GURU ISPAT LTD Vs. JOINT DIRECTOR GENERAL OF FOREIGN TRADE
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
GURU ISPAT LTD
JOINT DIRECTOR GENERAL OF FOREIGN TRADE
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Samaresh Banerjee, J. -
(1.)The petitioner company, who is a transferee of the Special Import Licence bearing No. P/W/1530312/C/XX/36, dated 25th August, 1995 issued in favour of the Respondent No. 3, has prayed for issue of a Writ in the nature of Mandamus commanding the Respondent No. 1 to issue a duplicate copy of the Special Import Licence. A prayer has also been made for a declaration that Paragraph 21 of the Handbook of Procedure (1992-97), so far as the same purports to provide that the duplicate copy of the freely transferable licence cannot be issued, is ultra vires The Constitution of India.
(2.)Admittedly, the aforesaid licence is a fully transferable licence and although the same was issued in favour of the Respondent No. 3, the same was transferred in favour of the petitioner company on payment of valuable consideration.
(3.)It is the case of the petitioner that after such licence was so transferred in favour of the petitioner in August 1995, the Petitioner No. 2, who is a Director of the Petitioner No. 1 company, had been to Bombay in the first week of October, 1995 taking alongwith him the aforesaid Special Import Licence for business purposes. But unfortunately the brief-case containing the said Special Import Licence was stolen on 7th October, 1995. Immediately thereafter the Petitioner No. 2 in his capacity as a Director of the Petitioner No. 1 company lodged a diary with the concerned police station in Bombay and also requested the respondents concerned in writing not to permit any one to utilise the said Special Import Licence. It is the further case of the petitioner that on 17th October, 1995 a Director of the Company filed an application before the Joint Director General of Foreign Trade being the Respondent No. 1 praying before him to issue a duplicate licence. But no duplicate licence was issued by the respondent and the said Director was intimated orally that in view of Paragraph 21 of the Handbook of Procedure the said application has been rejected. Paragraph 21 of the Handbook of Procedure although inter alia provides where a licence is lost or misplaced, an application for grant of a duplicate copy thereof may be made to the licensing authority in the form prescribed and on being satisfied about the merits of the application, the licensing authority shall issue a duplicate copy of the licence after issuing an order for cancellation of the original licence and informing the Customs authority where the original licence was registered, it has also been provided that the duplicate copy of freely transferable import licence shall not be issued. It is the contention of the petitioner that the aforesaid prohibition for issue of duplicate copy of freely transferable import licence as contained in Paragraph 21 of the aforesaid Handbook of Procedure is wholly arbitrary and illegal. It is the further case of the petitioner that challenging the aforesaid action the petitioner filed a writ petition in this Court being Matter No. 1898 of 1995. But after filing of the said writ petition the petitioner having been served with an order passed by the respondent cancelling the said licence had withdrawn such application and has filed the present writ application also challenging the aforesaid order of cancellation. It is the grievance of the petitioner that the order of cancellation has been passed in gross violation of the principles of Natural justice as the petitioner was not given any hearing and in any event although the order of cancellation can be passed Under Section 9(4) of the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992, reasons for such cancellation are to be recorded. The respondents in their Affidavit contended that the order of cancellation having been passed on the request of the petitioner himself because of loss of such licence, the question of giving any hearing did not and could not arise. It is the further contention of the respondents that the aforesaid provision contained in Paragraph 21 of the said Handbook of Procedure under which duplicate copy of the licence cannot be issued in case of freely transferable licence is quite valid and proper as such provision has been introduced for preventing abuse of such licence in case of loss.
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