions and directions, which are binding on all officers of Customs, except officers exercising quasi judicial functions.

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