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Case Law Details

Case Name : Deepali Suresh Padhiar Vs C.C.-Ahmedabad (CESTAT Ahmedabad)
Appeal Number :  Customs Appeal No. 10379 of 2014
Date of Judgement/Order : 21/06/2023
Related Assessment Year :
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Deepali Suresh Padhiar Vs C.C.-Ahmedabad (CESTAT Ahmedabad)

Introduction: The Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) recently heard a case between Deepali Suresh Padhiar, a non-resident Indian, and the Customs Commissioner of Ahmedabad. The case centered on the seizure of undeclared gold coins from Padhiar at the airport, resulting in a fine and penalty. The appellant was unaware of Indian Baggage Rules and taxability of dutiable goods under personal luggage, leading to this incident.

Analysis: Upon Padhiar’s arrival in India, she opted for the Green Channel at the airport, but was diverted to the Red Channel by a customs officer. During this process, she did not declare three gold coins that were in her possession. The gold coins were subsequently seized and a fine and penalty imposed. The appellant appealed this decision, stating her unawareness of Indian Baggage Rules and the requirement to declare such items.

The Commissioner (Appeals) reduced the original fine and penalty, acknowledging that there was no intention to smuggle gold. However, the appellant argued for further leniency, leading to the current appeal. CESTAT, in its ruling, took into account the appellant’s ignorance of Indian Baggage Rules, her bona fide belief that the coins did not need to be declared, and the fact that there was no intention to smuggle.

Conclusion: CESTAT’s ruling, while upholding the principle of adherence to Indian Baggage Rules, also underscored the importance of intent and awareness in such cases. By reducing the fine and penalty further, the Tribunal demonstrated a balanced approach. This case highlights the crucial need for non-resident Indians and other international travelers to familiarize themselves with the customs regulations of the countries they visit to avoid such incidents.

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