1. This appeal is against the order No. Adj/186/AD/AKL/B/2001 imposing a penalty of Rs. 1.0 lakh on the appellant for contravening the provisions of section 9(1)(d) of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973.
2. Shri Rajan Malkani assailed the impugned order on the ground of its being passed ex parte which is, ex facie, illegal for the reason that he along with the appellant did appear on 15-5-2001 and waited for 45 minutes when he was informed by the peon that the case was being adjourned. Shri Malkani then insisted that his Vakalatnama as well as reply to the show-cause notice be taken on record. Shri Malkani submitted that these have, in fact, been taken on record as could be gathered from the impugned order which contains detailed reference to this reply and yet the adjudicating authority has proceeded on the basis of non-appearance of the appellant and his counsel.
3. Dr. Shamusuddin did not controvert the correctness of the averments made by the appellants counsel.
4. I have given my careful consideration to the submissions made by the appellants counsel as well as the material available on records. I have also carefully perused the impugned order and found glaring inconsistencies therein. I fail to understand as to how the adjudicating authority could give consideration to the reply filed by the appellant on 15-5-2001 and yet issue a show-cause notice dated 24-4-2001 based on such consideration of the appellants reply. Furthermore, if the reply is filed in person on 15-5-2001, there was no justification for the adjudicating authority to proceed ex parte in the matter. The impugned order did not state as to how the said reply was taken on record. I am of the considered opinion that the impugned order is clearly vitiated for not giving reasonable opportunity to the appellant of being heard in the matter and, accordingly, was set aside the same on this very ground. I, therefore, remand this matter back to the adjudicating authority for fresh adjudication after giving due notice to the appellant in the matter. While doing so, the respondents are also
directed to allow inspection by the appellant of the relied upon documents and provide a copy each of these documents to the appellant before this matter is adjudicated afresh pursuant to this order.
5. In the facts and circumstances and the reasons stated above, the impugned order is set aside and this appeal is allowed with the direction that the matter is remanded back to the adjudicating authority to adjudicate it afresh after giving due opportunity to the appellant of being heard after having allowed necessary inspection of documents and provided copies thereof to the appellant.