Coimbatore: The Madras High Court, while disposing of a petition by advocate V. Nandakumar, has issued directions to the Central Board of Excise and Customs to display a board containing the list of items banned or contraband items in West Asian countries.
The petitioner had filed a writ petition before the High Court seeking directions to the Ministries concerned citing instances of travellers from India being harassed and imprisoned for being in possession of khas-khas, a common condiment used in cooking in India but a banned contraband in West Asian countries.
An Indian passenger, Mohammed Abdul Aleem Bahadur, was sentenced to undergo eight years of imprisonment for possession of khas-khas.
In another incident, two Haj pilgrims were detained for possession of 250 grams of khas-khas poppy seeds.
They were released after 56 days after the Indian Consulate came to their rescue.
The petitioner came to know about these incidents during a visit to Abu Dhabi, and filed the public interest litigation with the intention of preventing such incidents in the future.
Additional Solicitor General of India, M. Ravindran, appeared on behalf of the Central Excise and Customs and clarified that a circular had already been issued by the Department to put up display boards, notice boards at airports/seaports indicating the items banned in West Asian countries such as khas-khas, Indian paan and derivatives.
The High Court also asked the Central Board of Excise and Customs to issue directions to put up such boards in all local languages in the respective States at airports and seaports.