MEERA DUTTA Vs. COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS
CUSTOMS EXCISE AND GOLD(CONTROL) APPELLATE TRIBUNAL
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T.P. Nambiar, Member (J) -
(1.) THE learned Advocate, Sri Sekhar Mukhopadhyay appeared for the applicant, and Sri B.B. Sarkar, learned JDR, appeared on behalf of the respondent. THE stay application pertains to the stay of the operation of the order in imposing a penalty of Rs. 5,0007- on the applicant. It was contended that the applicant is a bonafide passenger and the articles in question were her personal jewellery and the applicant has booked her ticket and she has to go within 10 days to the foreign country. Sri B.B. Sarkar, JDR, contended that the orders in question are justifiable.
(2.) After hearing both the sides, we hereby dispense with the predeposit of penalty imposed as the applicant has made out a prima facie case. By consent of both the sides, we proceed to hear the appeal.
The facts in brief are that the appellant, Mrs. Meera Datta holding Singapore Passport along with her husband and son arrived at Calcutta Airport from Singapore by TG-313 on 27-10-1990. She opted the green channel and did not declare the gold jewelleries which were seized from her hand-bag as described at Serial Nos. 1 to 3 of the inventory. On suspicion her Baggage was intercepted at the exit gate. She could not furnish any licit documents. Hence the goods were seized under Section 111(d) and 111(m) of the Customs Act. After adjudication they were confiscated and she was allowed, to re-export the entire jewellery on payment of a redemption fine of Rs. 60,0007- and penalty of Rs. 5,0007- was imposed on her.
(3.) THE learned Advocate, Sri Sekhar Mukhopadhyay contended before us that there is nothing to show that the appellant had concealed these jewelleries. He also contended that no examination of her baggage was done till she reached exit gate and no fault could be found with the appellant for not having filed the list in which the jewelleries should have been entered. He also contended that the Hand-bag is normally a place where a lady would keep her personal jewellery while travelling. THErefore, on the facts on record, there is nothing to show that she had concealed the same. He also contended that there is nothing to show that in spite of having been asked by the department to give a declaration of the baggage carried by her she failed to declare her jewellery in her baggage. He, therefore, contended that the facts in this case will reveal that upto the point of her reaching the exit gate, she did not give any declaration of the goods as she was not asked to do so. He, therefore, contended that the confiscation of the jewellery and imposition of penalty is not in accordance with law. In support of his arguments, he relied on the following decisions :
(1) 1987 (31) ELT 1021 (Tribunal NRB) - Laxmi Devi Kumar v. Collector of Customs, New Delhi.
(2) Order No. 261/Cal/88-261, dt. 8th August, 1988 - Mrs. Boonma Cameron v. Collector of Customs (Prev.), West Bengal.;
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