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2016 (8) TMI 530 - MADRAS HIGH COURT

2016 (8) TMI 530 - MADRAS HIGH COURT - 2016 (341) E.L.T. 65 (Mad.) - Release of gold smuggling seizure prohibited goods or not - gold certified to be of foreign origin liable to confiscation voluntary admitted that gold smuggled and sold without invoices and received gold bars in consideration search of various buyers to whom smuggled gold sold - Provisional release of goods under Section 110-A of the Customs Act, 1962 Held that: - the discretion exercised by the competent authorit .....

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the above, is prohibited. For prohibitions and restrictions, Customs Act, 1962, provides for machinery, by means of search, seizure, confiscation and penalties. Act also provides for detection, prevention and punishment for evasion of duty. - The expression, subject to prohibition in the Act and any other the law for the time being in force. in Section 2(33) of the Customs Act, has wide cannotation and meaning, and it should be interpreted, in the context of the scheme of the Act, and not t .....

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Manikumar, J. Writ appeal is directed against the order made in W.P.No.18833 of 2013 dated 17.11.2014, by which, the writ court has declined to issue a mandamus to the 1st respondent to release gold weighing 5541.92 Grams seized vide Mahazar dated 23.07.2013. 2. Facts leading to the appeal are that the officers of the Additional Director General, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Chennai Zonal Unit, Chennai, visited the premises of the appellant's office on 27.03.2013, in connection with .....

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e and one Mr.Shameem, is the person in-charge of procuring gold jewellery for them. 4. Before the writ court, appellant also contended that the request to provisionally release the seized goods in terms of Section 110-A of the Customs Act, 1962 was not considered, despite appellant's assurance that they would cooperate in the investigation and therefore, they were constrained to file W.P.No.18833/2013, for a mandamus directing Additional Director General, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, .....

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-DRI, intercepted at Kamaraj Domestic Terminal of Chennai Airport, along with his son, while they were about to board the said flight. Subsequently, the officers of CZU-DRI, seized 8.452 Kgs of 22 ct gold under Mahazar dated 19.03.2013. The Gold Assayer, certified that the said seized 22 ct gold jewellery is of foreign origin. During the Mahazar proceedings, Mr.R.Mahaveer, admitted that the said 8.452 Kgs of 22 ct gold jewellery is of Singapore origin and that the same was smuggled into India, w .....

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ar and Mr.Praveen, who had engaged in different carriers, to smuggle gold jewellery from Singapore, in small quantities (50 to 300 gms), through different airports in India; that his Burma Bazar operators would collect his gold jewellery from these carriers and hand over the same to him; that he would pay a commission of ₹ 140/- to 150/- per gm, to these Burma Bazaar operators; that his main suppliers in Singapore are, Kin Leon, Simon and Chia of G&J Jewellery. According to the departm .....

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ggled Singapore gold jewellery and that he received equivalent quantity of gold bars of 22 ct from the buyers; that 4.627 Kgs of 24 ct gold bars/bits seized from his premises are nothing but proceeds of the sale of smuggled Singapore gold jewellery. 7. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, has further stated that, based on the voluntary statement of Mr.R.Mahaveer, corroborated with documents recovered from his residential premises, simultaneous searches were also conducted on various buyers s .....

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. Simultaneously, on 27.03.2013, during search operations conducted at the business premises of M/s.Focus Jewel Arcade Pvt. Ltd., Coimbatore, a total of 894 gms of Singapore gold jewellery valued at ₹ 24,88,896/- was seized by the officers of DRI, Coimbatore, as the same was admittedly the remanants of 1400 gms of smuggled gold jewellery of Singapore origin purchased from Mr.R.Mahaveer without bill. 8. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Chennai further stated that in the voluntary st .....

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Saju also admitted to have received imported Singapore gold jewellery from Mr.R.Mahaveer of Mundhra Jewellers, Chennai on 4 to 5 occasions, in the past, on the instructions of the said Mr.T.Shameem and paid Mr.R.Mahaveer, in terms of equivalent quantity of gold bars (24 carat) as per Mr.Shameem's instructions. 9. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, has further submitted that Mr.T.Shameem, Manager of M/s.Focus Jewel Arcade Private Limited, Coimbatore, in his voluntary statement dated 27. .....

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consignments of gold jewellery of Singapore origin of 608.290 gms and 1688.625 gms covered under Invoice No.MJ/2012-13/Credit 1 dated 09.10.2012 and MJ/2012-13/Credit 3 dated 22.02.2013 respectively; that apart from the above consignments, he also received gold jewellery of Singapore origin ranging from 800 gms to 1400 gms, on 5 occasions around the time without any bill; that, the payment for receipt of those imported Singapore gold jewellery received from R.Mahaveer without bill was made in th .....

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re origin in terms of refined gold bars; that during the previous week, they had received around 1400 gms of gold jewellery of Singapore origin without bill from Mr.R.Mahaveer, of which 894 grams came to be seized by the DRI officers; that he was aware that procuring/trading of gold jewellery of Singapore origin without proper documents was an offence, but did so due to their better quality and lower price. 10. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Chennai has further submitted that Mr.Pravee .....

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es restriction on the import of gold into India by a passenger. 11. Placing reliance on the decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Sheikh Mohd Omer vs. Collector of Customs, Calcutta reported in 1983 (13) ELT 1439, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence has further submitted that any prohibition applies to every type of prohibitions, which may be complete or partial and even a restriction imposed on import or export is to an extent, a prohibition. They further added that gold smuggled int .....

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tigation and issue show cause notice. On the date of filing of counter affidavit, investigation was under progress and that therefore, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Chennai has stated that investigation would be completed within the said time limit and show cause notice will be issued to the appellant/petitioner, as well as to others, making it answerable to the Adjudicating Authority, namely, the Commissioner of Customs (Seaport - Import). In the above said circumstances, the Directo .....

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ot be confiscated, under Section 111(d) and 111(1) of the Customs Act, 1962 and penalty should not be imposed on them, under Section 112 of the said Act. Materials on record dicloses that in the writ petition, initially, the Additional Director General, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Chennai, Chennai Zonal Unit, Chennai-17 alone was shown as the respondent. Subsequently, vide order in M.P.No.1/2013 dated 05.08.2013, Commissioner of Customs (Import), Chennai-600001 and Commissioner of Custo .....

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e, provided all the noticees, cooperate with the department. On the above submissions, the writ court in W.P.No.18833/2013 dated 17.11.2014 has ordered as, hereunder: " 5. From the copy of the show cause notice dated 16.9.2013, it is seen that there are 19 persons, against whom, notice has been issued. In such circumstances, no direction can be issued to the respondents, solely at the instance of the petitioner herein, who is one among 19 noticees. 6. Therefore, a direction is issued to the .....

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r, learned counsel for the appellant submitted that "prohibited goods" means "any goods the import or export of which is subject to any prohibition under this Act or any other law for the time being in force but does not include any such goods in respect of which the conditions subject to which the goods are permitted to be imported or exported have been complied with." He further submitted that import of gold is not prohibited. He further submitted that Chapter IV of the Cus .....

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ed counsel for the appellant, further submitted that import of gold is not a prohibited good either under Section 2(33) or under Section 11 of the Customs Act, 1962. Referring to Section 110(1) of the Customs Act, 1962, learned counsel for the appellant submitted that if the proper officer has reason to believe that any goods are liable to confiscation under the Customs Act, 1962 he may seize such goods. Added further, he submitted that as per Section 110(1A) of the Customs Act, 1962, the Centra .....

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ollowing the procedure hereinafter specified, in the subsequent paragraphs procedure set out in Section 110 of the Act. 17. Referring to the Notification No.72/97-Cus.(NT) dated 22.12.1997, learned counsel for the appellant submitted that as per schedule 4A to the said notification, gold in all forms, including bulliion, ingot, coin, ornament, crude jewellery, has been included as goods of perishable nature, depreciation in the value in the passage time, and therefore, the same can be disposed o .....

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ty), gold seized can be released. He further submitted that though, the appellant has submitted their reply dated 18.11.2013 to the Commissioner of Customs (Seaport - Import), Chennai, and also assured cooperation, one of the 19 noticees, has filed a writ petition, challenging the show cause notice dated 16.09.2013 and by virtue of interim stay granted in the said writ petition, adjudication proceedings is not continued, and therefore, there is a delay in adjudication, for which the appellant is .....

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believe that any goods are liable to confiscation under this Act, he may seize such goods. Despite section 110(1-A) of the Act, which empowers the proper officer to dispose of the goods, and when they are not released, according to him, taking note of the difficulties, in the matter of release of goods, until the adjudication is finalised, by Act 2006 with effect from 13.07.2006, Section 110-A has been inserted, which reads thus: "Any goods, documents or things seized under section 110, may .....

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counsel for the appellant that the intention of the Legislature is to provisionally release the goods, taking note of the delay, pendency of the adjudication proceedings and perishable nature of gold and other goods, as per the above said Notification and therefore, it is not open to the respondents to contend that until the adjudication proceedings are concluded, no provisional release can be made. According to him, objection of the respondents, is against the very statutory provision of Sectio .....

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he order and accordingly, adjudication proceedings also commenced, because of the stay of the proceedings, the appellant could not effectively implement the orders. 20. Referring to Section 125 of the Customs Act, 1962, learned counsel for the appellant submitted that whenever confiscation of any goods is authorised by the Customs Act, 1962, the officer adjudging it, may, in the case of any goods, the importation or exportation thereof is prohibited under this Act or under any other law for the .....

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seized is authorised by the Customs Act, 1962, is liable for confiscation, still the officer adjudging, is empowered to give it to the owner of the goods, from whom possession or custody was taken, with an option to pay in lieu of confiscation as the officer thinks fit and in the light of the power conferred on the authority and relying on the decision in Navshakthi Industries Pvt. Ltd. vs. Commr. of Cus., ICD, TKD, New Delhi reported in 2011 (267) E.L.T. 483 (Del.), learned counsel for the app .....

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e revenue and by doing so, the following factors have to be considered: (i) Whether the goods are prohibitory goods; (ii) Whether the goods require specific licence; and (iii) Whether goods are contra band According to him, when gold is not a prohibitory good, in terms of Section 2(33) of the Customs Act, 1962, read with the notifications cited supra, provisional release, should be ordered. 23. Per contra, taking this court through the show cause notice dated 16.09.2013, as to how 5541.92 grams .....

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der the Customs Act, 1962 and where there reason to believe that they are smuggled goods, the burden of proving that they are not smuggled goods shall be: (a) in a case where such seizure is made from the possession of any person, - (i) on the person from whose possession the goods were seized; and (ii) if any person, other than the person from whose possession the goods were seized, claims to be the owner thereof, also on such other person; (b) in any other case, on the person, if any, who clai .....

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ggling", in relation to any goods, means any act or omission which will render such goods liable to confiscation under section 111 or section 113 of the Customs Act. Learned counsel for the 2nd respondent submitted that when the act or omission of the appellant renders the goods liable to be confiscation under Section 111 or 113 of the Act, as the case may be, such goods will fall under the definition of prohibited goods, within the meaning of Section 2(33) of the Customs Act, 1962. 24. Ref .....

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urden under Section 123 of the Act, the goods seized, are smuggled goods and thus prohibited goods under Section 2(33) of the Customs Act, 1962. 25. Placing reliance on the decision of the Hon'ble Apex Court in N.K.Bapna vs. Union of India reported in 1992 (60) ELT 13 SC (LB), learned counsel for the respondents submitted that in the reported case, the department permitted bonding of the goods. It was the case of the department that goods were smuggled. Subsequently, the goods were clandesti .....

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re not assessed to duty are liable for confiscation, and therefore, the seizure effected and the consequential adjudicatory proceedings have to be concluded and till such time, provisional release should not be ordered. 26. Refuting the arguments of the appellant that ultimately, even if the adjudicating authority arrives at a conclusion that goods seized are liable for confiscation, and at this stage of adjudication it is always open to the adjudicating authority to release the goods, on paymen .....

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it can be done only on the conclusion of the adjudication proceedings by the adjudicating authority and in such circumstances, as on today, there is no right, much less absolute right, to claim release of gold, which according to the department is smuggled in to the country. In this context, he also referred to the relevant paragraphs in Lexus Exports case. At this juncture, he also submitted that when Lexus Exports P Ltd's case was decided in 1994 when Section 110-A of the Customs Act, 1962 .....

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ed counsel for the respondents submitted that when clause (d) of Section 111 of the Customs Act, 1962 states that any goods which are imported or attempted to be imported contrary to any provision imposed by any law for the time being in force in this country is liable to be confiscated and when restrictions are made in the statute, subject to which goods are to be imported and when the appellant has failed to discharge the burden under Section 123 of the Customs Act, 1962 then the goods seized .....

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1 vs. Samynathan Murugesan reported in 2009 (247) ELT 21 (Mad)(DB), learned counsel for the 2nd respondent submitted that the decision in Omprakash Bhatia's case has been followed, giving effect to the meaning of the word 'prohibition' and on appeal, Samynathan Murugesan case has been confirmed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court. On the aspect as to how the meaning of the word 'prohibition' in the Act is understood, reference was also made to a decision of Commissioner of Custo .....

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vision Bench of the Kerala High Court in Abdul Razack's case held that the goods brought, is prohibitory, and hence prohibited goods, liable for confiscation. 30. Referring to the judgment in First Track Traders vs. Commissioner of Customs reported in 2012 (286) ELT 681 (Mad)(DB), learned counsel for the respondents submitted that the appellant cannot, at the matter of right, claim provisional release of goods on payment in redemption of duty and in the reported case, the court has held that .....

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to be treated as smuggled goods and hence prohibited. 32. By way of reply, Mr.Joseph Prabhakar, learned counsel for the appellant submitted that Section 11A of the Customs Act, has no application to the case on hand, as the said Section defines, illegal import , as import of any goods in contravention of the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962 or any other law for the time being in force. 33. Referring to Sections 111 and 125 of the Customs Act, which deal with confiscation of imported goods, e .....

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ividual cases, with reference to baggage rules, are not applicable to the facts of this case. 34. Heard the learned counsel appearing for the parties and perused the materials available on record. 35. The fact that gold weighing 5541.92 gms, was seized, under mahazer, dated 27.03.2013, is not disputed. Details of the search in other places and statements given, have been extracted in the foregoing paragraphs. A show cause notice, dated 16.09.2013, has been issued by the Directorate of Revenue In .....

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No.1 of 2013, dated 05.08.2013, Commissioner of Customs (Import), Chennai and the Commissioner of Customs (AIR), Chennai, have been impleaded as respondents 2 and 3. 37. Taking note of the fact that a show cause notice, dated 16.09.2013, has been issued to many noticees, reply affidavit, dated 18.11.2013 of the appellant, the Writ Court was not inclined to issue any direction to the respondents, solely at the instance of the appellant, who is one among the 19 noticees. So saying, the Writ Court .....

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f the noticees, adjudicatory proceedings have been stayed. 38. Before adverting to the rival contentions of both parties, it is relevant to have a cursory look at the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962. As per Section 2(33) of the Customs Act, prohibited goods means, any goods the import or export of which is subject to any prohibition under this Act or any other law for the time being in force but does not include any such goods in respect of which the conditions subject to which the goods are .....

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have been complied with. The expression subject to any prohibition under this Act or any other law for the time being in force and compliance of the conditions, subject to which, the goods are permitted to be imported or exported, are the determining factors, to understand and to give effect to the meaning of the words, prohibited goods . 40. Literal interpretation of the words, prohibited goods and the contention that gold is not notified and therefore, to be released, would cut down the wide a .....

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ttled that a statute must be read as a whole and one provision of the Act should be construed with reference to other provisions in the same Act, so as to make a consistent enactment of the whole statute. Such a construction has the merit of avoiding any inconsistency or repugancy either within the statute or between a Section or other parts of the statute. [Ref. Raj Krishna v. Bonod Kanungo reported in AIR 1954 SC 202]. (iii) In The State of Bihar v. Hira Lal Kejriwal reported in AIR 1960 SC 47 .....

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any rate, to dispel the ambiguity. (iv) In State of W.B., v. Union of India reported in AIR 1963 SC 1241, the Apex Court held that in considering the expression used by the Legislature, the Court should have regard to the aim, object and scope of the statute to be read in its entirety. (v) In State of Uttar Pradesh v. Dr.Vijay Anand Maharaj reported in AIR 1963 SC 946, the Hon'ble Supreme Court held as follows: The fundamental and elementary rule of construction is that the words and phrase .....

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: 11. Maxwell in his book on Interpretation of Statutes (11th Edition) at page 226 observed thus:- "The rule of strict construction, however, whenever invoked, comes attended with qualifications and other rules no less important, and it is by the light which each contributes that the meaning must be determined. Among them is the rule that that sense of the words is to be adopted which best harmonises with the context and promotes in the fullest manner the policy and object of the legislatur .....

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, or, to use Sir Edward Cole's words, to suppress the mischief and advance the remedy. (vii) In Commissioner of Sales Tax v. M/s.Mangal Sen Shyamlal reported in 1975 (4) SCC 35 = AIR 1975 SC 1106, the Apex Court held that, "A statute is supposed to be an authentic repository of the legislative will and the function of a court is to interpret it "according to the intent of them that made it". From that function the court is. not to resile. It has to abide by the maxim, ut res m .....

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its due import and significance. (ix) In Balasinor Nagrik Co-operative Bank Ltd., v. Babubhai Shankerlal Pandya reported in 1987 (1) SCC 606, the Supreme Court, at Paragraph 4, held as follows: It is an elementary rule that construction of a section is to be made of all parts together. It is not permissible to omit any part of it. For, the principle that the statute must be read as a whole is equally applicable to different parts of the same section. .......It also provides for the manner of the .....

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on is best which makes the textual interpretation match the contextual. A statute is best interpreted when we know why it was enacted. With this knowledge, the statute must be read, first as a whole and then section by section, clause by clause, phrase by phrase and word by word. If a statute is looked at, in the context of its enactment, with the glasses of the statute-maker, provided by such context, its scheme, the sections, clauses, phrases and words may take colour and appear different than .....

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in 2003 (7) SCC 628, the Supreme Court held that, Contextual reading is a well-known proposition of interpretation of statute. The classes of a statute should be construed with reference to the context vis-a-vis the other provisions so as to make a consistent enactment of the whole statute relating to the subject-matter. The rule of "ex visceribus actus" should be resorted to in a situation of this nature. (xii) In State of Gujarat v. Salimbhai Abdulgaffar Shaikh reported in 2003 (8) .....

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It is also the duty of the Court to find out the true intention of the legislature and to ascertain the purpose of Statute and give full meaning to the same. The different provisions in the Statute should not be interpreted in abstract but should be construed keeping in mind the whole enactment and the dominant purpose that it may express. (xiii) In A.N.Roy Commissioner of Police v. Suresh Sham Singh reported in AIR 2006 SC 2677, the Apex Court held that, It is now well settled principle of law .....

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ambiguity in a manner consistent with the purpose of the provision, having regard to the great consequences of the alternative constructions. (xiv) In Visitor Amu v. K.S.Misra reported in 2007 (8) SCC 594, the Supreme Court held that, It is well settled principle of interpretation of the statute that it is incumbent upon the Court to avoid a construction, if reasonably permissible on the language, which will render a part of the statute devoid of any meaning or application. The Courts always pre .....

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tances conceivably within the contemplation of the statute. 41. In the light of the decisions and in the context of what is observed above, the expression, in section 2(33) of the Act, "prohibition under this Act" or any other law for the time being, has to be examined with the other provisions in the Customs Act, 1962. Section 2(39) of the Act, defines Smuggling in relation to any goods, which means, any act or omission which will render such goods liable to confiscation under section .....

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nce) as may be specified in the notification, the import or export of goods of any specified description. (2) The purposes referred to in sub-section (1) are the following:- (a) the maintenance of the security of India; (b) the maintenance of public order and standards of decency or morality; (c) prevention of smuggling; (d) prevention of shortage of goods of any description; (e) conservation of foreign exchange and the safeguarding of balance of payments; (f) prevention of injury to the economy .....

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historic or archaeological value; (m) conservation of exhaustible natural resources; (n) protection of patents, trademarks and copyrights; (o) prevention of deceptive practices; (p) carrying on of foreign trade in any goods by the State, or by a Corporation owned or controlled by the State to the exclusion, complete or partial, of citizens of India; (q) the fulfilment of obligations under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security; (r) implementati .....

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the general public. 42. Chapter IV-A deals with detection of illegally imported goods and prevention of the disposal thereof. Section 11A speaks about illegal import, intimated place, notified date and notified goods. Section 11A(a) of the Act, defines, illegal import and the same is extracted hereunder: illegal import" means the import of any goods in contravention of the provisions of this Act or any other law for the time being in force. 43. Chapter XIII deals with searches, seizure and .....

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except with the previous permission of such officer. (1A) The Central Government may, having regard to the perishable or hazardous nature of any goods, depreciation in the value of the goods with the passage of time, constraints of storage space for the goods or any other relevant considerations, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify the goods or class of goods which shall, as soon as may be after its seizure under sub-section (1), be disposed of by the proper officer in such manner a .....

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ings under this Act and shall make an application to a Magistrate for the purpose of - (a) certifying the correctness of the inventory so prepared; or (b) taking, in the presence of the Magistrate, photographs of such goods, and certifying such photographs as true; or (c) allowing to draw representative samples of such goods, in the presence of the Magistrate, and certifying the correctness of any list of samples so drawn. (1C) Where an application is made under sub-section (1B), the Magistrate .....

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y seize any documents or things which, in his opinion, will be useful for, or relevant to, any proceeding under this Act. (4) The person from whose custody any documents are seized under sub-section (3) shall be entitled to make copies thereof or take extracts there from in the presence of an officer of customs. 44. Section 110A deals with provisional release of goods, documents and things seized pending adjudication and the said section is extracted hereunder: "Any goods, documents or thin .....

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fiscation: - (a) any goods imported by sea or air which are unloaded or attempted to be unloaded at any place other than a customs port or customs airport appointed under clause (a) of section 7 for the unloading of such goods; (b) any goods imported by land or inland water through any route other than a route specified in a notification issued under clause (c) of section 7 for the import of such goods; (c) any dutiable or prohibited goods brought into any bay, gulf, creek or tidal river for the .....

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t or import report which are not so mentioned; (g) any dutiable or prohibited goods which are unloaded from a conveyance in contravention of the provisions of section 32, other than goods inadvertently unloaded but included in the record kept under sub-section (2) of section 45; (h) any dutiable or prohibited goods unloaded or attempted to be unloaded in contravention of the provisions of section 33 or section 34; (i) any dutiable or prohibited goods found concealed in any manner in any package .....

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ained therein; (l) any dutiable or prohibited goods which are not included or are in excess of those included in the entry made under this Act, or in the case of baggage in the declaration made under section 77; (m) any goods which do not correspond in respect of value or in any other particular with the entry made under this Act or in the case of baggage with the declaration made under section 77 in respect thereof, or in the case of goods under transhipment, with the declaration for transhipme .....

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oned by the proper officer; (p) any notified goods in relation to which any provisions of Chapter IVA or of any rule made under this Act for carrying out the purposes of that Chapter have been contravened." 46. Section 112 deals with the penalty for improper importation of goods, etc., and the same is extracted hereunder: SECTION 112. Penalty for improper importation of goods, etc.- Any person, - (a) who, in relation to any goods, does or omits to do any act which act or omission would rend .....

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other law for the time being in force, to a penalty not exceeding the value of the goods or five thousand rupees, whichever is the greater; (ii) in the case of dutiable goods, other than prohibited goods, to a penalty not exceeding the duty sought to be evaded on such goods or five thousand rupees, whichever is the greater; (iii) in the case of goods in respect of which the value stated in the entry made under this Act or in the case of baggage, in the declaration made under section 77 (in eith .....

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goods falling both under clauses (ii) and (iii), to a penalty not exceeding the duty sought to be evaded on such goods or the difference between the declared value and the value thereof or five thousand rupees, whichever is the highest. 47. Smuggling in relation to any goods is forbidden and totally prohibited. Failure to check the goods on the arrival at the customs station and payment duty at the rate prescribed, would fall under the second limb of section 112(a) of the Act, which states omiss .....

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in a case where such seizure is made from the possession of any person, - (i) on the person from whose possession the goods were seized; and (ii) if any person, other than the person from whose possession the goods were seized, claims to be the owner thereof, also on such other person; (b) in any other case, on the person, if any, who claims to be the owner of the goods so seized. (2) This section shall apply to gold, and manufactures thereof, watches, and any other class of goods which the Cen .....

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wner of the goods or, where such owner is not known, the person from whose possession or custody such goods have been seized, an option to pay in lieu of confiscation such fine as the said officer thinks fit : Provided that, without prejudice to the provisions of the proviso to sub-section (2) of section 115, such fine shall not exceed the market price of the goods confiscated, less in the case of imported goods the duty chargeable thereon. (2) Where any fine in lieu of confiscation of goods is .....

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e confiscated goods. 51. The main contention of the learned counsel for the appellant is that the gold is not a prohibited good, in terms of Section 2(33) of the Customs Act, 1962 and when the Central Government, having regard to the perishable nature, depreciation in the value of the goods with the passage of time, constraints of storage space and valuable nature of the goods, mentioned in the Schedule, vide Notification No.72/97-Cus. (NT), dated 22.12.1997, in exercise of the powers conferred .....

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delay in release of consignments due to classification disputes, seizure and provisional release thereof, is extracted hereunder: I am directed to say that the trade has represented to the Board that the items involved in classification disputes should not be withheld but should be released by resorting to provisional assessment. 2. The matter has been examined by the Board. It may be mentioned that in case of classification disputes, by and large, option is given for provisional clearance/asse .....

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arehouses. Adequate B.G./security may be taken to safeguard revenue (including possible fine and penalty). In case where it is decided to detain the consignment action should be taken to shift the same to a Customs Warehouse under Section 49 of the Customs Act, 1962 [Board's Circular No.84/95-Cus., dated 25.07.1995 may be referred to 1995(79) ELT T12]. 3. Kindly, bring the above instructions to the knowledge of all concerned. 52. Though the learned counsel for the appellant submitted that go .....

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that the circulars do not mandate that smuggled goods seized and liable for confiscation, also should be mandatorily released, immediately after seizure. 53. The Board has made it clear, unless the import/clearance is totally prohibited or banned, under any law, for the time being in force or where prosecution is contemplated, good seized need not be released. There cannot be any dispute that, smuggling as defined in section 2(39) of the Act and included in Sub-Section (i) to Section 11 of the A .....

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ustoms Act or any other law for the time being in force, such prohibition is mentioned? what are all the things to be prohibited and whether the goods imported or exported are in contravention of the subject matters, enumerated in the Customs Act, 1962 or any other law for the time being in force, are prohibited goods? At this juncture, the authorities also duty bound to consider, as to whether, for the goods imported/exported, there is prohibition or restriction, in the Customs Act, 1962 or any .....

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of gold, alleged to have been smuggled. At this juncture, it is relevant to extract Paragraphs 41 and 42 in the show cause notice, dated 16.09.2013, issued by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, as to how, the gold came to be seized and liable for confiscation, 41. As per Section 111(d) of Customs Act, 1962, any goods which are imported or attempted to be imported or are brought within the Indian Customs waters for the purpose of being imported, contrary to any prohibition imposed by or und .....

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ry from Singapore while arriving at various airports and have neither declared them to Customs nor they paid any duty on them. Hence, they are liable to confiscation as per section 111(d) and 111(1) of the ibid Act. Further, as per Section 79 of Customs, only bona fide baggage of a passenger is exempted from payment of duty, subject to the limits prescribed under Baggage Rules, 1998. As per Section 77 of the Customs Act, 1962, the owner of any baggage shall for the purpose of clearing the same h .....

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der Foreign Trade Regulations and the Customs Act, 1962, clearly indicate that conditions have been imposed on the import gold jewellery into india as baggage by a passenger inasmuch as only passengers complying certain conditions such as he/she should be of Indian origin or a Indian passport holder with minimum six months stay abroad etc, can import gold jewellery for their bona fide personal use and the same has to be declared to the Customs at the time of their arrival and pay applicable duty .....

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ewellery through passenger baggage is to an extent a prohibition and any violation of the said conditions/restrictions would make the impugned goods viz., gold jewellery liable for confiscation under Section 111 of Customs Act, 1962. 55. In the light of the above, let us consider the decisions, relied on by the learned counsel appearing for both parties. 56. In N.K.Bapna v. Union of India reported in 1992 (60) ELT 13 (SC), the petitioner therein was the Managing Director of Company, engaged in t .....

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warehouse, without the permission of the proper officer. Referring to Sections 111(J) and 243 of the Customs Act and Section 2(39), which defines, Smuggling , the Hon'ble Apex Court held that, The third point made by Sri Sen is that once goods are cleared by the customs authorities, they are not liable to confiscation unless the order granting clearance is reversed in appropriate proceedings. He places reliance for this proposition on Union of India v. Jain Shudh Vanaspathi [1992 (1) Scale 3 .....

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ea of the importer that their import was not prohibited. The High Court held that so long as this acceptance stood the goods were not liable to confiscation. We are here concerned with the question whether the goods are liable to confiscation under s.111(j) and this question has to be answered in the affirmative in view of the language of the section. The conclusion here that the goods are liable to confiscation does not go behind or ignore the effect of the order of clearance, as in that case. .....

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. Ltd., reported in 1994 (71) ELT 348 (SC), a learned single Judge directed release of the seized goods. On appeal by the revenue, a Hon'ble Division Bench directed export of the goods, during the pendency of adjudicatary proceedings. While testing the correctness of the same, the Hon'ble Supreme Court, at Paragraphs 2 and 3, held as follows: 2. We fail to appreciate how this intervention could have been made by the High Court in a matter of this kind at that particular stage. Sri Chidam .....

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f it but on closer scrutiny it is not as sound as it is attractive. The proceedings of seizure and confiscation are proceedings in rem. Until the culmination of the adjudication it is difficult to envisage any right on the part of the respondents from whom they are seized to export them on the basis of a future title they expect to acquire by payment of fine. Learned Counsel, however, says that it would earn foreign exchange for the country. But sanctity of legal proceedings cannot be whittled d .....

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appear before the authority without further notice. The authority shall call the matter on that date for further proceedings in the matter. The claim of the respondents to entitlement to redeem the goods by payment of fine in lieu of confiscation may be considered by the authority at the appropriate stage and in accordance with law. If the goods are so returned to the respondents, then respondents may become entitled to export them. Against the adjudication the respondents shall, of course, be .....

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ntention, by stating that, until the culmination of the adjudication, it is difficult to envisage any right on the part of the respondents therein from whom they are seized to export them on the basis of a future title they expect to acquire by payment of fine." 59. In Om Prakash Bhatia v. Commissioner of Customs, Delhi reported in 2003 (155) ELT 423 (SC), the Hon'ble Apex Court considered a case of over-invoicing goods and consequently, a claim of fraudulent drawback. According to Mr.A .....

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provisions and in that context, Section 113(D) of the Act would be attracted, which states that, any goods attempted to be exported or brought within the limits of any customs area for the purpose of being exported, contrary to any prohibition imposed by or under this Act or any other law for the time being in force. and with reference to the word, prohibition imposed by or under the Act or any other law for the time being in force and also taking note of Section 2(33) of the Act, which defines .....

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his would not include any such goods in respect of which the conditions, subject to which the goods are imported or exported, have been complied with. This would mean that if the conditions prescribed for import or export of goods are not complied with, it would be considered to be prohibited goods. This would also be clear from Section 11 which empowers the Central Government to prohibit either 'absolutely' or 'subject to such conditions' to be fulfilled before or after clearanc .....

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d others [(1970) 2 SCC 728], wherein it was contended that the expression 'prohibition' used in Section 111(d) must be considered as a total prohibition and that the expression does not bring within its fold the restrictions imposed by clause (3) of the Import Control Order, 1955. The Court negatived the said contention and held thus: " What clause (d) of Section 111 says is that any goods which are imported or attempted to be imported contrary to "any prohibition imposed by an .....

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erent expressions "prohibiting", "restricting" or "otherwise controlling", we cannot cut down the amplitude of the word "any prohibition" in Section 111(d) of the Act. "Any prohibition" means every prohibition. In other words all types of prohibitions. Restriction is one type of prohibition. From item (I) of Schedule I, Part IV to Import Control Order, 1955, it is clear that import of living animals of all sorts is prohibited. But certain excepti .....

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r, 1955, read with Section 3(i) of Import and Export Control Act, 1947. Though in the above case, a contention was raised by the respondent that the gold is not a prohibited item and it was only a restricted item and therefore, there is a mandatory duty, on the part of the proper officer to give option to the person, guilty of adjudicatory proceedings to pay fine, in lieu of confiscation, taking note of the judgment in Shaik Jamal Basha v. Government of India reported in 1997 (91) ELT 277 (AP), .....

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ioner of Customs (2003 (6) SCC 161) and in paragraph No.10 of the said judgment the Supreme Court held as follows: 10. From the aforesaid definition, it can be stated that (a) if there is any prohibition of import or export of goods under the Act or any other law for the time being in force, it would be considered to be prohibited goods; and (b) this would not include any such goods in respect of which the conditions, subject to which the goods are imported or exported, have been complied with. .....

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oses specified in Sub-section (2). Hence, prohibition of importation or exportation could be subject to certain prescribed conditions to be fulfilled before or after clearance of goods. If conditions are not fulfilled, it may amount to prohibited goods. This is also made clear by this Court in Sheikh Mohd. Omer v. Collector of Customs, Calcutta and others [(1970) 2 SCC 728], wherein it was contended that the expression 'prohibition' used in Section 111(d) must be considered as a total pr .....

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to every type of "prohibition". That prohibition may be complete or partial. Any restriction on import or export is to an extent a prohibition. The expression "any prohibition" in Section 111(d) of the Customs Act, 1962 includes restrictions. Merely because Section 3 of the Imports and Exports (Control) Act, 1947, uses three different expressions "prohibiting", "restricting" or "otherwise controlling", we cannot cut down the amplitude of the wor .....

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ntemplates import of gold subject to certain conditions. The relevant paragraphs of Import trade control order are extracted as follows: Import of Gold permitted as Baggage. Import of gold in any form, including ornaments but excluding ornaments studded with stones or pearls, is allowed to be imported as part of baggage by passengers of Indian origin or a passenger holding a valid passport issued under the Passport Act subject to the following conditions: that the passenger importing the gold is .....

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hip Act, 1955 (57 of 1955); provided that the national of Pakistan or Bangladesh shall be deemed to be not of Indian origin. A spouse (not being a national of Pakistan or Bangladesh) of a person of Indian origin shall also be deemed to be of Indian origin. 8. ............ 9. In view of meaning of the word prohibition as construed laid down by the Supreme Court in Om Prakash Bhatia case we have to hold that the imported gold was prohibited goods since the respondent is not an eligible passenger w .....

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In Abdul Razak v. Union of India reported in 2012 (275) ELT 300 (Ker)(DB), there was an attempt by the appellant therein to smuggle gold, weighing over 8 Kgs, by concealing the same, in emergency light, mixie, grinder and car horns, etc. The authorities seized the same. Adjudicatory proceedings ended in confiscation. Contention of the appellant therein, before the High Court, was that Section 125 of the Customs Act, 1962, does not provide for confiscation of goods, other than prohibited goods. R .....

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ch import is subject to lot of restrictions including the necessity to declare the goods on arrival at the Customs Station and make payment of duty at the rate prescribed. There is no need for us in this case to consider the conditions on which import is permissible and whether the conditions are satisfied because the appellant attempted to smuggle out the goods by concealing the same in emergency light, mixie, grinder and car horns etc. and hence the goods so brought is prohibitory goods as the .....

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dictum laid down by the Kerala High Court in Abdul Razak's case (cited supra), is that even though gold is not an enumerated prohibited item and thus, can be imported, but when such import is subject to restrictions, including the necessity to declare the goods on arrival at the Customs Station and make payment of duty at the rate prescribed, release of the smuggled goods cannot be ordered. 64. Dictum of the Hon'ble Supreme Court and the High Courts makes it clear that gold, may not be o .....

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o be imported or exported have been complied with. When there is a violation of statutory prohibitions, mentioned in Sections 11 and 11A of the Customs Act, 1962 or any other law, for the time being in force or restrictions imposed, such restrictions would also encompass the expression, any prohibition. 65. Though the learned counsel for the appellant contended that the decisions in Samyanathan Murugesan's case (cited supra) and Abdul Razak's case (cited supra), have been rendered in ind .....

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sions cited supra apply to all the importers and they are bound to comply with the conditions of import and there cannot be any exception to the binding precedent. Distinction sought to be made, on the above grounds, is liable to be rejected and accordingly, rejected. 66. In Commissioner of Customs, Chennai v. Brinda Enterprises reported in 2010 (262) ELT 239 (Mad.), the company mis-declared the goods and there was no specific licence or certificate of registration. The adjudicating authority or .....

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ot an eligible passenger as he did not satisfy the conditions. The impugned order deserves to be set aside. In view of the above decision, the order, dated 30.04.2008 consequent to the order of remand also is set aside. Since we are of the opinion that the conclusion of the Tribunal was wrong and the order of remand was also erroneous. 67. From the decisions in Samyanathan Murugesan's case (cited supra), Abdul Razak's case (cited supra) and Brinda Enterprises's case (cited supra), it .....

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lse declaration, a Hon'ble Division Bench of this Court held that when the condition is violated, the authorities can definitely have the recourse under law. 69. In Ashish Kumar Chaurasia v. Commissioner, CESTAT reported in 2015 (325) ELT 250 (All.), 79 silver ingots of foreign orgin, were recovered from the premises of the appellant therein. On the facts and circumstances of the case, the Allahabad High Court held that the appellant therein has failed to prove that the seized silver ingots .....

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g mobiles. A search was conducted by the Officers of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Trivandrum, in the baggages of the petitioner therein. Thereafter, statements were recorded. On completion of the investigation, a show cause notice was issued, under Section 124 of the Customs Act, 1962, proposing as to why, the seized goods should not be confiscated and penalty should not be imposed. He sent a reply, disputing the allegations. A Writ Petition has been filed, seeking for a direction to the .....

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hence, cannot be released provisionally under Section 110 of the Customs Act, 1962, at Paragraphs 13 and 14, a learned single Judge of this Court held as follows: 13. Further, when the goods were confiscated under Section 111(d) and 111(I) of the Customs Act, 1962, the question of provisional release under Section 110 of the Customs Act, 1962, does not arise. Therefore, this Court is of view that only after the completion of adjudication process, the adjudicating authority would decide whether t .....

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toms (Prev.), Mumbai v. M.Ambalal & Co., reported in 2010 (260) ELT 487 (SC), after referring to the expression, dutiable goods , duty , import , imported goods , importer and smuggling , etc., the Hon'ble Supreme Court explained the object of the Act and as to how, the words, smuggled goods should be read within the definition of imported goods' for the purpose of the Customs Act, 1962. At Paragraphs 6 to 8, 10, 13 and 14, the Hon'ble Supreme Court held as follows: 6) We may now .....

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y goods brought into India from a place outside India but does not include goods which have been cleared for home consumption. Importer' means in relation to any goods at any time between their importation and the time when they are cleared for home consumption, includes any owner or any person holding himself out to be the importer. Smuggling', in relation to any goods, means any act or omission which will render such goods liable to confiscation under Section 111 or Section 113 of the .....

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duty is fixed by the Customs Tariff Act, 1975. "Import" and "Imported Goods" means that if goods are brought into India, meaning thereby into the territory of India from outside, there is import of goods and the goods become imported goods and become chargeable to duty upto the moment they are cleared for home consumption. The word importer' has been defined in the Act as importer in relation to any goods at any time between their importation and the time when they are cl .....

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d description. Section 11A to 11G speaks of detention of illegally imported goods and prevention of the disposal thereof. Section 12 of the Act is the charging Section. Under this Section, the duty is leviable on all imported goods. Valuation of the imported goods is done as provided under Section 14 of the Act. Section 25 of the Act empowers the Central Government to issue notifications exempting generally either absolutely or subject to such conditions as specified in the notification, goods o .....

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mported, contrary to any prohibition imposed by or under this Act or any other law for the time being in force, shall be liable for confiscation. Section 112 of the Act provides for penalties for improper importation of goods. ........... 10) It is settled law that the notification has to be read as a whole. If any of the conditions laid down in the notification is not fulfilled, the party is not entitled to the benefit of that notification. The rule regarding exemptions is that exemptions shoul .....

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. But this is only apparent. A close scrutiny will reveal that there is no real contradiction amongst the judgements at all. The synthesis of the views is quite clearly that the general rule is strict interpretation while special rule in the case of beneficial and promotional exemption is liberal interpretation. The two go very well with each other because they relate to two different sets of circumstances. ............ 13) In short, question before us is whether goods that are smuggled into the .....

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ame, then there would be no need to have two different definitions. 14) In order to understand the true meaning of the term imported goods' in the exemption notification, the entire scheme of the Act requires to be taken note of. As noted above, imported goods' for the purpose of this Act is explained by a conjoint reading of Section 2(25), Section 11, Section 111 and Section 112. Reading these Sections together, it can be found that one of the primary purposes for prohibition of import .....

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would be contrary to the purpose of exemption notifications to accord the benefit meant for imported goods on smuggled goods. 72. Following an earlier decision of this Court in W.P.No.21194 of 2013, dated 08.10.2014, in a decision in R.K.Enterprises v. The Commissioner of Customs reported in 2015-TIOL-2733-HC-MAD-CUS, a learned single Judge held that while considering the prayer for provisional release, the following factors have been considered, viz., (i) whether the goods are prohibited goods; .....

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equire consideration. 73. In City Office Equipments v. Commissioner of Customs (Seaport-Import), Chennai-I reported in 2015 (316) ELT 199 (Mad.), a Writ of Mandamus was sought for, directing the respondents therein to assess and permit the clearance of 129 packages of the so called second hand Digital Multifunction Print and Copying Machines, forming the subject matter of the Bill of Entry dated 26.5.2014, upon payment of applicable duties of customs. Insofar as the second hand goods are concern .....

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rt or export of which is subject to any prohibition under the Customs Act or any other law for the time being in force, but it does not include any such goods in respect of which, the conditions subject to which the goods are permitted to be imported or exported have been complied with." 13. Unfortunately, the Act does not define the expression "Restricted Goods". But the definition of the expression "Prohibited Goods" itself contains an indication as to how the expressi .....

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es of goods namely: (1) those that are prohibited; and (2) those that are not prohibited. The Act also recognizes the fact that even prohibited goods could be imported or exported subject to certain conditions. If those conditions are fulfilled, prohibited goods would automatically become non-prohibited goods. While considering Sections 111 and 125(1) of the Customs Act, 1962, the Court held thus, 15. Section 11 of the Act empowers the Central Government, by Notification in the official gazette, .....

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apter XIV. Section 111, which makes certain goods liable for confiscation, states that any prohibited goods brought into any bay or any goods which are imported contrary to any prohibition imposed or under the Customs Act, 1962 or any other law for the time being in force, are liable for confiscation. Under Section 112, the person guilty of improper importation of goods is also made liable for a penalty. But before confiscation, an adjudication is to take place in terms of the procedure prescrib .....

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erated subject matters in chapters IV and IV-A of the Customs Act, 1962, which deal with prohibition on importation and exportation goods and detection of illegally imported goods prevention and disposal thereof, morefully described in Sections 11 and 11A of the Act, are also to be treated as prohibited. Goods imported from outside of the territory waters of the country, against any prohibition or restriction under the Customs Act, 1962 or any other law, time being in force, are to be treated as .....

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oms Act, 1962 or any other law for the time being in force, then such goods should fall within the definition of Section 2(33) of the Act. 76. A conjoint reading Sections 2(33), 11 or 11A of the Act and other provisions in the Customs Act, 1962, and any other law, for the time being in force, would also make it clear that importation of goods, defined as illegal or prohibited or without complying with the conditions, or in violation of statutory provisions in the Customs Act, 1962 or any other l .....

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ovisions in the statute, dealing with prohibition/restriction, the same are to held as, "prohibited goods" and liable for confiscation. 77. As rightly contended by Mr.A.P.Srinivas, learned counsel for the respondents that under Section 123 of the Customs Act, 1962, if the importer fails to discharge the burden that the goods seized from him, were not smuggled, then there is a strong reason for the proper officer to seize such goods. Smuggling is nothing but importing goods clandestinel .....

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oods imported, are certainly conditions to be satisfied by an importer. If the conditions for import are not complied with, then such goods, cannot be permitted to be imported and thus, to be treated as prohibited from being imported. 79. In Om Prakash Bhatia v. Commissioner of Customs, Delhi reported in 2003 (155) ELT 423 (SC), the Hon'ble Apex Court held that if there is intentional over-invoicing of the goods imported, then such goods imported, fall under the category, prohibited goods , .....

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hable or hazardous nature of any goods, depreciation in the value of the goods with the passage of time, constraints of storage space for the goods or any other relevant considerations, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify the goods or class of goods which shall, as soon as may be after its seizure under sub-section (1), be disposed of by the proper officer in such manner as the Central Government may, from time to time, determine after following the procedure hereinafter specified. .....

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The word used in Section 110A is "may" and having regard to the prohibitions/restrictions in the Act and the conditions to be complied with, in terms of Section 2(33) of the Act, it cannot be contended by the appellant, that de hors the prohibition/restriction in the Customs Act, 1962 or any other law for the time being in force, provisional release of the goods, liable for confiscation, is automatic. While considering the right of an importer or any person, covered under Section 112 o .....

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are purchased from his sister concern, under Invoice, per contra, it is the case of the respondents that during enquiry, it was found that there are prima facie material to arrive at the conclusion that gold has been smuggled into the country by the method, stated in the foregoing paragraphs and thus, the goods seized are liable for confiscation under Section 125 of the Act, for which, notices have been issued to 19 persons, including the appellant. 83. On the contention of the learned counsel .....

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ear that the language employed by the Legislature is only, may . Few decisions on the aspect of usage of words, shall or may , in the context, in which, such words appear in an enactment, are reproduced hereunder: (i) In P.T.Rajan v. T.P.M.Sahir reported in 2003 (8) SCC 498, the following conclusions are relevant, 45. A statute as is well known must be read in the text and context thereof. Whether a statute is directory or mandatory would not be dependant on the user of the words shall or may . .....

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as under:- 53. The question as to whether a statute is mandatory or directory would depend upon the statutory scheme. It is now well known that use of the expression shall or may by itself is not decisive. The court while construing a statute must consider all relevant factors including the purpose and object the statute seeks to achieve. (see P.T.Rajan v. T.P.M.Sahir and U.P.SEB v. Shiv Mohan Singh). 85. If Sections 110(1A) and 110A of the Customs Act, 1962 were to be interpreted in the manner, .....

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2 or any other law for the time being in force, then import of gold, in contravention of the above, is prohibited. For prohibitions and restrictions, Customs Act, 1962, provides for machinery, by means of search, seizure, confiscation and penalties. Act also provides for detection, prevention and punishment for evasion of duty. 87. The expression, subject to prohibition in the Act and any other the law for the time being in force. in Section 2(33) of the Customs Act, has wide cannotation and mea .....

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he Act, as to what is illegal import , cannot be thrown to winds, while interpreting, what is prohibited goods , in terms of Section 2(33) of the Customs Act, 1962. To add, while interpreting Section 2(33) of the Customs Act, 1962, as to what is prohibition, imposed in other laws, for the time being in force, one cannot ignore, the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974, rules framed by way of delegated legislation, like the Baggage Rules, 1998, framed .....

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or six months and above alone are eligible to import gold of foreign origin and clear the same on payment of customs duty, at the rate prescribed. 89. While considering a prayer for provisional release, pending adjudication, whether all the above can wholly be ignored by the authorities, enjoined with a duty, to enforce the statutory provisions, rules and notifications, in letter and spirit, in consonance with the objects and intention of the Legislature, imposing prohibitions/restrictions under .....

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ed supra), exercise of such right under Section 110A is only provisional and not absolute. On the culmination of adjudication proceedings, the authority may grant an option to pay fine in lieu of confiscation under Section 125 of the Customs Act, 1962 and such expected or anticipated right, cannot give rise to a cause for issuance of any mandamus sought for, under Section 110A of the Act and on the facts and circumstances of the case, when provisional release, sought for, is denied by the author .....

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Objective satisfaction, at the stage of provisional release, casts a duty on the authority, to consider, as to whether, there are prohibitions/restrictions in the Customs Act, 1962, or any other law for the time being in force and whether he is bound to exercise his discretion, satisfying principles of fairness, reasonableness and whether, it is in accordance with the objects sought to be achieved. At the time of provisional release, it is also to be seen as to whether subjective satisfaction is .....

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f the Constitution of India, should be confined only to test such satisfaction, arrived at, by the competent authority, with regard to the objects of the Customs Act, 1962 and any other law for the time being in force. When the competent authority, under the Customs Act, 1962, makes a plea that there is a prima facie case of smuggling and that the appellant has failed to discharge the burden, in terms of Section 123 of the Customs Act and when the adjudication proceedings are pending, we are of .....

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ns, relied on and pressed into service, we cannot reject the objections of the revenue. Sub-Section (d) of Section 111 of the Customs Act, 1962, clearly states that any goods which are imported or attempted to be imported contrary to any provision imposed by any law, for the time being in force, in this country, are liable to be confiscated. Therefore, when prohibitions/restrictions are inbuilt in the statute, or by notifications, relied on by the department, subject to which, goods are to be im .....

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