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Grievance Redressal Mechanism
Grievances can primarily be divided into three categories:
For dealing with complaints against corrupt practices by officers, the department has a separate vigilance organisation headed by the Directorate General of Vigilance. Any complaints of corruption against the officer can be logged with the D.G. Vigilance at New Delhi or the Zonal units of the Directorate of Vigilance.
Similarly, for redressal of grievances against the merits of a decision taken by any officers, the law itself provides for remedial measures in the form of appeals, revisions etc. to the departmental officers or to the tribunal as the case may be. An order passed by the officer contains a preamble indicating the authority to whom the appeal can be made and the procedure thereof. For the details of the mechanism for appeals, revisions the relevant provisions in the Customs and Excise law may be referred.
For all other types of grievances including delays in decision making, administrative machinery exists in each Custom House/Central Excise Commissionerate to deal with such complaints. To begin with each field formation has an officer designated as the Public Relations Officer (PRO) who can be approached for seeking information on any technical or administrative matter.
For delays in decision making on the part of any officer (such as delay in assessment of a Bill of Entry, Shipping Bill or delays in sanction of refunds, drawback etc.) the aggrieved person is advised to meet the senior officers like Joint/Additional Commissioners as also the Commissioners of Customs or Central Excise as the case may be. Usually the Commissioners set apart an hour during the day to meet any member of the public without any prior appointment.
Apart from the aforesaid arrangements, a system of Public Grievance Committees (PGC) also exists in all the Custom Houses and Central Excise Commissionerates. These committees generally meet once a month and take up specific issues pertaining to delays or other matter of general interest. These committees are chaired by the concerned Commissioners of Customs and Central Excise and have representatives from the various local trade organisations as also representative of other government departments, ports etc. On request any person can be invited specially to these committees for any specific issue to be discussed. At some of the places there are different PGCs separately for the grievances of the public sector and private sector entities.
In the Custom Houses apart from the Public Grievance Committees there is also an institution of Watch Dog Committee. This Committee, chaired by the Commissioner meets once a week and takes up all cases of grievances of individual members of the trade or the public for resolution.
There is another forum in the Commissionerates and Custom Houses in the form of Regional Advisory Committees. These committees generally meet once a quarter and take up issues of general interest as against specific cases which are taken up by the PGCs. At the apex level there is the Customs and Central Excise Central Advisory Council which is chaired by the Finance Minister and comprises the heads of FICCI, CII, ASOCHAM, AIMO, FIEO etc. as its members. Two Members of Parliament are also represented on this council. This council takes up general issues relating to procedures and policy for both Customs and Central Excise matters.
VIGILANCE ORGANIZATION OF CBEC
The Directorate General of Vigilance is an attached office of the Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC) in the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India. It is headed by the Director General of Vigilance who is also the Chief Vigilance Officer of the Central Board of Excise & Customs.
2. While the overall responsibility for the maintenance of integrity and efficiency on the part of the officers and staff working under the control of CBEC vests in the Chairman of the Board, the Chief Vigilance Officer interacts with the Board in all matters relating to vigilance and provides the link between the Central Board of Excise & Customs and the Central Vigilance Commission. The Chief Vigilance Officer is appointed with the approval of CVC. The Director General of Vigilance / Chief Vigilance Officer liases with the Central Vigilance Commission, the Central Bureau of Investigation and field formations in matters relating to complaints having vigilance angle, investigation thereof, issue of Charge Sheets, conducting inquiries and imposition of penalties on the erring officers.
3. The headquarters of the Directorate
General of Vigilance is at 2nd and 3rd Floor, Hotel Samrat,
Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. It has Seven Zonal Units at New Delhi,
Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Lucknow.
4. As far as Groups `B', `C' & `D'
officers are concerned, the Commissioner/Addl. Commissioner / Jt.
Commissioner of Customs & Central Excise of the respective
field formations are the Disciplinary Authority. While complaints
relating to allegation of corruption or matter having a bearing
on the conduct of any officer / staff may be posted to the
Director General of Vigilance / Chief Vigilance Officer, in the
interest of speedy investigations, it would be preferable to file
the complaints to the respective Zonal Chief Commissioner or to
the concerned Commissioner himself. In respect of Group `A'
& `B' officers, copy of such complaints may be endorsed to
CVO/DG(VIG). The complaints should be signed giving the full
address including telephone/fax no., e-mail address etc. of the
complainant. Complaints may be sent to DG (Vigilance) or
other officers of his organization whose e-mail addresses are
given in the table below. Full postal address of the person
making the complaint may be indicated while sending the e-mail,
and complaints received on e-mail without the full postal address
of complainant may not be entertained. The confidentiality of the
complainant's identity will be maintained.
5. The names of officers of the Directorate
General of Vigilance along with their designations to whom such
postal complaints may be sent are given below. Sending the
complaints to the concerned jurisdictional office would expedite
the action thereon.