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Central Board of Excise and Customs to plead Supreme Court for relook at verdict on bailable offences
October, 16th 2013

The Central Board of Excise and Customs will make a last-ditch effort to convince the Supreme Court to reconsider its judgement which held that offences under the Customs Act are bailable and an accused cannot be arrested without a warrant.

A review petition filed by the Department of Revenue, under which the Board functions, in August this year was rejected by the apex court which said there was no reason to interfere with the impunged order.

Sources said the revenue department has now decided to file a curative petition before the Supreme Court with the plea that its judgement is "not in consonance" with the provisions of the Customs Act and the Central Excise Act.

The department feels that if the September 2011 judgement of the apex court is not reviewd, it will effect a large number of cases where show cause notices have been issued.

It believes that the offences under the Customs Act cannot be said to be bailable as a customs officer has the power to arrest a person without a warrant.

The apex court had held that offences under the two Acts are bailable. It also said that if a person seeks bail, he will be released on bail in accordance with Section 104 (3) of the Customs Act if he is not wanted in any other case.

The court gave the verdict while examining questions as to whether all offences under the Customs Act and the Central Excise Act are bailable or not.

In its verdict, the Supreme Court had held, "...We are of the view that the offences under the 1944 Act cannot be equated with offences under the Indian Penal Code which have been made non-cognizable and non-bailable."

"Language of the Scheme of 1944 Act seems to suggest that the main object of the enactment of the said Act was the recovery of excise duties and not really to punish for infringement of its provisions," the bench had said.

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