Decided on November 07,1977

B. Khushalchand Appellant
Jt. Secretary To The Govt. Of India, Ministry Of Finance, Department Of Revenue And Insur. And The Assistant Collector Of Customs Respondents


S. Mohan, J. - (1.) This writ petition coming on for hearing on Thursday, the third day of November 1977 and on this day upon perusing the petition and the affidavit filed in support thereof, the order of the High Court dated 2.5.1975 and made herein, and the Counter affidavit filed herein and the records relating to the order in No. 4496 of 1974, dated 23.9.76 on the file of the 1st respondent and comprised in the return of respondents herein to the Writ made by the High Court, and upon hearing the argument of Mr. K. C. Rajappa Advocate for the petitioner, and of Mr. T. Chengalvarayan Central Government standing counsel on behalf of the respondents, the Court made the following order: The short facts leading to this writ petition are as follows: On 7.1.1972, officers attached to the Madras Customs House searched a room in the premises No. 41, Kalathi Pillai Street, Madras -1, which was under the occupation of the petitioner, in execution of a search warrant No. 86/72 dated 7.4.1972. The search resulted in the recovery of two numbers of Hitachi 3 Band Car radios and 144 Nos. of Gillette Razor sets, all valued at Rs. 2,040/ - C.I.F. As the petitioner was not in possession of any documents or bill to prove the licit origin and legal acquisition of the aforesaid goods, which were notified goods under Sec. 11 -B of the Customs Act, 1962 (Act LII of 1962) (hereinafter referred to as the Act) and since he had failed to intimate the Customs authorities, his room as a place of storage of notified goods as required under the Act, all the abovesaid goods were seized under a mahazar on a reasonable belief that they were smuggled into India. The petitioner, in his statement which was given immediately after seizure, averred that he was a broker dealing in Indian and foreign goods, that the Gillette razor sets were bought by him at the rate of Rs. 15/ - per set from Burma Bazar without cover of any bill, that the two car radios were bought by him from passengers arriving from abroad without any voucher about a week before the seizure, that he got one of those car radios repaired from M/s. New Radio Home, Madras and received the same only on the previous day, that he bought the car radios paying Rs. 500/ - for one radio and Rs. 450/ - for the other and that he was not aware that it was an offence to deal in foreign goods without proper documents and without declaration and intimation to the Customs authorities.
(2.) Based on the above, a notice was issued to the petitioner on 12.9.1972 requiring him to show cause as to why the seized goods valued at Rs. 2040/ - C.I.F. in all, should not be confiscated under Sec. 111(d) and (p) of the Act and why a penalty should not be imposed on him under Sec. 112. A reply was furnished by the petitioner, in which he stated that the seized razors were not adjustable razors to be classified as notified goods and that out of the two car radios seized, one belonged to his cousin and the other belonged to his friend Shri C. Krishnamurty. At the personal hearing granted to him by the Assistant Collector of Customs on 19.7.1972, the above contentions were reiterated by the petitioner. The Assistant Collector disagreed with the interpretation sought to be placed on the notification making the goods adjustable razors, and accordingly ordered confiscation of the goods by an order dated 19.7.1972, under Sec. 111, Clauses (d) and (p), of the Act. An appeal was preferred to the Appellate Collector. He affirmed the order of confiscation. However, he did not accept the basis of the order under Sec. 111(d) . Thereupon, a revision was preferred to the Government of India. That revision was also rejected on 23.9.1974. It is under these circumstances, the present writ petition has been preferred for the issue of a writ of certiorari to quash these orders.
(3.) Learned Counsel for the petitioner raises the only contention before me that the razors that were seized from him do not belong to the adjustable type, that they are all ordinary safety razors and therefore, to say that they would fall under the category of adjustable razors is perverse. It is also stated by him that these adjustable safety razors should be understood in the sense in which it is understood in the commercial world. In support of this contention he relies upon the decision in Dunlop India Ltd. v/s. Union of India and Ors., A.I.R. 1977 S.C. 597. Basing on this, it is contended that adjustable safety razors are totally of a different type manufactured by the Gillette Manufacturing Company itself, which were produced before the authorities concerned and so, by no stretch of imagination, the razors that formed the subject -matter of seizure could be classified to fall under this category of adjustable safety razors.;

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