B.N. Kirpal, J.
1. The premises of the petitioner were searched on 24th April, 1968 by the Customs Officers. As a result of the search certain goods and currency mentioned in the Panchnama were seized. The seizure was effected from the office as well as the residential premises of the petitioner.
2. On 19th October, 1968 an order under section 110(2) of the Act was passed. The said order stated that the period for issuing of a show cause notice under section 124 was extended by another three months. The extended period for the issue of the show cause notice was thereafter further extended up to the end of January 1969 by a fresh order dated 19th January, 1969. On 30th January, 1969 a show cause notice under section 124 was issued.
3. The aforesaid show cause notice has been challenged by the petitioner in this writ petition. The retention of the seized goods has also been challenged.
4. With regard to the retention of the seized goods it is contended and not denied by the respondents, that no opportunity of being heard was given to the petitioner prior to the passing of the impugned orders under section 110(2). It has been held by the Supreme Court in the case of Assistant Collector of Customs and Superintendent, Preventive Service Customs, Calcutta and others vs . Charan Das Malhotra - : 1973ECR1(SC) , that no order under section 110(2) can be passed without affording a reasonable opportunity of being heard to the affected party. This being the case the seizure cannot be permitted to continue and the retention of the goods by the respondents is, thereforee, clearly illegal.
5. The petitioner has also sought to challenge the validity of the notice under section 124 on the ground that the said notice has not been issued within a period of six months. By another judgment delivered by me today in C.W. 211/71 I have held, following the aforesaid judgment of the Supreme Court, that the notice under section 124 cannot be challenged on the ground that the same has not been issued within a period of six months of the seizure. That being so the attack of the petitioner on the said notice must fail.
6. The writ petition is partly allowed. The respondents are directed return to the petitioner the goods seized by them, within 15 days of the receipt of this order. The respondents shall, however, be entitled to continue with the adjudication proceedings against the petitioner in pursuance to the notice issued under section 124 of the Act. There will be no order as to costs.