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'Pre-Planned Well-Designed Fraud With Union Of India': Delhi HC Imposes ₹1L Cost On Plea Against Seizure Of Luxury Car For Evading Import Duty

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
23 Feb 2022 7:35 AM GMT
Pre-Planned Well-Designed Fraud With Union Of India: Delhi HC Imposes ₹1L Cost On Plea Against Seizure Of Luxury Car For Evading Import Duty
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The Delhi High Court today imposed cost of Rs. 1 lakh while dismissing a petition challenging the seizure of a luxury car and subsequent proceedings under the Customs Act, over non-payment of import duty.Noting that the petitioner had violated the conditions of duty-free import and had also allegedly forged the bill of entry, the Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti...

The Delhi High Court today imposed cost of Rs. 1 lakh while dismissing a petition challenging the seizure of a luxury car and subsequent proceedings under the Customs Act, over non-payment of import duty.

Noting that the petitioner had violated the conditions of duty-free import and had also allegedly forged the bill of entry, the Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh orally remarked,

"This an absolutely pre-planned, well designed import and a fraud with Union of India. Fraud with a sovereign body is a criminal offence. It cannot be viewed lightly."

The petitioner had challenged seizure memo dated 27 October 2021 of the 'Toyota Vellfire' car.

After hearing the counsel for the petitioner at length, the Bench noted that he is unable to point out anything about how the petitioner is in search of custody of a luxurious car.

"Whether he is an importer, purchaser, agent of importer, or has he taken it on rent? Too much ignorance has been pleaded by this Petitioner," it observed.

Further, it was submitted by the Respondent that the Petitioner has played fraud with Union of India which is evident from the seizure memo; bill of entry is also a forged one.

The Respondent also contended that whenever any vehicle is being imported duty-free, the same is always conditional in nature. If the conditions are not fulfilled, import duty is bound to be paid and if the original purchaser does not pay the duty, charge is created on the commodity and therefore, the said commodity is liable to be seized, confiscated and auctioned.

In facts of present case, the Court was informed that the luxury car was imported duty free and there was violation of conditions.

"In view of aforesaid, it appears that there is a fraud played by Petitioner. Petitioner is unable to point out whether he is importer or is purchaser…nothing is argued. In view thereof and the fact that the Respondent has started procedure under Customs Act, car in question is already under seizure and further proceedings will take place in accordance with law, this writ petition is dismissed with cost of Rs. 1 Lakh to be paid to the Delhi Legal Services Authority within 4 weeks," the Court ordered.

The Bench further noted that when the arguments were going on, the Petitioner had pleaded ignorance of law.

"This is too much!" the Chief Justice remarked.

He reiterated the cardinal legal principle "Ignorantia juris non excusat" (ignorance of law is no excuse).

"When the Petitioner is dealing with a premium car, and when the law is explicitly clear, Petitioner is bound to make payment of custom duty in accordance with law after adjudication of notices issued by the Respondent authority," it ordered.

Case Title: Nipun Miglani v. Intelligence Officer & Ors.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 141

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