The Madras High Court rejected the plea seeking direction against authority to pay 15% interest towards seized travelers cheques on the ground of undue delay or laches in claiming the same.
A sum of Rs.32,371 was paid to the Petitioner as the rupee equivalent of UK Pounds 1800, which was seized from the Petitioner’s house.
The petitioner, Sulaihar present writ petition is filed for a direction to the Respondents to pay interest on Rs.32,371 at 15% per annum till the date of payment of the rupee value thereof or, in the alternative, to pay a sum of Rs.94,259, which is the rupee equivalent of UK Pounds 1800 after setting-off the sum of Rs.32,371 which was paid.
The counsel for the petition, Mr.Abdul Nazeer submitted that this Court by order directed the Enforcement Directorate to refund the value of UK Pounds 1800. The said order was not carried in appeal by the Enforcement Directorate and, therefore, attained finality.
Section 42(3) of the FERA provided for the payment of interest at the rate of 6% per annum in all cases other than cases of confiscation either under Section 63 of FERA or under the Customs Act, 1962.
According to Mr. Abdul Nazeer, the confiscation was set aside by this Court and, therefore, the statutory interest liability under Section 42(3) of FERA is triggered ipso facto. Even otherwise, he submits that a party that makes payment belatedly is liable to pay interest thereon.
On the contrary, Mr.Ramesh, the learned counsel for the Enforcement Directorate, submitted that the writ petition is not maintainable on the grounds that the proceedings relating to the confiscation attained finality with the order dated November 26, 1999. Accordingly, a separate writ petition for payment of interest is not maintainable.
The single-judge bench of Justice Senthil Kumar Ramamoorthy clarified that the writ petition was filed more than 9 years after receiving the rupee equivalent of UK Pounds 1800.
Therefore, the court held that the writ petition is liable to be rejected solely on the ground of laches.Subscribe Taxscan AdFree to view the Judgment