Assam Excise Officials have Power to Search and Seize consignments were exported from a State and imported to another: Gauhati HC [Read Order]

Assam Excise - Gauhati - Taxscan

The Gauhati High Court has recently upheld the search and seizure proceedings by the Assam Excise officers holding that such powers are included under the Assam Excise Act, 2000 even if the consignments were exported and imported in two different States.

The petitioners, in the instant case, possessed a valid license for wholesale vend of “IMFL” and imported three number of consignments containing 1600 cases each of IMFL. During the transit, the consignments were intercepted by the Assam Excise officials.

The assessee approached the High Court contending that the proceedings are illegal and arbitrary since the consignments were exported from Arunachal Pradesh and imported to Nagaland.

The department contended that the vehicles were seized on 24.11.2019 and on 25.11.2019 for violation of route as it was seized at a place called Telgarom in the Golaghat district and the department initiated the search in the consignments which were on transit from Arunachal Pradesh to Nagaland purportedly through a specified route from Naharlagun in the State of Arunachal Pradesh to Dimapur in the State of Nagaland via the State of Assam through Bandordewa, Tezpur and Golaghat as per the consignment notes. It was therefore, contended that the proceedings are legal.

Dismissing the writ petitions, Justice Prasanta Kumar Deka observed that merely, the consignments were exported from a State and imported to another one and there being no applicability in both the States of the Act, 2000 that itself cannot be the ground to hold that the Excise officials had no jurisdiction to carry on the search and seizure of the consignments while on transit through an area covered by the force of the Act, 2000.

“The jurisdiction exercised for investigation by the Excise officials of the Golaghat district is proper inasmuch as it evolves out of Section 183 under Chapter XIII of the Cr.P.C., 1973 through Sections 42 and the investigation part under Section 43 of the Act, of 2000. The subsequent rejection of the zimma application and the process for the confiscation of the consignments on the ground of variation of the Batch Number and the date of manufacture on inspection of the consignment note also prima facie shows coupled with the chemical analysis report that a case is made out on the basis of the investigation while exporting the consignments from the State of Arunachal Pradesh to the State of Nagaland which is required to be tried by the competent court of law,” the bench said.

To Read the full text of the Order CLICK HERE