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General Instruments Company v. Union of India (UOI) and Ors.

Court :
Supreme court

Brief :
Procedural lapse — Forfeiture of Special Imprest Licence (SIL) — Exemption — Appellant applied to the Joint Chief Controller of Imports & Exports for issuance of an import licence with duty exemption entitlement certificate to avail of Customs Duty exemption on the import of certain raw materials required in the manufacture of capital goods for a project, fully financed by the Government of India — The Controller of Imports & Exports instead of project import license issued a SIL to the Appellant under AM 84 policy, permitting the Appellant to import listed raw materials, without payment of Customs Duty — Show Cause Notice issued as it was contented that supplies made by the Appellant were not treated as discharge of export obligation in terms of condition (a) of the Licence — Appellant was declared to be a defaulter thereby debarring it from getting any licence under the duty exemption scheme or under any other provisions of the Import Export Policy announced from time to time — High Court held that once it is accepted that it was a mistake to issue SIL to the Appellant and the conditions attached to the bond and the licence were wholly impossible to perform, the licensing Authorities ought to have taken remedial steps immediately, particularly when Rule 8 of the Foreign Trade (Regulation) Rules, 1963, empowered JCCI to rectify the error by amending the licence — Whereby substantial claim for CCS stands allowed and the balance claim has been disallowed for want of documentary evidence to show that the project was funded by bilateral or multilateral external assistance

Citation :
Procedural lapse

Held, no man should suffer a wrong by technical procedure of irregularities — Rules or procedures are the handmaids of justice and not the mistress of the justice — Ex debito justitiae, we must do justice to him — However, although the Appellant has suffered on account of confusion in the nature of the licence to be issued to it but Appellant’s main prayer for conversion of SIL into a Project Import Licence having been granted, the wrong caused stands remedied to a large extent — Insofar as CCS claim is concerned, no further relief granted to the Appellant — Appeal partly allowed

CMA Lakshminarayana Pulipaka
on 24 September 2008
Published in Custom
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