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Excise official told to pay up for illegal detention of goods
March, 22nd 2013

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday imposed a cost of Rs 50,000 on assistant excise and taxation commissioner, Punjab, SS Bangar, for unauthorized detention of goods of a company at Sambhu border.

Making it clear that the said amount shall be paid by the officer from his own pocket, the HC also directed the excise and taxation commissioner, Punjab not to post Bangar on any post dealing with roadside checking, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of verification of goods. Directions to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the officer have also been ordered by the court.

A division bench comprising justices Hemant Gupta and Ritu Bahri passed these orders while allowing a petition filed by Rions India. According to the company, it received an order from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, for supply of water purifiers. After their truck reached information collection centre, Shambu, on February 27, the goods were detained and a notice was issued.

The petitioner company added that authorities under the VAT Act had no jurisdiction to detain the goods and the vehicle, except for verification of genuineness of documents. The detention of goods from that date has caused extensive loss to the petitioner not only on account of demurrage and detention of truck, but also for non-delivery of goods to the university, which was to be in a time-bound manner, it said.

After hearing the petition, the bench found that Bangar had committed illegalities in detaining the goods and that his action was wholly unwarranted, perverse and smacked of malafide. The court has also ordered the officer to pay the demurrage charges, which come to Rs 1,500 per day, from the date of detention till the date of its realization, within two months.

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