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M/s. Transport Logistics Versus The Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal, The Commissioner of Customs (Seaport - Imports)

2016 (4) TMI 787 - MADRAS HIGH COURT

Revocation of CHA licence and forfeiture of security deposit - Misdeclaration of goods - Consignment of Red Sanders logs seized - Signed blank custom documents were handed over to M/s.Aruthura Logistics, which were used for clearance of exported goods - Petitioner contended that goods were stuffed in the containers in the presence of the Customs Officials, so substitution of the goods and for tampering of the custom seal of the container, cannot be fastened on the Custom House Agent. - Held .....

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offence took place after his role was over namely, dealing of the container. Once the role of the CHA licence came to over, he cannot be responsible for subsequent events. In any event, for giving signed blank forms to third parties, the revocation of licence is harsh penalty and the punishment should commensurate for guilty of offence. Therefore, the order of the Commissioner of Customs revoking the CHA licence as confirmed by the CESTAT is set aside. This Court is only restoring the CHA licen .....

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goods by tampering with the Custom seal. Therefore, the extreme penalty of cancellation of CHA licence is not warranted in this case. - Decided partly in favour of appellant - C. M. A. No. 227 of 2015, M. P. No. 1 of 2015 - Dated:- 3-3-2016 - V. Ramasubramanian And N. Kirubakaran, JJ. For the Appellant : Mr. N. Viswanathan For the Respondents : Mr. K. Mohanamurali JUDGMENT ( Judgment of the Court was delivered by N. Kirubakaran, J. ) The above appeal has been filed by the Custom House Agent aggr .....

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he CHALR, 2004 and he is a sole proprietor and authorised signatory of the Customs Broker. On 18.02.2012, there was a raid by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials and they seized the consignment of M/s. A.I. Enterprises, Thirunallur, vide shipping bill No.7630721, dated 18.02.2012. The said consignment was examined and found mis-declaration of goods. The declared export item was 'Ragi' whereas, what was found was 22.03 MTs of 'Red Sanders Logs' in the container .....

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y by the Commissioner of Customs (Seaport-Imports, Chennai), the Customs broker licence issued to the appellant was revoked and security deposit of ₹ 75,000/- was forfeited. 4. Against the said order an appeal has been preferred before the Customs, Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal. The Commissioner, Customs, Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal confirmed the order passed by the Commissioner of Customs (Exports) revoking the licence as well as forfeiture of security deposi .....

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n the decision rendered by the Delhi High Court dated 14.03.2014 in the case of Ashiana Cargo Services Vs. Commissioner of Customs, reported in 2014 (302) ELT 161 (Del.)." 6. Heard Mr.N.Viswanathan, learned counsel appearing for the appellant and Mr.K.Mohanamurali, learned Senior Panel counsel appearing for the second respondent. 7. It is seen that the DRI raided the consignment and it was found the goods were mis-declared and prohibited item for export i.e., Red Sanders Logs were found in .....

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sealing was tampered and goods were substituted, it should be the work of the transporter in connivance with the exporter. No role of the CHA licence holder could be presumed as his role came to an end when the container was sealed. Therefore, substitution of the goods and for tampering of the custom seal of the container, cannot be fastened on the Custom House Agent. 8. No doubt the role of the appellant in clearing the goods is vital as he is the only authorised person of the Custom House. Th .....

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al of the order passed by the Collector, Custom Commissioner as well as the order impugned herein would reveal no connivance on the part of the appellant either in mis-declaration or substitution of the goods by tampering with the Custom seal. Therefore, the extreme penalty of cancellation of CHA licence is not warranted in this case. 9. The Division Bench of Delhi High Court in Ashiana Cargo Services vs. Commissioner of Customs (ING) reported in 2014 (302) ELT 161 held that punishment must be p .....

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t years and he was severally penalised. In that case also the Custom House Licence Agent issued G cards to non-employees and for the said violation, the licence was revoked and he was without it for eight years. In those circumstances, the Delhi High Court restored the licence holding that the revocation of licence would be more serious civil consequences read in background of the freedom under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India. Though the Delhi High Court Judgment was referred by th .....

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High Court in Commissioner of Customs (Preventive) West Bengal vs. Over Land Agency reported in 2006 (204) ELT 554 (Cal.) held that in the absence of allegation of collusion or connivance of the customs official, the exporter or customs house agent cannot be held guilty or penalised for violation of the provisions of the Act. In that case, it was held the Custom House Agent is not bound to point out to the Assistant Commissioner of Custom that their acts are in conformity with provisions of the .....

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