NEW DELHI: Internationalization of airports in the country needs to be done not only for looks but also in terms of convenience and amenities. The Delhi High Court has said on a plea filed by Abhinav Kumar which had raised the issue of non-availability of an ‘Appraisal Counter for issuance of Export Certificate’ at the IGI airport in Delhi forcing passengers to travel to Custom House, Jhandewalan, which is about 30 kms away from the airport causing undue hardship to the commuters, here the other day.
The High Court’s observation came a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw directed the Center to shift the “Appraisal Counter for issuance of Export Certificate” to the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport within six months or have an additional counter.
“Internationalization of the airports in the country has to be not only for looks but also in terms of convenience and amenities, facilities and following the practices in vogue at the airports of other countries.
“We direct the respondents to within six months take a reasoned decision on shifting the existing Appraisal Counter to the airport/in the close vicinity of the airport, or having an additional counter at the airport/in the close vicinity of the airport…,” the bench said.
Kumar had contended that other countries like the United States and the United Kingdom have Evaluation or Appraiser’s Kiosk at the airport itself which was not there at IGI airport.
“Indians travelling abroad often carry expensive items intended to be brought back to facilitate return of such goods without attracting any duty, concept of Export Certificate was introduced as a facilitation measure by the Customs Department,” the petition had said.
“As per the Baggage Rules, 1998 framed in exercise of powers under Section 79 of the Customs Act, 1962, Indian males and females who have been residing abroad for over one year can while returning carry duty free jewellery up to the value of Rs 50,000 and Rs 1,00,000 respectively,” it added.
The petition had sought a direction to the Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue and Central Board of Customs and Excise to have such an Appraisal Counter for evaluation of declared items of the passengers at the IGI Airport.
The Ministry of Finance had, however, contended that IGI Airport Customs was short of desirable space and infrastructure and trained jewellery appraisers to provide such facilities.