Prodyot Kumar Banerjee, j.
1. This Rule is directed against a show cause notice as well as the order of confiscation and penalty being annexure B and I of the petition. The fact appears from the show cause notice is that on receipt of some information the respondent the Customs officer searched the premises and recovered it is alleged five pieces of gold bars of foreign alleged to have been imported without a valid permit from the respective party of India under Section 8(1) of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947. Along with the show cause notice there was brief outline stated in paragraph as follows : -
'From the facts and circumstances of the case it is abundantly clear that five pieces of gold bars mentioned above were illicitly imported into India from a foreign territory in violation of Government of India, Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue) notification no. 12 (II) F 1/48 dated 25-8-68 (as amended) issued under Section 8(1) of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947 the gold bars are, therefore, liable to confiscation under the provisions of law as mentioned in the show cause notice. The Indian currency notes amounting to Rs. 6996.00 which were recovered from the premises of M/s. Babulal Pyarelal as sale proceeds of the contraband gold are also liable to be confiscated under the provisions of law as mentioned in the show cause notice.'
The petitioner showed cause and thereafter was found guilty and was asked to pay penalty by order being Annexure I to the petition. By the said order the contraband gold was confiscated and the sum of Rs. 6996.00 was also confiscated as part of contraband gold under Section 121 of the Customs Act, 1962. The petitioner was further penalised to pay Rs. 5000. It appears to me after stating the same facts the relevant for the purpose of drawing up the charge, the officer concerned should draw up the charge sheet held in paragraph 21 with it is 'abundantly clear that five pieces of gold bars mentioned above were illicitly imported into from foreign territory in violation of the Government of India, Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue) notification issued under Section 8(1) of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947 and therefore appear to be confiscated under the provisions of the law mentioned in the show cause notice.' In my opinion, this show cause notice along with the brief outlines of the charge, the show cause notice is passed it is clear that there is nothing left for the Enquiry officer to enquire for the departmental enquiry under Section 121 of the Customs Act,1962. It appears that the Customs officer has already made up their minds that the five pieces of gold bars were illicitly imported into India from a foreign country. If that is so, the question,of giving a hearing or explanation to the show cause notice become an idle formality and mere farce. It is incumbent on the part of the enquiry officer to keep open mind till it comes to a decision regarding the illicitly importation of gold into India. If it is found that they have already closed their minds in respect thereto the quasi-judicial proceeding it cannot be held to be in accordance with law or in compliance with the principles of natural justice.
2. In the circumstances aforesaid a show cause notice as well as a penalty order and the order of confiscation of the gold bar cannot be sustained and must be quashed and I quash the same. The respondents are however at liberty to proceed again in accordance with law if they are so advised and is not otherwise barred.
3. The Rule is made absolute to the extent indicated above. There will be no order as to costs.
4. Let the operation of the order be stayed for eight weeks from date.