Excise chief ordered to pay back Rs. 3.65m over excessive fine

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The Court of Appeal has ordered the Commissioner General of Excise to pay back Rs. 3.65 million charged from three liquor store owners in excess of the maximum fine imposable for an offence committed under the Excise Act.

The order was delivered by an Appeals Court judge bench consisting of Justices Mahinda Samayawardhane and Arjuna Obeysekara, delivering the verdict of a petition filed by the three individuals in question including a resident of Nawalapitiya named R.M. Mary Perumal.

The petitioners had alleged that the Excise officers who raided their liquor store had ordered them to pay Rs. 4 million of the Rs. 5 million fine imposed.

Pointing out that the maximum fine imposable for an offense committed under the Excise Act is Rs. 500,000, the petitioners claimed that the fine charged by the Excise officers is against the law.

Accepting the submissions presented by the petitioners, the Appeals Court bench ruled that the fine charged by the Excise officers is in violation of the law.

Accordingly, the judge bench ordered the Commissioner General of Excise to repay Rs. 3.65 million out of the Rs. 4 million charged from the petitioners.