Customs laws will henceforth be tightened by the Central government in a bid to check duty evasion. This will mean that violation of certain provisions will be considered as cognizable transgression. In case the offense is punishable with a 3 year imprisonment, the offender must approach a Court or Magistrate for bail. The proposal states that those who fraudulently avail duty drawbacks that exceed Rs 35 lakhs will come under the new provision.
“…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 of 2012- 2013.
However, the amendment will come into effect only if the market values of goods on which duties have been dodged exceed Rs 1 crore or if duty evasion is over Rs 30 lakh or if there is any effort to trade in proscribed goods.
When it comes to punishable offences which warrant an imprisonment of 3 years or more, bail will be granted to the offender following the hearing by 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,” states the amendment.
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