Finance ministry files petition at Supreme Court to vacate stay order

Kathmandu, May 17

The Ministry of Finance today filed a petition at the Supreme Court seeking to vacate the apex court’s recent order that stayed the government’s decision to levy 15 per cent additional customs duty on sugar imported by Gyan Enterprises Sajhedari Firm from Pakistan.

A single bench of Justice Bam Kumar Shrestha had passed the order on May 14 in response to a writ petition filed by Naresh Dugar of Dugar Group, against the government.

The first hearing of the case has been scheduled for tomorrow.

On April 17, the Cabinet had decided to increase the customs duty on sugar imports to 30 per cent from 15 per cent ‘to facilitate sugarcane farmers and sugar mill operators’ amid increasing flow of cheaper imported sugar in the domestic market.

The Supreme Court had stated in its order that the stay order would remain in effect till May 28, when the court will decide further on the matter after hearing arguments of both parties. The apex court stayed the government’s decision, saying the petitioner had opened letter of credit (LC) and had purchased sugar before the government decided to hike customs duty on the import of sugar.

Petitioner Naresh Dugar stated in his petition that he had imported 5,200 metric tonnes sugar from Mirpurkhas Sugar Mills Ltd of Pakistan between February 28 and April 15, the shipment of which had already reached Biratnagar Customs Office.

The petitioner said that on April 18, Biratnagar Customs Office told him to pay 30 per cent customs duty as per government’s decision that came into effect on April 17.

The petitioner argued that he had opened LCs before March 23 for importing sugar from Pakistan and had completed all the processes of the trade before the government hiked import duty.

The petitioner said the government enforced new import duty with retroactive effect which was against legal provisions and principle of justice.