COLECTOR OF CUSTOMS AND CENTRAL EXCISE BHUBNESHWAR DISTRICT PURI Vs. PARADIP PORT TRUST
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: ORISSA)
COLECTOR OF CUSTOMS AND CENTRAL EXCISE,BHUBNESHWAR,DISTRICT PURI
PARADIP PORT TRUST
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K. N. Saikia, J. -
(1.)These appeals by special leave are from the judgment of the High Court of Orissa, Cuttack dated July 3, 1980 in two writ applications under Article 226 of the Constitution of India allowing the applications and quashing the penalty imposed on the. writ petitioner under the Customs Act of 1962 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act').
(2.)A commercial vessel M. V. Jag Darshan arrived at Paradip Port on March 29, 1976. It was being rummaged by the customs officers from April 6, 1976 to April 13, 1976. In course of the rummage the customs officers recovered various contraband goods worth more than Rs. 1,40,000/-Rupees one lac forty thousand), seized some quantity and detained the vessel by issue of a proper notice to the Master of the vessel with a copy to the second respondent Sri V. L. Choudhary, Deputy Conservator of Paradip Port Trust. At the instance of Sri V. L. Choudhary and another the vessel was shifted to the reads i.e. far away anchorage of Paradip port which was far in the high sea. As a result of the shifting, despite the detention order, the rummaging operation was interrupted as the customs staff had to leave the vessel and the vessel had to remain unguarded for nearly 38 hours. It was alleged that the contraband goods then somehow disappeared from the vessel. Sri V. L. Choudhary was asked to show cause as to why for his failure to comply with the provisions of the Act and for abetment of the commission of offence of smuggling by his deliberate obstructions to the customs officers in the recovery of smuggled goods from the detained vessel M. V. Jag Darshan in violation of Section 133 of the Act he should not be proceeded against and as to why penalty should not be imposed on him under Ss. 117 and 151 of the Act.
(3.)In reply to the notice the second respondent Sri V. L. Choudhary took the plea that the Collector of Customs and Central Excise had no jurisdiction to initiate proceedings against him as what he had done was in discharge of his duties under the Paradip Port Rules and that the provisions of Section 151 of the Act were not attracted in his case. The Collector rejecting the pleas imposed a penalty of Rs. 1,000/- upon Sri V. L. Choudhary under Section 117 of the Act. The operative part of the order said:
"I therefore, impose a penalty of Rupees 1,000/(Rs. one thousand) on Sri V. L. Choudhary, Deputy Conservator of Paradip Port, under Section 117 of the Customs Act, 1962.
The penalty should be deposited into any Government Treasury/State Bank of India within a fortnight from the date of receipt of this order under head 1037 Customs Miscellaneous Receipts, Fines, Rent, etc."
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