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M/s. Usha International Ltd., Represented by its Chief Operating Officer, Haryana v/s Customs & Central Excise Settlement Commission, Additional Bench, Chennai & Another


Company & Directors' Information:- USHA INDIA LIMITED [Active] CIN = U40110UP1996PLC020887

Company & Directors' Information:- USHA INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74210DL1935PLC007123

Company & Directors' Information:- K N INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = U45201UP2002PLC026841

Company & Directors' Information:- D B H INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1950PTC057209

Company & Directors' Information:- V AND S INTERNATIONAL PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U74899DL1992PTC049964

Company & Directors' Information:- S S A INTERNATIONAL LTD [Active] CIN = U15122DL1995PLC068186

Company & Directors' Information:- A T N INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = L65993WB1983PLC080793

Company & Directors' Information:- D D INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909PB1995PTC016929

Company & Directors' Information:- T K INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = U55101OR1982PLC001092

Company & Directors' Information:- USHA CORPORATION LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74999WB1996PLC078796

Company & Directors' Information:- N R INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = L74999WB1991PLC051738

Company & Directors' Information:- K J INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = L15142PB1993PLC011274

Company & Directors' Information:- A K S INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1996PLC076327

Company & Directors' Information:- S P INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U70100WB1994PTC063228

Company & Directors' Information:- USHA (INDIA) LIMITED [Not available for efiling] CIN = U31109DL1962PLC003656

Company & Directors' Information:- B. K. INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74999DL2006PTC157013

Company & Directors' Information:- R S C INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = L17124RJ1993PLC007136

Company & Directors' Information:- J C INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51109WB1999PLC089037

Company & Directors' Information:- M T L INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Amalgamated] CIN = U24219UP2001PTC025965

Company & Directors' Information:- T C N S INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Amalgamated] CIN = U51311DL1996PTC080096

Company & Directors' Information:- K V S INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U18101DL2003PTC120770

Company & Directors' Information:- G N INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2001PTC110766

Company & Directors' Information:- S H A M INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U45200MH1994PTC079867

Company & Directors' Information:- M K INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL1996PLC083430

Company & Directors' Information:- V. G. INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51101DL2007PTC162540

Company & Directors' Information:- D R INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U24132DL1996PTC079867

Company & Directors' Information:- USHA INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Amalgamated] CIN = L74899DL1954PLC002985

Company & Directors' Information:- R H INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = U72900DL2007PLC159452

Company & Directors' Information:- G & G INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U17120DL2012PTC234047

Company & Directors' Information:- A & D INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U36109RJ2007PTC024176

Company & Directors' Information:- K A I INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U13100OR2007PTC009647

Company & Directors' Information:- C G INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U99999MH1996PTC097577

Company & Directors' Information:- K C INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1994PLC060402

Company & Directors' Information:- M P INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U29130MH1997PTC107943

Company & Directors' Information:- A S INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74899DL1993PLC056158

Company & Directors' Information:- H C S INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15312PB2012PTC036219

Company & Directors' Information:- L N G INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL1993PLC053438

Company & Directors' Information:- S. D. INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74900UP2008PTC036047

Company & Directors' Information:- S AND I INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL1995PTC072210

Company & Directors' Information:- L T INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1999PLC097892

Company & Directors' Information:- A. INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51102GJ2008PTC053840

Company & Directors' Information:- S J M INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = U52110DL1987PLC028571

Company & Directors' Information:- S B S INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U18101DL1997PTC085878

Company & Directors' Information:- R. A. INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51225DL2008PTC177405

Company & Directors' Information:- B G INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U50300PB2014PTC038889

Company & Directors' Information:- S F INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74999PB2000PTC023654

Company & Directors' Information:- R T S INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U63022DL1997PTC089328

Company & Directors' Information:- I K INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1995PTC066267

Company & Directors' Information:- C K INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1991PTC045625

Company & Directors' Information:- L A INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909PB2010PTC033683

Company & Directors' Information:- H R V INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Amalgamated] CIN = U74899UP1993PTC057665

Company & Directors' Information:- K P INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U24110GJ2007PTC050026

Company & Directors' Information:- V S INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U85100MH1997PTC109647

Company & Directors' Information:- N N INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U01111DL1999PTC099094

Company & Directors' Information:- S R V INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74140DL2012PTC243060

Company & Directors' Information:- V. S. Y. INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74999UP2008PTC035521

Company & Directors' Information:- U M I INTERNATIONAL LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U51909WB1990PLC049671

Company & Directors' Information:- A. R. INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51900MH2010PTC228539

Company & Directors' Information:- B R INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1993PTC055562

Company & Directors' Information:- M J INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Amalgamated] CIN = U74899DL1982PTC013231

Company & Directors' Information:- D N INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = U36911TN1996PLC034205

Company & Directors' Information:- M. H. INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U70102DL2007PTC164267

Company & Directors' Information:- H AND Z INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = U10102AS1995PLC004509

Company & Directors' Information:- M G M INTERNATIONAL PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U74899DL1982PTC013580

Company & Directors' Information:- J J INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51109DL1992PTC047657

Company & Directors' Information:- H D INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1994PLC060720

Company & Directors' Information:- K. A. INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51101UP2012PTC049338

Company & Directors' Information:- J & G INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U18109DL2012PTC238392

Company & Directors' Information:- K R INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U17291DL2008PTC172188

Company & Directors' Information:- D. J. INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U65910MH1999PLC119298

Company & Directors' Information:- S P INTERNATIONAL PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U99999UP1965PTC003091

Company & Directors' Information:- J M INTERNATIONAL PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U45201WB1991PTC050829

Company & Directors' Information:- D P C INTERNATIONAL PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U74210WB1984PTC037378

Company & Directors' Information:- B M INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1992PTC048736

Company & Directors' Information:- S G INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51109WB1998PTC086547

Company & Directors' Information:- B N INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15412WB1999PTC089316

Company & Directors' Information:- V A INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U01111DL2000PTC104712

Company & Directors' Information:- S. J. INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U27310DL2007PTC169438

Company & Directors' Information:- N H B INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Converted to LLP] CIN = U67190MH1997PTC107387

Company & Directors' Information:- P D K INTERNATIONAL PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U74140WB1992PTC056468

Company & Directors' Information:- G. S. C. INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U29120MH1994PTC080380

Company & Directors' Information:- A J INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Converted to LLP] CIN = U74899DL1994PTC060818

Company & Directors' Information:- J S M INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = U85110KA1996PLC020046

Company & Directors' Information:- M K N INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2002PTC117207

Company & Directors' Information:- N M INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74120MH2012PTC234492

Company & Directors' Information:- S S M INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL1997PTC089876

Company & Directors' Information:- A P J INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909HR2010PTC040304

Company & Directors' Information:- T. INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U72900DL1997PTC091049

Company & Directors' Information:- V R INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51101UP2011PTC043952

Company & Directors' Information:- A & F INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U00265KA1995PTC018998

Company & Directors' Information:- M E C INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U33111GJ1963PTC082423

Company & Directors' Information:- J K INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U01100MH2004PTC144492

Company & Directors' Information:- D. S. R. INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74999UP2010PTC039954

Company & Directors' Information:- B L S INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74900UR2010PTC033210

Company & Directors' Information:- R B INTERNATIONAL LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U18101WB1993PLC059515

Company & Directors' Information:- P Y INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Converted to LLP] CIN = U51102RJ1995PTC010133

Company & Directors' Information:- R C INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909TG1991PLC012477

Company & Directors' Information:- N J INDIA INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U70101UP2004PLC028722

Company & Directors' Information:- I AND A INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U72200TG1995PTC019936

Company & Directors' Information:- P V INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1998PTC094598

Company & Directors' Information:- I B INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Under Process of Striking Off] CIN = U72200DL2000PTC105735

Company & Directors' Information:- A M INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74899DL1995PTC066228

Company & Directors' Information:- K K M INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U17110MH1995PTC089836

Company & Directors' Information:- Z. H. INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U21098MH2010PTC210735

Company & Directors' Information:- J R INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909TN2002PTC048744

Company & Directors' Information:- H P AND B G INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U50500DL1999PTC100851

Company & Directors' Information:- L S INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74999DL2009PTC193390

Company & Directors' Information:- M B INTERNATIONAL PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U52190DL2001PTC110572

Company & Directors' Information:- O K R INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74900DL1996PTC077152

Company & Directors' Information:- B B C INTERNATIONAL PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U25209WB1984PTC037383

Company & Directors' Information:- K S INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909MH2001PTC134345

Company & Directors' Information:- A TO Z INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51101TN1992PTC022507

Company & Directors' Information:- C & A INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51900MH1982PTC026718

Company & Directors' Information:- J S INTERNATIONAL PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U51900MH1982PTC027604

Company & Directors' Information:- A C INDIA INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1989PTC034784

Company & Directors' Information:- S. S. N. INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U29306DL1981PTC012616

Company & Directors' Information:- INDIA INTERNATIONAL COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51228MH1955PTC009483

Company & Directors' Information:- R K INTERNATIONAL PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U63040PB1982PTC004926

Company & Directors' Information:- L & P INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U52100DL2016PTC292025

Company & Directors' Information:- J D K INTERNATIONAL PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U74899DL1982PTC014087

Company & Directors' Information:- R B N INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U52300DL2012PTC243998

Company & Directors' Information:- P AND P INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED. [Strike Off] CIN = U24100OR1993PTC003244

Company & Directors' Information:- B P INTERNATIONAL PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U31909HP1984PTC005785

Company & Directors' Information:- E C INTERNATIONAL PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U99999DL1982PTC013146

Company & Directors' Information:- R A R E INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U31900DL2005PTC134395

Company & Directors' Information:- D I D INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Converted to LLP] CIN = U28112MH2014PTC258750

Company & Directors' Information:- S R A INTERNATIONAL PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U99999DL1980PTC010389

Company & Directors' Information:- R Z INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74900KA2012PTC064445

Company & Directors' Information:- M M INTERNATIONAL PVT LTD [Converted to LLP] CIN = U51312DL1977PTC008583

Company & Directors' Information:- A K INDIA INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U45201DL1981PTC012389

Company & Directors' Information:- O P INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U55101PB2013PTC037499

Company & Directors' Information:- J & A INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51900PB2013PTC037302

Company & Directors' Information:- A P M INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74900TN2014PTC095953

Company & Directors' Information:- Y. A. INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74900RJ2012PTC040431

Company & Directors' Information:- D & A INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74999MH2015PTC262713

Company & Directors' Information:- R L INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U18204UP2016PTC076344

Company & Directors' Information:- V P S INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U93030UP2014PTC066242

Company & Directors' Information:- J V INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51102DL2012PTC240197

Company & Directors' Information:- R I K INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Under Process of Striking Off] CIN = U52590DL2015PTC283801

Company & Directors' Information:- Y & H INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U63000DL2014PTC266649

Company & Directors' Information:- S R L INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LIMITED [Under Process of Striking Off] CIN = U20296AP2013PTC085533

Company & Directors' Information:- M D INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74140MH1981PTC025007

Company & Directors' Information:- INTERNATIONAL CO PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51109UR1935PTC000663

Company & Directors' Information:- A B C INTERNATIONAL PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U99999DL1990PTC041062

Company & Directors' Information:- D C M INTERNATIONAL LTD. [Strike Off] CIN = U99999DL2000PTC004208

Company & Directors' Information:- B C I INTERNATIONAL LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74900DL1977PLC008468

    W.P. No. 8124 of 2013 & M.P. No. 1 of 2013

    Decided On, 30 October 2019

    At, High Court of Judicature at Madras

    By, THE HONOURABLE DR.(MRS.) JUSTICE ANITA SUMANTH

    For the Petitioner: R. Parthasarathy, Advocate. For the Respondents: V. Sundareswaran, Senior Panel Counsel.



Judgment Text

(Prayer: Writ Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, for the issuance of Writ of Certiorarified Mandamus, calling for the records relating to the impugned order no.1/2013-Cus dated 20.02.2013 passed by the 1st Respondent, quash the same and consequently direct the 1st Respondent to recall and rehear the application filed by the Petitioner, for settlement under Section 127B of the Customs Act, 1962 by providing the Petitioner a reasonable opportunity of hearing.)

1. The petitioner had filed an application for settlement in terms of Section 127B of the Customs Act, 1962 (in short 'Act'). The application was received by the Settlement Commission (in short Commission/SC) and numbered. A notice was issued on 07.02.2013 prior to listing of the application in terms of Section 127C(1) of the Act for admission/hearing thereof, raising various queries for response by the petitioner. One of the queries raised related to whether there was any case pending in the Appellate Tribunal or Court which would act as a bar to maintainability of the application in terms of the second proviso to Section 127B.

2.The petitioner filed a reply dated 15.02.2013 reiterating that the application was maintainable and praying that it may be proceeded with on merits, specifically reiterating at para-11 that there was no case pertaining to the show cause notice at issue, pending in the CESTAT or before any Court.

3.Notwithstanding the reply filed, the impugned order has come to be passed even without hearing the petitioner, simply rejecting the application as non-maintainable, invoking the second proviso to Section 127B of the Act.

4.Heard learned counsel appearing for the petitioner and learned Additional Government Pleader for the respondent.

5.Section 127B of the Act, including the second proviso thereto, reads as follows:

'Section 127B. Application for settlement of cases. - (1) Any importer, exporter or any other person (hereinafter referred to as the applicant in this Chapter) may, in respect of a case, relating to him make an application, before adjudication to the Settlement Commission to have the case settled, in such form and in such manner as may be specified by rules, and containing a full and true disclosure of his duty liability which has not been disclosed before the proper officer, the manner in which such liability has been incurred, the additional amount of customs duty accepted to be payable by him and such other particulars as may be specified by rules including the particulars of such dutiable goods in respect of which he admits short levy on account of misclassification, under-valuation or inapplicability of exemption notification [or otherwise] and such application shall be disposed of in the manner hereinafter provided :

PROVIDED that no such application shall be made unless,-

. . . . :

PROVIDED ALSO that no application under this sub-section shall be made in relation to goods to which section 123 applies or to goods in relation to which any offence under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 has been committed :

. . . .

6. Section 127B relates to an application for settlement of cases and sets out three bars for entertaining of an application by the Commission, the second, and the one relevant to this case, being the pendency of any cases before the Appellate Tribunal or any Court.

7. According to learned counsel for the petitioner, the application of the second proviso is only to those cases which relate to an assessment of duty and interest, pending either before the Customs Central Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) or any other Court. Thus, the pendency of proceedings for prosecution, should not, according to him, be construed as a bar to the maintainability of an application for settlement.

8. According to the learned counsel for the respondent, the proviso should be read literally so as to cover both cases of assessment as well as of prosecution.

9. The learned counsel for the respondent also tentatively states that there has been non-disclosure of pendency of proceedings for prosecution before the Special CBI Court, before the Commission. However, at paragraph-20 of the settlement application, the petitioner has made specific reference to the prosecution launched against the petitioner by the Central Bureau of Investigation in Special CBI Court, setting out various details in connection with the same. Thus there is no merit in the argument that the petitioner has approached the settlement commission without making a full and true disclosure in this regard. This argument is rejected.

10. On the legality of the contention itself, the petitioner relies on a decision of the Co-ordinate Bench of the Settlement Commission, Bombay in the case of Shri Agarwal Trading Company (Appeal No.F.No.SC/WZ/CUS/38/Agarwal/2000, dated 19.2.2001), that had considered the admissibility of an application in the light of the bar contained in the first proviso to Section 127B at paragraphs-8 and 9 thereof, as follows:

'8. The terms “case is defined in Section 127A(b) of the Customs Act, 1962. “Case” means any proceeding under this Act or any other Act for the levy, assessment and collection of Customs duty, or any proceeding by way of appeal or a revision in connection with the levy, assessment or collection, which may be pending before the proper officer or (sic) Central Government on the date on which an application under sub-section (1) of Section 127B is made. In other words case relates to a proceeding and the proceeding is for the purposes of levy, assessment and collection of Customs duty. The second proviso to Section 127B(1) bars any application to be entertained by the Settlement Commission in cases which are pending with the Appellate Tribunal or any Court. Cases which are pending in this context is to be entertained as a proceedings for the levy, assessment and collection of Customs duty lying with Appellate Tribunal or any Court. In other words an application can be entertained by the Settlement Commission under Section 127B so long as there is no proceedings for the levy, assessment and collection pending with the Appellate Tribunal or any Court. That is to say that even if the proceedings for the prosecution have been instituted before the date of receipt of the application under Section 127B, yet the application can be entertained by the Settlement Commission.

9. A reading of Section 127H of Customs Act, 1962 would support the above arguments. Section 127H of Customs Act, 1962 gives the power to the Settlement Commission to grant immunity from prosecution for any offence under this Act or the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) or under any other Central Act for the time being in force and such immunity may be either in whole or in part from the imposition of any penalty, fine and interest under this Act (Customs Act, 1962), with respect to the case covered by the settlement. This granting of immunity however, is left to the discretion of the Settlement Commission depending upon certain factors discussed in Section 127H. The Settlement Commission may or may not grant immunity from prosecution, penalty, fine and interest. The power to grant immunity from prosecution is relating to any offence committed under the Customs Act or under the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) or under any other Central Act for the time being in force. However, the power to grant immunity either wholly or in part from the imposition of any penalty, fine and interest is with reference to Customs Act only. The offence discussed in this section means an offence relating to the case covered by the settlement. The proviso to sub-section (1) of Section 127H ibid reads as below:

Provided that no such immunity shall be granted by the Settlement Commission in cases where the proceedings for prosecution for any such offence have been initiated before the date of receipt of the application under Section 127B.'

11. The Bench has proceeded to entertain the application based on the interpretation that the word 'case' utilised in the proviso should assume the same meaning as the definition of the word under the Customs Act 1962 which means 'any proceeding under this act or any other act for the levy, assessment and collection of customs duty' as contra distinguished from proceedings for prosecution. Further, the provisions of Section 127H of the Act empower the Commission to grant immunity to prosecution under either the Customs Act, the IPC or any other Central Act, in such cases where prosecution has not been instituted before the date of receipt of the Application for settlement by the Commission.

12. I prima facie agree with the rationa

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le of the aforesaid order. Had the commission issued notice to the petitioner prior to hearing the matter, it would perhaps have been persuaded to adopt a reasoning similar to that of the Co-ordinate Bench, as above. However this has not been done. 13. The impugned order, in the light of the discussion above, is set aside. The petitioner will appear before the respondent on Thursday, the 14th of November 2019 at 10.30 a.m. No further notice need be issued in this regard. An order shall be passed by the Settlement Commission after hearing the petitioner on the question of maintainability, further proceedings being consequent upon the result of such order. It is made clear that none of the observations made in this order shall stand in the way of the Settlement Commission deciding the legal issue of maintainability, independently and in accordance with law. 14. This writ petition is allowed. No costs. Consequently, connected miscellaneous petition is closed.
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