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Par passes Customs Amendment Bill to validate notices

New Delhi: Parliament on Wednesday passed a bill to facilitate recovery of taxes worth crores of rupees by regularising notices which were rendered invalid by a Supreme Court order on technical grounds.

The provision was part of the Customs (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2011, which was approved by the Lok Sabha by voice vote last month. It was passed by the Rajya Sabha today.

The introduction of the bill was necessitated as a large number of show cause notices for demand of duty were held invalid by the Supreme Court on the ground that they were not issued by `proper officers`, the statement of objects and reasons of the bill said.

Earlier, the Union Cabinet had cleared the proposal to amend the Customs Act, 1962, to get specified customs officers authorised for assessment of import duty.

The bill seeks recognition to certain customs officials with retrospective effect. On July 6, the Government had specified officers as `proper officers` for issuing show cause notices for demand of customs duty.

As a consequence of the amendment bill, the government would be able to recover customs duty worth several crores of rupees.

Officers of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) have alone issued notices involving customs duty to the tune of over Rs 7,500 crore.

The proposed amendment would safeguard government revenue involved in the show cause notices issued by different tax authorities, including Commissionerates of Customs, DRI, Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence and Central Excise Commissionerates.

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