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M/s Mulchand M. Zaveri & 1 Versus Union of India & 1

2016 (4) TMI 1074 - GUJARAT HIGH COURT

Seeking cross-examination of certain witnesses - Petitioner submitted that show cause notice is based on several statements of witnesses including those of the experts and any reliance on such statements without offering such witnesses for cross examination would be opposed to the principles of natural justice. - Held that:- the reasons cited by the adjudicating authority are completely baseless. Merely because, the concerned witnesses have not retracted their statements would not be a groun .....

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ted before the petitioners file final reply to the show cause notice cannot be accepted. The question of offering cross examination of the witnesses whose statements have been recorded by the Department during preliminary inquiry and which statements are sought to be relied upon, would arise during the adjudication proceedings. The correct stage for granting such cross examination would be when the adjudicating authority records the evidence which can start only after the petitioners file their .....

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se notice and for which the petitioners have made request to the adjudicating authority. - Petition disposed of - Special Civil Application No. 14178 of 2015 - Dated:- 3-2-2016 - Akil Kureshi And Mohinder Pal, JJ. For the Appellant : Mr Paritosh Gupta with Paresh M Dav, Adv For the Respondent : Mr Y N Ravani, Adv ORDER ( Per : Honourable Mr. Justice Akil Kureshi ) 1. Petitioners have challenged an order dated 6.8.2015 under which the Commissioner of Customs, Ahmedabad rejected the petitioners .....

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these persons. Allowing of cross-examination is absolute discretion of Adjudicating Authority upon analysing the facts and circumstances involved in the case. In judicial and quasi- judicial proceedings, statements of concerned persons are recorded before the competent officer, which forms evidence in offences committed by them under those laws. However, such persons are given liberty to retract the statements with a reasonable time, if the statements are recorded under threat, duress, coercion .....

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e facts, which are being brought out before the adjudicating authority subsequent to crossexamination of these witnesses, if allowed. In view thereof, the adjudicating authority has directed the undersigned to communicate that your request for cross-examination cannot be accepted. Therefore, you are requested to file final reply in this matter within 15 days on receipt of this letter . 2. Learned counsel for the petitioners submitted that the decision of the Commissioner is in gross violation of .....

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d, learned counsel Shri Ravani for the Department opposed the petition and submitted that cross-examination of witnesses is not a matter of right. For valid reasons, it is always open for the adjudicating authority to refuse to grant such permission since the adjudication proceedings are not legal proceedings before a Court of law. 4. It is not the case of the respondents that the adjudicating authority wishes to place no reliance on the statements of witnesses for whom the petitioners have soug .....

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ELT 42 (All.); (c) In case of Arunodaya Mills Ltd. and another V/s. Union of India and Another reported in 1985 (21) ELT 380 (Guj.); (d) In case of Lachhman Das, Tobacco Dealers V/s. Union of India reported in 1978 (2) ELT J500 (Del.) 5. Counsel for the respondents placed reliance on the following decisions: (a) In case of Shalini Steels Pvt. Ltd. V/s. Commissioner of Customs & Central Excise, Hyderabad reported in 2011 (269) ELT 485 (AP) . In such case, however, in context of final order on .....

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ross-examined in respect of the statements made by the Customs authorities. 6. The only reasons given by the adjudicating authority for denying such cross examination are that the witnesses have not retracted their statements. These statements made by the Customs authority which are admissible in evidence stand valid. He also opined that, in the notice he has not specified the facts which may be brought before the adjudicating authority subsequent to cross examination of these witnesses if allow .....

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