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2015 (11) TMI 502 - CESTAT NEW DELHI

2015 (11) TMI 502 - CESTAT NEW DELHI - 2016 (331) E.L.T. 629 (Tri. - Del.) - Seizure of goods - Attempt to smuggle goods - Misdeclaration of goods - Attempt to export red sander logs in guise of export of furniture - Suspension of CHA License - Held that:- Conclusion is irresistible and compelling that there has occurred gross violation of due process and there was total non-application of mind which culminated in the impugned order. The inquiry report dated 16.09.2014 exonerated the appellant w .....

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ty of law and what is more, contrary to rights declared in his favour pursuant to the final order of the Tribunal dated 3.7.2014. Revocation of his licence by the impugned order is another instance of acting without a semblance of an authority of law and in egregious abuse of seminal and elementary principles of due process. A senior officer of the rank of Commissioner of Customs is expected to be familiar at least with elementary standards of fairness and of principles of procedural principles .....

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ram, President And Shri B. Ravichandran, Member (Technical) For the Petitioner : Shri Ashutosh, Advocate For the Respondent : Shri Amresh Jain, DR ORDER Per Justice G. Raghuram: Heard the ld. Counsel for the appellant and ld. DR for the respondent/Revenue. 2. The facts presented in this appeal illustrate gross injustice meted to the appellant, serious violation of due process and transgression of appellants fundamental right to carry on his occupation and business, guaranteed under Article 19 o .....

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ubai from ICD, TKD, New Delhi, the container in question was intercepted, seized and a letter addressed to the Commissioner of Customs, New Delhi on 30.04.2012 intimating the seizure. On 16.05.2012, a statement was recorded from an employee of CMC, New Delhi, which stated that the said shipping bill was filed through CMC by the appellant as CHA as per the entry in the export job register. Mr. Dev Singh Rawat, the employee of CMC purportedly stated that the shipping bill was filed by one Shri Sur .....

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er stated that he was informed by Mr. Dev Singh Rawat, employee of CMC. On the same day, a statement of the appellant was recorded, wherein the appellant categorically denied having filed the shipping bill and also stated that he was not informed by his G.Card Holder anything about the incident. In his further statement dated 18.05.2015, the G. Card Holder asserted that he did not consider it necessary to inform either the Department or the appellant about the matter. 5. On 25.05.2012, the offen .....

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012 confirming the appellants suspension until conclusion of proceedings under Regulation 20(2) of CHALR, 2004. 6. It is pleaded in this appeal and the appellant reiterates the assertion in oral argument that despite confirmation of his licence suspension having been invalidated by this Tribunal, the appellant was not allowed to function as CHA. This plea categorically pleaded by the appellant is not denied by the respondent. 7. On 11.06.2014, after over 22 months from the date of receipt of th .....

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iate the finding that allegations in the show cause notice have not been proved. 8. The Inquiry report was forwarded to the appellant by a letter dated 19.09.2014 calling upon the appellant to submit his representation, within 30 days. It is axiomatic and elementary that since the inquiry report exonerated the appellant, there was no occasion for the appellant to explain or contest the report. Neither the inquiry officer nor the respondent herein, who by the impugned order revoked the appellant .....

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er intimated to the appellant nor is apparent even today. 10. Responding to the call for a personal hearing, the appellant submitted a detailed written reply on 20.11.2014 wherein he adopted and summarized the analyses and conclusions in the inquiry report and requested restoration of his licence to carry on his business. 11. Thereafter the impugned order dated 5.12.2014 was passed by the Commissioner of Customs (General). This order revoked appellants CHA licence and forfeited the entirety of .....

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sidered the sequence of events adverted to supra, the conclusion is irresistible and compelling that there has occurred gross violation of due process and there was total non-application of mind which culminated in the impugned order. The inquiry report dated 16.09.2014 exonerated the appellant wholly on analyses of the material on record referred to and reliance on statements of the appellant; of the appellants G. Card Holder, Shri S.K. Singh and rejection of the statement of Shri D.S. Rawat, .....

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or proposing to disagree with the Inquiring authoritys analyses and proposing to revoke the licence. This process was admittedly not followed. There is another fatal and fundamental infirmity in the impugned order. If the respondent intended to rely upon the statement of the CMC employee, Shri Rawat, a show cause notice should have explicitly intimated to the appellant about such a course of action intended. In the event, the appellant would have exercised his right to cross examine Shri Rawat, .....

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appellant was not permitted to pursue his business nor was his licence restored. The respondent has thus, contrary to and in gross abuse of law, disabled the appellant from exercising his fundamental and guaranteed right to carry on his occupation and business, guaranteed under Article 19(1) (g) of the Constitution. 16. We record our strong disapprobation of the arbitrary conduct of departmental officers, particularly the respondent in prohibiting the appellant from exercising his constitutiona .....

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