I wish to express my thanks to http://www.chennaicustoms.gov.in/organiz/
for sharing the historical information shown below.
These are excerpts from "Glimpses of the Glorious Past"
On 31st August, 1798, Lord Edward Clive (1754-1839) son of Lord Clive, the Baron had taken over as
Governor (1798-1803) of Madras Presidency. Lard Edward Clive is more important in the history of the Madras Custom House, than as the famed hero of Plassey. It was this Lord Clive who ordered the transfer of the Custom House from the Fort St. George to its present site. It was also during Lord Edward Clive’s period that the first legalized Sea Customs Regulation Sec.2 of Regulation I of 1802 was passed, and then amended as Regulation II of 1803. It is seen from the Sea Customs Proceedings of that time that Lord Edward Clive abolished the post of the Sea Customer and Land Customer and created the posts of Collectors of Sea Customers, who were appointed in each Sea Port District and were put in charge of
Sea and Land Customs Revenue. The last “Sea and Land Customs Revenue. The last “Sea Customer” was Mr. JAMES Call. The first “Collector of Customs” was Mr. Walter Balfour who took office in the year 1800. In 1808, the Madras Sea Customs was brought under the Board of Revenue.
In 1812, regulations were prepared for the Custom House, ‘Kanakupillais’ (Accountants) were to take account of every boatload and no goods were allowed to be removed from the beach, until such account was taken. The coolies who carried the goods from the beach to the Custom House were to be permanently employed to work at a fixed rate. All goods except grain were to be landed in front of the Custom House. The Master of the ship had to furnish a list of each boat load to be filled within the Kanakupillai’s Cadjan List. Confiscated goods under regulations of 1803 and II of 1812 were sold and after duty
had been deducted, one third of the remainder was given to the Collector of Customs and one sixth to his Deputy.
In 1844, Act VI of 1844 Bill was passed which provided for the Presidency to Control the Land and Sea Customs Revenue.
After 1859, the imported goods were assessed according to rates fixed in the Customs Duties Act, 1859. This was followed
by Act VI of 1863.