Order No. 3799/98-WRB/C-I arising from in Appeal No. C/793/98-Bom. Case: Verma & Sons Vs Commissioner of Customs (G), Mumbai. Central Information Commission

Case NumberOrder No. 3799/98-WRB/C-I arising from in Appeal No. C/793/98-Bom
CounselFor Appellant: Shri S.P. Mathew, Advocate and For Respondents: Shri B.K. Suman, JDR.
JudgesShri J.N. Srinivasa Murthy, Member (J) and J.H. Joglekar, Member (T)
IssueCustoms House Agents Licensing Regulations, 1984
Judgement DateOctober 08, 1998
CourtCentral Information Commission


J.H. Joglekar, Member (T), (West Zonal Bench At Mumbai)

  1. This appeal was filed on 12-8-1998 and simultaneously an application for early hearing was made. Vide order dated 28-8-1998, the case was posted for hearing today.

  2. We have heard Shri S.P. Mathew, the ld. advocate for the appellants and Shri B.K.Suman, the ld. DR for the Revenue.

  3. The Commissioner in the impugned order suspended the CHA licence held by the appellants in terms of Regulation 21(2) of the CHA Licensing Regulations, 1984 on the ground that the CHA had permitted their licence to be operated by other persons for pecuniary gain, that they had failed to exercise proper control over their employees and that they had interfered with the investigations. The claims made before us are two fold. Firstly, it is argued that the order of the Commissioner suffers from denial of natural justice, in as much as, no notice was given to the CHA for explaining his position before the Commissioner. On merits, it is claimed that the allegation that certain documents were removed by the CHA was without basis. A claim has been made that it was the standard practice for the Customs House to issue memorandum before taking such action on the CHA. In support of this claim, the memorandum in an earlier case has been cited. Shri Mathew also cited Supreme Court judgment reported in 1983 (13) ELT 1342 (SC) and 1987 (28) ELT 223 (Cal.) in this regard.

  4. Shri Suman, the ld. DR for the Revenue submits that the wording in sub-regulation (2) of Regulation 21 suggests that where immediate action was necessary, the Commissioner could suspend the licence without issue of notice.

  5. Regulations 21 & 23 deal with suspension or revocation of CHA licences. Regulation 23 makes it obligatory on the Commissioner to issue a notice stating the grounds on which the suspension or revocation is proposed. The Regulation is self contained inasmuch as it gives the entire procedure to be followed by the Commissioner as well as by the CHA culminating in the revocation or suspension. Sub-regulation (1) of Regulation 21 spells out three situations in observation of which the suspension or revocation is warranted. Sub-regulation (2) gives the Commissioner certain powers. It is to be seen whether these powers enable him to bypass the mandatory provisions of Regulation 23 or not. For ease of appreciation, Regulation 21 is reproduced:-

    Suspension or revocation of licence:- (1) The Collector may, subject to the...

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