R. Jayaraman, Member (T)
1. This is an appeal against the Order-in-Original No. 7/Collr/1989, dated 12-2-1989 of the Collector of Customs (Prev.), Ahmedabad.
2. Since Shri Udai Joshi, the Ld. Advocate does not contest the case on merits, excepting the legal issue raised by him; facts are not recorded in detail.
3. The appellant was returning from abroad and the admitted position is that she did not declare certain ornaments, when she got cleared through the Customs. They were intercepted after clearance while going to Gujarat. The interception was done by the officers of the Ahmedabad Customs Collectorate. In the adjudication proceedings held by the Collector, he held the ornaments seized liable to confiscation, but gave an option to the appellants for redemption of the same on payment of fine of Rs. 15,000 /- with a condition to re-export the jewellery and he also imposed a penalty of Rs. 5,000/-.
4. Shri Uday Joshi, the Ld. Advocate for the appellant, mainly pleads that when the goods have been allowed re-export there cannot be any redemption fine. In this context he seeks to rely on the judgment of the North Regional Bench (Single Member) in the case of Padia Sales Corporation C.C. – 1992 (61) E.L.T. 90 (Tri.). We are not much persuaded to accept this argument based on the aforesaid judgment for the following reasons. Whenever the goods imported contravened the provisions of the Customs Act; they become liable to confiscation. Here the items of jewellery are not declared at the time, when the passenger went through the green channel. There was an attempt to clear the goods, which are dutiable, without declaration. Hence they become liable to confiscation. When the goods have been ordered confiscation, they became the property of the Government. However, the law provides for allowing redemption of such confiscated property on payment of suitable fine. In this case, the appellant, being a foreign national, pleaded for allowing re-export of such confiscated jewellery and hence has been allowed redemption with a condition for re-export. Section 125 of the Customs Act, does not contemplate allowing redemption fine only in the case of goods cleared for home consumption. Hence we are of the view that whenever goods have been imported unauthorisedly and they are confiscated, if option for redeeming the goods is given under Section 125 of the Customs Act either for home consumption or for export, redemption fine can be imposed. However, if goods are allowed export on redemption, fine can be on the lower side and need not relate to margin of profit. It does not extinguish the liability to impose a fine for allowing redemption. Hence, we uphold the order of confiscation and imposition of fine and penalty. However, having regard to the plea for leniency, we find that since the goods are personal jewellery and have already been exported as per the condition imposed, we reduce the redemption fine to Rs. 10,000/- (Rupees Ten thousand only). The penalty imposed is reasonable and does not call for any interference.
5. Appeal is disposed of in the above terms.