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Circular No. 66/2003

July 28, 2003

Government of India
Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
(Central Board of Excise & Customs  )

Subject: Disposal of Hazardous Waste – Public Interest Litigation in WP No.675/1995 in the matter of Research Foundation for Science, Technology  & Natural Research Policy Vs Union of India and Others – Reg. 

I am directed to invite your attention to the above mentioned  subject  and to state that a Public Interest Litigation, WP No. 675/95, on import of Hazardous Waste into the country, was filed in 1995 by Research Foundation for Science, Technology & Natural Research Policy before the Supreme Court which is still pending for final decision. As a  respondent ,  Ministry of Environment & Forests has filed affidavit in October, 2002, before  the Supreme Court praying for directions  for appropriate disposal of the hazardous wastes lying at the various ports/ICDs/CFSs in the country.

2. In this regard references have been received from the field formation for  clarification on following issues:-

(i) Whether disposal of hazardous cargo should be kept in abeyance till the  final judgement of Supreme Court; and

(ii) Whether the Customs should proceed with the adjudication and confiscation of hazardous cargo as  per  the provisions  of  Customs  Act, 1962 without waiting for the final decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

3. The matter has   been examined  by   the Board in consultation with the  Ministry of Environment & Forests . As regards disposal of the  hazardous  waste  the Ministry of  Environment and  Forests  has clarified that hazardous waste lying in the ports/ICDs/CFSs could be disposed of only after the matter is finally heard and disposed of by the Court  and till such  time the status- quo has to be maintained. Hence, the disposal  of hazardous waste lying in ports/ICDs/CFSs should not be done till the outcome of writ petition.

4. As regards the adjudication proceedings, since some major issues, such as manner of disposal of hazardous waste, sale to actual user etc. are yet to be decided by Hon’ble Court, confiscation of  the  goods  at this  stage  will  not  be  advisable . Moreover, in the  case of  confiscation of  goods , the ownership along with the attendant responsibilities will rest  with the Central Government.  Therefore, adjudicating proceedings in the case of  hazardous  waste , should be kept in abeyance  till  the outcome of the writ petition filed before  Hon’ble Supreme Court.

5. Hindi version will follow.

6. Kindly acknowledge  receipt.

Mohan Lal
Under Secretary  to the Government of India.
Tel. No.23094610

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