Customs – New Delhi High Court: Once the concerned party has paid the redemption fine as well as the penalty as determined then no justification for the Revenue to withhold the release of the said goods merely because they seeks to challenge the order passed by the Appellate Authority – Writ petition allowed [Order attached]
Parties: Ajay Kumar Gupta Vs Commissioner of Customs & Anr.
- The Petitioner, Ajay Kumar Gupta, was employed in the United Arab Emirates for many years and had arrived on a visit to New Delhi on 06.08.2021. It was found that he was in possession of two wrist watches.
- The petitioner was arrested on the allegation of smuggling and was released on bail. The goods were detained and seized on 07.08.2021. An order was passed against the applicant imposing redemption fee and penalty to release the goods.
- Immediately after receipt of the order-in-original the petitioner deposited the penalty of as well as the redemption fine of an equivalent amount. However, the goods in question were not released by the respondents.
- Whether the detention of goods after payment of redemption fine and penalty is valid?
- The Divisional Bench of Hon’ble High Court observed that the Revenue has preferred a Revision Petition before the Revisional Authorities, which is pending. In view of the pendency of the said proceedings, the goods in question have not been released by the revenue.
- However, revenue was unable to point out any provision in the Customs Act, which entitles the Revenue to retain the goods after the concerned party has paid the redemption fine as well as the penalty as determined. Merely because the Revenue seeks to challenge the order passed by the Appellate Authority is no ground for non-compliance of the said orders.
- In view of the above, the respondents are directed to handover the goods in question to the petitioner (within a period of two working days) as we find no justification for the respondent to withhold the release of the said goods.
- The writ petition is allowed.