Wednesday, 21 March 2018

HC : Order prohibiting Customs Broker's operations appealable before CESTAT; Writ petition not maintainable

HC dismisses Custom Broker’s writ petition against prohibition order under Regulation 23 of Customs Brokers Licensing Regulations, 2013 for alleged mis-declaration of rate of duty applicable on imported goods; Referring to earlier ruling in case of Capricon Logistics Pvt. Ltd., HC rejects assessee’s plea that in terms of Section 129-A of Customs Act, only a decision or order passed by Principal Commissioner / Commissioner of Customs as an ‘Adjudicating Authority’ is appealable; Holds that Dept. authorities including Appellate Authorities and CESTAT are better equipped and manned with experts in the field to measure pros and cons of cases arising under Customs Act, and are better disposed of to deal with situations arising under the Regulations; A Customs Broker cannot completely disentangle or distance himself from mis-declaration made on behalf of / by importers themselves, states HC while observing that the non-obstante provisions of Regulation 23 to prohibit a Customs Broker from working in any section of Customs territory have been enacted to put in place effective measures against illegal activities and duty evasion; Hence, procedure of giving prior notice or hearing opportunity has been deliberately excluded, observes HC and accordingly, directs CESTAT to consider matter on merits under appellate jurisdiction  : Karnataka HC

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