Criminal Writ Jurisdiction Case No. 392 of 2015. Case: Sheoji Prasad Gupta Vs Union of India. Patna High Court

Case Number:Criminal Writ Jurisdiction Case No. 392 of 2015
Party Name:Sheoji Prasad Gupta Vs Union of India
Counsel:For Appellant: Shri Sheoji Prasad Gupta, Adv. and For Respondents: Shri Satya Prakash Tripathy and Satya Vrat, Advocates
Judges:Navaniti Prasad Singh, J.
Issue:Customs Act, 1962 - Section 135; Constitution of India - Article 226
Citation:2017 (345) ELT 165 (Pat)
Judgement Date:August 31, 2016
Court:Patna High Court
 
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Judgment:

  1. Heard the petitioner in person and learned counsels for the respondents.

  2. In the year 1990, the Customs Department allegedly seized gold from rectum of two persons said to be employees of the petitioner on an allegation that gold of foreign origin was being tried to be smuggled in India for the petitioner.

  3. Pursuant to the aforesaid seizure, two proceedings were taken up. One, in terms of the Customs Act, a proceeding for penalty and confiscation of the seized gold was started by the Custom Authorities, and second, a criminal case was instituted against the petitioner and his two associates. Without going into the details, suffice it to say that the Custom Authorities passed the confiscation order ex parte. The petitioner alleges that he came to know of these proceedings in course of criminal proceedings before the Judicial Magistrate empowered to try customs offences at Muzaffarpur. He, then, filed an appeal before the Joint Commissioner of Customs which was dismissed as barred by limitation. He approached the Customs, Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (for brevity, the ''Tribunal'') at Kolkata. The Tribunal set aside the order of the Assistant Commissioner, Customs, who dismissed the appeal on grounds of limitation and directed the Assistant Commissioner, Customs to decide the case afresh on merits. This time the Assistant Commissioner of Customs decided the case against the petitioner and ordered for confiscation of the seized gold and also imposed penalty of Rs. 1,00,000/-. The associates of petitioner did not appeal. Petitioner appealed before the Tribunal at Kolkata without success. The appeal was heard on merits and was dismissed. He challenged this order in Miscellaneous Appeal before this Court. The Division Bench of this Court, in the Miscellaneous Appeal, so filed, dismissed the appeal upholding the order of the Tribunal. The said order, as passed by the Division Bench of this Court, has attained finality. The petitioner has not filed any appeal against it nor challenged it in any judicial forum. The order, thus, has attained finality. The result is that the gold, so seized, has now, consequent to confiscation, vested in the Government. Payment of penalty is due from the petitioner. Department has noticed the petitioner for payment of penalty.

  4. In so far as the criminal trial is concerned, in the year 2011, the petitioner and his associates were convicted and sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment...

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