In the Matter of Narayan Power Solutions v. Union of India a petition challenging the Assistant Commissioner of Customs’ authority and jurisdiction to seal the premises while acting according to Section 105 of the Customs Act, 1962, without prior notice. The petition seeks immediate action to unseal the petitioner’s office premises. The petitioner filed a lawsuit against Customs agents looking into transactions involving items sold by major importer and supplier S.T. Electricals. The petitioner claimed they had no complaints despite not having directly purchased items from S.T. Electricals. The petitioner made it clear that S.T Electricals provided the products to another company, which then sold them to other businesses. The court insisted that the search was focused on S.T. Electricals-related transactions and not a general fishing search.
Observation of Court
In the presence of the petitioner’s representatives, the Division Bench of Justices G.S. Kulkarni and Jitendra Jain of the Bombay High Court ordered the Customs officials to unseal the premises and search for the pertinent documents.
As a severe authority that may only be employed if specifically granted by law, the Court concluded that the right to search cannot be used to seal premises. The severe action of sealing a property interferes with the substantive right to own, use, or occupy immovable property, which may be employed for commercial or non-commercial reasons. The sealing of such places will directly affect the rights protected by Article 300-A of the Indian Constitution. The Court reasoned that the legislature restricted Section 105 of the Customs Act to simply conducting premises searches and left out or did not include the authority to seal.
The petitioner’s premises were not off-limits to searches, the court said, but Section 105 of the Customs Act prohibits searches that are conducted with shut premises. On July 26, 2023, at 10:30 am, the court ordered the authorities to remove the seal from the petitioner’s office building in the presence of their representatives. The petitioner was also told by the court to comply in every way.
CASE NAME – Narayan Power Solutions v. Union of India, Writ Petition (L) No. 19691 of 2023