Imported product was released on payment of penalty charges - CIC: In the First Appeal memo, there was no mention that the appellant wanted personal hearing - CIC is not an appropriate forum for claiming any refund which was paid as some demurrage charges17 Jan, 2021
Imported product was released to the appellant subject to payment of penalty charges - On the issue of not proving an opportunity of personal hearing by the FAA, the CIC noted that in the First Appeal memo, there was no mention that the appellant wanted personal hearing - CIC is not an appropriate forum for claiming any refund which was paid as some demurrage charges
The appellant has sought the following information:
1. Why the botanical name i.e. thysanolaenalatifolia mentioned for recommendation for relaxation to DPPQS, Faridabad Headquarter of non-compliance for the IRO – IR88Mun2018014974 and released in the botanical name i.e. thysanolaenalatifolia despite the PSC clearly mentioning the botanical name as NYPA FRUTICANS. Provide reasons.
2. Mundra Commissioner of Customs clearly mentioned that SIIB approached again Mundra, PPQ, for further clarification, as botanical name was different for which cargo held ‘on importers contention dated 27/12/2018’. Provide the reply given to SIIB for the same. Provide the reason in support of the reply given.
3. And other related information.
Grounds for Second Appeal
The CPIO did not provide the desired information.
Submissions made by Appellant and Respondent during Hearing:
The appellant submitted that he is not satisfied with the reply of the CPIO. He further submitted that since the desired information was not provided to him in another RTI application, this failure on the part of the CPIO to give the desired information at the relevant time prompted him to file multiple RTI applications at the same time. He also submitted that he was required to pay Rs 15 lakh as demurrage charges in a case against him. He prayed that the respondent authority may be directed to refund the whole amount to him with 10% interest as he was unnecessarily made to pay the said charges. He also raised an issue that no personal hearing was given to him by the FAA.
The CPIO submitted that an appropriate reply was given to the appellant on 05.03.2019. He further submitted that the appellant had imported a product from Indonesia which was not permitted to be imported into India from Indonesia as the above mentioned product could be imported from Burma and Bangladesh only. However, later on the product was released to the appellant subject to payment of penalty charges. He also stated that the Directorate has carried out extensive analysis as to whether the above mentioned product can be imported from Indonesia or not and they have submitted their pest risk analysis to the Ministry and this matter is resting there at present. Thereafter, if the Ministry approves it has to be sent to WTO for approval and only then, this information will be placed on their website. With regard to compensating the appellant, the CPIO submitted that there is no provision in their organisation to compensate the appellant and in his case, he was required to pay damages for importing a product without a valid permission as the said item was not a listed commodity.
Having heard the submissions of both the parties, it is noted that even though a point-wise reply was given to the appellant, however, he is not satisfied with the information provided therein. During the hearing, the CPIO explained all the technical points to the appellant which were related to his case and also submitted that the issue of importing Nypa fruticans from Indonesia is pending consideration in the Ministry and as and when it will be approved by them and thereafter by WTO, then all the relevant information will be placed on their website. The Commission noted that since this information was not given to the appellant, the CPIO is therefore, directed to explain all this in writing to the appellant and also to give an updated status about the import of Nypa fruticans.
With regard to the issue of refund, the appellant should note that the Commission is not an appropriate forum for claiming any refund which was paid as some demurrage charges and this matter is between the appellant and the Directorate, hence no relief can be given to the appellant. On another issue of not proving an opportunity of personal hearing by the First Appellate Authority raised by the appellant, the Commission noted that in the First Appeal memo filed by the appellant on 08.03.2019, there was no mention that the appellant wanted personal hearing, nor there was any other document on record from which it could be proved that the appellant had specifically asked for the same. Hence, this issue cannot be addressed.
In view of the above, the CPIO is directed to give an additional reply to the appellant as per the discussions held during the hearing. This direction is to be complied with within a period of 15 days after the lockdown is lifted under intimation to the Commission.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Vanaja N. Sarna
Citation: Rajat Gupta v. Directorate of Plant Protection Quarantine and Storage (DPPQS) in Decision no.: CIC/DPPQS/A/2019/637719/03476, Date of Decision: 14/05/2020