Centre Files Review Plea Against SC Order on DRI

The government has filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court for review of a decision that had brought under cloud powers of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to issue show-cause notices.

The Supreme Court in a 2021 ruling in the Canon India case had held that an officer of the DRI is not a ‘proper officer’ to conduct investigations and enquiries to demand duty under Section 28 of the Customs Act, 1962.

This was damaging to DRI as the SC order was cited by various courts and tribunals that quashed the show because notices issued by it.

The government has now filed an SLP appealing a Punjab High Court decision and seeking direction in a case pertaining to Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Co Ltd that DRI officials are authorized by the Board (Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs) within the meaning of Section 2(34) of the Customs Act.

“It is pointed out that Section 28(11) would come to the rescue of the petitioners for the reason that the additional director general will be treated as ‘proper officer’ under the said provision irrespective of the requirement declared in Section 2(34) of the Customs Act,” said the SLP.

Admitting the petition, a division bench of Justice K M Joseph and Justice Harikesh Roy said that the matter would be heard on March 8.

The government has proposed an amendment in the Budget 2022-23 in the Customs Act to restore the power with some checks. S-ET

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