Territorial Jurisdiction in Anti-Dumping Cases


person about to write on white printer paperr
person about to write on white printer paperr

The Lahore High Court was presented with Writ Petition No. 3965 of 2023 filed by M/s Madni Paper Mart through its proprietor Irshad Ahmad. The petition challenged the order dated 1st November 2023 by the National Tariff Commission (NTC) which initiated a sunset review under Section 58 of the Anti-Dumping Duties Act, 2015 to assess the likelihood of continuation or recurrence of dumping of certain uncoated writing/printing paper by exporters from Brazil, China, Indonesia, Japan, and Thailand.

Key Issue:

The primary grievance of the petitioners was that the sunset review for Indonesia should have been initiated within five years from the expiry of the original anti-dumping duty. They contended that since the duty was set aside by the Anti-Dumping Appellate Tribunal on 6th August 2020, the review was time-barred and the matter had become a closed transaction.

Court's Consideration: The Court extensively deliberated on the jurisdictional issue, referencing the well-entrenched principle that a Court must first ensure it has jurisdiction before proceeding with the matter. The Lahore High Court highlighted that jurisdiction cannot be vested by the consent of parties and must be established by law. The Court also noted the doctrine of forum non conveniens, indicating that a case should be heard in the most appropriate forum to best serve the interests of justice.

Caselaw References: The judgment drew on several precedents to elucidate the principles of jurisdiction and the appropriate forum. In Izhar Alam Rarooqi, Advocate vs. Sheikh Abdul Sattar Lasi and others (2008 SCMR 240), it was established that erroneous orders by competent courts do not render the court without jurisdiction. In Rashid Ahmed v. State (PLD 1972 SC 271), it was asserted that failure to fulfill mandatory conditions for exercising jurisdiction renders subsequent proceedings illegal. In Hassan Shahjehan vs. FPSC through Chairman and others (PLD 2017 Lahore 665) the principle of forum non conveniens was discussed, emphasizing the importance of the appropriate forum for justice.

Conclusion: The Lahore High Court concluded that it lacked territorial jurisdiction over the matter, as the initial investigation by the NTC commenced in Islamabad and any appeal should be heard by the Islamabad High Court. The Court, therefore, directed the return of the petition to be presented before the Islamabad High Court, thus avoiding parallel proceedings and potential conflicting judgments.

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For further legal assistance or representation in matters related to anti-dumping duties or jurisdictional disputes, please contact AUJ LAWYERS LLP. Our experienced team is ready to provide comprehensive legal support to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

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