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Jaswant Singh Vs. Om Parkash - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCustoms;Criminal
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revision Appeal No. 388 of 1973
Judge
Reported in10(1974)DLT367; 1974RLR323
ActsCustoms Act, 1962 - Sections 135
AppellantJaswant Singh
RespondentOm Parkash
Advocates: R.P. Lao and; B.R. Handa, Advs
Excerpt:
the case dealt with the prosecution for violation of notification under section 135 of the customs act, 1962 - the possession of imported goods was notified under the act - it was held that the prosecution must produce the notification relied by it and due opportunity must be given to the prosecution to produce the relevant notification - further, the complaint should not be dismissed in haste without extending such opportunity. - .....and mentioned the slide projector 'prinz' an item made in australia, which was exhibited as ex. public witness .2/d-1, the tape-recorder made in japan-exhibited as public witness . 2/d-2, the musical decanter made in japan-exhibited as ex. public witness . 2/d-4, and the hair drier phillips made in holand which was exhibited as ex. public witness . 2/d5. all the items -- seized were described before the court and exhibited in court as is visible from the statement of public witness . 2. thus the court had before it the collection of articles of foreign manufacture which had been seized from the possession of the accused. when cross-examined in the relevant part p. w. 2, stated :- 'iam working in the customs department for the last 22 years. i am not aware of all the notifications.....
Judgment:

P.S. Safeer, J.

(1) The petitioner has come up with the grievance that the complaint filed by him in his official capacity was dismissed by the trial Court by a non-judicial order. It is submitted that the petition filed under section 435 against the order of the Addl. Chief Judicial Magistrate who had dismssed the complaint on the 15th of December, 1972 is also illegal.

(2) The complaint was filed by Shri Jaswant Singh Assistant Collector, Customs and Central Excise Revenue under section 135 of the Customs Act. It was alleged in paragraph 3 of the complaint that on the 2nd of April, 1970 the Custom Officials had searched the premises of M/s. New Man's Store, 44-A, Chandni Chowk, Delhi and had recovered articles valued at Rs. 4000.00. The goods recovered were mentioned in annexure 'B' filed Along with the complaint, 0m Parkash proprietor of the firm was asked to produce any evidence showing that he had lawfully purchased or acquired or imported the articles found in his possession. In paragraph 6 the complaint, stated :-

'6.The import of the goods, which was seized by the department, is restricted under Section 11 of the Customs Act 1962. He had also not maintained any account of the goods, as required under section 11D and 11E of the Customs Act, being notified goods as also provided under section 123 of the Customs Act under which the burden lies upon the accused to prove that they are not smuggled goods.'

In paragraph 10, the complaint, stated :-

'10.That the guilt of the accused will be established in the court on testimony of the witnesses, mentioned in the list filed herewith, an annexure 'E'. The necessary documents and the case property, will be produced in the court of trial.'

Before the trial Court two witnesses were examined for urging that charge may be framed against the accused. P. W. 1 .was Jaswant Singh who had filed the complaint. He stated that the complaint had been filed after obtaining the sanction Ex. P./A. (On the original the Ex. is P.B./1). He identified the signatures of R. Prasad and stated that the facts stated in the complaint were based on official records and that he had personally perused the records. P. W. 2 N. S. Bhatnagar stated that on the 2nd of April, 1970, he was working as Inspector Customs. On that date he went to shop No. 44 in Chandni Chowk, Delhi where the accused was working under the name and style of New Man's Store. The accused present in Court was shown the search warrant. In his examination-in-chief, P. W. 2 stated :-

'THEgoods which had been recovered from the shop of the accused fall under the banned items as laid in the Import Trade Control Order.'

The witness then stated that he had inquired as to whether the accused had any Import Trade license and he received the answer in the negative. He proved that the statement made by the accused to him was Ex.P.W.2/C. Then he gave details of the goods recovered and mentioned the slide projector 'Prinz' an item made in Australia, which was exhibited as Ex. Public Witness .2/D-1, the tape-recorder made in Japan-exhibited as Public Witness . 2/D-2, the musical decanter made in Japan-exhibited as Ex. Public Witness . 2/D-4, and the hair drier phillips made in Holand which was exhibited as Ex. Public Witness . 2/D5. All the items -- seized were described before the Court and exhibited in Court as is visible from the statement of Public Witness . 2. Thus the Court had before it the collection of articles of foreign manufacture which had been seized from the possession of the accused. When cross-examined in the relevant part P. W. 2, stated :-

'Iam working in the Customs Department for the last 22 years. I am not aware of all the notifications concerning import of different items. However, when We go for a particular search we know about the concerned notification. Even in 1969 the import of aforesaid articles were banned so far as I know.'

No direct question was put to the witness requiring of him to produce any particular notification in terms where of the import of the recovered goods may have been banned or restricted. The counsel for 'the complainant closed his evidence before charge on the 10th of November, 1972. The order sheet shows that the case was adjourned for arguments to the 16th of November, 1972 on which date the counsel for the accused was found absent. The bail bond of the accused was cancelled and he was directed to bs summoned for the 30th of November, 1972. On the 30th of November, 1972 the accused appeared and it was directed that the case be put up on the 14th of December, 1972. The order made on the 14th of December, 1972 does not mention as to whether the accused or the counsel for the parties were present. The order, however, says that the arguments were beard on that date. The complaint was dismissed by the order passed on the 15th of December, 1972 in a part of paragraph 3 whereof the trial Court, said :-

'INthe present case Public Witness . 2 was asked in his cross examination to produce or tell the particulars of the relevant notification banning the import of such articles in India but he could give neither of those particulars.'

I have noticed the evidence of Public Witness .2. No question was put to him in cross-examination asking him to produce the relevant notification or to give its particulars. The trial Court had no justification for making the observation quoted above. Where notifications are to be issued in terms of statutory provisions the source of authority lies in those provision Ajudicial notice is to be taken of all such notifications. In all propriety where the Court felt that it had not been apprised of the pracise notifications it should have as a matter of duty called upon the complainant to produce the notifications. The complaint should not have been dismissed with any haste.

(3) I find that the learned Addl. Sessions Judge did not apply his mind to this aspect of the case. The orders passed by the Courts below suffer from arbitrariness. The same are hereby set aside. The parties are directed to appear before the trial Court on the 12th of April, 1974. The complainant will be given the opportunity to produce the relevant notifications covering the articles seized Oh the 2nd of- April, 1970. The trial Court will go through each one of the notifications and will decipher for itself as to which one of the articles is covered by any part of the notifications. The complainant may be able to make out a case either in respect of all the articles seized or in respect of some of them. All these aspects will be borne in mind. The trial Court will apply the mind afresh. I am told that Shri T. S. oberoi is now functioning as the Add. Chief Judicial Magistrate, New Delhi. The parties will appear before him on the 12th of April, 1974 With these observations, the petition is disposed of.


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