Revised Guidelines for Arrest and Bail in relation to Offences Punishable under Customs Act, 1962
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) under the Ministry of Finance on 16.08.2022 issued and revised the guidelines for Arrest and Bail in relation to offences punishable under the Customs Act, 1962. By way of instruction, all the formations under the control of the Principal Chief Commissioners, Chief Commissioners, Pr. Director Generals and Director Generals have been made aware of the current revised guidelines.
The circular issued vide F. No. 394/71/97-Cus (AS) dated 22.06.1999, F. No. 394/68/2013-Cus (AS) dated 17.09.2013, and Circular No. 28/2015-Customs dated 23.10.2015, which provide guidelines for arrest and bail in connection with offences punishable under the Customs Act, 1962 were revised. In accordance with the revision of threshold limits for the launching of prosecution in relation to offences punishable under the Customs Act of 1962, the threshold limit (s) have been further streamlined.
After the revision para 2.3 of the existing guideline shall read as under:
“2.3 While the Act does not specify any value limits for exercising the powers of arrest, it is clarified that arrest in respect of an offence, should be effected only in exceptional situations which may include:
(a) Cases involving unauthorised importation in baggage/ cases under Transfer of Residence Rules, where the market value of the goods involved is Rs. 50,00,000 (Rupees Fifty Lakh) or more;
(b) Cases of outright smuggling of high-value goods such as precious metals, CBIC-21/209/2022-INV-CUSTOMS-CBEC I/51372/2022 restricted items or prohibited items or goods notified under section 123 of the Customs Act, 1962 or offence involving foreign currency where the value of offending goods is Rs. 50,00,000 (Rupees Fifty Lakh) or more;
(c) Cases related to the importation of trade goods (i.e., appraising cases) involving wilful misdeclaration in the description of goods/concealment of goods/goods covered under section 123 of Customs Act, 1962 with a view to importing restricted or prohibited items and where the market value of the offending goods is Rs. 2,00,00,000 (Rupees Two Crore) or more;
(d) Cases involving fraudulent evasion or attempt at evasion of duty involving Rs. 2,00,00,000 (Rupees Two Crore) or more;
(e) cases involving fraudulent availment of drawback or attempt to avail of
The drawback or any exemption from duty provided under the Customs Act, 1962, in connection with the export of goods, if the amount of drawback or exemption from duty is Rs. 2,00,00,000 (Rupees Two Crore) or more. In cases related to the exportation of trade goods (i.e. appraising cases) involving
(i) wilful misdeclaration in value /description;
(ii) concealment of restricted goods or goods notified under section 11 of the Customs Act, 1962, where the market value of the offending goods is Rs. 2,00,00,000 (Rupees Two Crore) or more.
(f) Cases involving obtaining an instrument from any authority by fraud, collusion, wilful misstatement or suppression of facts and utilisation of such instrument where the duty relatable to such utilisation of the instrument is Rs 2,00,00,000 (Rupees Two Crore) or more.
(g) The above criteria of value mentioned in sub-para 2.3 (a) to 2.3 (f) would not apply in cases involving offences relating to items i.e., FICN, arms, ammunitions and explosives, antiques, art treasures, wildlife items and endangered species of flora and fauna. In such cases, arrest, if required, on the basis of facts and circumstances of the case, may be considered irrespective of the value of offending goods involved.”
The departments and other formations were told to bring the Board’s attention to any issues, if any, that may arise with the implementation of the above-mentioned guidelines.