Customs Manual explains about Grievance Redressal in India


Grievance Redressal methods by Indian customs

The customs manual of India updated till 31st December, 2022 explains about Grievance and its redressal, mainly under five catagories; Grievance redressal related to cargo clearance, Grievance redressal and facilitation measures for passengers, Setting up of 'Customs Clearance Facilitation Committee' (CCFC) , Setting up of Turant Suvidha Kendra and Generation and quoting of Document Identification Number (DIN) on any communication.

Grievance redressal related to cargo clearance  in India

Customs Manual of India, Grievance redressal and facilitation measures for passengers

Setting up of 'Customs Clearance Facilitation Committee' (CCFC), Customs Manual of India 2023

Setting up of Turant Suvidha Kendra, the details under grievance redressal of Indian Cusoms

Generation and quoting of Document Identification Number (DIN) on any communication


The details of Grievance Redressal  of   Indian Customs Manual 2023 under Chapter 32 is extracted below:


Chapter 32: Grievance Redressal

1. Introduction:

1.1 The Citizen's Charter of the Department envisions that the Customs & Central Excise officers shall

carry out their assigned tasks with integrity and judiciousness; courtesy and understanding;

objectivity and transparency; promptness and efficiency. The officers are committed to providing

every possible assistance to the public and trade in implementation of the Customs policies and

procedures. The Department has also taken numerous other measures to ensure that

complaint(s)/grievance(s) are minimized and where received, these are attended to promptly.

These measures include a grievance redressal mechanism for both cargo clearance and

passenger clearance in the field formations of Customs.

2. Grievance redressal related to cargo clearance:

2.1 The clearance of cargo at ports, air cargo complexes, ICDs and CFSs involves interaction of the

trade with the Customs officials, which often results in complaints of harassment, corruption, and

delays. Thus, to redress these grievances the focus has been to simplify procedures, enhance

transparency, sensitize the Departmental officers to their responsibilities, and expand use of EDI

in Customs clearance procedures. Some specific measures for facilitation and handling

complaints/grievances of trade and industry are as follows:

(a) ICEGATE Advanced Helpdesk: Advanced Helpdesk is an online service provided to

ICEGATE users to resolve their technical problems and queries so that there should not be

any difficulty in using ICEGATE services. End users' calls are handled with special care by

the intervention of Helpdesk analysts, Service Area Analysts, Assignees, Shift managers,

senior Custom officers so that the end users get quick solutions of their problems and no

down time occurs and high service standards are maintained.

(b) Management Information System (MIS): A major area of concern for the importers, exporters,

Customs Brokers is to get information regarding clearance of their consignments, which has

been significantly resolved with the introduction of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) at all

major Custom Houses. In all major Custom Houses, a “Tele Enquiry System” allows

exporters, importers etc. to dial the assigned numbers and ascertain the status of the Bills of

Entry/Shipping Bills or Drawback claim. This system can also be used on fax mode. Further,

supervisory officers of Customs can monitor the delays in clearance at any stage. The system

also generates a daily report of all pending Bills of Entry, Shipping Bills, Drawback claims

along with the date of receipt and the level at which the document is pending. For this purpose

the System Manager looks after all EDI related problems and holds regular meetings with

the Remote EDI (RES) users, Customs Brokers representatives, NIC, CMC and other

agencies that support the EDI system.

(c) Accessibility of Senior Officers: The Chief Commissioner/Commissioners of Customs

earmark time on all working days during which any person having any grievances is free to

meet the officer without prior appointment. These meetings ensure timely and prompt

remedial measures.

(d) Public Grievance Officer (PGO): Each Commissionerate has a designated PGO and Public

Notices have been issued giving the names and telephone numbers of these officers. These

PGO may be approached by the trade and public if their grievance is not being redressed by

the dealing officer or his supervisor.

(e) Public Grievance Committee (PGC): A PGC is constituted in each Customs

Commissionerate, consisting of representatives of trade and industry, Custom House

Agents, representatives of Custodians, such as AAI, CONCOR, Banks, Export Promotion

Agencies, such as the Garments Exporters Association, Handicraft Export Association, and

Chambers of Commerce etc. The PGC meets once in a month to address grievances relating

to Customs functioning. In case grievances relate to other agencies such as the Wildlife, NIC

or CMC, their representatives are also invited for these meetings.

(f) Watch Dog Committee: A Watchdog Committee has been constituted under the

chairmanship of the Chief Commissioner of Customs, which meets once in two months.

Leading association of trade and industry and other agencies that interact with Customs are

included in this Committee along with the senior officers of Customs to ensure meaningful

dialogue. This Committee takes note of various procedural delays or problems in general

being faced in Customs clearance of export/import cargo or grant of various incentives.

Feedback from trade and industry is used for necessary review of procedures and taking

measures to remove the difficulties of importers/exporters.

(g) Permanent Trade Facilitation Committee (PTFC): PTFCs having membership of all

stakeholders function in each Customs station to resolve local issues. As a trade facilitation

measure and with a view to encourage stakeholder participation and provide for expeditious

resolution of local issues (without these being escalated to the Department/Board), the Board

has instructed the Chief Commissioners to ensure that:

(i) PTFC are held regularly with minimum of one meeting per month on a pre-decided


(ii) Apex trade bodies are allowed to attend the PTFC meetings along with their local

constituents, who are members of the PTFC.

(iii) Efforts are made to regularly review the membership of the PTFC with the aim of

including all stakeholders in the Customs functioning.

(iv) Chief Commissioners/Commissioners are receptive to meeting local and apex trade

bodies even outside the framework of the PTFC.

[ Refer Circular No.42/2013 Cus., dated 25-10-2013]

3. Grievance redressal and facilitation measures for passengers:

3.1 At international airports more than 90% of the passengers that have nothing to declare walk through

the Green Channel without interaction with Customs. Even otherwise, the Air Customs Officers

have been sensitized to show due courtesy and exemplary conduct towards all passengers.

However, in case any passenger still has a grievance there are a number of illuminated boards

installed by Customs in the arrival/departure halls and in the immigration area advising them to

approach the PRO (Customs) for help. Senior officers of the rank of Assistant/Deputy

Commissioners of Customs are also available round the clock and can be directly approached by

passengers for redressal of their grievances.

3.2 The Notices displayed prominently at the airports also invite the public to lodge any complaint with

the Commissioner of Customs or the CVC.

3.3 An Airport Facilitation Committee has been constituted to look into the complaints of the

passengers at the international airports. This Committee includes representatives of various

agencies working at the airport like IAAI, Customs, Immigration, and Police etc. and meets once a


4. Setting up of 'Customs Clearance Facilitation Committee' (CCFC):

4.1 The Government has in recent times taken a number of measures to create an environment for

ease of doing business and trade facilitation. The measures include the simplification of Customs

procedures, reduction of documents, message exchange between Government agencies engaged

in Customs clearance, and use of digital signature for electronic submission of Customs process

documents. Continuing in this direction, it has been decided with the approval of the Cabinet

Secretary to establish a high-level administrative body at each seaport and airport with the

responsibility of ensuring expeditious Customs clearance of imported and export goods.

4.2 In this regard it is seen that in terms of the Customs Act, 1962 read with the relevant rules and

regulations, imported and export goods are subjected to certain legal and procedural formalities

before being permitted clearance by Customs. These requirements include the submission of

prescribed documents and adherence to laid down procedures before an appropriate legal order is

given by the Customs officer permitting the importer/exporter to clear the goods for the intended

purpose. If provisions of other Allied Acts are attracted in respect of the imported/export goods,

permission to clear the goods is given by the Customs only after getting the suitable

clearance/response/NOC from the Government Department/agency concerned. Some of the major

Departments/agencies that are involved in Customs clearance process are as follows:

(i) Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)/Port Health Officer (PHO)

(ii) Plant Quarantine Authorities

(iii) Animal Quarantine Authorities

(iv) Drug Controller of India (CDSO)

(v) Textile Commissioner

(vi) Wildlife Authorities

4.3 In addition, the Port Trusts/Airport Authority/Custodians and Railways play a critical role in the

Customs clearance process by providing the required infrastructure and facilities. Other local

agencies concerned with logistics, manpower etc. which operate in the seaports and airports also

facilitate the Customs clearance process.

4.4 Since the aforementioned regulatory agencies are critical contributors to the Customs clearance

process of imported and export goods, a delay in receipt of a clearance from one regulatory agency

holds up the Customs clearance of the said goods. Lack of adequate infrastructure in the seaport

or airport or testing laboratories etc. also contribute to delay in the clearance of imported and export

goods. Any other deficiency on account of other stakeholders also enhances the dwell time of cargo

as well as the overall turnaround time of carriers. Another important reason for the delay is the

improper coordination or absence of efficient coordination amongst Government agencies and

other stakeholders involved in the Customs clearance process. Therefore, a view has emerged that

these deficiencies can be best removed by institutionalizing at each seaport and airport an

administrative mechanism with responsibility of expeditious Customs clearance of imported and

export goods and for resolving related trade grievances in a time bound manner.

4.5 Accordingly, the Board vide Circular No. 13/ 2015-Customs dated 13-4-2015 has decided to set up

a Customs Clearance Facilitation Committee (CCFC) at every major Customs seaport and airport

with immediate effect. The CCFC would be headed by the Chief Commissioner of

Customs/Commissioner of Customs in charge of the seaport and airport concerned. Its

membership would include the senior-most functionary of the following

departments/agencies/stakeholder at the particular seaport/airport:

(i) Food Safety Standards Authority of India/Port Health Officer (PHO)

(ii) Plant Quarantine Authorities

(iii) Animal Quarantine Authorities

(iv) Drug Controller of India (CDSO)

(v) Textile Committee

(vi) Port Trust / Airport Authority of India / Custodians

(vii) Wild Life Authorities

(viii) Railways/CONCOR

 (ix) Pollution Control Board

(x) Any other Department / Agency / stakeholder to be co-opted on need basis.

4.6 Terms of Reference for the CCFC are as follows:

(i) Ensuring and monitoring expeditious clearance of imported and export goods in accordance

with the timeline specified by the parent ministry/Department concerned;

(ii) Identifying and resolving bottlenecks, if any, in the clearance procedure of imported and

export goods;

(iii) Initiating Time Release Studies for improvement in the clearance time of imported and export


(iv) Having internal consultations to speed up the clearance process of imported and export

goods and recommending best practices thereto for consideration of CBEC / Departments /

Agencies concerned; and

(v) Resolving grievances of members of the trade and industry in regard to clearance process

of imported and export goods.

 The CCFC shall meet once a week or more frequently, if considered necessary by the chair. The

CCFC shall be headed by the Chief Commissioners of Customs/Customs and Central Excise at the

place of headquarters of these officers. At other places it would be headed by the Commissioners of

Customs/Customs and Central Excise in charge of the seaport/airport. Chief Commissioners of

Customs/Customs and Central Excise are also required to periodically review the working of the

CCFC and its impact on reducing delays in the Customs clearance time of imported and export goods

and in resolving related trade grievances.

[Refer Circular No. 13/ 2015-Customs dated 13-4-2015]

5. Setting up of Turant Suvidha Kendra

5.1 Circular No.28/2020-Customs,dated 05.06.2020provided for setting up Turant Suvidha

Kendras(TSK) for the purpose of implementation of 1st Phase of Faceless Assessment at

Bengaluru and Chennai and Instruction No.09/2020-Customs,dated 05.06.2020, details the roles

and functions of TSKs. Function mentioned in Para 5 of Circular No. 28/2020-Customs are as

follows –

a) Accept Bond or Bank Guarantee;

b) Carry out any other verifications that may be referred by Faceless Assessment Groups;

c) Defacing of documents/ permits licences, wherever required;

d) Debit of documents/ permits/ licences, wherever required; and V. Other functions determined

by Commissioner to facilitate trade.

[Refer Circular No-32/2020-Customs dated 06.07.2020]

6. Generation and quoting of Document Identification Number (DIN) on any communication

issued by the officers of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) to tax

payers and other concerned persons

6.1 The Board in exercise of its power under section 151A of the Customs Act, 1962 directs that no

search authorization, summons, arrest memo, inspection notices and letters issued in the course

of any enquiry shall be issued by any officer under the Board to a taxpayer or any other person, on

or after the 8"" day of November, 2019 without a computer-generated Document Identification

Number (DIN) being duly quoted prominently in the body of such communication. The digital

platform for generation of DIN is hosted on the Directorate of Data Management (DDM)’s online

portal “”  Refer Circular No. 37/2019 dated 05.11.201


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