×
Headlines

Writ Court can’t direct Refund of duty while an Investigation for Breach of Provisions under the Customs Act going on: Delhi HC [Read Judgment]

Seized Material - Delhi High Court - Taxscan

The Delhi High Court has observed that, Writ Court cannot direct refund of duty while an investigation for breach of the provisions under the Customs Act, 1962 is going on.

In a recent case, the petitioner Ambay Industrial Corporations filed a writ petition before the High Court of Delhi for Issuing a direction to the Respondent to refund the amount of Rs.50 Lakhs collected by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, from the Petitioner against the past import without issuing any Show Cause Notice for the demand of duty.

The court held that as the investigation for the breach of provisions of the Customs Act, 1962 is already going on, it will be absolutely premature to come to a conclusion that the amount deposited by the petitioner was not required to be deposited by the petitioner before the respondent.

The facts of the case are the petitioner has deposited ₹ 30 lakhs vide Demand Draft bearing no. 016594, ₹ 10 lakhs vide Demand Draft bearing no. 016598 and ₹10 lakhs vide Demand Draft bearing no. 016607 with the Respondent. In all, the petitioner has deposited ₹ 50 lakhs with the Respondent. The investigation is going on for the alleged violation of the provision of Customs Act, 1962 wherein, the investigation agency has already recorded the statements of the petitioner and the relevant persons under Section 108 of the Customs Act, 1962.

The petitioner submitted that there are retraction-statements made by the persons, whose statements have been recorded under Section 108 of the Customs Act, 1962.

The division bench comprising of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar held that they are not accepting the argument canvassed by the petitioner that amount of ₹ 50 lakhs with respondent was deposited under coercion because the allegation of “coercion cannot be established by way of annexures in the writ petition”. In fact, cogent and convincing evidence is required to be led to establish coercion.    As the investigation for the alleged breach of provisions of the Customs Act, 1962 is already going on, the court does not wish to observe anything in favour or against this petitioner for the statements recorded under Section 108 of the Customs Act, 1962, which are otherwise admissible in evidence. Retraction of a statement is one thing which does not, inevitably and in every case, necessarily affect the evidentiary value of the statement, recorded under Section 108 of the Customs Act, 1962.

While dismissing the petition, the Court also said that, it will be absolutely premature to come to a conclusion that the amount deposited by the petitioner was not required to be deposited by the petitioner before the respondent.  The illegality or otherwise of the deposition of the aforesaid amount depends upon the variety of factors like issuance of the notices by the respondents for the breach of provisions of the Customs Act, 1962, the voluntary nature of deposition by the petitioner, etc..  The petitioner can always file a suit for recovery of the aforesaid amount from the respondent. The court has no reason to pass any order in favour of the petitioner for a refund of the amount as prayed for in this writ petition. The court expects from the respondent that they shall act in accordance with law, rules, regulations and Government policy, applicable to the facts of the case while investigating the case of the petitioner.

To Read the full text of the Judgment CLICK HERE
Top