Powers to form Customs tribunal shifted to Prime Minister

KARACHI: The Finance Bill 2019 has proposed to shift the powers to form Customs Appellate Tribunal from the federal government to the Prime Minister.

According to interpretation by EY Ford Rhodes Chartered Accountants Firm, the Finance Bill 2019 sees to substitute Section 194 of Customs Act, 1969, which empowers the federal government to form, regulate and conduct the affairs of the Appellate Tribunal.

“The Bill seeks to shift these powers to the Prime Minister,” it added.

The Appellate Tribunal shall consist of a Chairman, judicial and accountant members.

The terms and conditions of appointment of the chairman and judicial and technical members (this may be referred to accountant members) are proposed to be determined by the Prime Minister.

Further, the appointment of a technical member shall be for a period of two years. The Bill seeks to explain the criteria for appointment of judicial members and accountant members as under:

A judicial member of the Appellate Tribunal shall be appointed, unless such person:

(a) has been a judge of a High Court;

(b) has exercised the powers of a District Judge and is qualified to be a judge of the High Court; or

(c) is or has been an advocate of a High Court and is qualified to be appointed as a judge of a High Court:

Further, the person who is or has been an advocate of High Court shall not be appointed as judicial member unless selected in accordance with the Civil Servants Act, 1973 (LXXI of 1973) and the Federal Public Service Commission Ordinance, 1977 (XLV of 1977).

An accountant member of the Appellate Tribunal shall be appointed, unless such person:

(a) is an officer of Pakistan Customs Service equivalent in rank to the Member of FBR or Chief Collector of Customs or Director General; or

(b) is a Collector or Director or Chief of the FBR having at least three years’ experience in that position.

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