Libertatem Magazine

Calcutta High Court Quashes FIRs in Alleged Export Violation by Exercising Its Discretionary Remedy Under Writ Jurisdiction

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The Petitioners filed a writ petition raising a common issue arising from seeking to quash the FIR dated on October 23, 2020. The present petition was filed against the Order of the Division Bench, which was passed on 10 December 2020, in the matter of Shri Swapan Roy and Ors. v. The State of West Bengal & Ors.

Facts of the Case

The Writ Petitioners were exporters by profession. They purchased a certain tonnage of bags of wheat from local markets to supply/ export the same. Customs officials discovered that the jute bags bearing the wheat, possessed marks and numbers of the Food Corporation of India, Government of Haryana and Government of Punjab. Suspicion arose that these bags of wheat essentially meant for the public distribution system of the country, and were being diverted to Bangladesh illegally by the Appellants in collusion with other unscrupulous businessmen.

Arguments on Behalf of the Petitioner

The Learned Counsel on behalf of the Petitioners, submitted that the complaint, treated as F.I.R, had been submitted based on unsubstantiated speculation and baseless assumption of the commission of offences. He furthermore stated that the free passage of export consignment cannot be withheld for any reason and that in case of any doubt, the concerned authorities may ask for an undertaking from the exporter and release such consignment.

Arguments on Behalf of the Respondent

It was argued by the Learned Counsel for the Respondent that the Court’s jurisdiction under Article 226 was not the correct forum to quash the FIRs. The Counsel also stated that as the goods were meant to be for the Public Distribution System, the investigation by pertinent authorities should not be interfered with. 

The Decision of the Court

After hearing the Petitioner’s plea, the court ordered the State to initiate fresh confiscation proceedings that were to be concluded within eight weeks. They also directed the State authorities to ensure that the goods which had been seized are kept in a secured manner as directed by the Division Bench court as well.

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