சங்ககால நாணயபெயரில் மோசடி 7 பேர்கைது!

சங்ககால நாணயபெயரில் மோசடி 7 பேர்கைது: டாக்டர் மீது வழக்கு[1]: தமிழகத்தில் போலியாக என்னெவெல்லாம் கிடைக்கும் என்ற விவஸ்தையேயில்லை. முன்பு போலி தங்க்காசுகள் தயாருத்து விற்று மோசடி[2] என்றெல்லாம் செய்திகள் வந்தன. நாணயவியல் சங்கத்தின் மாநாடுகளில் மூட்டையைத் தூக்கிக் கொண்டு நாண்யங்களை விற்க்கவருவர். இதில் பெரும்பாலான நாணயங்கள் போலியாகத்தான் இருக்கும். ஈ-பே என்ற தளத்தில் கூட அத்தகைய போலி நாணய மோசடிகள் நடைபெறுகின்றன. இதுமட்டுமல்லாது, அந்நிய நாடுகளில் இருந்து வரும் ஆராய்ச்சியாளர்கள், இங்குள்ள உண்மையான நாணயங்களைக் கிளப்பி/திருடிக் கொண்டு சென்று விடுகிறார்கள்[3]. அதற்கு உதவுவது நம்முடைய பேராசிரியர்கள், சரித்திர ஆசிரியர்கள் முதலியோர்தாம். இதற்காக போலிநாணயங்களை தயாரித்து அவற்றை வைத்துவிட்டு, உண்மையான நாணயங்களைக் கிள்ப்பைக் கொண்டு சென்றுவிடுவர்[4].

சங்கக்கால நாணயங்கள் என்று தயாரிக்கப் பட்டுவருவது புதிய நிகழ்ச்சியன்று: கருர் பகுதிகளில் இவ்வேலை ஜோராக நடந்து வருகிறது. இப்படியொரு நாணயம் வேண்டும் என்று ஆர்டர் கொடுத்தால் போலும், தயாரித்துக் கொடுத்துவிடுவார்கள். முடிந்த வரைக்கும், அவர்கள் மிகவும் வேண்டியவர்கள், தெரிந்தவர்களிடம்தான் தமது வியாபாரத்தை வைத்துக் கொள்வார்கள்.

இப்பொழுதைய சங்க கால நாணய மோசடி: பழநி:பழநியில் சங்க கால நாணயம் இருப்பதாக கூறி, திருப்பூர் வியாபாரியிடம் மோசடியாக பணம் பறித்த 7 பேர் கைது செய்யப்பட்டனர். டாக்டர் மீது வழக்குப்பதிவு செய்யப்பட்டுள்ளது. திருப்பூர் மெயின்ரோட்டை சேர்ந்தவர் முருகேசன் (48). வியாபாரியான இவர், பழநியை சேர்ந்த சித்தா டாக்டர் பாக்கியநாதனிடம் விலைமதிப்பற்ற சங்ககால நாணயம் இருப்பதாகவும், வெளிநாட்டில் விற்றால் அதிக பணம் கிடைக்கும் என இவரிடம் இவரது நண்பர் சுலைமான் கூறியுள்ளார்.  இதைநம்பி முருகேசன், சுலைமான் உட்பட7 பேரும் பழநி வந்தனர். பாக்கியநாதனை பார்த்தனர். சங்க கால நாணயம் என நாணயம் ஒன்றை காட்டப்பட்டுள்ளது. ரூ. பல லட்சம் பேரம் பேசப்பட்டது. அட்வான்சாக ரூ. 5 ஆயிரம் தந்த முருகேசன் முழு தொகையையும் தர அவகாசம் கேட்டுள்ளார். அதற்கு ஒத்துக்கொள்ளாமல் அவரிடம் இருந்த ஒன்றரை பவுன் மோதிரத்தை இவர்கள் வாங்கியுள்ளனர். தான் ஏமாற்றப்பட்டதை அறிந்த முருகேசன், பழநி போலீசில் புகார் செய்தார். டாக்டர் மீது வழக்கு: எஸ்.ஐ., சீமான் தலைமையிலான போலீசார் சுலைமான், துரைசாமி, மாணிக்கவாசகம், செல்வம், தனிக்கோடி, ராஜகோபால் மற்றும் பாபுவை கைது செய்தனர். பணம், நகை பறிமுதல் செய்யப்பட்டது. டாக்டர் பாக்கியநாதன் மீது வழக்குபதிவு செய்யப்பட்டுள்ளது.


[1] தினமலர், சங்ககால நாணயபெயரில் மோசடி 7 பேர்கைது: டாக்டர் மீது வழக்கு, http://www.dinamalar.com/News_Detail.asp?Id=24845

[2] தினமலர், போலி தங்ககாசுகள் தயாரித்து விற்பனை 11 பேர் கைது: நகை, இயந்திரம் பறிமுதல்

நவம்பர் 16,2009,00:00  IST, http://www.dinamalar.com/Incident_detail.asp?news_id=14060

[3] வி. ஜே. ஏ. ஃபிளின் (Dr. V.J.A. Flynn) என்ற ஆராய்ச்சியாளர் பலமுறை இந்தியாவிற்கு வந்து சென்றுள்ளார். ஒவ்வொருமுறையும், அவர் பலர் விலைமதிக்கமுடியாத நாணயங்கள், கலைப்பொருட்கள் என்று திருடிச் சென்றுள்ளார்.

http://delhicourts.nic.in/may0 /DIRECTORATE%20OF%20REVENUE%20INTELLIGENCE%20VS.%20GIRISH%20DHAAWN.htm

[4] On 21st June, 1994, the petitioner V.J.A. Flynn, holding an Australian passport and one Sadasivan Mudaliar, holder of a Fiji Passport were intercepted by Air Customs Preventive Officers at IGI Airport when they were trying to board a flight for Hongkong along with a large quantity of various types of coins of gold, silver, copper etc. The coins were suspected to be antiquities, export of which was prohibited under Section 3 of the Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972 (in short the Antiquities Act). Therefore, at request of Customs, the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India (in short ASI) deputed Mr. D.V. Sharma, Superintending Archaeologist, who examined the coins and prima facie found them to be antiquities. The coins along with other bags and suitcases were seized under Section 110 of the Customs Act, 1962 on the reasonable belief that the export of the same was prohibited under the Antiquities Act. Some Indian currency was also seized under Section 110 of the Customs Act, 1962 read with FERA, 1973. The statement of Flynn and Mudaliar was recorded under Section 108 of the Customs Act. The petitioner Flynn stated that the coins recovered from Sadasivan actually belonged to him and were handed over to him only to save excess freight. In his voluntary statement under Section 108 of the Customs Act, Flynn also revealed that he had been collecting gold, silver, brass and copper coins, both Roman and Indian and had purchased a huge quantity from Bangalore and after sorting out the same at his friend Shyam Sunder Rastogi’s house at B-9, Pamposh Enclave, New Delhi was taking some with him, whereas leaving a large quantity with Rastogi. A search was conducted at the house of Rastogi on the same date which resulted in the recovery of 34149 old metallic coins. Rastogi along with the coins was brought to IGI Airport. Even the coins recovered from the house of Rastogi were certified to be antiquities. The statement of Shyam Sunder Rastogi, under Section 108 of the Customs Act, was recorded. From this it appeared that he was actually involved in smuggling of the antiquities along with Flynn. The petitioner Flynn had been staying with Rastogi, during his visits to India, for the last about 30 years. Both the petitioners were arrested on 21st June, 1994 and criminal complaints under the Customs Act were lodged against them on 28th August, 1994. The detention order under Section 3 of COFEPOSA, 1974 was also passed against both the petitioners on 7th September, 1994. Vide orders dated 4th March, 1996 in Crl. M (M) No. 244/95, this Court quashed the criminal complaint against both the petitioners and Sadasivan Mudaliar. Declaration under Section 9 of the COFEPOSA was set aside by the High Court vide orders dated 19th September, 1995. The detention orders were also set aside by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India vide order dated 18th December, 1996. The orders quashing the complaint and setting aside the detention orders were acted upon and the petitioners were released. Flynn is reported to have already left the country.

http://www.sreedesaienterprises.com/Central%20Excise/Central%20Excise%20Cases/High%20Court%20Cases/2003/2003%20%28159%29%20E.L.T.%2092%20%28Del.%29.html

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3 பதில்கள் to “சங்ககால நாணயபெயரில் மோசடி 7 பேர்கைது!”

  1. vedaprakash Says:

    2003 (159) E.L.T. 92 (Del.)

    IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI

    D.K. Jain and Sharda Aggarwal, JJ.

    V.J.A. FLYNN

    Versus

    UNION OF INDIA

    C.W. Nos. 4634 of 1997 and 1985 of 2001, decided on 26-11-2002

    Show cause notice, for confiscation of Antiquities, attempted illegal export of – Requirement of law satisfied if show cause notice proposing confiscation of goods based on sufficient material before Collector which gives grounds for proposed action – When report of Superintending Archaeologist indicated coins seized date from Kushan period (1st Century A.D.) to late Medieval and British period, and of immense archaeological value, Collector of Customs can be said to have had sufficient material before him to hold a bona fide belief that coins liable to be confiscated, giving a good ground for issuing show cause notice – Notice not illegal – Section 124 of Customs Act, 1962 – Section 2 of Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972. – In view of Clause (1) of sub-section (1)(a) of Section 2 of the Antiquities Act, any coin which has been in existence for not less than 100 years, will fall under the definition of “Antiquities”. In our view, the aforesaid report of the Superintending Archaeologist dated 23rd June, 1994 gave sufficient material for holding a prima facie view that the coins were antiquities. It cannot be argued that the show cause notice is based on surmises and conjectures or any extraneous considerations or there was not enough material before the Collector of Customs to issue the same. The show cause notice satisfies the requirement of law and in any case, no prejudice would be caused to the petitioners as they have been given full opportunity to file a reply to the notice and justify their stand before the Collector. [paras 15, 23]

    Show cause notice – Confiscation of Antiquities – Opinion of Director General, Archaeological Survey India (ASI) – Report of Director General, (ASI) under Section 24 of Antiquities Act, Certifying in case of doubt, whether a thing is an antiquity, not a pre-requisite for issuing show cause notice under Section 124 of Customs Act, 1962 – Show cause notice can be issued when Collector of Customs holds a bona fide belief based on sufficient material goods prima facie liable to be confiscated under Sections 113 and 118 ibid. – The main stand of the petitioners is that contravention of Section 3 of the Antiquities Act cannot be said to have been committed prior to the receipt of the opinion of the Director General (ASI) and, therefore, show cause notice under Section 124 of the Customs Act, 1962 could not have been issued. In other words, the contention is that receipt of the opinion of the Director General (ASI) under Section 24 of the Antiquities Act is a pre-requisite for issuance of a show cause notice. For issuing a show cause notice under Section 124 of the Customs Act, no provision has been brought to our notice which even remotely suggests that the report of the Director General is a pre-requisite. [paras 11, 16, 17]

    Judicial interference – Show cause notice under Section 124 of Customs Act, 1962 – Scope of judicial interference at the stage of show cause notice extremely limited – Normally, Courts do not interfere at the stage of show cause notice – Courts would be compelled to interfere only in absence of any material available, or issuing of show cause notice being tainted with arbitrariness – No interference called for, as Collector of Customs had sufficient material before him to issue the same – Article 226 of the Constitution of India. [para 22]

    Adjudication proceedings vis-a-vis Criminal Proceedings – Antiquities – Criminal proceedings are independent and do not affect adjudication proceedings for confiscation of Antiquities pentioners were trying to export in contravention of Section 3 of Antiquities Act – Quashing of prosecution has no bearing on adjudication proceedings – Plea that since criminal complaint under Section 35 of Customs Act, 1962 quashed by Court proceedings for confiscation do not lie, not acceptable. – Even otherwise, a careful reading of the order dated 4th March, 1996 shows that the learned Single Judge held that the proceedings under the Antiquities Act and the Customs Act are not parallel proceedings. After considering the provisions of both the Acts, it was observed in the said order that the prosecution for illegal export of antiquities, as prohibited under Section 3 of the Antiquities Act, has to be under the Antiquities Act and not under the Customs Act whereas confiscation of the antiquities and imposition of personal penalty was to be under the provisions of the Customs Act. It would be pertinent to note that the impugned show cause notice had been issued on 2nd December, 1994 much prior to the quashing of the prosecution, but as disclosed in the quashing order, the learned Single Judge was wrongly informed that no confiscation proceedings had been initiated by the Collector. It has been observed in the said order that before confiscation, adjudication proceedings are a must. [para 24]

    Petitions dismissed

    CASES CITED

    Bawa Abhai Singh v. Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax — 2001 (IV) AD (Delhi) — Referred [Para 22]

    Mohinder Singh Gill v. Chief Election Commissioner — 1978 (1) SCC 405 — Distinguished [Para 22]

    Tandon Brothers v. State of West Bengal — 2001 (5) SCC 664 — Distinguished………… [Para 22]

    Union of India v. Brij Fertilisers Pvt. Ltd. — 1993 (3) SCC 564 — Referred………………….. [Para 22]

    REPRESENTED BY : S/Shri Neeraj Kaul, Sr. Advocate with Tarun Banga, Advocate, for the Petitioner.

    S/Shri Jayant Bhushan with Anil Dutt, Advocates, for the Respondent.

    [Order per : Sharda Aggarwal, J.]. – Challenge in these two writ petitions CW. No. 4624/97, filed by V.J.A. Flynn and CW. No. 1985/2001, filed Shyam Sunder Rastogi, is to the validity of the show cause notice dated 2nd December, 1994, issued by the Collector of Customs under Section 124 of the Customs Act, 1962, as to why the seized goods be not confiscated and personal penalty be not imposed on the petitioners. Since both the writ petitions arise out of common facts and a common show cause notice, we propose to dispose of the same by this order.

    2. A brief factual background of the case is as follows :

    On 21st June, 1994, the petitioner V.J.A. Flynn, holding an Australian passport and one Sadasivan Mudaliar, holder of a Fiji Passport were intercepted by Air Customs Preventive Officers at IGI Airport when they were trying to board a flight for Hongkong along with a large quantity of various types of coins of gold, silver, copper etc. The coins were suspected to be antiquities, export of which was prohibited under Section 3 of the Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972 (in short the Antiquities Act). Therefore, at request of Customs, the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India (in short ASI) deputed Mr. D.V. Sharma, Superintending Archaeologist, who examined the coins and prima facie found them to be antiquities. The coins along with other bags and suitcases were seized under Section 110 of the Customs Act, 1962 on the reasonable belief that the export of the same was prohibited under the Antiquities Act. Some Indian currency was also seized under Section 110 of the Customs Act, 1962 read with FERA, 1973. The statement of Flynn and Mudaliar was recorded under Section 108 of the Customs Act. The petitioner Flynn stated that the coins recovered from Sadasivan actually belonged to him and were handed over to him only to save excess freight. In his voluntary statement under Section 108 of the Customs Act, Flynn also revealed that he had been collecting gold, silver, brass and copper coins, both Roman and Indian and had purchased a huge quantity from Bangalore and after sorting out the same at his friend Shyam Sunder Rastogi’s house at B-9, Pamposh Enclave, New Delhi was taking some with him, whereas leaving a large quantity with Rastogi. A search was conducted at the house of Rastogi on the same date which resulted in the recovery of 34149 old metallic coins. Rastogi along with the coins was brought to IGI Airport. Even the coins recovered from the house of Rastogi were certified to be antiquities. The statement of Shyam Sunder Rastogi, under Section 108 of the Customs Act, was recorded. From this it appeared that he was actually involved in smuggling of the antiquities along with Flynn. The petitioner Flynn had been staying with Rastogi, during his visits to India, for the last about 30 years. Both the petitioners were arrested on 21st June, 1994 and criminal complaints under the Customs Act were lodged against them on 28th August, 1994. The detention order under Section 3 of COFEPOSA, 1974 was also passed against both the petitioners on 7th September, 1994. Vide orders dated 4th March, 1996 in Crl. M (M) No. 244/95, this Court quashed the criminal complaint against both the petitioners and Sadasivan Mudaliar. Declaration under Section 9 of the COFEPOSA was set aside by the High Court vide orders dated 19th September, 1995. The detention orders were also set aside by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India vide order dated 18th December, 1996. The orders quashing the complaint and setting aside the detention orders were acted upon and the petitioners were released. Flynn is reported to have already left the country.

    3. During the pendency of the proceedings, the petitioners were also served with a show cause notice dated 2nd December, 1994 under Section 124 of the Customs Act to show cause as to why the seized antique coins/goods and the non-antique goods be not confiscated under Sections 113 and 118 of the Customs Act read with the Antiquities Act and as to why the personal penalty be not imposed under Section 114 of the Customs Act. It is this show cause notice, which is under challenge in the present writ petitions.

    4. Main contention of the petitioners is that the show cause notice for confiscation of the antiquities is based on surmises and conjectures and is without any legal basis and is pre-mature. The contention is that the show cause notice for confiscation of the seized coins could not be issued until a case under the Antiquities Act is made out i.e. it is established that the goods seized are antiquities. In other words the argument is, that the report of the Director General of Archaeological Survey of India, certifying the coins to be antiquities under Section 24 of the Antiquities Act is a pre-requisite to the issuance of show cause notice. It is submitted that the seizure of the coins was effected on 21st June, 1994 and the impugned show cause notice was issued on 2nd December, 1994 and by that date, the report of the Director General (ASI) had not been received. It is submitted that it was on 4th October, 1995 that the respondents moved the ACMM, New Delhi where the complaint under Section 135 of the Customs Act was pending against the petitioners, for sending the seized antique coins for the expert opinion of the Director General (ASI). It is submitted that till date the complete report has not been received. The report dated 31st July, 1998 received during the pendency of these writ petitions with respect to part of the seized coins, is alleged to be of no consequence as the same being subsequent to the issuance of the show cause notice, cannot validate the same.

    5.  Mr. Jayant Bhushan, learned standing counsel for the respondents, on the other hand, strenuously contends that there was sufficient material before the Collector for issuing show cause notice for confiscation and penalty and it cannot be said that the report of the Director General (ASI) under Section 24 of the Antiquities Act was a pre-requisite thereto. The notice cannot be said to be based on surmises and conjectures. The declaration of the coins as antiquities under Section 24 of the Antiquities Act assumes importance for passing confiscation order after adjudication. What is required for issuing a show cause notice is, that there should be sufficient material to hold a prima facie view, that the coins were antiquities. According to Mr. Jayant Bhushan, the report of the Superintending Archaeologist dated 23rd June, 1994, which has been referred in the show cause notice, provided sufficient material to hold a prima facie belief that the coins were antiquities.

    6.  To appreciate the controversy, the relevant provisions of the Antiquities Act and that of the Customs Act, 1962 need to be considered. The Antiquities Act regulates the export trade in antiquities and art treasure and provides for prevention of smuggling or fraudulent dealings in the antiquities. Section 2(1)(a) defines “antiquity”. It reads as under :

    “2. Definitions. – (1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, –

    (a) ’antiquity’ includes –

    (1) (i) any coin, sculpture, painting, epigraph or other work of art or craftsmanship;

    (ii) any article, object or thing detached from a building or cave;

    (iii)  any article, object or thing illustrative of science, art, crafts, literature, religion, customs, morals or politics in bygone ages;

    (iv) any article, object or thing of historical interest;

    (v)  Any article, object or thing declared by the Central Government, by notification in the Official Gazette, to be an antiquity for the purposes of this Act,

    which has been in existence for not less than one hundred years.“

    7.  It shows that any coins, sculpture, painting, epigraph or other work of art or craftsmanship, which has been in existence for not less than one hundred years will fail under the definition of “antiquity”. Section 3 of this Act regulates the export trade in antiquities and art treasures. It is reproduced as under :

    “3. Regulation of export trade in antiquities and art treasures. – (1) On and from the commencement of this Act, it shall not be lawful for any person, other than the Central Government or any authority or agency authorized by the Central Government in this behalf, to export any antiquity or art treasure.

    (2) Whenever the Central Government or any authority or agency referred to in sub-section (1) intends to export any antiquity or art treasure such export shall be made only under and in accordance with the terms and conditions of a permit issued for the purpose by such authority as may be prescribed.”

    8. As per this provision, no one except the Central Government or any authority or agency authorised by such Government, is competent to export any antiquity or art treasure. This provision apparently prohibits the export of such coins which fall under the definition of “Antiquity”. By virtue of Section 4, provisions of the Customs Act, 1962 are made applicable to this Act. Reading of Section 4, which is reproduced below, makes it clear that the Customs Act shall have effect in relation to all antiquities, the export of which is prohibited under Section 3 of the Antiquities Act. The Collector of Customs can, therefore, confiscate the antiquities, export of which is prohibited under Section 3 of the Antiquities Act.

    “4. Application of Act 52 of 1962. – The Customs Act, 1962, shall have effect in relation to all antiquities and art treasures, the export of which by any person (other than the Central Government or any authority or agency authorised by the Central Government) is prohibited under Section 3 save in sofar as that Act is inconsistent with the provisions of this Act and except that (notwithstanding anything contained in Section 125 of this Act) any confiscation authorised under that Act shall be made unless the Central Government on an application made to it in this behalf, otherwise directs.”

    9. Section 24 of the Antiquities Act provides that if any question arise as to whether any article, object, thing or manuscript, record or any other document is, or is not an antiquity or is not an art treasure, it shall be referred to the Director General, Archaeological Survey of India or an Officer not below the rank of a Director authorised by the Director General and the decision of the Director General, or such officer, shall be final. The decision of the Director General or his nominee not below the rank of Director has been made final and his decision becomes relevant for the Collector of Customs to finally confiscate the coins and impose personal penalty after adjudication.

    10.  Reference to some relevant provisions of the Customs Act, 1962 is also necessary. Section 110 of the Customs Act provides for the seizure of the goods, documents or things if the proper officer has reason to believe that such goods are liable to confiscation under the Act. Section 113 of the Customs Act provides that if any goods are attempted to be exported contrary to any prohibition under any law, then the same can be confiscated. In the present context, Clause (d) of Section 113, being relevant, is reproduced as under :

    “113. Confiscation of goods attempted to be improperly exported, etc. – The following export goods shall be liable to confiscation :-

    (a) x  x x x x x

    (b) x x x x x x

    (c) x x x x x x

    (d) any goods attempted to be exported or brought within the limits of any customs area for the purpose of being exported, contrary to any prohibition imposed by or under this Act or any other law for the time being in force.

    (e) to (l) x x x x x x”.

    11. The above provisions show that even if the prohibition to export particular goods is under any other law i.e. other than the Customs Act, the Collector of Customs can confiscate the same. As discussed above, the provisions of Customs Act have been made applicable to the Antiquities Act by virtue of Section 4 of the Antiquities Act.

    12. Section 114 of the Customs Act provides for personal penalty for attempt to export the prohibited goods. Section 122 of the Customs Act provides for adjudication of confiscations and penalties. Section 124 of the Customs Act provides for show cause notice before the confiscation of goods. It is reproduced as under :

    “124. Issue of show cause notice before the confiscation of goods, etc. – No order confiscating any goods or imposing any penalty shall be made under this Chapter unless the owner of the goods or such person –

    (a) is given a notice in writing informing him of the grounds on which it is proposed to confiscate the goods or to impose a penalty;

    (b) is given an opportunity of making a representation in writing under such reasonable time as may be specified in the notice against the grounds of confiscation or imposition of penalty mentioned therein; and

    (c) is given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in the matter :

    Provided that the notice referred to in Clause (a) and the representation referred to in Clause (b) may at the request of the person concerned be oral.”

    13. Under the Antiquities Act, export of antiquity is prohibited. The petitioner, Flynn was found in possession of coins, which were suspected to be antiquities under the Antiquities Act. Accordingly, after preliminary enquiries, same were seized under Section 110 of the Customs Act, 1962, on 21st June, 1994. His statement had led to the recovery of further huge quantity of coins from the house of Rastogi, the other petitioner. The same were also seized. As the coins so seized were being attempted to be exported contrary to the prohibition under Section 3 of the Antiquities Act, the petitioners were served with a show cause notice as provided under Section 124 of the Customs Act, before confiscation of the same. In the show cause notice, the Collector of Customs has mentioned the detailed grounds on which it proposed to confiscate the antiquities and non-antiquities under Section 113(d) and Section 118 of the Customs Act, 1962. The notice gives an opportunity to the noticee to make a representation/reply in writing against the grounds of confiscation. The noticee has also been offered an opportunity of personal hearing.

    14. The main stand of the petitioners is that contravention of Section 3 of the Antiquities Act cannot be said to have been committed prior to the receipt of the opinion of the Director General (ASI) and, therefore, show cause notice under Section 124 of the Customs Act, 1962 could not have been issued. In other words, the contention is that receipt of the opinion of the Director General (ASI) under Section 24 of the Antiquities Act is a pre-requisite for issuance of a show cause notice.

    15.  For issuing a show cause notice under Section 124 of the Customs Act, no provision has been brought to our notice which even remotely suggests that the report of the Director General is a pre-requisite. Show cause notice can be issued when the Collector of Customs holds a bona fide belief based on relevant material; that the goods are prima facie liable to be confiscated under Sections 113 and 118 of the Customs Act.

    16. Mr. Jayant Bhushan, learned standing Counsel for the respondents rightly contends that before issuing a show cause notice, the Collector of Customs had to be satisfied that prima facie the coins sought to be confiscated were antiquities, export of which was prohibited under Section 3 of the Antiquities Act. The submission is that before issuing the show cause notice, there was sufficient material on record. The grounds for issuing the show cause notice for confiscating the coins have been clearly mentioned in the impugned show cause notice more specifically in Paras 13 and 14 thereof. The notice specifically refers to a report from Superintending Archaeologist (Antiquities), ASI, dated 23rd June, 1994, which indicated that the seized coins were of outstanding numismatic value which would throw ample light on the lesser known aspect of the numismatic history of India.

    17.  Mr. Neeraj Kaul, learned senior Counsel for the petitioners contends that the two reports dated 21st and 22nd June, 1994 of Shri D.V. Sharma, Superintending Archaeologist did not show as to how the seized coins were antiquities. These reports simply state that all the coins/objects, referred in the reports, were found to be antiquities and it was suggested that the matter be referred to the Director General (ASI) for the expert opinion under Section 24 of the Antiquities Act. Therefore, it is contended that these two reports did not provide any ground for issuing the show cause notice.

    18.  It is pertinent to note that the preliminary report of Shri D.V. Sharma, Superintending Archaeologist, pertaining to the seized coins was given on 23rd June, 1994, perusal of which shows that prima facie the said coins appeared to be antiquities. The three reports including the report dated 23rd June, 1994 are placed on record by the petitioner Flynn as Annexure ‘H’ to the petition. The first report dated 21st June, 1994 refers to 6675 coins recovered from the petitioner Flynn whereas the second report dated 22nd June, 1994 pertains to silver and copper coins numbering 34149 recovered from the house of the petitioner Shyam Sunder Rastogi. The third report dated 23rd June, 1994 gives the opinion with respect to the coins seized from both the petitioners on 21st and 22nd June, 1994. This report refers to the age of coins which was apparent from the coins itself. According to the report, the coins seized on 21st and 22nd June, 1994 approx. 41000, of gold, silver and copper etc. were of immense archaeological importance and broadly speaking the coins date back from Kushan (1st Century A.D.) to late medieval and British period. The collection of coins included coins of the period of Kushans, Guptas, Provincial Rulers, Sultanate, Lodi, Surs, Mughals, etc. According to the report, the coins dated back to 1st Century A.D. up to late medieval and British period. Some gold coins were of the period of the Ruler Chandergupta (336-330 A.D.), some were of the period of Samudragupta (335-375 A.D.), some were of Mughal Regime dating back to the year 1562 A.D. and 1707 A.D. The coins indicated the title of Ruler’s, name of the mint, date of issuing Kalima and epithets and Caliphs etc. This report prima facie indicated that most of the coins were more than 100 years old and were of historic value.

    19.  As discussed above, in view of Clause (1) of sub-section (1)(a) of Section 2 of the Antiquities Act, any coin which has been in existence for not less than 100 years, will fall under the definition of “Antiquities”. In our view, the aforesaid report of the Superintending Archaeologist dated 23rd June, 1994 gave sufficient material for holding a prima facie view that the coins were antiquities. It cannot be argued that the show cause notice is based on surmises and conjectures or any extraneous considerations or there was not enough material before the Collector of Customs to issue the same. The show cause notice satisfies the requirement of law and in any case, no prejudice would be caused to the petitioners as they have been given full opportunity to file a reply to the notice and justify their stand before the Collector.

    20. The learned senior Counsel for the petitioners has relied upon two judgments Mohinder Singh Gill v. Chief Election Commissioner & Ors. – 1978 (1) SCC 405 and Tandon Brothers v. State of West Bengal – 2001 (5) SCC 664 for the proposition that a show cause notice has to be tested on the date of its issuance and any subsequent material would not validate the same. Reliance on these two judgments is mis-conceived, as the same are not applicable to the instant case on facts. In any case, there is no quarrel with the proposition that a show cause notice has to be tested on the date of its issuance. In the above discussion, we have already observed that the report of the Director General (ASI) under Section 24 of the Antiquities Act is not a pre-requisite for issuing a show cause notice. The two reports of the Director General, received during the pendency of the writ petitions, relating to part of the coins seized from the petitioners has not been made a basis, nor it could have been made a basis of the show cause notice. The validity of the notice has certainly to be seen as on the date when it was issued. We have already observed that as on the date of issuing the show cause notice, the Collector of Customs had sufficient material before him to issue the same. The scope of judicial interference at this stage is extremely limited. Normally, the Courts do not interfere at the stage of show cause notice. It is only in the absence of any material available, or the issuing of show cause being tainted with arbitrariness, that the Courts would be compelled to interfere. Mr. Jayant Bhushan, in this respect, has referred to 1993 (3) SCC 564, Union of India & Anr. v. M/s. Brij Fertilisers Pvt. Ltd. where the Court had to interfere, as in that case, there was no material before the Department to issue a show cause notice. Another judgment reported in 2001 (IV) AD (Delhi) 556, Bawa Abhai Singh v. Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, of a Division Bench of this Court, to which one of us (D.K. Jain, J.) was a party, has been referred by Mr. Jayant Bhushan. In that case, the challenge was to a notice under Section 148 of the Income-tax Act, 1961, and to the notices issued under Sections 143(2) and 142(1) of the Act, wherein while considering the expression “reason to believe”, it was held as under :

    “There must be some material which can be regarded as information, on the basis of which the assessing officer can have reason to believe that action under Section 147 is called for. Jurisdiction of the Court to interference is very limited, as Court does not act as appellate authority. No meticulous examination of the information by the Court is permissible to decide for itself as to whether action under Section 147 is called for. The “reason to believe” must be tenable in law. Only If the information or the reason has no nexus with the belief or there is no material or tangible information for forming of requisite belief, then only the Court can interfere, otherwise not.”

    21.  What is required under Section 124 of the Customs Act, 1962 is that before confiscating any goods, a show cause notice in writing should be issued to the noticee informing him of the grounds on which the goods are proposed to be confiscated, meaning thereby that there should be sufficient material before the Collector which gives grounds for the proposed action. The Collector of Customs in this case had sufficient material before him to hold a bona fide belief that the coins were liable to be confiscated, which gave a good ground for issuing the show cause notice.

    22.  The further contention of Mr. Neeraj Kaul is that since the criminal complaint under Section 35 of the Customs Act, against the petitioners was quashed by this Court vide order dated 4th March, 1996, the present proceedings for confiscation do not lie. The contention is that since the final report of the Director General (ASI) under Section 24 of the Antiquities Act was not received before launching prosecution, the complaint was quashed. The argument of the learned Counsel does not impress us. The criminal proceedings are independent and do not affect the adjudication proceedings for confiscation of the antiquities which the petitioners were trying to export in contravention of Section 3 of the Antiquities Act. The quashing of the prosecution has no bearing on the adjudication proceedings. Even otherwise, a careful reading of the order dated 4th March, 1996 shows that the learned Single Judge held that the proceedings under the Antiquities Act and the Customs Act are not parallel proceedings. After considering the provisions of both the Acts, it was observed in the said order that the prosecution for illegal export of antiquities, as prohibited under Section 3 of the Antiquities Act, has to be under the Antiquities Act and not under the Customs Act whereas confiscation of the antiquities and imposition of personal penalty was to be under the provisions of the Customs Act. It would be pertinent to note that the impugned show cause notice had been issued on 2nd December, 1994 much prior to the quashing of the prosecution, but as disclosed in the quashing order, the learned Single Judge was wrongly informed that no confiscation proceedings had been initiated by the Collector. It has been observed in the said order that before confiscation, adjudication proceedings are a must.

    23.  In view of the above discussion, we find no merit in these petitions. The same are accordingly dismissed. No order as to costs.

  2. vedaprakash Says:

    That V. J. A. Flynn case is appearing in the Cause list of Delhi high Court proves that the case is still pending. However, Flynn has long back flown back to Autralia.

    Delhi High Court Cause List ( For 22nd, Jun, 2010 )
    http://causelists.nic.in/delhi_cause/otues/cl.html

    22A. CS(OS) 391/2000 I.A. 14106/2008 I.A. 784/2009 I.A. 1902/2010 I.A. 3617-3618/2010 DR V.J.A.FLYNN AND ANR. Vs. UOI AND ORS. AF+ MR. TARUN BANGA, SATISH AGGARWALA, MS. POOJA BHASKAR, MR. H. CHANDRA, MR.TAPAN BANGA, MR. SATISH AGGARWALA, G.P.THAREJA, SHIRISH AGGARWAL, ADITI GUPTA, NARESH KAUSHIK

  3. இந்திய புராதன கலைபொருட்கள் திருட்டு, கொள்ளை, கடத்தல்! « இந்தியர்கள் மீதான தாக்குதல்கள் Says:

    […] [4] https://corruptioninindia.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/%E0%AE%9A%E0%AE%99%E0%AF%8D%E0%AE%95%E0%AE%95%E0%A… […]

vedaprakash க்கு மறுமொழியொன்றை இடுங்கள் மறுமொழியை நிராகரி

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