In a relief to agencies dealing with customs, excise and sevice tax evasions, the Supreme Court today stayed the operation of a Delhi High Court order restraining these from arresting the offenders till adjudication on evasion of duty concluded.

A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit said that the verdict would remain stayed as it takes away the statutory right to effect arrest of agencies like customs and excise departments in cases of evasion.

The bench, however, clarified that no coercive action can be taken against the accused persons in a case pertaining to excise duty evasion.

The accused had moved the high court against alleged coercive action taken against them by the central excise authority.

The high court had restrained the central excise authority from arresting the officials of online travel portals in the case.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the central agencies, said that he had no objection if there is a direction that no coercive action be taken against the accused in the case.

He said, however, the verdict needed to be stayed as the right to arrest has been taken away by way of the judgement of the Delhi High Court.

“This judgement is like that if a man is caught in smuggling, then too custom, excise or service tax departments can’t arrest him,” Rohatgi said.