ASHOK KUMAR AND JASWANT SINGH Vs. COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS
LAWS(CE)-1986-8-11
CUSTOMS EXCISE AND GOLD(CONTROL) APPELLATE TRIBUNAL
Decided on August 22,1986

Appellant
VERSUS
Respondents

JUDGEMENT

S.Kalyanam, - (1.)SINCE a common question arises for interpretation in both the appeals, they are taken up together and disposed of by a common order.
(2.)On 28-7-85 at about 7.00 a.m. Customs Officers intercepted the appellants herein at Madras Central Station and recovered two Video Cassette Recorders from appellant Ashok Kumar and one from the other appellant, Jaswant Singh. Since the goods in question were notified goods and since the appellants could not satisfactorily account for the licit acquisition of the same, the goods were seized by the authorities as per law under a mahazar. Further proceedings instituted against the appellants as per law resulted in the present impugned orders now appealed against.
Shri Pratap C. Kothari, the learned Counsel for the appellants submitted that immediately on seizure of the goods in question the appellants produced baggage receipts for the clearance of the goods in question and urged that if the goods have been cleared under baggage on valid payment of duty the purchase of the same by the appellants would merely be a contravention of technical nature meriting a sympathetic consideration. It was further urged that under the impugned order the Collector of Customs (Appeals) while upholding this plea of the appellants set aside the order or absolute confiscation by the original authority namely, the Assistant Collector of Customs, Madras and permitted the appellants herein to exercise the option of redemption of the same respectively on payment of fine of Rs. 2,000/- and Rs. 1,000/- on appellants Ashok Kumar and Jaswant Singh. The only question that is now urged by Shri Kothari, the learned Counsel for the appellants is whether the observation of the Collector (Appeals) under the impugned orders that the goods "shall be liable for customs duty at appropriate rate on its redemption for home consumption in terms of the amendment to Section 125 of the Customs Act, dated 27-12-85", would be applicable in respect of goods cleared or imported prior to 27-12-85. It was further urged that consequent on the impugned order the appellants have been called upon to pay duty without any speaking order by the Assistant Collector with reference to the genuineness or otherwise of the respective baggage receipts relied upon by the appellants. Finally, the learned Counsel contended that if the baggage receipts were found to be genuine, the appellants would not be liable to pay any duty in terms of the impugned orders now appealed against and if for any reason the baggage receipts were found to be not genuine the appellants would not be liable to pay any duty in excess of 200% as duty in such a case will be leviable only on the basis of illegal or unauthorised import and not on the basis of the goods having been cleared under baggage without payment of duty.

(3.)SHRI Bhatia, the learned SDR submitted that the reasoning of the Collector (Appeals) adverting to Section 125 of the Act and its amendment dated 27-12-85 in the impugned order is incorrect. The learned SDR urged that whenever goods are released in terms of Section 125 of the Act on payment of a redemption fine, duty is always leviable under law even prior to the amendment to Section 125 dated 27-12-85 and referred to supra. Therefore, reference to Section 125 of the Act, particularly with reference to its amendment dated 27-12-85, is not at all relevant in the context of the liability to duty in respect of the goods concerned in this case. The learned SDR further urged that it is for the appellants to prove and establish the genuineness of the baggage receipts and the very fact that the Assistant Collector has levied duty and the appellants paid the same would prove the fact that the baggage receipts relied upon by the appellants are not relatable to the goods under seizure. However, the learned SDR submitted that he has no objection for the matter being remitted back for re-examination with reference to the question as to whether the baggage receipts produced and relied upon by the appellants are genuine or not after the appellants are afforded an opportunity of being heard to prove their contention.


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