Rajendranath Bharati

Section 146 of The Customs Act, 1962 states that no person shall carry on business as an agent relating to the entry or departure of a conveyance or the import or export of goods at any Customs station unless such person holds a license granted in this behalf in accordance with regulations made in this regard by the Board. Thus, any person desirous to carry on business as a Customs Broker relating to the entry or departure of a conveyance or the import or export of goods at any Customs station is required to obtain a license, which is referred to as the Customs Broker Licence and the concerned person as the Customs Broker.

Section 146 of the Customs Act, 1962 read with the Customs Brokers Licensing regulations (CBLR, 2013) governs the legal and procedural aspects of the grant of Customs Broker license as well as the Obligations and responsibilities of a Customs Broker.

The following are the amendments suggested to improve the working of the Customs Brokers:

THE CUSTOMS BROKERS’ LICENSING (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS, 2017.

In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of Section 146 of The Customs Act, 1962 (52 of 1962), read with the Customs Brokers Licensing Regulations, 2013, the Central Board of Excise & Customs hereby makes the following regulations further to amend the  Customs Brokers Licensing Regulations, 2013, namely:-

1. (1) These regulations shall be called “The Customs Brokers’ Licensing (Amendment) Regulations, 2017”.

(2) They shall come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.

2. In the Customs Brokers Licensing regulations, 2013 (hereinafter referred to as the said regulations):-

(a) For Regulation 2 (b) the following regulation shall be substituted, namely:

(b) “Company” means a company as defined in the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956) and also includes a Company formed under the Companies Act, 2013;

for Regulation 2 (c) the following regulation shall be substituted, namely: (c) “Customs Broker” means a person licensed under these regulations to act as an intermediary between the Customs authorities and the trade, in good faith, on the instructions of the importer/exporter, for the completion of customs formalities relating to import and/or export of goods, including documentation thereof, at any Customs Station in India;

3. For Regulation 3 (b) the following regulation shall be substituted, viz.

(b) “any employee of any person or firm/company transacting business solely on behalf of such firm or company, holding a photo Identity card issued by such firm or company, and duly approved by the DC/AC of Customs after verification of antecedents of such person, and holding a temporary pass issued by the Custodian”.

4. For Regulation 4 the following regulation shall be substituted, namely:-

“4(a) The Directorate General of Inspection, Customs & C Excise (DGICCE), may, in the month of January, once in three years, invite applications from eligible candidates, to appear for the written examination, followed by a Group discussion and oral examination, and subsequent issue of Customs Brokers Licence, by publication of a notice in one or more newspapers, having circulation all over the country;

4(b) The application for issue of Licence shall be made by candidates passing the examination prescribed by these regulations, in Form A, to the Principal Commissioner of Customs or Commissioner of Customs having jurisdiction over the place of residence provided by the applicant;

4(c) Every such applicant shall hold a valid PAN issued by the Income tax authorities, a Voter Identity card/Aadhar card or a Passport. Self attested copies of the same shall be submitted along with the application in Form A”.

5. For Regulation 5(f), the following regulation shall be substituted, namely:-

“(f) An individual applicant or in case the applicant is a firm/company, its partner or director or authorised employee who may handle the Customs work shall:

(i) Be a Graduate in English medium with minimum 50% marks from a University recognised by the University Grants Commission;

(ii) possess a professional degree such as a Masters degree in any subject or CA/MBA/LLB, having minimum three years experience as a ‘G’ card holder or a Diploma in Customs Clearance from an Institute recognised by the Government of India or the State Government, or from a University recognised by the University Grants Commission, or is having at least five years experience in transacting Customs Broker work as a ‘G’ card holder “;

6. for Regulation 5 (g) the following regulations shall be substituted, namely:

 “(g) a retired Group A officer from the Indian Customs & Central Excise service having a minimum of five years experience as a Group A officer in a Customs field formation (s) and having retired at least two years before the date of application for issue of licence”;

7. For Regulation 5 (h) the following regulation shall be substituted, namely:-

 “(h) the applicant has financial viability as evidenced by a certificate issued by a Scheduled Bank or such other proof acceptable to the Commissioner of Customs including a Certificate issued by the Mandal Revenue Officer or equivalent official, in terms of possession of assets of value of not less than five lakhs rupees.”

8. The following regulation 5(i) shall be inserted as follows:

“(i) The Principal Commissioner of Customs or Commissioner of Customs, before issuing the licence, shall verify the antecedents and satisfy himself with regard to the identity, character and conduct of each applicant, by using reliable, authentic and independent documents, data or information. He may call for such reports and documents as may be needed in this regard”.

9. For Regulation 6 the following regulation shall be substituted, namely:

“6. Examination of the applicant.-

(1) An applicant, who satisfies the requirements of regulation 5, shall be required to appear for a written examination followed by a Group discussion and oral examination conducted by the DGICCE:

Provided that an applicant who has already passed the examination referred to in regulation 9 of the Custom House Agents Licensing Regulation, 1984 or regulation 8 of the Custom House Agents Licensing Regulation, 2004 shall not be required to appear for any further examination.

(2) The written examination shall be conducted on specified dates in the month of March, once in three years, for which intimation shall be sent individually to applicants in advance before the date of examination and the result of the said examination shall be declared by end of May each year.

(3) The applicant who secures a minimum of 70% marks in each paper, shall be declared as successful in the written examination and called for a group discussion followed by an oral examination on specified dates in the month of June, the result of which shall be declared in the month of July of the year in which the examinations are held.

(4) The applicant shall be required to clear written examination, group discussion as well as oral examination in a single attempt consecutively. Failure at any stage shall be deemed to be failure in the examination;

(5) An applicant who fails to clear the group discussion and oral examination within three years from date of declaration of result of the related written examination shall be treated as having failed in the examination; 

(6) An applicant shall be allowed a maximum period of seven years from the date of original application within which he shall pass written examination, Group discussion and oral examination and no further extension shall be granted;

(7) The written examination shall comprise of three papers as follows:

(a) Paper I: English vocabulary, grammar and writing skills.

(b) Paper II: Provisions of the Customs Act, 1962, the rules and regulations made there under, all Customs procedures relating to clearance of import and export goods, including claiming of drawback, refunds, Notifications, Circulars etc., issued under the Act, forms, allied Acts including Prevention of Corruption Act, and such other Acts as mentioned in the Customs Law Manual, On-line filing of electronic bills of entry and shipping bills through ICEGATE and ICES, On line payment of duty;

(c) Paper III: Provisions of the Foreign Trade (Development & Regulation) Act, 1992, the Export-Import policy in force, provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) relating to imports and exports, Laws, rules, regulations, policy and procedures relating to Freight Forwarding, Shipping, Cargo Insurance, Inco terms, Service tax, Sea routes, Air routes, Port operations, Exchange Control regulations, Letters of Credit and other modes of payment”.

10. For Regulation 7 (2) the following regulation shall be substituted, namely:-

“7 (2) The applicant who has been granted licence under sub regulation (1) shall be eligible to work in all Customs Stations subject to intimation in Form C to the Principal Commissioner of Customs or Commissioner of Customs of the Customs Station where he intends to transact business. A Copy of this intimation shall also be sent to the Principal Commissioner of Customs or Commissioner of Customs who has issued the licence in Form B. A copy of the licence submitted by the applicant may be sent for verification to the Parent Commissionerate within fifteen days of the submission of the intimation and the verification process shall be completed within a maximum period of further fifteen days. After the expiry of thirty days of the date of application, the Form ‘C’ is deemed to have been accepted by the Principal Commissioner of Customs or Commissioner of Customs and the Customs Broker may start transacting his business at such Customs Station”.   

11. For Regulation 9 (1) the following regulation shall be substituted, namely:-

“9 (1).  A licence granted under regulation 7 shall be valid for a period of twenty years from the date of issue and shall be renewed from time to time in accordance with the procedure specified in Regulation (2)”.

12. For Regulation 9 (2) the following regulation shall be substituted, namely:-

“9 (2). The Principal Commissioner of Customs or Commissioner of Customs shall, on an application made by the licensee, two months before the expiry of the licence issued under sub-regulation (1), renew the licence for a further period of twenty years from the date of expiration of the licence or from the date of last renewal, within a maximum period of thirty days of the submission of such application. The renewal of the licence shall be applicable to all Form C intimations filed by the Customs Broker at different Customs Stations, all of whom shall be intimated by the Parent Commissionerate”.

13. For Regulation 11 the following regulation shall be substituted, namely:-

“Regulation 11: Obligations of Customs Broker and his/her employee (s):

A Customs Broker and his employee (s) shall:

(a) obtain an Authorisation from each of the companies, firms or individuals by whom he is for the time being employed as a Customs Broker and produce such authorization whenever required by the Dy. Commissioner of Customs or Asst. Commissioner of Customs, as the case may be;

(b) maintain up to date records such as bill of entry, shipping bill, transhipment application etc., and all correspondence relating to his business as a Customs Broker, and all accounts and financial transactions, in an orderly and itemized manner and keep them current;

(c) immediately report the loss of licence to the Principal Commissioner of Customs or Commissioner of Customs;

(d) discharge his duties with utmost speed and efficiency as a Customs Broker or employee and without avoidable delay; and

(e) Every employee of a Customs Broker shall hold a valid PAN issued by the Income tax authorities and produce the same as and when needed.

14. For Regulation 12 the following regulation shall be substituted, namely:-

“12. Change in Directors of Company or Partners of a firm: In case a company or firm holding a licence under Regulation 7 undergoes any change in the directors or managing director of the company or partners or managing partner of the firm, such change shall be communicated by such licensee to the Principal Commissioner of Customs or Commissioner of Customs within one month of taking place of the event”.

15. The following explanation shall be inserted under Regulation 13:

Explanation: “Change in constitution means conversion of an individual into a proprietary concern, or conversion of a proprietary concern to a partnership firm or company, or conversion of a partnership firm to a company or vice versa, requiring a change in PAN.  Unless there is a change in PAN, no fresh application needs to be submitted”.

16. For Regulation 17 (7) the following regulation shall be substituted, namely:-

“17 (7). Every application for issue of an Identity card shall be accompanied by a No Objection Certificate issued by the local Customs Brokers Association. The Dy. Commissioner of Customs or the Asst. Commissioner of Customs, before issuing the Identity card, shall verify the antecedents of the applicant and satisfy himself with regard to his identity, character, and conduct by using reliable, independent, authentic documents, data or information. He may call for all such documents and reports which may be needed in this regard. Thereafter, the Dy. Commissioner of Customs or the Asst. Commissioner of Customs, as the case may be shall issue an Identity card:

(a) In form ‘F’ to every person who has passed the examination referred to in Regulation 6;

(b) In form ‘G’ to every person who has passed the examination referred to in sub regulation (3); and

(c) In form ‘H’ to every person who has not passed the examination”.

17. Regulation 17 (9)may be amended to read as follows:

“Any employee of a Customs Broker who commits an offence or is involved in the committing of an offence under The Customs Act, 1962 shall not be eligible to work in any Customs Station, provided the involvement of the employee is proved beyond reasonable doubt”.

18. For Regulation 18, the following regulation shall be substituted, namely:-

“Prohibition or imposition of penalty: (1) The Principal Commissioner of Customs or Commissioner of Customs at any Customs Station, where an offence takes place, may, in appropriate cases where immediate action is necessary, prohibit a Customs Broker or his employee (s) from working in one or more sections of the Customs House on any of the following grounds:

(a) failure to comply with any of the conditions of the bond executed under Regulation 8;

(b) failure to comply with any of the provisions of these regulations;

(c) committing any misconduct which is of a highly grave nature affecting the interests of Revenue;

(2) Where a Customs Broker has been prohibited from working under sub-Regulation (1), the Principal Commissioner of Customs or Commissioner of Customs shall, within fifteen days of such prohibition, give an opportunity of hearing to such Customs Broker and may pass such order either to continue with the prohibition or to revoke the same or forfeit the security or impose penalty which may extend to a maximum of rupees fifty thousand only.

Provided that, the involvement of the Customs Broker is proved beyond reasonable doubt.

(3) Where an inquiry is ordered or contemplated by the Principal Commissioner of Customs or Commissioner of Customs at the Customs Station where an offence takes place, such enquiry shall be completed within a maximum period of ninety days from the date of offence and a copy of the report of such inquiry shall be given to the Customs Broker within fifteen days thereof. The Prohibition will cease to be in effect on the expiry of one hundred and five days of the date of offence, irrespective of completion of the inquiry proceedings”.

19. Regulation 19shall be deleted.

20. In Regulation 20, in sub-regulation (1), for the words “ninety days”, the words “thirty days” shall be substituted.   

Similarly in sub-regulation (7), for the words “ninety days”, the words “thirty days” shall be substituted.

The following proviso shall be inserted under Regulation 20 (1):

“Provided that where no notice is issued within the aforesaid period, no proceedings shall be initiated against the Customs Broker, and the licence shall be restored with immediate effect.

21. In Regulation 21, the following sub-regulation shall be inserted:

“(2) The Principal Commissioner of Customs or Commissioner of Customs, as the case may be, shall ensure compliance of every Order passed in appeal by the Tribunal, High Court or Supreme Court within a period of thirty days of the receipt of the Order, failing which, he/she shall be liable to face contempt proceedings.”

22. Regulations 22 and 23 shall be deleted.

23. For Regulation 24 the following regulation shall be substituted, namely:-

 “24. Membership of Associations and Federation:

(1) It shall be mandatory for every Customs Broker to enrol himself as a Member of the Customs Brokers Association/Customs House Agents Association at every Customs Station where he intends to transact business, if there is one registered at the Customs Station and duly recognized by the Principal Commissioner of Customs or Commissioner of Customs and keep his membership current at all times;

(2) Every such Association as stated in (1) above shall formulate a Code of ethics for its Members and every Member of the Association shall abide by the same. Such Association may enrol itself as a Member of the Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations in India (FFFAI) or such other apex body as may be formed from time to time.;

(3) Every such Association as stated in (1) above shall be invited by the Principal Chief Commissioner of Customs or Chief Commissioner of Customs or Chief Commissioner of Customs & C Excise, as the case may be and the Principal Commissioner of Customs or Commissioner of Customs, to the meetings of the Permanent Trade facilitation committee (PTFC), Customs Advisory Committee and such other committees as may be formed from time to time;

(4) Any Customs Broker who violates the provisions of these regulations shall be liable to a penalty which may extend to rupees fifty thousand, or revocation of licence in accordance with the procedure specified in Regulation 20″.

  1. Regulation 25 shall be inserted to read as follows:

“25. Representation to Chief Commissioner: (1) Any Customs Broker or applicant who is aggrieved by any Order passed by the Principal Commissioner of Customs or Commissioner of Customs relating to issue of licence, prohibition, imposition of penalty, forfeiture of security or revocation of licence, may make a representation to the jurisdictional Principal Chief Commissioner of Customs or Chief Commissioner of Customs or Chief Commissioner of Customs & C Excise, as the case may be, within three months of the receipt of the Order.

(2) The Principal Chief Commissioner of Customs or Chief Commissioner of Customs or Chief Commissioner of Customs & C Excise, as the case may be, shall call for the file and all related documents and conduct an independent inquiry into the facts and circumstances of the case, which shall be completed within ninety days of the receipt of the representation. Thereafter, within fifteen days, he shall give an opportunity of hearing to such aggrieved person, and pass such Order as he deems fit and proper in the circumstances of the case, within a further period of fifteen days of the conduct of the hearing;

(3) Any person aggrieved by the Order of the Principal Chief Commissioner of Customs or Chief Commissioner of Customs or Chief Commissioner of Customs & C Excise, as the case may be, may prefer an Appeal to the Customs, Excise & Service tax Appellate Tribunal under Section 129A of The Customs Act, 1962 within ninety days of the receipt of such Order”.  

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Category : Custom Duty (6582)
Type : Articles (13971)
Tags : Budget 2017 (351) CBEC (373)

One response to “Suggested amendments to improve working of Customs Brokers”

  1. Ajay says:

    Dear sir ,
    we welcome your all suggestion
    (ii) possess a professional degree such as a Masters degree in any subject or CA/MBA/LLB, having minimum three years experience as a ‘G’ card holder
    This will close the door for other profession to work as a Customs broker & manipulated by only Customs Broker only .

    The applicant who secures a minimum of 50% marks in each paper, shall be declared as successful in the written examination and called for a group discussion followed by an oral examination on specified dates in the month of June, the result of which shall be declared in the month of July of the year in which the examinations are held.
    (2) The written examination shall be conducted on specified dates in the month of March, once in in year, for which intimation shall be sent individually to applicants in advance before the date of examination and the result of the said examination shall be declared by end of May each year.
    (7) The written examination shall comprise of three papers as follows:

    (a) Paper I: Case study base question answer on customs related cases.To check reasoning ability of customs brocker .

    Examination should also conduct for H card holder .
    Qualification 10+2
    There should be not any NOC required from customs broker.
    after qualify exam only the persons authorized to work in customs station .
    This will encourage newcomers to enter in this profession without any barrier(NOC from Customs Broker.)So that more and more qualified person available for this profession.
    Thanks for such a nice article

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