Customs Confiscation of Gold Bangles Upheld

Hyderabad: The tax bench of the Telangana High Court, comprising Justice P. Sam Koshy and Justice N. Tukaramji, refused to interfere with the orders of Cestat (Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal) seeking to confiscate five gold bangles, valued at Rs 8.5 lakh on the date of seizure in 2014. The panel passed the order in a writ plea filed by Elete Suseela and another. It was the case of the petitioners that bangles were seized when the couple was walking out of the Customs area at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. While the original order was of confiscation, the appellate authority directed payment of custom duty of 35 per cent for taking back the goods. The plea of the petitioner that the bangles were gifted to her during her stay with her daughter in Chicago was rejected. Dominque Fernandez, representing the department, contended that “the case of the petitioners squarely falls within the definition of smuggling and also falls in violation of the foreign trade policy in so far as smuggling of gold is concerned. That since the petitioners have not been saddled with the tax liability of payment of excess duty but has only been ordered to pay fine and penalty which too has been subsequently reduced substantially by the appellate authority, there is hardly any scope left for interfering with the same now.”

Speaking for the bench, Justice Koshy said, “It is an admitted fact that in the case on hand petitioners do not satisfy the condition of having stayed abroad for more than six months and the same has not been disputed by the petitioners before the appellate foras. In view of this, since the petitioners are not eligible passengers in terms of the provisions of the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992 read with the Foreign Trade (Exemption from Application of Rules in Certain Cases) Order, 1993, the original authority was correct in finding the petitioners ineligible to import the gold bangles. Thus, the order of the original authority to confiscate the gold bangles in terms of Section 111(1) of the Act, cannot be found fault with.”

The panel said, “Another reason why this court is not inclined to entertain the writ petition is the fact that the petitioners have voluntarily availed the option that was floated by the adjudicating authority at the first instance. Having availed the option floated and having paid the redemption fine and customs duty while redeeming the gold bangles, the petitioners cannot now be permitted to turn around and challenge the order which he has voluntarily complied with.”

Senior counsel to mediate in domestic dispute

A two-judge panel of the Telangana High Court, comprising Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Sujoy Paul, appointed senior counsel D. Prakash Reddy to mediate in a domestic dispute for payment of maintenance to parents, who are senior citizens. A writ plea was filed by Kasupa Gowramma and K. Dayanand, complaining about the ill-treatment meted out to them by their son and his wife. It was the case of the petitioners that not only did his son demand money from him and took three tolas of gold ornaments for expanding his business, which were not returned, but also threw them out of their house by creating problems to grab the property which led the petitioners to file an application before the regional divisional officer under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act and the Telangana Maintenance and Welfare of parents and Senior Citizens Rules, 2011 seeking protection and maintenance. However, aggrieved by the order of granting Rs 10,000 per month, an appeal was filed before the said authority, which was dismissed. Seeking protection to life and liberty from the constant harassment and mental torture, a writ plea was filed. It was the contention of the petitioners that unless there was a legally enforceable right, the respondent was not entitled to deny the right of petitioners and deprive them from enjoying their property. It was also contended that the measure of directing the petitioners to file a civil suit for recovery of possession was found to be frustrating the whole purpose and object of the Senior Citizens Act. It was further contended that the respondents had not contributed any share to purchase the subject properties in favour of petitioners and therefore do not have any right or authority to continue to enjoy the property acquired by the petitioners. Lastly it was contended by the petitioners that they were not in a position to maintain on a mere amount of Rs 20,000 per month. On the other hand, it is contended by the respondent authorities that acting on the complaints submitted by the petitioners to the Chatrinaka station house officer, a preliminary enquiry was conducted, wherein it was revealed that there were civil disputes and as such the complaints of the petitioners were closed as "civil in nature” and also that they had no power to evict the respondents from the property. The respondents contended that the property was purchased by using the funds of a Hindu undivided family and as such the petitioners were not entitled to claim the subject property as absolutely acquired by them since the share of respondents was also involved. The court, in its considered view, held that as the meagre amount of petitioners was being spent for their medical expenses, and directed the son to pay an amount of Rs 30,000 per month towards maintenance to the petitioners till the delivery of possession to the petitioners. Aggrieved by the order the present appeal was filed wherein the court directed senior counsel Prakash Reddy to mediate in the domestic dispute.

HC refuses to hear plea by landowners from Karnataka

Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy of the Telangana High Court refused to hear a writ plea filed by the owners of land in Karnataka on the grounds of portfolios. The judge directed the matter to be placed before the Chief Justice for posting before the appropriate court. V.C. Maylarappa Chilkkamelurappa moved the High Court complaining that by an order made by the XVII Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Nampally, he was remanded to judicial custody. The petitioner’s case was that he was falsely implicated at the instance of the complainant in a case of cheating, criminal breach of trust and criminal intimidation. He contended that there was a land transaction under which the petitioner agreed to sell approximately 11 acres of land in favour of the complainant and entered into a registered agreement of sale. However, the agreement of sale did not materialise in the registration of a sale deed. In any event, he said, the magistrate erred in remanding him to custody without following the directions of the Supreme Court in the Arnesh Kumar case. The matter is likely to be listed before the appropriate judge on April 1.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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