Decided on January 12,1979

Hasmukhlal Ambalal Jariwala Respondents


- (1.) This appeal by the State of Gujarat is directed against the judgment and order dated September 29, 1977, passed by the learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bulsar, acquitting the accused Nos. 4 & 5 who are respondents before us.
(2.) The case of the prosecution is as follows. On May 5, 1970, the Mobile Squad of Customs Department intercepted a pick-up van bearing No. MRD 9101 on the National Highway No. 8 when it was near Chikhli- Billimora-Bulsar cross roads. The van was found coming from the direction of Surat and it was driven by Balubhai Maganlal Patel, who was accused No. 1 before the learned Magistrate. Accused No. 2 Peshi alias Purshottam Chhaganbhai was accompanying accused No. 1 in the van. The van was registered in the name of one Manohar Pragji Vasani, who was accused No. 6. On search of the van, the Customs officers found silver ingots and pieces weighing 834.650 kilograms valued at Rs. 434,018 in secret compartments below the floor of the van. The van was followed by a Fiat car which was driven by accused No. 6. Accused No. 3 was accompanying accused No. 6 in the Fiat car. The customs officers stopped this car, but as nothing incriminating was found from the car, the accused Nos. 3 and 6 were allowed to go. According to the prosecution, in pursuance of a notification issued by the Government of India vide Sections 11-I and 11M of the Customs Act, the area within 50 kilometers from the sea coast of India has been declared as specified area and amongst other articles silver bullion is declared as 'specified goods . It is the prosecution case that under Section 11K of the Customs Act, transport of specified goods within the specified area is prohibited, unless the same are accompanied by transport vouchers. When the aforesaid pick- up van was intercepted and silver ingots and pieces worth Rs. 4,34,018 were found and accused Nos. 1 and 2 were asked to produce transport vouchers. They were, however, not able to produce them. According to the prosecution, silver found from the van had become liable to confiscation under Section 113L of the Customs Act.
(3.) Now, the case of the prosecution further is that accused Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 6 had gone to the factory of accused No. 4. Hasmukhlal Ambaram Jariwala at Surat and obtained silver ingots and silver pieces referred to above from accused No. 4. Accused No. 6 was the agent of accused No. 5. Sukar Naran Tandel, who is resident of Nani Daman. It is the case of the prosecution that accused No. 5 is a notorious smuggler and silver obtained from accused No. 4 was to be delivered to him at Nani Daman. Presumably silver was to be exported illegally. After the silver ingots and pieces were loaded in the pick-up van, accused Nos. 1 and 2 were taking the van to Nani Daman to deliver them to accused No. 6. As stated above, accused No. 1 was driving the van. The van was followed by accused Nos. 3 and 6 in the Fiat car. The van was intercepted and silver was detected as already stated. On the above allegations, it is the prosecution case that the accused had committed offence punishable under Section 135 of the Customs Act.;

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