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J.J. Polyplast Private Ltd & Ors. Versus The Ministry of Shipping, Mumbai & Ors.

2015 (11) TMI 764 - BOMBAY HIGH COURT

Application for request to enforce the terms of the facility Notice No.69 of 2011 dated 20 May 2011 issued by the respondent - Held that:- Relation between the importers and the Shipping lines is purely contractual which is by virtue of a contract between these parties, the contract being a contract of carriage of goods and thus it would be outside the purview of the powers of the Customs Officer to in any manner give any directions and/or intervene in any such dispute between the shipping lines .....

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jurisdiction. Various letters as addressed by the petitioners to the respondents as also specific grievance as urged in the petition and more particularly in para 3 (vi) clearly indicate that the dispute is in regard to the payment of terminal charges, security deposit etc which are completely within the purview of a private contract which the importer has with the Shipping lines. The petitioner is not remediless to seek enforcement of its legal rights under the contract with the shipping lines .....

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- 30-6-2015 - S.C.Dharmadhikari And G.S.Kulkarni, JJ For the Petitioner : Ms.Divya Bahl a/w Ms.Peppino Bahl Advocates For the Respondent : Mr.Pradip S.Jetley a/w Ms.Purnima Swasthi, Advocates JUDGMENT Per G.S.Kulkarni, J 1. The petitioners who are importers and who claim to deal in plastic raw materials have filed this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India seeking a direction to the respondents to take appropriate legal action against the shipping lines so as to enforce the ter .....

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monitoring the movement of imported containers from the Port to a CFS. Thereafter, facility notice No.21 of 2008 came to be issued whereby the procedure for movement of import cargo in containers from the port to the CFS came to be prescribed. Facility Notice No.21 of 2008 came to be further modified by facility Notice No.69 of 2011. By this facility Notice it was informed that all shipping lines/Steamer agents would be required to compulsorily indicate in the (Import General Manifest) against e .....

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of the arrival of the vessel, the shipping/Steamer agents may declare name of any one Container Freight Station in the IGM where all such unlisted containers can be transported for delivery and inform such CFS accordingly. The other procedure as informed in the earlier facility Notice No.6 of 2007 and 21 of 2008 was maintained. It was further informed that any difficulties faced in the implementation of these facility Notices may be brought to the notice of the respondent no.4. It is this facil .....

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ping lines are not strictly adhering to the facility notices issued by respondent no.4 and various difficulties are faced by the petitioners leading to the additional charges being required to be paid in clearing of the goods. Some of the conditions which are not acceptable to the petitioners and being foisted on the petitioners by the shipping lines are listed in paragraph 3 (vi) at page 11 of the petition. To name some of them are the requirement to surrender the original Bill of Lading duly d .....

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roached respondent no.4 by addressing several representations and thereby requested respondent no.4 to direct the shipping lines stop indulging in such actions and adhere to the facility Notices issued from time to time and more particularly facility Notice No.69 of 2011. It is the petitioner's case that the shipping lines continue in manifest and deliberate violation of the facility Notices on which immediate action is required to be taken by the respondent no.4. However, there was no respo .....

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that the issue is purely contractual in nature and that the entire grievance of the petitioners is that the shipping lines are charging additional security deposit and other charges over and above the freight charges from the importers for delivering the goods in a CFS of the choice of the importer. While making a reference to the Facility notices issued from time to time the respondents contend that in issuing these Facility Notices the respondents have taken all steps to facilitate an early cl .....

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t the facility Notice No.69 of 2011 was issued as a measure to facilitate trade by giving the importers a choice of CFSs. It is urged that a Bill of Lading is contract of carriage between the shipper and the carrier for delivery of the goods to the rightful consignee and that the dispute in the present case is a contractual or a money dispute between the shipping line and the importer concerning the charges levied by the shipping lines for compliance with the facility Notice issued by Customs. I .....

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measure to facilitate trade and clearance of cargo. 6. We have heard learned counsel for the parties and with their assistance we have gone through the relevant documents as placed on record of the writ petition. It is not in dispute that the facility Notices are issued by the respondent no.4 after a consultative process with the stakeholders and are issued under the powers as conferred on respondent no.4 under section 141 (2) of the Customs Act, 1962. These notices and more particularly facili .....

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that these grievances in any manner fall within these facility Notices so that the respondents can exercise their statutory authority and powers as conferred under the Customs Act, 1962 to issue appropriate directions to the shipping lines/Clearing agents. 7. There is much substance in the contentions as urged on behalf of the respondents that the relation between the importers and the Shipping lines is purely contractual which is by virtue of a contract between these parties, the contract bein .....

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and stipulate that all conveyances and goods in customs area shall for the purposes of enforcing the provisions of the Act would be subject to the control of the Officers of Customs and that the import or export of goods may be received, stored, delivered, despatched or otherwise handled in a customs area in such manner as may be prescribed and the responsibilities of persons engaged in the aforesaid activities shall be such as may be prescribed. A plain reading of this provision together with .....

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ng in breach of any statutory provisions or any rules made in that behalf affecting legal rights of the petitioners. We are not shown any statutory provisions or any rule which confers any legal right on the petitioners or the importers and the same being infringed at the hands of the respondents so as to enable us to exercise our writ jurisdiction. Various letters as addressed by the petitioners to the respondents as also specific grievance as urged in the petition and more particularly in para .....

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