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2023 (9) TMI 732 - CESTAT MUMBAI
Confiscation of immovable properties procured from the sale proceeds of smuggled goods - section 121 of Customs Act, 1962 - HELD THAT:- Without going into the issue of intent of ‘sale’ therein, it is found that the appellant was not placed on notice of proposal to confiscate his property.
Indeed, both the lower authorities have failed to determine ownership of the property in question and have merely concerned themselves with its alleged characteristic as ‘sale proceeds’ of smuggled goods for dealing with it in the context of finding on gold having been smuggled. This is a dangerous trend for such action could be used whimsically to deprive any legal owner of property – an act of expropriation under cover of law.
The essential condition of the owner having to be placed on notice before depriving title to the goods has rendered the confiscation illicit. For that reason the impugned order is set aside - appeal allowed.