The Customs Act, 1962
151A. INSTRUCTIONS TO OFFICERS OF CUSTOMS. –
1 151A. INSTRUCTIONS TO OFFICERS OF CUSTOMS.The Board may, if it considers it necessary or expedient so to do for the purpose of uniformity in the classification of goods or with respect to the levy of duty thereon, issue such orders, instructions and directions to officers of customs as it may deem fit and such officers of customs and all other persons employed in the execution of this Act shall observe and follow such orders, instructions and directions of the Board :
Provided that no such orders, instructions or directions shall be issued –
(a) so as to require any such officer of customs to make a particular assessment or to dispose of a particular case in a particular manner; or
(b) so as to interfere with the discretion of the Commissioner of Custom (Appeals) in the exercise of his appellate functions.
The provisions of section 151A of the Customs Act are in pari materia with the provisions of section 119 of Income Tax Act, 1961 and section 37B of the Central Excise Act, 1944. Parliament introduced section 151A by an amendment to the Customs Act, 1962 in 1995 but with retrospective effect from 27-12-1985. When the Supreme Court had already construed identical language in the Central Excise Act and the Income Tax Act, it may be assumed that Parliament had legislatively approved the construction by using the exact words so construed again in the Customs Act. There is, therefore, no reason why the principles enunciated by the Supreme Court under the two earlier Acts should not also be determinative of the construction. But on the later in respect of a materially similar statutory provision; Commissioner of Customs, Calcutta v. Indian Oil Corpn. Ltd., (2004) 3 SCC 488.
1. Ins. by Act 80 of 1985, sec. 12 (w.e.f. 27-12-1985).