Jama Corporation P. Ltd. v Union of India and ors.

Seat of court
New Delhi
Date of opinion

The petitioner aggrieved by the letter dated 23.6.2003 whereby it has been informed by the Ministry of Environment and Forest that the petitioner's request of import of Caiman Crocodilus Fuscus skin from USA cannot be granted. The petitioner intended to import tanned skin of Caiman Crocodilus Fuscus from the USA. This species of crocodile is found in South America. It is not found in India. The petitioner obtained a permit from the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) which is valid up to 17.10.2003. This permit is necessary for the export/re-export of, inter alia, tanned skin of Caiman Crocodilus Fuscus from USA.
The petitioner submits that under the export and import policy for 2002-2007, the import of tanned skin of Caiman Crocodilus Fuscus does not require any license and is free from any condition with regard toobtaining any no objection from the Wild Life Authorities under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
The petitioner has referred to Section VIII,Chapter 41 of the ITC(HS) Classification of Export and Import Items under the Exim Policy 2002-2007. The Heading of Chapter 41 is "Raw Hides and Skins (other than Fur Skins) and Leather", which indicates that the relevant import materialis indicated as "free" under the policy and no condition to the policy is attached.
The respondent made a two-fold submission. In the first instance, he submitted that Chapter 41 would not govern the import in question. In fact, it would be Chapter 1 of Section 1 which governs the import of "live animals". In the second instance, he submitted that if the import is governed by Chapter 41 and in particular Exim Code 41064000, the import would still be subject to Import Licensing Note appended at the end of Chapter 41.
The court concluded:
That the said items cannot be classified as "live animals". Furthermore, there can be no objection to the import of the said items from the angle of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.No"NOC" is required under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and as such the goods be released by theCustoms Authorities subject to the petitioner complying with all other applicable conditions under the Customs Act. (Provided by: UNODC SHERLOC)

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