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Gujarat High Court Orders Release Of Goods Worth ₹80L Imported Under Foreign Trade Policy, Revenue Dept May Continue Inquiry

PRIYANKA PREET
10 March 2022 5:30 AM GMT
Gujarat High Court Orders Release Of Goods Worth ₹80L Imported Under Foreign Trade Policy, Revenue Dept May Continue Inquiry
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The Gujarat High Court, while refusing to interfere with the Revenue Department's inquiry, has directed the release of goods worth Rs. 79.29 lakhs, detained at the Mundra Port by the Customs Department. Justice JB Pardiwala made this direction in connection with a writ application filed under Article 226, wherein it was prayed that the Respondent Authorities allow clearance...

The Gujarat High Court, while refusing to interfere with the Revenue Department's inquiry, has directed the release of goods worth Rs. 79.29 lakhs, detained at the Mundra Port by the Customs Department.

Justice JB Pardiwala made this direction in connection with a writ application filed under Article 226, wherein it was prayed that the Respondent Authorities allow clearance for home consumption of the goods covered under Bill of Entry dated 11th June 2021.

The Applicants had further requested for an order for waiver of penal charges, demurrage charges, ground rent charges etc. for 12 containers of Base Oil imported by the Applicant. It was further prayed that the Respondents allow clearance of goods imported by the Applicant vide a Bill of Entry.

The Writ Applicant herein, a sole proprietary concern was engaged in the trade of various commodities. In the instant case, the Applicant had purchased a consignment of base oil from a UAE based firm. The Base Oil was classifiable under the sub-heading of 'free' under the provisions of the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation Act) and the Foreign Trade Policy under the Foreign Trade Act.

Goods worth INR 79,29,314.85 were purchased by the Applicant from the Supplier. The sample of these goods were sent to the Custom House Laboratory thrice, however, the Central Revenues Control determined that the sample did not meet the available specifications for Base Oil but rather met the requirement of 'Light Diesel Oil'. Owing to this, the goods were detained and were lying at the Mundra Port since June 2021.

The Applicant vehemently contended that duty worth Rs. 20 lakhs was paid and yet the Base Oil was confiscated on the ground that the oil was Light Diesel Oil. Taking note of these facts and circumstances, Justice Pardiwala averred that the Court did not want to obstruct the path of the Revenue Department in its investigation in determining the exact nature of goods. It further opined that the Revenue may issue show cause notice calling upon the Applicant to show why the goods should not have been confiscated. However, per the Bench, there was no purpose being served by detaining the goods at the Mundra Port.

Accordingly, it directed:

"We are of the view that there is no point in keeping the goods detained at the Mundra Port. The goods should be ordered to be released subject to the writ applicant executing a Bond of an amount to the satisfaction of the authority concerned (inclusive of interest, fine and penalty) with an appropriate further undertaking in writing on oath."

The Court cautioned that the release of goods should not obstruct the Revenue from conducting inquiry and ascertaining the nature of goods.

Case Title: Messrs Sentrum Enterprises  Versus Union of India

Case No.: C/SCA/13341/2021

Citation:

CLICK HERE TO READ/DOWNLOAD JUDGMENT

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