1. The questions that arise for consideration in this Appeal are whether, in the facts and circumstances of the case - (a) the personal penalty in a sum of Rs.10,000/- levied on the Appellant is to be reduced; and (b) the absolute confiscation of the goods, in question (namely watches) is to be converted to one for redemption on the payment of a suitable fine.
2. The Appellant admits the charge and pleads for the aforesaid reliefs in this Appeal.
(a) the import of the watches, in question, is subject to license under the Import (Control) Order. They are, therefore, 'prohibited goods' as defined in Section 2(33) of the Customs Act, 1962 (hereinafter, 'the Act'), not having been duly licensed even according to the Appellant; (b) indeed, the charge against the Appellant was, precisely, one of violation of S. 111 (d), amongst others, on import of prohibited goods; (c) Once this is so, in terms of S. 112(i) of the Act, the Appellant was liable to be visited with a penalty not exceeding five times the value of the goods or One Thousand Rupees, whichever is greater. It is significant to note that it is not a penalty upto five times of the value of the goods in the discretion of the Adjudicating Officer or One Thousand Rupees whichever is greater. The quantum of levy - five times the value of the goods-is inflexible except where such value is less than a Thousand Rupees. When the legislature thought it fit to quantify the penalty as an alternative between two sums of money - whichever greater - there is no room for the exercise of discretion in the matter. The legislative mandate cannot be ignored, in exercise of a discretion that is not, on the language of the provision vested in the Adjudicating Officer; (d) admittedly, the goods in question are of the value of Rs. 15,100/- and the penalty is a sum of Rs.10,000/- is far less than five times the value; (e) accordingly, there is no case for reduction of the penalty at all; (f) in terms of S. 125 of the Act, in the case of prohibited goods, absolute confiscation of the goods is, in the discretion of the Officer adjudging the case. It cannot be said that the discretion was wrongly exercised, when we see that the Appellant was let off with a penalty much less than what should have been levied.
4. In the premises, I find no reason to interfere with the order below.
The Appeal is accordingly dismissed.