Order No. 1983/98-WZB/C-II arising from in Appeal No. C/309/93-Bom. Case: Commissioner of Customs, Mumbai Vs Hari Aditya Koli. Central Information Commission

Case NumberOrder No. 1983/98-WZB/C-II arising from in Appeal No. C/309/93-Bom
Party NameCommissioner of Customs, Mumbai Vs Hari Aditya Koli
CounselFor Appellant: Shri C.P. Rao, SDR and For Respondents: Shri V.C. Vora, Consultant.
JudgesShri Gowri Shankar, Member (T)
IssueCustoms Act, 1962 - Section 115
Citation1999 (112) ELT 342 (Tribunal)
Judgement DateAugust 12, 1998
CourtCentral Information Commission

Order:

(West Zonal Bench At Mumbai)

  1. The question for consideration in this appeal is whether the vessel "Gunatit" is liable to confiscation under sub-section (2) of Section 115 of the Act. The vessel was seized by the Customs Department at Mumbai on information from the Goa Customs that it had been used in smuggling of silver at Goa in January, 1990. In the order impugned in the appeal, the Collector (Appeals) has set aside the confiscation on the ground that the owner of the vessel was not involved in the smuggling.

  2. It has to be straightaway accepted that this view of the Collector (Appeals) is not justified. Sub-section (2) of Section 115 makes liable for confiscation "any conveyance or animal used as a means of transport in the smuggling of any goods or in the carriage of any smuggled goods unless the owner of the conveyance or animal proves that it was so used without the knowledge or connivance of the owner himself, his agent, if any, and the person in charge of the conveyance or animal." Thus, if a vessel was used without the knowledge of the owner or connivance of the agent or of the person in charge it would be liable to confiscation.

  3. However, the vessel may have to be held not liable for confiscation for another reason. That is that the vessel cannot have shown to have been used in the carriage of smuggled goods. The entire evidence that is relied upon in the notice is the statement of Ramji Gopal Tindel. In this statement, he says that "with the help of the trawler which was arranged by Ganpat (F.T. "Gunati") I managed to bring contraband silver from Dubai and landed the same in Goa." There are absolutely no details of date of its landing and the quantity of goods. It would be imprudent to hold that...

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