ASSISTANT COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS AND CENTRAL EXCISE, SILCHAR Vs. ROSHANLAL CHOURASIA,
HIGH COURT OF GAUHATI
Assistant Collector Of Customs And Central Excise, Silchar
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SEN, J. -
(1.) THIS is an appeal against the order of acquittal passed by the learned Sub -divisional Magistrate, Imphal West, in a case where the accused was tried under Section 135 of the Customs Act, 1962 for having illegally acquired possession of certain contraband precious stones weighing 17,967.510 grams worth Rs. 18,821.70 and a foreign made transistor radio worth Rs. 200/ -.
(2.) ALTHOUGH the learned Sub -divisional Magistrate held in his judgment that the possession by the accused -respondent of the aforesaid precious stones and of the transistor had not been proved, we find there is sufficient evidence to prove such possession. In point of fact, the accused -respondent himself in a signed voluntary statement dated 10.7.1967 (Ext. P -12) admitted the possession of the aforesaid articles. He, however, stated that he had purchased the precious stones in several lots from different persons in Manipur, and that the transistor was left with him in the hotel, where he was working, by some unknown persons to be taken back by him later. The accused -respondent's possession of the precious stones and of the transistor is therefore, not in dispute and, to that extent, the finding of the learned trial Court cannot be sustained.
(3.) HOWEVER , under Section 135 (b) of the Customs Act, which evidently is the relevant sub -section that can at all relate to this alleged offence, the accused must not only have acquired possession of the goods in question, but he must also know or have reason to believe that such goods are liable to confiscation under Section 111 of the said Act.
Section 111 of the Customs Act (hereinafter called 'the Act') specifies various categories of goods brought from outside India, which are liable to confiscation. Mr. Sen, the learned counsel for the appellant, submits that the goods found in possession of the accused -respondent were liable to be confiscated under Clauses (b), (i) or (k) of Section 111. Clause (b) reads as under :
"(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; Clause (i) reads as under; "(i) any dutiable or prohibited goods found concealed in any manner in any package either before or after the unloading thereof; and Clause (k) reads as under; "(k) any dutiable or prohibited goods imported by land in respect of which the order permitting clearance of the goods required to be produced under Section 109 is not produced or which do not correspond in any material particular with the specification contained therein."
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