Section 110 of the Customs Act empowers a proper officer to seize goods while Section 110A allows an adjudicating authority to provisionally release seized goods pending the order of the adjudicating authority. Five Member Larger Bench of the Tribunal has now held that since an order under Section 110A of the Customs Act can be passed only by an adjudicating authority, such an order must therefore be construed as an ‘adjudication order’, and hence appealable before Tribunal.

Additionally, the Bench in this regard observed that any order by an adjudicating authority specifically affecting the rights of the owner of the goods cannot be considered as an administrative order. Further noting that an order for provisional release is a stand-alone order irrespective of the final outcome of investigation or adjudication, the Larger Bench held that an order in respect of provisional release is appealable before the Tribunal under Section 129A of the Customs Act.