KARACHI: A two-member bench of the Sindh High Court (SHC) dismissed a constitutional petition filed by M/s Orix Leasing Pakistan Limited through Qazi Umair Ali against Province of Sindh, Chief Inspector of Stamps and Inspector of Stamps.
On 25 January 2022 a two-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Ahmed Ali Ahmed Shaikh released details judgment.
Court observed in its verdict that “the Petitioner is a financial institution offering a host of products and services, including the leasing of equipment or vehicles in terms of a standard form Equipment Lease Agreement or Vehicle Lease Agreement (hereinafter referred to as the “ELA” and “VLA” respectively and collectively as the “Agreements”), executed between it and its customer (the “Lessee”).
Following the execution of the ELA or VLA, as the case may be, a Purchase Order (“PO”) is typically issued by the Petitioner to the supplier of the specified equipment or vehicle for acceptance. Whilst referring to the relevant Agreement and designating the Lessee as the party to whom delivery is to be made by the supplier, the PO otherwise sets out the terms and conditions circumscribing the order and delivery.
Apparently, the Respondents audited the Petitioners records and assessed a deficit of stamp duty on the POs issued over the period under scrutiny in terms of an Inspection Note dated 28.02.2018, with a Notice dated 13.06.2018 then being issued to the Chief Executive of the Petitioner intimating a date of hearing in the matter and forewarning that an ex-parte decision would ensue in the event of non-appearance.
Being aggrieved, the Petitioner preferred the captioned Petition under Article 199 of the Constitution impugning the action and questioning firstly whether the POs so issued were chargeable with stamp duty under the (Sindh) Stamp Act 1899 (the “Act”) and, if so, whether the liability for deficit of duty and the penal consequences as flow therefrom could be brought to bear against the Petitioner or would lie against some other person.
it is unnecessary to record a definitive finding at present as to whether the wording of clause of of the ELA and Clause 3.4 of the VLA encompasses the POs so as to shift the economic incidence or burden of stamp duty chargeable thereon to the Lessee.
The Lessees are not before us and the matter of interpretation of those clauses is left open for determination at the opportune moment in an appropriate proceeding. Suffice it to say that in the Petitioner’s stance with respect to Section 29 of the Act is found to be misconceived and the Petition stands dismissed accordingly”.