Decided on August 07,2003

Md Ersad Sheikh Appellant
UNION OF INDIA Respondents


- (1.)The writ petitioner herein praying for a writ in the nature of Mandamus to cancel the seizure of the Buffaloes, Bullocks and Calves purchased by him in auction. The petitioner also prayed for a writ of Mandamus commanding the respondent Nos. 7 and 8, that is, Assistant Collector of Customs and Inspector, Customs, Majdia not to treat the animals of the petitioner as liable to confiscation and not to treat the same as seized goods under Section 110 of the Customs Act. The petitioner further prayed for return of 22 seized buffaloes.
(2.)According to the petitioner, he used to deal with the purchase and sale of buffaloes, bullocks to the cultivators of the locality and the aforesaid business is the only source of income of the petitioner. The petitioner came to know from a notification issued by respondent No. 9 being auction letter No. 22/93 dated 18.3.1993 that a lot of seized books by the personnel of 59, Battalion Border Security Force, consisting of 22 buffaloes, 8 bullocks and 6 calves would be sold on auction on 18.3.1993 at Seemanagar, 59 Battalion, Border Security Force Headquarters at 4-00 p.m. On such information the petitioner along with six persons participated in the auction sale and he being the highest bidder was directed to deposit the bid money. The petitioner deposited Rs. 47,000/- with respondent No. 9, Inspector of Customs, Chapra customs M.P. and got receipt for the said amount. The petitioner also deposited Rs. 4,600/- as fodder charges but no receipt was granted for the said amount. The Inspector of Customs handed over possession of 22 buffaloes, 8 bullocks and 6 calves to the petitioner in the evening of 18.3.1993. Copy of money receipt has been made Annexure 'A' to the Writ Petition.
(3.)On 19.3.1993 at about 11-00 A.M. the petitioner with the help of hired cow-boys proceeded towards the village of petitioner Hatkhola and the petitioner went to Mohakhola Border outpost and by producing purchase Memo sought for permission to carry the aforesaid purchase goods. Subedar Major of the said Camp suddenly became furious and instructed his force constables to intercept the aforesaid purchased goods and the petitioner tried to protest and the Subedar Major took receipt in his hand and torn it into two pieces and drove away the petitioner from the office of said Subedar Major. In this manner, according to the petitioner, the Security Force of 59 Battalion, Border Security Force attached to Mohakhola Border outpost took forcible possession of the aforesaid animals and drove away the petitioner as well as the cow-boys. The petitioner approached the Border Security Force post to grant him a receipt and/or a copy of seizure list but they refused and assaulted the petitioner with wood of rifle and ordered to come at Border- outpost office and to meet Subedar Major for receipt or seizure list. Under the said circumstances the petitioner along with Panchayat Member Nurul Amin Biswas, Md. Karim Mandal and village teacher, namely, Santi Master went to Border outpost Camp and again produced the auction purchase receipt in present of aforesaid members and respectable men, but said Subedar Major did not grant any copy of seizure list and told that the commandant of his Battalion directed him to seize the purchased animals and to forward the said seized animals to the Inspector of Customs, Majdia Customs M.P. as seized contraband articles which are liable to be confiscated under Customs Act. The petitioner went to commandant 55 Battalion, Border Security Force and requested him not to take such illegal action but all of no avail. On 21.3.1993 the petitioner'came to know that the above animals were entried in a seizure list as unclaimed property as if the Border Security Force seized the animals from open fields without any owner. The petitioner went to Chapra Police Station for lodging the complaint but the Police Station refused to accept. The O.C. was not available at Police Station. Chapra Police Station thereafter consulting Officer-in-Charge on 22.3.1993 regarded the said complaint as unfortunate. The petitioner thereafter went to office of Inspector of Customs, Majdia M.P. on 22.3.1993 and came to know that some animals came under their disposed of and which are to be confiscated as per the provisions of Customs Act as unclaimed seized animals. The petitioner on 22.3.1993 submitted representation being Annexure 'C' to the Writ Petition before the Assistant Collector of Customs, Krishnanagar Division. Again the petitioner submitted representation before the District Magistrate, Nadia on 22.3.1993. The petitioner submits in the Writ Petition that the aforesaid animals do not come under the purview Sections 11 and 113 of the Customs Act, 1962 neither the said animals are liable to confiscation. The petitioner also submits in the Writ Petition that the Customs Authority cannot treat the animals of the petitioner as liable to confiscation under the panel of exported or imported goods and they cannot treat the same as seized goods under Section 110 of the Customs Act. The petitioner wants the return of all the goods.

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