The Chhattisgarh High Court bench of Justice Parth Prateem Sahu has quashed the show cause notice which was issued by the DRI and stayed the proceedings.
The petitioner/assessee submitted that pursuant to the arrest made by DRI of two persons at Railway Station-Raipur. The DRI searched the house of the petitioner on the same date and seized gold bars, silver ingots, fine silver, and cash amounts also amounting to Rs. 32 lakhs.
The petitioner has challenged the seizure proceedings before the high court. The High Court quashed the notice under Section 110 (2) of the Customs Act, 1962 for extending the time for investigation. Subsequent notices/summons issued to the petitioner were also without any authority of law.
The petitioners contended that in terms of Section 110 (2) of the Customs Act Act of 1962, if proceedings have not been concluded within the prescribed period, the investigation agency has to mandatorily return back the goods which were taken into possession by the petitioner, but that has not been done till date.
The order of the High Court was challenged by the department along with the application for grant of interim relief, but till date, no interim relief has been granted in their favour and the order dated 02.03.2022 is still in existence and in force.
The petitioner contended that after the passing of an order dated 02.03.2022, as on the date, proceedings of search and seizure were quashed and no further proceedings under Section 124 of the Customs Act, 1962, which is the proceedings for confiscation of goods seized, could be initiated. Further proceedings pursuant to the notice were stayed while the writ petition was being considered and a response from the department was awaited.
The department contended that though there was an order in favour of the petitioner, the order was under challenge before the Division Bench in Writ Appeal No.211 of 2022 and was pending consideration. Hence, proceedings have not attained finality. The amendment has been brought into the Customs Act by virtue of a Notification dated 31.03.2022. In the amended provision, there was no mention of the proper officer and the amendment has been made applicable with retrospective effect. Hence, the interim relief sought for by the petitioner may not be granted.
"Taking into consideration the facts and circumstances of the case, taking into consideration the submission made by counsel for the petitioner based on order dated 02.03.2022 passed by the High Court in WPC No.5388 of 2021 whereby the notice under Section 110 (2) of the Act of 1962 was held to be without any authority of law, the notice was quashed, itis directed that respondents shall not proceed any further pursuant to notice dated 23.04.2022 issued under Section 124 of the Act of 1962, till the next date of hearing," the court said.
Case Title: Vijay Baid Versus Union Of India
Citation: WPC No. 2243 of 2022
Counsel For Petitioner: Advocate Vijay M. Adwani
Counsel For Respondent: Asst. Solicitor General for India Ramakant Mishra