The High Court on Monday directed the respondents including the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to maintain status quo for three months over their move to bring the Diplomatic Bonded Warehouse (DBW) facility under automation.
The High Court bench of Justice Farah Mahbub and Justice SM Maniruzzaman passed the order with a ruling after holding a hearing on a writ petition filed in this regard.
Sabir Traders Limited filed the writ petition with the High Court challenging the legality of the NBR step.
Three other warehouses-- National Warehouse, Toss Bond (Pvt) Limited and Eastern Diplomatic Services-- filed three other separate petitions and obtained the same order from the HC bench.
Earlier on September 14 this year the NBR issued an official gazette in this regard saying that the notification would come into effect from October 01.
Software has already been developed in this regard involving the foreign ministry and the concerned stakeholders, sources said.
Barrister Kazi Ershadul Alam who appeared for the petitioner said NBR and other respondents have to maintain status quo regarding using the software in case of petitioner warehouses.
It was said in the writ petition that the software is unsecured and unencrypted. The respondents asked the petitioners to use that software from October 01 without any legal basis and without any consultation.
They asked the petitioners to use it without ensuring invulnerability of the software which would cause significant threat of violation of Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961, the Digital Security Act, 2018 and without having any jurisdiction under the Customs Act, 1969.
There are eight diplomatic warehouses in the country, Dacca Warehouse Ltd, Sabir Traders Limited (STL), National Warehouse, Toss Bond (Pvt) Ltd, Eastern Diplomatic Services, H Kabir and Co Ltd, Parjatan Corporation and Biman Bangladesh Airlines.
The warehouses import duty-free liquor, cigarettes and other food items for diplomats who can buy those at a nominal price under the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations. Each diplomat has a Tax Exemption Certificate that entitles them a certain quantity of duty-free goods as per ranks.
Foreign nationals working with international organisations are also entitled to duty-free liquor from the diplomatic bonded warehouses.