FM Pranab Mukherjee on Friday moved a bill in the Lok Sabha to amend the Customs Act to validate the showcause notices given by different officials during the past several years. The bill, which seeks to validate notices rendered invalid by the Supreme Court on technical ground, will be taken up for discussion and passage next week.
Moving the bill, Mukherjee said the amendment was necessary to validate the notices issued by different officials during the past 25 to 30 years.A large number of showcause notices for demand of duty were held invalid by the Supreme Court on the ground that they were not issued by ‘proper officers’, the statement of objects and reason of the bill said.
Earlier, the Union Cabinet had cleared the proposal to amend the Customs Act, 1962, to get specified customs officers authorised for assessment of import duty.
The bill seeks recognition to certain customs officials from retrospective effect. On July 6, the Government had specified officers as ‘proper officers’ for issuing showcause notices for demand of customs duty. As a consequence of the amendment bill, government would be able to recover customs duty worth several thousand crores of rupees. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) alone has issued notices involving customs duty to the tune of over Rs 7,500 crore.