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Cus - Public order should be passed by public authority publicly to serve public interest - Litigant should not made remediless: CESTAT

By TIOL News Service

MUMBAI, NOV 14, 2017: THE Appellant is before the CESTAT against a letter of the Deputy Commissioner dated 25.9.2017 conveying the decision of Commissioner.

The Member (Judicial) writing for the Division Bench observed –

"It is settled principle of law that a public order should be passed by public authority publicly to serve public interest. But that should not be a decision conveyed by his subordinate without being passed publicly and behind the back of the appellant. This is the jurisprudence laid down by the Apex Court decision in the case of Commissioner of Police, Bombay vs. Gordhandas Bhanji reported in AIR 1952 SC 16. Also the basic principle of judicial discipline is that a person who hears should pass an order and should not fancifully communicate his order through a subordinate who has not heard the matter. This is the position of law laid down by Apex Court in the case of Gullapalli Nageshwar Rao vs. Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation - AIR 1958 SC 308."

Accordingly, the Bench directed the Commissioner to pass a public order hearing the appellant publicly without communicating his decision through a subordinate.

It is further mentioned –

"4. The communication of the Deputy Commissioner does not specify the reason why the appellant has to carry out the direction of his superior communicated by him without an order of a quasi judicial Authority. Reason being heartbeat of justice, absence thereof buries justice.

5. While passing appropriate order, learned Authority shall grant reasonable opportunity of hearing to the appellant and record its pleadings as well as evidence. Stating reason of his decision, he shall pass appropriate order."

The Chief Commissioner, Customs was also advised to issue appropriate guidelines to the field officers so as to ensure that a litigant is not made remediless.

(See 2017-TIOL-4000-CESTAT-MUM)