F. No.450/160/2011-Cus.IV. New Delhi, dated 13th February, 2012
Subject: Time bound Customs clearance of Cargo from Ports/Land Customs Stations/Air CargoComplexes, CFSs/ICDs – regarding.
Kind attention is invited to Board’s instructions issued from F.No. 450/82/95-Cus.IV,dated 7th July, 1997, Member (Customs)’s D.O. letter F.No. 450/82/99-Cus.IV, dated 2nd June, 2001 and Circular No.42/2001 dated 31st July, 2001 for time bound Customs clearance and to avoid detention of Cargo from Ports/Land Customs Stations/Air Cargo Complexes, CFSs /ICDs. These instructions, inter-alia, have laid emphasis on measures to avoid unnecessary demurrages and difficulties to importers. These instructions have been issued after taking due note of directions of Hon’ble Supreme Court.
2. Despite clear guidelines issued by the Board and reiterated from time to time, it has come to notice of the Board that these guidelines are not being complied with by the field formation. As a consequence of that goods are being detained on grounds other than that are mentioned in these instructions. These avoidable detention results into mounting demurrages in most of the cases. Recently in a case, department has been asked to pay substantial demurrage charges pursuant to Hon’ble High Court order, which is being contested.
3. Board has taken a serious note of it and desires that special care will have to be taken by field formation to avoid any unwarranted delays which may lead to possible demurrage liability on Customs field formation. It is reiterated that where for justifiable reasons in certain types of exceptional situations, release of consignments is not considered advisable even on provisional basis, options must be given by sending intimation in writing to the importers / exporters or their agents to keep the goods in ware houses in terms of Section 49 of the Customs Act. It should be made clear that if the facility is not availed and the goods incur any demurrage, the importers/exporters will be wholly responsible for its payments.
4. Non compliance of the Board’s instructions and in cases of consignments being detained by Customs in routine disputes / cases without valid grounds causing demurrages would be viewed seriously and accountability be fixed on erring officer.
(G. S. Sinha),
OSD (Customs IV)