Decided on September 30,1991



P.K. Kapoor, Member (T) - (1.) THESE three appeals have been preferred against the orders passed by the Collector of Customs (Appeals), New Delhi. Since the issues involved in these appeals are identical, they are being disposed of by this common order.
(2.) BRIEFLY stated the facts of the case are that on the basis of information, on 262 -1985, the DRI officers carried out simultaneous searches at the premises of M/s. Gulati Cutpiece Store, M/s. Royal Video Cassettes Library and M/s. Gulati Karyana Store at Taran Taran, and seized the following goods of foreign origin: NAME OF THE PARTY GOODS RECOVERED VALUE OF GOODS RECOVERED 1. M/s. Gulati Cutpiece Store 56 Video Cassettes Rs. 16,800.00 2. M/s. Gulati Karyana Store 20 Video Cassettes Rs. 6,000.00 3. M/s. Royal Video Cassettes Library 20 Video Cassettes and 1 VCR Rs. 12,000.00 In the order dated 11 -8 -1986 passed by the Deputy Collector of Customs and Excise, Amritsar, the seized goods were confiscated absolutely under Section .1(d) of the Customs . Act, 1962 and penalty of Rs. 2000/ - each was imposed on Shri Rajinder Kumar, proprietor of M/s. Royal Video Cassettes Library, Shri Mukesh Kumar, proprietor of M/s. Karyana Store and Shri Varinder Kumar, proprietor of M/s. Gulati Cutpiece Store. The orders passed by the Deputy Collector were challenged in appeal before the Collector of Customs (Appeals), who passed the following order: - "I observe the absolute confiscation is not warranted in these cases. Accordingly I order release of Cassettes and VCR to the parties on payment of Rs. 5000/ - each. Personal penalty is reduced to Rs. 1,000/ - on each appellant."
(3.) ON behalf of the appellants, heard the learned advocate Shri K.K. Anand. He stated that Shri Rajendra Kumar, proprietor of M/s. Royal Video Cassettes Library had claimed in his statement recorded immediately after the search of his shop on 26 -2 -1985 that the seized VCR and 10 Video Cassettes belonged to one Jagir Singh who had left the VCR for repairs. He added that the VCR was later claimed by the wife of Jagir Singh who had also produced a baggage receipt in support of her claim that the VCR was brought by Shri Jagir Singh as a part of his baggage. Shri Anand contended that apart from the VCR only 20 Video Cassettes were seized from the premises of M/s. Royal Video Cassettes Library of which 10 cassettes belonged to Shri Jagir Singh. He contended that in respect of 63 of the 96 cassettes seized from the three premises the appellants had produced documentary evidence to establish that they belonged to persons who had brought them from foreign countries. He added that the only violation in respect of the seized video cassettes was that the provisions of Chapter IVA of the Customs Act were not complied with. Shri Anand contended that the fines and penalties imposed for technical violations was excessive. He stated that as far as Shri Varinder Kumar was concerned, no penalty could be imposed on him since he had stated that he was dealing in cloth and the cassettes seized from his premises belonged to his brother Mukesh Kumar. He added that the burden of proving that the seized goods were smuggled was on the department, since Video Cassettes were not notified under Section 123 of the Customs Act, 1962. On these grounds Shri Anand pleaded that the redemption fines and the penalties retained under the impugned order may be dispensed with. On behalf of the Revenue the learned SDR Shri G. Bhushan stated that the appellants had made contradictory statements in respect of the seized goods. He pleaded for the rejection of the appeals on the grounds that the requirements of Chapter IVA had not been complied with in respect of the seized goods and the Appellate authority had already granted sufficient relief to the appellants.;

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