It cannot be said on the basis of the record available in the present proceedings that the respondents were solely responsible for the delay caused: Delhi High Court  

W.P.(C) 10878/2021 & CM APPL. 668/2023


The current writ petition has been filed before the HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE VIBHU BAKHRU and HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE AMIT MAHAJAN seeking the following reliefs:

  • Issue a Writ of Mandamus or any other appropriate Writ, direction or order directing learned Respondents to release the consignment imported B/E No. 4995142 of 10.08.2021 and 5030730 of 12/08/2021.
  • Issue a Writ of Mandamus or any other appropriate Writ, direction or Order directing Respondents to either pay themselves or to waive the payment of demurrage detention and any other charges.
  • Issue Rule Nisi in terms of prayers one and two and confirm the same after hearing the parties
  • Pass ad-interim ex-parte order in terms of prayer one
  • Award cost of this Petition


The petitioner contends that the consignment comprising of “Knotted Woollen Carpets” was imported by the petitioners from the United States of America on 10.08.2021. The Bill of Entry being B/E No. 4995142, along with other import documents were submitted by the petitioner with the respondent authorities.

On 12.08.2021, another consignment comprising of “Knotted Woollen Carpets” was imported from United States of Emirates and the Bill of Entry being B/E No. 5090730, along with other import documents were submitted by the petitioner to the respondent authorities as well.

It was claimed that the consignment was examined by the Respondent No. 2/ customs and samples were also drawn on 16.08.2021/ 17.08.2021.

The consignment was, however, kept on hold on instructions given by Respondent No. 3/DRI to the custom authorities.

The petitioner then stated that through a letter dated 07.09.2021, requested all the respondents to provisionally release the goods. The said request was not processed. This inaction on the part of the respondents led to filing of the current writ petition.

Learned Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the seizure of goods can only be done in accordance with the provisions of Section 110 of the Customs Act, 1962. He further contended that the order can be passed only if the appropriate Officer has reason to believe that any goods are liable to confiscation under the Customs Act, 1962. He states that no such order under Section 110 was ever passed and the consignment was put on hold only on oral instructions given by the Respondent No. 3.

Learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner further submitted that even if it was assumed that the goods were put on hold by the powers of Section 110 of the Act, the same cannot be for an infinite period and are subject to adjudication. The goods can be ordered to be provisionally released on an application by the importer under Section 110A of the Act if it is so.

Learned Counsel for the respondent submitted that a detailed investigation has already been carried out and through this it was found that no business activities were being carried out by the petitioner company from the declared premises. He submitted that the present case is one of import of mis-declared goods in the name of non-existing entity and is not a genuine import being in violation of Section 7 of the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992.

The Counsel further submitted that the order for seizure of the goods was, thereafter, passed on 09.02.2022, which was brought to the knowledge of the Court and is also recorded in the order of 01.06.2022.

The extension of time limit for issuance of Show Cause Notice by a period of six months was also sought, which was granted by the Competent Authority. The Show Cause Notice for the purpose of adjudication was thereafter issued on 11.08.2022. The learned Counsel for the respondent through this submits that the Department cannot be faulted for any delay in either passing the seizure order or issuing the Show Cause Notice. He contended that the delay had occurred because of non-cooperation of the petitioner.



The seizure order passed on 09.02.2022, was not in dispute.

The request for provisional release of the consignment was also considered and an order of 20.09.2022, has already been passed, thereby, provisionally releasing the consignment. The question now arises if the goods are required to be confiscated pursuant to the order of seizure or any other action required to be taken will be decided on adjudication of the Show Cause Notice.

In the current case the Court stated that the petitioner had not responded to the various letters and summons issued by the respondent. Thus, it cannot be stated that the respondents were solely responsible for the delay. Therefore, no orders were passed directing the concerned respondent to pay the demurrage charges, as prayed.  The Court then disposed of the petition.

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