The Calcutta High Court, last day held that the Additional Director of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence is not entitled to invoke Section 124 of the Customs Act, 1962 to issue show-cause notice for the confiscation of goods.
Justice Debangsu Basak was hearing a bunch of petitions wherein the petitioners urged that an Additional Director General of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence has no jurisdiction to invoke the provisions of Section 124 of the Customs Act, 1962.
The Court noted that a Notification issued by the CBIC on May 2, 2012 entrusts discharge of functions under provisions of the Act of 1962 to various officers of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence. It is in exercise under Section 2(34) of the Act of 1962.
“Therefore, the designated officers are proper officers. Such officers, in course of discharge of functions entrusted under Section 2(34) may come across materials requiring initiation of proceedings under Section 124 of the Act of 1962. Unless such officer is entrusted to invoke Section 124 by an appropriate order under Section 2(34), he cannot do so by saying that in discharge of functions entrusted to him under Section 2(34) he has come across materials requiring a proceeding under Section 124. Any other interpretation would render under Section 2(34) otiose,” the bench said.
“With respect, all officer of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence will not have powers under Section 28 but those officers who are empowered by the Customs Notification No. 40/2012-Customs (N.T.) dated May 2, 2012,” the Court said.
The Court also noticed the decision in Swati Menthol and Allied Chemicals Ltd. wherein it was held that the officers of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence have powers for the purpose of Sections 17 and 28 of the Customs Act.
“Existence of a right of hearing by an authority after a response is filed to a show-cause notice is not a cure to an inherent lack of jurisdiction. A court exercising jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution would be well within its parameters should it require to intervene and quash a proceeding, initiated at the instance of an authority who is not vested with the jurisdiction to do so,” the Court added.To Read the full text of the Judgment CLICK HERE