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M/s. D. Thimmeswara Rao, M/s. Setwin Shipping Agency Versus The Commissioner of Customs

2016 (10) TMI 643 - MADRAS HIGH COURT

Renewal of Customs Broker Licence under Regulation 7(1) of the Customs Broker Licence Regulation 2013 - the order of suspension and continuation of suspension were set aside by the Tribunal, and affirmed by the Hon'ble Division Bench and for the same set of reasons, the petitioners' applications for renewal of customs broker licence was rejected - whether the petitioners can be penalised twice for the same reason? - Held that: - The respondents had complied with the procedure under Regulation 22 .....

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bstantiated by the Department by conducting an enquiry as required to be done under the Regulations by following the procedure contemplated under Regulation 22(2) to 22(7). The CESTAT, rightly set aside the order of suspension and such orders were confirmed by the Hon'ble Division Bench of this Court. Therefore, it would be wholly untenable on the part of the respondent to state that they will once again rely on the unsubstantiated allegations for refusing to renew the petitioner's licence. - .....

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allowed - matter remanded to the respondent for fresh consideration with a direction to consider the petitioners' applications for renewal of customs broker licence - decided in favor of petitioner. - W.P.Nos.27499 & 27500 of 2016 - Dated:- 5-10-2016 - T. S. Sivagnanam, J. For the Petitioner : Mr. S. Murugappan For the Respondents : Mr.Raj Kumar Jhabakh ORDER Heard Mr.S.Murugappan, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner and Mr.Raj Kumar Jhabakh learned Senior Panel counsel for Central Gove .....

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4. Since the factual aspects relating to both the Writ Petitions are identical in nature, and more particularly, in the light of the earlier round of litigation, these Writ Petitions were tagged together, heard and are disposed of by this common order. 5. The licence granted to the petitioners under CBLR were suspended, by orders dated 25.04.2012, under Regulation 20(2) of the erstwhile Customs House Agents Licencing Regulation, 2004 (CHALR). The power granted under Regulation 20(2) of CHALR was .....

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012 respectively, and those Writ Petitions were disposed of by a common order dated 02.07.2012, along with two other connected matters with a direction to the respondent to follow the procedure contemplated under Regulation 22(2) of the CHALR, and till the matters are disposed of as per Regulation 22(7) of the CHALR, the order of suspension was directed to be kept in abeyance. 6. The respondent filed Writ Appeals as against the said order in W.A.Nos.2809 and 2810 of 2012, which were disposed of .....

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e heard by the Hon'ble Division Bench of this Court, and by judgment, dated 27.06.2014, the appeals filed by the Revenue were dismissed. Thus, the order of suspension passed on 25.04.2012, continued further by order dated 23.05.2012, were set aside. In the mean time, the petitioners' customs broker licence were due to expire and therefore, the petitioners submitted applications for renewal of licence on 23.12.2014 and 06.08.2014, respectively, since by then CBLR came into force, the appl .....

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ons for renewal of customs broker licence cannot be rejected. In other words, the petitioners cannot be penalised twice for the same reason. 8. The case of the Revenue as projected by the learned Standing Counsel for the respondent, and as seen from the counter affidavit filed on behalf of the respondent, is that the proceedings pertaining to the suspension of licence can have no bearing, as the order of suspension was set aside by the Tribunal on procedural and technical grounds pertaining to t .....

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pension of licence was challenged, the CESTAT did not give any findings as regards the reasons for suspension. That apart, the renewal of licence was never questioned before CESTAT, or before this Court and therefore, the contention raised by the petitioner is totally unacceptable and the order rejecting the application for renewal of licence is proper and justified, as it has been passed after following due procedure of law. 10. As noticed above, the petitioners' licences were placed under .....

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the procedure to be followed in such cases, the CESTAT pointed out that the Commissioner of Customs upon receipt of the reply to the notice issued under Regulation 22(1), would direct the Deputy Commissioner of Customs or Assistant Commissioner of Customs to enquire and despite a direction of this Court in its order dated 02.07.2012, to follow the procedure under Regulation 22(2), no notice was issued to the petitioner till the date of consideration of the appeals by the CESTAT. After referring .....

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Writ Petitions, it is seen that there are six allegations made against the petitioners alleging violation of Regulation 11(a),(b),(d),(e) and 17(6), 16 of the CBLR, what is interesting to note is that these were the very same allegations based on which the order of suspension was passed on 25.04.2012. In terms of Regulation 22, the procedure for suspension or revocation of licence under Regulation 20 has been stipulated and the same reads as follows:- (1) The Commissioner of Customs shall issue .....

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he said Deputy Commissioner of Customs or Assistant Commissioner of Customs. (2) The Commissioner of Customs may, on receipt of the written statement from the Customs House Agent, or where no such statement has been received within the time-limit specified in the notice referred to in sub-regulation (1), direct the Deputy Commissioner of Customs or Assistant Commissioner of Customs to inquire into the grounds which are not admitted by the Customs House Agent. (3) The Deputy Commissioner of Custo .....

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of the grounds forming the basis of the proceedings, and where the Deputy Commissioner of Customs or Assistant Commissioner of Customs declines to examine any person on the grounds that his evidence is not relevant or material, he shall record his reasons in writing for so doing. (5) At the conclusion of the inquiry, the Deputy Commissioner of Customs or Assistant Commissioner of Customs shall prepare a report of the inquiry recording his findings. (6) The Commissioner of Customs shall furnish t .....

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made by the Customs House Agent, pass such orders as he deems fit. (8) Any Customs House Agent aggrieved by any decision or order passed under regulation 20 or sub-regulation (7) of regulation 22, may prefer an appeal under section 129A of the Act to the Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal established under sub-section (1) of section 129 of the Act. 11. The respondents had complied with the procedure under Regulation 22(1) and placed the petitioners' licences under sus .....

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uiry as required to be done under the Regulations by following the procedure contemplated under Regulation 22(2) to 22(7). 12. In such circumstances, the CESTAT, rightly set aside the order of suspension and such orders were confirmed by the Hon'ble Division Bench of this Court. Therefore, it would be wholly untenable on the part of the respondent to state that they will once again rely on the unsubstantiated allegations for refusing to renew the petitioner's licence. If on the other han .....

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