Custodian to be always responsible about Customs duty as far as Handling of Cargo in Customs area is concerned: CESTAT [Read Order]

Custodian - Customs duty - handling of cargo - CESTAT - Taxscan

The Delhi Bench of Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) held that the Custodian to be always responsible for Customs duty as far as the handling of cargo in the customs area is concerned.

The appellant, Delhi International Airport that there is no denial to the fact that duties assigned to M/s. DIAL by Airport Authority. Commissioner of Customs (IMG) New Delhi was being outsourced by M/s. DIAL to M/s. CELEBI, after being duly executing the concession agreement in the year 2009. It is submitted that since M/s. DIAL has handed over the day-to-today operation of cargo at Delhi Airport to M/s. CELEBI, it was M/s. CELEBI was supposed to handle, manage cargo handling, and storage of Import /export cargo at Delhi Airport in terms of provisions of Handling of Cargo in Customs Area Regulation, 2009 (HCCR, 2009). Hence it can be M/s. CELEBI only to be held responsible for the consignment as heavy as that of 700 Kgs to be removed from the Customs Area without filing the Bill of Entry for the same. The penalty imposed upon M/s. DIAL has wrongly been fixed. It is submitted that M/s. DIAL cannot be held even vicariously liable for the faults of M/s. CELEBI.

The Coram of Judicial Member held that M/s. DIAL after taking notice of the impugned incidence of removal of the package without the filing of Bill of Entry has taken measures to avoid any such incidence in the future. All the conditions which are required to be complied with under Rule 5 of Handling of Cargo in Customs Area Regulation, 2009 (HCCR) are admitted to have been complied with by M/s. DIAL post the impugned incidence.

“I do not find any infirmity nor any illegality when Adjudicating Authority below have held violations of provisions of Section 141 of the Customs Act on account of said admission. Further, Rule 6(2) of HCCR restricts such contracting or outsourcing of Cargo handling functions. Even if the permission for outsourcing was given to M/s. DIAL vide the letter of Commissioner of Customs (IMG) dated 07.07.2012, the said permission was agreed to be coterminous with custodianship of M/s. DIAL and was held subject to fulfillment of provisions of Customs Act, 1962 and the Rules and Regulations made thereunder,” the court said.

“The provisions of Customs Act and that of HCCR do not absolve the custodian of the responsibilities as mentioned in these Regulations to be observed by the Custodians itself, that I do not find any infirmity with the order under challenge where simultaneously penalty has been imposed upon M/s. DIAL as well. The order is accordingly, hereby upheld,” the court added.

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