MADHUSUDAN MUKHERJEE Vs. COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS
CUSTOMS EXCISE AND GOLD(CONTROL) APPELLATE TRIBUNAL
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T.P. Nambiar, Member (J) -
(1.) THIS is an appeal filed by the appellants against the order passed by the Additional Collector of Customs, Calcutta, in order No, 85 dated 17-4-1982. The case pertains to seizure of 21 pes pant length (1.10 meters each), pant 11 pes (2.20 meters each), shirting 4 pes (34.70 meters each), 2 pes of wrist watches (all of foreign origin valuing Rs. 1,029/-) and Indian currency of Rs. 20,800/from the residential premises of Shri Ranjit Mukherjee, appellant, at No. 12 Rajendra Avenue, 2nd Lane, Uttarpara, Hooghly. on 9-1-1981. The same were seized by the departmental officials on information received by them that the appellants are carrying on sale of smuggled goods. A show cause notice was issued as to why they should not be confiscated and the appellants filed their reply and after adjudication the impugned order was passed.
(2.) The learned counsel Shri Jadugopal Dutta, appearing for the appellants, contended before us that the confiscation of the pant length, shirtings and watches and the amount seized were not in accordance with law. He contended that the appellants have produced evidence to show that these pant lengths and shirts were purchased by them from one Shri N.R. Das. He also contended that there is no evidence to show that the amounts seized represented the sale proceeds of smuggled goods, and, therefore, confiscation of the same under Section 121 of the Customs Act, was not in accordance with law. He also contended that, in any case the imposition of penalty on Shri Madhusudan Mukherjee, the first appellant, who is the father of the second appellant, was not in accordance with law, as he was in no way connected with the transactions and there is no evidence to show that he was in joint possession of the seized goods. In this connection he relied on the decision of the Supreme Court reported in AIR 1963 SC page 822.
Shri B.B. Sarkar, learned JDR, contended that these notified goods were seized on a reasonable belief that they were smuggled goods and, therefore, the burden has shifted on to the appellants to prove that they are not smuggled ones. He also contended that the voucher produced by the appellants do not tally with the seized goods. He also stated that Shri N.R. Das was unable to identify that the goods seized are the same which were purchased and transferred by him to Shri Ranjit Mukherjee, the second appellant. It was also contended before us that on verification of the account books of the appellant it was noticed that the transactions to the extent of Rs. 23,11,222/- had been done by them from August 1980 to January 198.1. It was, therefore, contended that the imposition of heavy penalty was justified.
(3.) WE have heard both sides. The point that arises for our determination are -
(i) Whether the confiscation of the pant lengths and shirtings and watches are in accordance with law;
(ii) Whether the confiscation of the amount of Rs. 20,800/- under Section 121 of the Customs Act, is legal;
(iii) Whether the imposition of penalty of Rs. 1,00,000/- on Shri Ranjit Mukherjee and Rs. 10,000/- on Shri Madhusudan Mukherjee is justifiable.;
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