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Mahesh & Company Pvt. Ltd. Versus Commissioner of Customs, New Delhi

2016 (4) TMI 8 - CESTAT NEW DELHI

Validity of impugned order - Competiting claims of title to seized goods - Seizure of assorted gold jewellery - Held that:- it is axiomatic that there is no provision under the Customs Act, 1962 which authorizes adjudicating authorities under this Act to decide competing claims of title to goods which are the subject matter proceedings under the Act,. Adjudication and determination of competiting claims of title to goods which are subject to proceedings under the Customs Act is nevertheless outs .....

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nsel for the appellant, for the respondent SBI and learned DR fairly concede the position that neither the respondent/ Commissioner nor this Tribunal have jurisdiction to determine, in the circumstances of this case, whether the seized goods belong to either the appellant; to M/s. Vee Ess Jewellers; or to the State Bank of India, under the hypothecation agreement between the later. Therefore, the declaration under the impugned order that the gold seized at the air port belongs to M/s. Vee Ess Je .....

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R representing the respondent/revenue. The appeal is preferred against the order dated 31.3.11 passed by the learned Commissioner, Customs (Air, Cargo, Export) New Delhi. The operative portion of the impugned order reads: In accordance with the directions of the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi order dated 11.2.2011 in Civil Writ Petition No. 13070/2009, I hold that the goods, gold jewellery, seized at the airport belong to M/s. Vee Ess Jewellers and therefore the request for re-export by M/s. Ma .....

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jurisdiction, we decline to go into merits of competing claims as to title to the assorted gold jewellery, the commodity involved. 4. On receiving information from DRI, New Delhi that certain companies in India, Dubai and Singapore were misusing the SEZ scheme and importing new and high end, branded gold jewellery, mis-declaring it as old jewellery for repair, assembly etc. and were exporting metal scrap to fulfill export obligations, Revenue officers searched factory premises of M/s. Vee Ess Je .....

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under provisions of Customs Act, 1962, on grounds inter alia, of violation of the Foreign Trade Policy 2004-2009, the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005 and provisions of the Customs Act, 1962. 6. On 20.10.2010, the appellant/ exporter of the seized goods filed a representation before the respondent seeking permission for re-export of the seized goods and lifting of the seizure inter alia on the ground that appellant was the owner of the goods and there was no violation of any Indian law in the e .....

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'ble High Court's order reads:- After hearing the learned Counsel for the parties and in view of the totality of circumstances, we are only inclined to direct that the Commissioner, the respondent no. 1 herein, shall dispose of the representations which have been submitted by the petitioner in accordance with the law. It is open to the petitioner to raise all possible contentions as permissible in law. The Commissioner shall dispose of the representation within a period of 3 months from .....

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of. 8. It is clear from the above judgment that the High Court had not declared that Commissioner had the jurisdiction, authority or power to decide disputes as to the title of the seized goods, between the appellant (exporter) and M/s. Vee Ess Jewelers, the importer or the State Bank of India, SAM Branch, New Delhi, which claims entitlement to the seized jewelry, pursuant to its asserted right flowing from a hypothecation agreement between itself and the importer M/s. Vee Ess Jewelers. The Hon& .....

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1.11.2012, in Customs Misc application No. 562/2012, allowed the application filed by SBI seeking to implead itself as a party to the appeal. Shri I P S Oberoi, learned Counsel representing SBI submits that there were certain proceedings against M/s. Vee Ess Jewellers, pending before the Debt Recovery Tribunal, under provisions of the Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act and the SARFESI Act, for realization of dues from M/s. Vee Ess Jewellers, by attachment and sale of t .....

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erred against this finding of learned Commissioner i.e. that the gold jewelry is not liable for confiscation under the Customs Act. 13. It requires to be noticed that pursuant to the order of the Hon'ble Delhi High Court dated 4.10.2010 and the competiting claims asserted by the appellant/ exporter and of SBI, to the concerned goods, the impugned order proceeds to analyse the competiting claims and records the finding that title to the assorted gold jewellery vests with the importer M/s. Vee .....

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s Jewelers could not have hypothecated these goods to SBI, is the substance of appellant's submission. The respondent SBI contests this assertion of the appellant with matching vehemence. 15. It requires to be noticed that M/s. Vee Ess Jewellers was not impleaded as a party to this appeal. Since the claim of SBI to the seized goods is predicated on the basis of a hypothecation agreement between itself and M/s. Vee Ess Jewellers, entitlement to recovery of its dues by attachment and sale of t .....

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