Customs holds back goods for 4 months, 2 commissioners fined Rs 25,000 each
November, 25th 2011
Holding that the conduct of the Custom and Excise Department, Amritsar, has caused harassment to a Rohtak-based company by not releasing its goods for more than four months, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday slapped a penalty of Rs 25,000 each on two commissioners of Excise and Customs.
Lakshya Kumar, assistant commissioner, Ludhiana and Ranjit Singh, IRS, commissioner, customs, Amritsar, will pay 25,000 each to the litigant and to the High Court Legal Services Committee.
A division bench comprising Hemant Gupta and Justice G S Sandhawalia imposed the penalty while hearing a petition filed by M/s Champion Photostat Industrial Corporation. Saurabh Kapoor, counsel for the petitioner, had alleged that the customs department had restrained the company from collecting goods, which it had imported at Ludhiana port. The department had kept in its custody since July 12 this year the goods - a device - on the grounds that the petitioner was not qualified and competent to get the said item imported.
The ground taken for denial was that as per a public notice issued by the commissioner, excise and customs, a person who is not Plus-two pass will not be competent to get goods imported. Contending for the petitioner, counsel Saurabh Kapoor termed it denial of ones fundamental right to free trade.
Showing conviction in Kapoors contention, the court ruled that the stand of the respondents that educational qualification of Secondary School Certificate (SSC) i.e. 10+2 is mandatory even for a importer, who wishes to submit Bill of Entry by himself, is wholly illegally and untenable.