HARNAM SINGH SARDAR Vs. STATE AND THE DEPUTY CONTROLER OF IMPORTS AND
LAWS(BOM)-1972-6-9
HIGH COURT OF BOMBAY
Decided on June 12,1972

HARNAM SINGH SARDAR Appellant
VERSUS
STATE AND THE DEPUTY CONTROLER OF IMPORTS Respondents

JUDGEMENT

- (1.) A summons case under Section 5 of the Imports and Exports (Control) Act, 1947 has been filed by the Deputy Chief Controller of Imports and Exports, Bombay against the present petitioner. The Deputy Chief Controller is required to do so under Section 6 of the said Act. Another complaint by Police has also been filed on 27-7-1971 against the petitioner under Sections 467 and 471, IPC and also for an offence under Section 5 of the Imports and Exports (Control) Act, 1947. The petitioner is the Manager of Auto and Tools Agencies, Bombay and accused No. 2 is his partner. The petitioner applied on 15-6-1964 to the office of the Joint Chief Controller, Imports and Exports, Bombay as the Manager of the said firm for grant of import licence to import motor vehicle parts. The Joint Chief Controller issued three import licences valued at Rs. 1,000/-, 4904/- and 1000/- dated 2-71964, 23-6-1964 and 2-7 1964 respectively to the said firm for the import of new motor vehicle parts. The petitioner applied on 26-61964 to the office of the Joint Chief Controller of Imports and Exports, Bombay for endorsements on the abovesaid import licences permitting the firm of the accused to import army disposal vehicle parts. The Joint Chief Controller, however, did not accede to the request of the said firm.
(2.) IT is in the abovesaid circumstances that the petitioner again applied in April and June, 1965 for the grant of duplicate copies of the said import licences stating that the licences which were granted were either misplaced or lost. The applications were supported by the affidavits of the third accused. On the basis of these applications the Joint Chief Controller issued duplicate copies of the licences to the petitioner's firm. But it appears that the firm had already imported some consignment of second hand military disposal vehicle parts on the licences bearing forged endorsements prior to the receipt of the duplicate copies of the above-said licences. The petitioner cleared the goods through their clearing agent. It appears that the petitioner later on the ground that the original set of import licences which was lost was traced delivered them to the custom authorities through their clearing agents. These circumstances raised suspicion in the minds of the customs authorities and they thought that the endorsements on the copies of the licences meant for customs were forged by the petitioner and his firm. During the course of the inquiry the customs authorities found that the petitioner and his firm placed orders for the import of army disposal vehicle parts knowing fully well that the licences were for the import of new motor vehicle parts and that their request for the endorsement on the licences for the import of army disposal vehicle parts was not acceded to by the Joint Chief Controller of Imports and Exports. It is in these circumstances that the petitioner and the other partners of the irm were prosecuted. For the purpose of bringing home the guilt against the accused the Police as well as the Deputy Chief Controller of Imports and Exports cited as many as IS witnesses.
(3.) WHEN these two matters came up for trial before the learned Addl. Chief Presidency Magistrate, Bombay, the petitioner prayed that the procedure prescribed under Section 208, Criminal P. C. be followed and that the procedure prescribed under Section 207-A may not be followed because Section 208, Criminal P. C. gave certain advantages to the accused. In the circumstances of the ease in the alternative it was further prayed that even if the procedure prescribed under Section 207-A, Criminal P. C. was followed the witnesses to the actual commission of the offence with which the accused was charged should be examined in Court. The learned Magistrate after considering the application of the petitioner was of the view that no prejudice will be caused to the petitioner if no witnesses were examined because the copies of the statements and documents recorded during the course of the investigation have already been furnished to him and that the right of the petitioner-accused to cross-examine the witnesses cannot be said to have been taken away because according to him he cannot proceed with the case when it is triable by a Court of Session. In his view prejudice also will not be caused to the accused if the witnesses were not examined even though there is a private complaint under Section 5 of the Imports and Exports (Control) Act filed by the Deputy Chief Controller. It is in that view of the Kiatter, therefore, that he ordered that both the complaints should be tried together and that the procedure laid down in Section 207-A, Criminal P. C. should be followed; that the procedure under Section 208, Criminal P. C. cannot be followed. The petitioner's application, therefore, was accordingly dismissed. It is against this order of the learned Addl. Chief Presidency Magistrate that the petitioner has come here in revision.;


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