IN THE HIGH COURT AT CALCUTTA
Constitutional Writ Jurisdiction
WP No. 56 of 2018
SADGURU FORWARDERS PVT. LTD.
THE COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS (PORT), KOLKATA & ANR.
The Hon'ble JUSTICE DEBANGSU BASAK
Date : 8th May, 2018.
Mr. Arijit Chakraborti, Adv.
Mr. Nilotpal Chowdhury, Adv.
For the petitioner.
Mr. Amitabrata Roy, Adv.
Mr. Bhaskar Prasad Banerjee, Adv.
For the respondents.
The Court : An order in original dated October 31, 2017 is under challenge in the present writ petition.
The impugned order is appealable.
Notwithstanding the existence of a statutory alternative remedy, a writ petition is maintainable. It is on a rule of discretion that the Writ Court does not intervene when a statutory alternative remedy is available. However, the existence of statutory alternative remedy is not an absolute bar to the maintainability of the writ petition. A writ petition is maintainable, in the event, the petitioner substantiates that, the impugned order has been passed in breach of the principles of natural justice or in excess of jurisdiction or fundamental rights of the petitioner stand breached or where the vires of the Act is under challenge.
In the present case, the petitioner contends that, the petitioner was denied a right of cross-examination of the witnesses of the prosecution produced in the adjudicating process.
The impugned order at paragraph 28.3 records that, the request for cross-examination of one witness was denied. No reason is given in the impugned order as to why such request for cross-examination was denied. On the ground of no reason itself, the impugned order stands vitiated. Moreover, a party in an adjudicating process is entitled to a right of cross-examination immediately upon the other party producing any witness in support of the case of such party.
In such circumstances, the impugned order stands vitiated by reason of breach of principles of natural justice. The impugned order dated October 31, 2017 is set aside.
This order will not prevent the authorities from completing the adjudicating process in accordance with law.
Needless to say that, where witnesses are adduced by one party in the adjudicating process, the opposite party will have a right of crossexamination of such witness. Such right can be waived by the party in whose favour such right accrues. Such waives has to be expressly made.
With the aforesaid observations, WP No. 56 of 2018 is disposed of.
No order as to costs.
(DEBANGSU BASAK, J.)