1. This is an application for stay of the Order No. VIII/10-19/Addl.
Collr./81, dated 28-1-83 of the Additional Collector of Customs, Ahmedabad under which the appellant's motor vehicle No. GTX-6745 has been confiscated under Section 115 of the Customs Act. The learned Advocate has stated that the local Custom officers have been pressing the appellant to surrender the motor car in question to them as the same has been confiscated under the aforesaid order of the Addl.
Collector. On being asked about the circumstances under which the motor car was released, the learned Advocate has stated that after seizure the appellant had furnished a bond with cash deposit of Rs. 5000/- for obtaining the provisional release of his car and accordingly the car was released to the appellant after seizure. But now that the car has been confiscated, the local customs officers have asked for the surrender of the vehicle to them. On being asked to state as to what happened to the bond and the security deposit of Rs. 5000/- the Advocate has explained that this is not covered by the Addl.
Collector's order-in-appeal, but he has presumed that if the car is surrendered, the deposit amount will be refunded to the appellant. The appellant, therefore, prays that the Addl. Collector's order of confiscation be suspended and the car may be permitted to be retained in the possession of the appellant.
2 The departmental representative has opposed the request. He has pointed out that in an identical case of a launch having been confiscated but released provisionally on execution of a bond and Bank guarantee, the Tribunal had taken the view that stay against the order of confiscation could not be granted as the matter was not covered under Section 129-E of the Customs Act. The Tribunal could grant the stay under the aforesaid provisions of law only in case of penalty or duty on goods which were not under the control of the customs authorities. The present case was not governed by Section 129-E and hence the Addl. Collector of Customs order cannot be stayed by the Tribunal. The departmental representative, further, pointed out that in the case under reference, the Tribunal had observed that after the confiscation of any goods, the property in them would vest in the Central Government under Section 126 of the Customs Act and the officer adjudging confiscation is required to take and hold possession of the confiscated goods. These aforesaid provisions of law would apply to the present case and therefore the departmental representative requested the Tribunal not to grant the stay as requested. It was pointed out to the learned departmental representative that the case referred to by him was not on all fours with the present case as the order under appeal now appeared to be defective in the sense that the Addl.
Collector of Customs, Ahmedabad had not offered the option for redemption of the motor vehicle as required under Section 125 of the Customs Act. Since this was mandatory, it was possible to draw distinction between the two cases. However, the departmental representative has reiterated his plea against the grant of stay of the Additional Collector's order.
3. The learned Advocate for the appellant has referred to the Tribunal's observations about the order under appeal being defective.
However, on being asked to offer the amount of security for the motor vehicle, the Advocate has stated that his client will be prepared to make a deposit of Rs. 10,000/-with the Customs Department.
4. We have examined the submissions on both the sides. At this stage of considering the stay, it is not necessary for us to go into the correctness, legality or propriety of the order of the Additional Collector of Customs as to whether it was necessary for him to allow the confiscated car to be redeemed on payment of a redemption fine. The law on the subject is quite clear. On confiscation the property of the confiscated car vested in Central Government in terms of Section 126 of the Customs Act and the Additional Collector adjudging confiscation is required to take and hold possession of the confiscated motor vehicle.
In view of these provisions of law, it is the bounden duty of the local Custom officers to take possession of the car. In view of aforesaid provisions of law, we find that it would not be proper for us to prevent the local Custom Officers from taking possession of the vehicle, the property in which is vested in the Central Government as mentioned above. Accordingly, we dismiss the stay petition.