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M/s. Srilak Shipping Services, Represented by its Proprietor S. Kumar v/s The Commissioner of Customs, Tuticorin

    W.P(MD) No. 11049 of 2021 & W.M.P.(MD) No. 8678 of 2021

    Decided On, 06 December 2021

    At, Before the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE M. SUNDAR

    For the Petitioner: A. K. Jayaraj, Advocate. For the Respondent: B. Vijay Karthikeyan, Senior Standing Counsel.



Judgment Text

(Prayer: Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, calling for the entire records of the respondent herein leading to the issuance of the impugned order dated 25.06.2021 issued in C.No.VIII/13/45/2005- CHAL, and DIN-20210681OH000000450E, passed by the respondent herein in ordering Prohibition of the petitioner's License and to quash the same as illegal, arbitrary, unfairness, ureasonableness and in clear violation of Principles of Natural Justice by issuance of writ of certiorari and pass orders.)

1. This common order will govern the captioned main writ petition and the captioned wmp therein.

2. Captioned matter is listed under the cause list caption 'EXTENSION OF INERIM ORDER'. The reason is Hon'ble predecessor Judge had granted an order of interim stay on 07.07.2021, the same was extended from time to time, it was last extended by another Hon'ble predecessor Judge on 26.10.2021. The 07.07.2021 and 26.10.2021 interim order and order of extension of interim order read as follows:

'07.07.2021:

This writ petition has been filed by the petitioner challenging the prohibitory order passed against the petitioner.

2. The learned counsel for the petitioner would state that adjudication has to be completed within a period of ninety days.

3. Admittedly, in this case, prohibitory order has been passed beyond the prescribed period of ninety days and therefore, there shall be an order of interim stay till 22.07.2021. In the mean time, the respondent is directed to file counter.

4. Post the matter on 22.07.2021.

5. The learned counsel for the petitioner is directed to serve papers on the learned standing counsel for the respondent, forthwith.'

'26.10.2021

At request of the learned counsel for the petitioner, post the matter after three weeks.

Interim order already granted shall continue till then.'

3. The lone respondent i.e., Commissioner of Customs has filed a counter affidavit in the main writ petition. This counter affidavit is dated 23.07.2021.

4. Today, Mr. A.K. Jayaraj, learned counsel for the writ petitioner and Mr. B. Vijaykarthikeyan, learned Senior Standing Counsel for Customs on behalf of lone respondent are before me.

5. In the captioned main writ petition, an order of Prohibition of Customs Brokers License (CBL) made under Section 15 of the 'Customs Brokers Licensing Regulations, 2018' (hereinafter the 'said Regulation') for the sake of convenience and clarity has been assailed.

6. Learned Revenue counsel, adverting to Regulation 15 of said Regulations and more particularly the first proviso to Regulation 15 and the impugned order, submits that the prohibition or in other words the impugned order operated only for one month from the date of the order i.e., one month from 26.06.2021 and therefore it elapsed on 25.07.2021. In other words, it is learned revenue counsel's emphatic say that the impugned order elapsed on 25.07.2021 by operation of first Proviso to Regulation 15 of said Regulation. There is no prohibition today is his further say.

7. Learned counsel for the writ petitioner submits that writ petitioner has been continuing its operations by virtue of the aforementioned interim orders of this court.

8. Be that as it may, it is not necessary to delve into those aspects of the matter as learned Revenue counsel makes it clear that the impugned order has elapsed in the aforementioned manner and therefore, there is no fetters on the writ petitioner in sofar as the impugned order is concerned. This submission is recorded.

9. I deem it appropriate to leave open all questions including questions raised in the captioned writ petition open to be canvassed by both sides i.e., writ petitioner and Revenue, if there are any further proceedings and the same can also be assailed in a manner known to law and all questions are left open to be canvassed by both sides.

10. I also deem it appropriate to make it clear that said Regulation is a piece of subordinate legislation made by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs in exercise of subordinate legislation making power vested in the said Board by Sub Section 2 of 146 of Customs Act 1962 (52 of 1962). Therefore as the impugned order has elapsed by operation of a statutory provision (though the nomenclature is Regulation) this position is not disputed by the learned Revenue counsel and this by itself draws the curtains on the captioned writ petition.

11. To buttress his submission, learned counsel for revenue drew the attention of this court to paragraph 11 of the counter affidavit wherein it has been categorically mentioned that the impugned order under

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Regulation 15 of said Regulation is an interim measure. It is therefore not necessary to elaborate any further. 12. Recording the aforementioned stated position of the respondent, captioned writ petition is disposed of as closed making it clear that all questions including questions raised in the captioned writ petition are left open to be canvassed by both sides, if the need arises on a future date in this regard. Consequently captioned WMP is also disposed of as closed. There shall be no order as to costs.
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