Government of India
Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
Central Board of Excise & Customs
159A, North Block, New Delhi-1.
11th November, 2009.
All Chief Commissioners of Customs.
All Commissioners of Customs (Airport).
All Commissioners of Customs (Port).
All Commissioners of Customs & Central Excise.
Subject: W.P.No.35418/2006 – Public Interest Litigation filed in the High Court of Madras to put display boards / notice boards in Airports / seaports indicating items banned in the Middle-Eastern countries – regarding.
Sir / Madam,
A reference has been received from the Additional Solicitor-General of India, Chennai indicating that in W.P.No.35418/2006, the Hon’ble High Court of Madras has directed him to advise the Government, in the interest of the Indian citizens going abroad especially to the Middle-East countries, to put display boards / notice boards in Airports / seaports indicating items banned in these countries like Khas Khas (Poppy seeds), to avoid criminal prosecution of Indian nationals visiting Middle-East countries.
2. The issue was examined. Poppy seeds (commonly known as ‘Khas Khas’) is classifiable under Tariff Item 1207 91 00 of the First Schedule to the Tariff Act, 1975. Its import into the country is subjected to certain conditions imposed by the DGFT to ensure that these have been grown legally in exporting country as per requirements of International Narcotics Control Board. Further, imports are also allowed only against registration with the Narcotics Commissioner prior to import and is subject to Plant Quarantine requirements. Similarly, many countries have prohibited / restricted import of Poppy Seeds (Khas Khas) into their countries. Import of Indian Pan and derivative is prohibited for import in the Kingdom of Bahrain for the reason to preserve its environment.
3. Since the import of Poppy Seeds (Khas Khas) is prohibited in majority of the Middle East countries such as UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar etc., Board hereby directs that at prominent places at airports / seaports where the passengers depart, to put display boards / notice boards mentioning the items that are banned in Middle-Eastern countries but are of common use which the departing passengers may carry in his baggage. The ‘Khas Khas’ and ‘Indian Pan and derivative’ may be specifically mentioned as these are commonly used by general public in India but are prohibited in the Middle – East countries.
4. In view of the above, you are requested to do the needful at airports / seaports under your charge at the earliest.