In Gujarat, Customs asked to issue pending licences to agents
July, 01st 2011
As many as 26 Custom House agents in Gujarat still have no still licences, Customs officers have said. These include those who had refused to appear for the mandatory examination under the new CHALR (Customs House Agents Licensing Regulations), 2004, they said.
There are around 500 licensed Customs House Agents across Gujarat.
The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) had recently asked the Customs Department to issue agents with licenses. The CEBC notification said that all eligible qualified applicants should be issued licenses, and accordingly asked Customs Department to clear the pending licenses.
But Customs sources said that besides those who had passed the exams as per the previous CHALR (1984) and had their licenses pending due to administrative problems, there were others who refused to appear for the the new CHALR (2004) exam after CBEC introduced new mandatory subjects.
In 2010, after CBEC brought in the new mandatory examination, some agents agreed to appear for the same while others refused. Eight of them moved Gujarat HC which ordered Customs to issue them licenses based on their old exam results.
But Customs Department appealed in the Supreme Court maintaining that the agents need to pass exams in the new and vitally important subjects. These include the Patent Act, Central Excise Act, Indian Copyright Act, Prevention of Corruption Act, Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances Act, Foreign Exchange Management Act and laws related to Export Promotion schemes, procedures of appeal and revision petition.
Customs Commissioner SB Singh said: A section of the applicants refused to appear for the exams as per the new CHALR and went to Gujarat High Court claiming they should get licenses since they had taken the earlier exam. Almost all who agreed to appear for exams as per CHALR (2004) were given licenses.
According to the Customs Department, nine licenses are pending in Ahmedabad and 17 in Kandla. Officers in Jamnagar said none had opposed the new CHALR, so there is no pendency.
The director general, Inspection, Customs and Central Excise informed that the CHALR exams will now be conducted every year on September 5.