A High Court bench has declined to hear a writ petition seeking cancellation of licences of those shipping lines that have been realising detention/demurrage charges from importers in an alleged violation of the relugations of the Chittagong Port Authority as there is a separate High Court bench dedicated to hearing such petition relating to customs.
The High Court bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim issued the decision on Tuesday after a virtual preliminary hearing on the public interest litigation filed by the Bangladesh Chemical and perfumery Merchant Association, Bangladesh Fresh Fruit Importers Association and an entity named Comptex Bangladesh Limited.
M Saquibuzzaman, a Supreme Court lawyer, explained that the HC had declined to hear the petition, saying that it relates to customs and that there is a separate HC bench to hear such petition.
According to the petition, the HC should issue directives to the National Board of Revenue to cancel the lincenses of the shipping lines that have been realising detention/demurrage charges from importers in an alleged violation of the Chattogram port regulations.
Bangladesh Shipping Agent Association (BSAA) and Bangladesh Container Shipping Association (BCSA) are the two main trade bodies of all the local shipping agents of international shipping liners (MLOs).
The petition also states that directives be issued on BSAA and BCSA to immediately return all the detention charges collected from local importers for their failure to empty containers belonging to the shipping liners by taking delivery of their goods imported between 26 March to 30 May , 2020 in violations of the Department of Shipping (DoS) circulars.
Saquibuzzaman noted that both BCSA and BSAA had filed separate petitions challenging the director general (DG) of the DoS’s circulars of April 29 and May 17 of this year directing the international shipping liners to waive their containers' detention charges between March 26 and May 30 the same year.
The HC bench having the jurisdiction to hear the customs matter stayed the circulars of the DG Shipping against which the latter filed an appeal before the apex court. However the highest court did not interfere with the stay order passed by the HC, he said.
Again, the Appellate Division of the apex court on July 01 upheld a HC order that had stayed the advisory of the DoS asking international shipping lines to waive their container detention charges on the import and export shipments during the Covid-19 crisis.
The HC on June 24 issued the order staying the advisory of the DoS asking international shipping lines to waive their container detention charges on the import and export shipments during the Covid-19 crisis, following a writ petition filed by Bangladesh Container Shipping Association along with 11 international shipping line companies June 15.