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2009 (8) TMI 682

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..... Petitioner. Ms. Archana Meenakshi, Sr. SC and Ms. Archana Sinha, Jr. SC, for the Respondent. [Order]. - Heard learned counsel appearing for the parties. 2. In this writ petition the petitioner has prayed for the following reliefs : (i) For quashing of the letter dated 29-4-2009 issued by the respondent No. 4, the Assistant Director whereby and where under the respondent has virtually denied the issuance of Xerox copies of the documents seized in course of inspection dated 25-3-2009. (ii) For a direction to the respondent authorities to provide xerox copies of all the documents seized along with the statement of persons which was taken under coercion and duress by the respondent authorities in course of inspection dated 25-3-2009, so far as .....

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..... has posed the following questions of law for consideration : (a) Whether the respondent authorities can deny issuance of Xerox copies of the documents seized in course of inspection dated 25-3-2009. (b) Whether the respondent authorities can deny issuance of Xerox copies of the documents seized, to the detriment of the petitioner, which in absence of such documents may default in complying with the requirements of the other Departments of Central/State Government. (c) Whether the respondents are not duty-bound to provide copy of all documents seized along with statement of persons recorded, relatable to the petitioner Company for compliance of principles of natural justice. (d) Whether the respondents have jurisdiction over the petitioner s .....

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..... t and annexed a communication dated 20-5-2009 (Annexure- 1) wherein it is stated that in compliance of the Hon ble High Court, Patna s order dated 11-5-2009 (reproduced above) some of the documents would be made available to the duly authorized persons of the petitioner Company but certain documents which in their opinion is incriminating would be withheld at this stage. The relevant portion of the communication sent by the departmental authorities is to the following effect : However, in compliance of the direction of Hon ble High Court, Patna, you are requested to depute one person duly authorized by any of the Directors of your company on any working day during working hours on prior appointment with the undersigned. The person so author .....

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..... stoms Act, 1962 (hereinafter called the said Act). It is not in dispute that the aforesaid provision of the Customs Act, 1962 is applicable to the Excise Authorities by an appropriate notification issued by the Central Government. Section 110(3) of the said Act contemplates that the proper officer may seize any documents or things which, in his opinion, will be useful for, or relevant to any proceeding under this Act. Section 110(4) being relevant is extracted hereunder : The person from whose custody any documents are seized under sub-section (3) shall be entitled to make copies thereof or take extracts therefrom in the presence of an officer of customs. 8. Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that once the documents have been seiz .....

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..... purpose at the stage of investigation, being incriminating in nature. 10. We think that in view of the clear and categorical provision made in section 110(4) of the said Act the above stand of the department cannot be accepted since while Section 110(3) of the said Act gives authority to the proper Officer to seize any document, Section 110(4) of the said Act entitles the person from whose custody the documents were seized, to get copies of the documents seized or take extracts therefrom in the presence of an officer of customs department whereas the submission made by the learned counsel for the respondents that it is only at the time of seizure that the petitioner could have taken Xerox copies of the documents seized is also not a practic .....

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