The Comfortable Life of Gold Smugglers II

On 19.11.2002, Ms. Pushpa Lekhumal Tolani, of Indonesian Passport, carried with her, on her flight from London to New Delhi, 28 packages containing 44 items of jewellery worth Rs. 25 Lakhs. The competent authority confiscated her articles and imposed ‘fines and penalties’ worth Rs. 18 Lakhs. The HC quashed the order. In an appeal by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence before the SC, the Court held

Tolani was not carrying any dutiable goods because the goods were her bona fide jewellery for personal use and was intended to be taken out of India. Foreign tourists are allowed to bring into India jewellery even of substantial value provided it is meant to be taken out of India with them and it is a pre-requisite at the time of making endorsements on the passport. Therefore, bringing jewellery into India for taking it out with the passenger is permissible and is not liable to any import duty. We cannot ignore the contention of the respondent that her parents at the relevant time were in Indonesia and she had plans of proceeding to Indonesia. Some of the jewellery items were intended to be left with the parents. The High Court has rightly held that Tolani did not seem to have the intention to smuggle the jewellery into India and to sell it off.

Hon’ble Justice R.K. Agrawal, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence v. Pushpa Lekhumal Tolani, [Civil Appeal No. 4403 of 2010].

Pushpa Lekhumal Tolani’s Previously Confiscated Jewels