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Search, Seizure, Arrest and Prosecution Part-I, Search and Seizure, Section 18 of the Act,1944, Rules 22 & 23 of the Central Excise (No.2) Rules, 2001, provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure.


Introduction
Provisions relating to search
Seizure

CHAPTER 17
SEARCH, SEIZURE, ARREST AND PROSECUTION
PART I
SEARCH and SEIZURE

  1. Introduction

    1.1 Provisions of search and seizure are used by the Central Excise Officers to enforce the provision of the Central Excise Law. These provisions are used as an exception when the direct physical intervention becomes necessary. At the same time the search and seizure is to be done in accordance with the laid down law. In this regard reference is to be made to the applicable provisions of other statutes, i.e. Code of Criminal Procedure.
  2. Provisions relating to search

    2.1 The provisions relating to search are given in Section 18 of the Act,1944, which provides that all searches should be made in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

    2.2 Rules 22 & 23 of the Central Excise (No.2)Rules, 2001 (hereinafter referred to as the said Rules), empower the authorized officer to enter and search any premises, conveyance or other place. Further, rule 24 ibid specifically empowers such officer to effect a seizure or detention. Moreover, Section 12 of the Central Excise Act, 1944, empowers the Central Government to apply the provisions of the Customs Act to the Central Excise also. In exercise of such powers the Central Government has issued Notification No.68/63, dated 4.5.1963 modifying and extending the various sections of Customs Act, 1962 to Central Excise matters.

    2.3 In terms of the said rules, an officer not below the rank of the Inspector of Central Excise, duly authorized by Commissioner by special or general order, can search at any time, any premises or conveyance where he has reason to believe that excisable goods are manufactured, stored or carried in contravention of the provisions of the Act or rules. For a registered premises or for stopping and searching any conveyance in transit no search warrant is required. However, in other cases, normally search warrants are issued by the Deputy/Assistant Commissioner authorizing the search. The Central Excise Officer is also authorized to stop and search any conveyance as well. The search is to be carried out in the presence of two independent witnesses.

    2.4 Section 22 deals with vexatious searches, seizure etc. by Central Excise Officers. In such case the Central Excise office will be liable to punishment under the law. Similar provision is made applicable to any person wilfully and malaciously giving false information leading to vexatious search.
  3. Seizure

    3.1 Rule 24 of the said Rules provides for power to detain goods or seize the excisable goods. If a Central Excise Officer, has reason to believe that any goods, which are liable to excise duty but no duty has been paid thereon or the said goods were removed with the intention of evading the duty payable thereon, the Central Excise Officer may detain or seize such goods.

    3.2 The power to release seized goods emanates from power to seize itself. The goods seized may be released provisionally under bond in the Format specified under erstwhile Central Excise Rules, 1944 [B-8 bond] along with 25% security or surety by the officer who is normally competent to adjudicate the case. The adjudicating officer will also consider the importance of such goods for evidence, and will release the goods provisionally if the bond is furnished. Wherever necessary, sample may also be drawn. The adjudicating officer, however, will ask the owner or in-charge of the goods to whom the goods were released provisionally to produce the goods any time before the issue of adjudication order, if he is of the view that the goods are liable for confiscation. In case the person to whom goods were released provisionally fails to produce the goods at appointed time, the bond may be enforced for recovering.

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