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2016 (11) TMI 554 - PATNA HIGH COURT

2016 (11) TMI 554 - PATNA HIGH COURT - TMI - Reward money - legal right to claim a reward - Held that: - reliance placed on the decision of the case Union of India and others Versus C. Krishna Reddy [2003 (12) TMI 55 - SUPREME COURT OF INDIA] relied upon, where it was held that By the very nature of things, no one has a legal right to claim a reward. The scheme itself shows that it is purely an ex gratia payment subject to guidelines and may be granted on the absolute discretion of the competent .....

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ard money as the Circulars contemplates the payment of reward money after actual realization of the Central Excise Duty, Customs Duty, penalty, fine etc. - Appeal dismissed - decided against appellant. - Letters Patent Appeal No.897 of 2015 Arising out of Civil Writ Jurisdiction Case No. 11642 of 2011 Along with Interlocutory Application No.3797 of 2015 - Dated:- 17-8-2016 - HEMANT GUPTA AND AHSANUDDIN AMANULLAH JJ. For the Appellant : Mr. Sachida Nand Kishore Pd. Sinha, Advocate Mr. Dharmen .....

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, we condone the delay in filing of the present Letters Patent Appeal. 3. Interlocutory Application stands allowed accordingly. Re.: Letters Patent Appeal No.897 of 2015 The challenge in the present Letters Patent Appeal is to an order passed by the learned Single Bench on 12th of January, 2015 whereby, a writ application filed by the appellant for payment of reward money in terms of the policy of the Central Excise Department remained unsuccessful. 2. The appellant was an employee of M/s. Punja .....

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penalty of ₹ 1,17,13,520/- was imposed. An appeal against the said order filed by the M/s. Punjab Fiber Ltd. was dismissed on 30th of April, 2002. However, in further appeal, the Central Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (for short the Tribunal) vide its order dated 12th of February, 2002 dropped the entire duty demand against M/s. Punjab Fibers Limited. A reference petition against the said order was filed by the Department firstly before the Delhi High Court which was dismissed a .....

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n advance reward money on 6th of July, 1999. Since the claim of the appellant for release of the reward money was not accepted, he invoked the jurisdiction of this Court which remained unsuccessful before the learned Single Bench. 4. The grievance of the appellant is that the Department intentionally invoked the jurisdiction of the wrong forum that is of Delhi High Court and, therefore, for default of the Department, his reward money cannot be denied and he is entitled to the said amount. He rel .....

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ication proceedings. 6. We have heard learned counsel for the appellant and find no merit in the present Letters Patent Appeal. The policy of reward appended by the Appellant is Annexure-2 with the writ application whereas the detailed policy circulated on 30th of March, 1985 has been appended by the respondents along with the counter affidavit. The relevant extracts from policy dated 30th of March, 1985 read as under:- 4.1. Reward is purely an ex-gratia payment which, subject to the guidelines .....

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or the government servants in working out the case, the difficulty in securing the information, the extent to which the vigilance of the staff led to the seizures, special initiative, efforts and ingenuity displayed, etc. and whether, besides the seizure of contraband goods, the owners/organizers/financiers/ racketeers as well as the carriers have been apprehended or not. 5. Stage of payment of reward - Payment of advance rewards. 5.1. Advance reward may be paid to informers and government serva .....

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fter adjusting the advance reward, if any, paid in the manner as indicated in succeeding paras. 6.2. In respect of the goods described in para 5.1, the remaining 50% of the reward may be sanctioned both to informers and government servants on adjudication of the case resulting in confiscation of the goods. If, however, the party concerned delays adjudication proceedings by contesting the imposition of penalty only but not confiscation of the goods, the final reward may be sanctioned even prior t .....

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dated 30th of March, 1985 was revised on 13th of April, 1989. The relevant extract of such policy read as under: 3. Advance rewards in Central Excise evasion cases and Customs appraising cases will be sanctioned only after adjudication of such cases and only if the authority competent to sanction the reward is satisfied that the orders are likely to be sustained in appeal/revision proceedings. 8. The Scheme for grant of reward was further modified vide Letter [ F. No. R-13011/6/2001-Cus (AS), da .....

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ill not exceed the ceiling of 20% of the net sale proceeds (if any) plus amount of additional duty/fine/penalty recovered or the amount of drawback fraudulently claimed recovered, as the case may be. This will also be subject to instructions in para 4.3. above as regards rewards to Govt. Servants is concerned. The advance/interim reward sanctioned and disbursed, if any, shall be adjusted from the final reward to be paid to the officers/informers. 9. A perusal of the policy shows that the reward .....

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anctioned even prior to the conclusion of the adjudication proceedings. But in other cases, the final reward can be paid only after adjudication proceedings resulting in confiscation and/or confirmation of the demand and after conclusion of the appeal/revision proceedings by the appropriate authorities resulting in upholding of confiscation demand/fines/penalties etc. imposed under the respective Acts. 10. As per the facts on record, the demand raised by the adjudicating authority was affirmed b .....

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t be presumptuous to say that it would end in favour of the Department. It is too preposterous to say that the Department intentionally invoked the jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court only for the purpose of avoiding the payment of reward money to the appellant. The Department acts under the legal advice received from time to time. It is true that the Department was advised to seek reference from Delhi High Court, may be for the reason that Tribunal is located in Delhi, but the same was withdra .....

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as found that nothing is payable by M/s. Punjab Fibers Limited. The reward, as per the policy extracted above, is on the successful completion of the adjudication proceedings. Since there was no successful completion, the appellant cannot claim payment of reward money for the reason that his information led to at one stage raising of a demand. 12. The judgment of this Court in Ram Mohan Prasad s case (supra) deals with the promotion granted to an employee with retrospective effect but denied the .....

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is not the role assigned to an informer. 13. In fact, the learned counsel for the appellant has referred to a judgment which stands set aside in a judgment reported as Union of India and others Versus C. Krishna Reddy, (2003) 12 SCC 627. The Court held to the following effect:- 11. In our opinion, the view taken by the High Court that the revised guidelines would not apply is patently erroneous both on the fact situation of the case and also as a principle of law. The respondent has himself ave .....

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awarded and, in such cases, normally it should not only be in terms of the guidelines and policy, in force, as on the date of consideration and actual grant but has to be necessarily with reference to any indications contained in this regard in the scheme itself. It was also held that the question of any vested rights accrued being protected from any subsequent amendments would not arise in such a case and, therefore, the guidelines, as are in force on the date of consideration will really be ap .....

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f reward cannot be claimed as a matter of right, it is not understandable as to how a writ of mandamus can be issued commanding the Government to give a particular amount by way of reward. 13. It is well settled by a catena of decisions of this Court that a writ of mandamus can be granted only in a case where there is a statutory duty imposed upon the officer concerned and there is a failure on the part of that officer to discharge the statutory obligation. The chief function of the writ is to c .....

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