In order to check duty evasion,the government has proposed to tighten the Customs laws by making violation of certain provisions as cognizable offences,meaning that the offender will have to approach a Court or Magistrate to seek bail.
For offences which are punishable with imprisonment for 3 years or more under the Customs Act,the person will have to move the Court or magistrate for bail,as per the Budget proposal.
This Amended provisions in the Customs Act will come into effect if the market value of the goods on which duties have been evaded exceed Rs 1 crore,duty evasion of over Rs 30 lakh or there is an attempt to import prohibited goods.
“…All offences punishable with a term of imprisonment of three years or more under Section 135 (of the Customs Act) shall be cognizable,” said the Memorandum to the Finance Bill 2012.
It also said that for offences which are punishable with imprisonment for more than three years,the Court or Magistrate will give bail to the offender only after hearing the public prosecutors.
“Section 104A is being inserted to provide that bail in the case of offences punishable with a term of imprisonment of three years or more under Section 135 shall not be granted by a Court or Magistrate without an opportunity being given to the Public Prosecutor to present his case,” the amendment said.
As per the proposal,attempts to fraudulently avail duty drawbacks exceeding Rs 35 lakhs will also be covered under the new provision.
The government is also proposing to remove serious offences from Section 138 of the Act,which deals with summary trial.