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2015 (4) TMI 600 - SUPREME COURT

2015 (4) TMI 600 - SUPREME COURT - 2015 (319) E.L.T. 238 (SC) - Seizure of goods - Goods imported without proper NOC - Held that:- on 17.1.2014, after the seizure was made, the officer who had seized the controlled substance in question submitted a report to his superior officer, as required under Section 57 of the NDPS Act. On 18.1.2014, after receipt of the report of the seizing officer, the Assistant Narcotics Commissioner (Prevention) Gwalior appended on the said report a note to the effect .....

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f the NDPS Act by one Basant Kalra, Managing Director of the First petitioner Company for importing the controlled substance in question without obtaining the NOC required under the Regulations in force. - it would be appropriate for us to refrain from addressing any of the issues raised by and on behalf of the rival parties and instead leave the petitioners with the remedy of taking such appropriate steps in the criminal proceeding, including release of the goods pending trial, as it may be adv .....

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2. Under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Regulation of Controlled Substances) Order, 2013 (hereinafter referred to as the Regulations ) the petitioners had submitted an application in form K for grant of No Objection Certificate (NoC) for import of 79.2 metric tonnes of MEK. The said application dated 27.7.2013 was submitted to the Narcotics Commissioner, Gwalior on 07.08.2013. The goods i.e. MEK in 480 drums were dispatched from Taiwan on 27.07.2013 by vessel Z .....

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t of NoC. According to the petitioners, it received the said letter on 08.10.2013 and by reply dated 18.10.2013 the requisite information was supplied alongwith the further information that the goods had been shipped on 27.07.2013 and had landed at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust -Nhava Sheva Port, Thane, Navi Mumbai on 12.08.2013 and were awaiting for customs clearance purposes. Thereafter, on 29.11.2013 the Central Bureau of Narcotics informed the petitioners that the matter has been taken up .....

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a FIR was also lodged. It is in these circumstances that the petitioners had instituted the writ proceeding (Writ Petition No. 900 of 2014) before the Bombay High Court out of which the present special leave petition has arisen. While the writ petition remained pending a letter dated 14.03.2014 from the Central Bureau of Narcotics was received by the petitioner communicating the following decision: 2. In this context, it is to inform you that you have imported 79.20 MT Methyl Ethyl Ketone into .....

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writ petition to challenge the said decision contained in the letter dated 14.03.2014. The amendment sought was allowed. By the impugned order dated 30.04.2014 the High Court has dismissed the writ petition on the ground that the petitioner, though aware of the Notification dated 26.03.2013 promulgating the Regulations in question, had imported the goods into India without the requisite NoC. The additional ground on which the High Court thought it proper to reject the writ petition was that a FI .....

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ogether does not contain any express prohibition on import of a controlled substance pending grant of NoC by the competent authority. It is further urged that under sub- clause (3) of Clause 11 of the Regulations if NoC is not granted within 21 days from the date of application such grant may be deemed to have been made. According to Shri Nariman, the application in Form K is required to be accompanied by any document of the description mentioned therein in order to show that there is a prior co .....

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nts had seized the goods on 17.01.2014 at which point of time no decision on the grant or refusal of NoC had been made. The rejection/refusal came subsequently i.e. on 14.03.2014. According to Shri Nariman, the goods having been seized on 17.01.2014 the rejection of the application for NoC was a fait accompli. There was no option but to reject. Hence the rejection is not a fair action on the part of the State. 6. In reply Shri Ranjit Kumar, learned Solicitor General has urged that under the Regu .....

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ontrolled substance is permissible without a NoC being granted; Whether absence of refusal to grant the NoC would amount to a deemed grant on the expiry of 21 days of the making of the application in Form K; Whether the failure of the respondents to take timely coercive steps (seizure etc.) despite knowledge of the landing of the goods in India though the NoC was yet to be granted reflect their understanding of the purport and effect of Clause 11 of the Regulations; Whether the above should lead .....

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re the multi faceted issues that arise for consideration in the present case. 8. Should we answer the questions indicated above. Though we feel tempted we must refrain. Legal issues need not, nay, should not be answered merely because they have arisen in a given case. The cognate facts must not be ignored. In the present case, as found by the High Court, a FIR in respect of the import made by the petitioners without grant of the NOC had been lodged and was pending. What had really happened is th .....

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