15. Power to enter premises and inspect, search and seize goods, documents, things and conveyances
(1) Any person authorized by the Central Government under sub-section (1) of section 10 (hereinafter called “the authorized person”) may, at any reasonable time, enter any premises in which-
(i) any imported goods or materials which are liable to confiscation under the provisions of the Act; or
(ii) any books of account or documents or things which, in his opinion, will be useful for, or relevant to, any proceedings under the Act, are suspected to have been kept or concealed and may inspect such goods, materials, books of account, documents or things and may take such notes or extracts there from as he may think fit.
(2) If the authorized person has reason to believe that-
(i) any imported goods or materials liable to confiscation under the Act; or
(ii) any books of account or documents or things which, in his opinion, will be useful for, or relevant to, any proceedings under the Act, are secreted in any premises he may enter into and search such premises for such goods, materials, books of account, documents or things.
(3) (a) If the authorized person has reason to believe that any imported goods or materials are liable to confiscation under the Act, he may seize such goods or materials together with the package, covering or receptacle, if any, in which such goods or materials are found to have been mixed with any other goods or materials:
PROVIDED that where it is not practicable to seize any such goods or materials, the authorized person may serve on the owner of the goods or materials an order that he shall not remove, part with or otherwise deal with the goods or materials except with the previous permission of the authorized person.
(b) Where any goods or materials are seized under clause (a) and no notice in respect thereof is given within six months of the seizure of the goods or materials, the goods or materials shall be returned to the person from whose possession they were seized:
PROVIDED that the aforesaid period of six months may, on sufficient cause being shown, be extended by the Director-General for a further period not exceeding six months.
(c) The authorized person may seize any books of account or documents or things which in his opinion, will be useful for, or relevant to, any proceedings under the Act.
(d) The person from whose custody any documents are seized under this sub-rule, shall be entitled to make copies thereof or take extracts there from in the presence of the authorized person.
(e) If any person legally entitled to the books of account or other documents or things seized under this sub-rule objects, for any reason, to the retention by the authorized person of the books of account or the documents or things, he may move an application to the Central Government stating therein the reasons for such objection, request for the return of the books of account or documents or things.
(f) On receipt of the application under clause (e), the Central Government may, after giving the applicant an opportunity of being heard, pass such order as it may think fit.
(g) Where any document is produced or furnished by any person or has been seized from the custody or control of any person under the Act or has been received from any place outside India in the course of the investigation for any contravention referred to in section 11 by any person and such document is tendered in evidence against the person by whom it is produced or from whom it was seized or against such person or any other person who is jointly proceeded against, the adjudicating authority, shall, notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law for the time being in force,-
unless the contrary is proved, that the signature and every other part of such document which purports to be in the handwriting of any particular person of which the adjudicating authority may reasonably assume to have been signed by or to be in the handwriting of any particular person, is under the person’s handwriting, and in the case of a document executed or attested, it was executed or attested by the person by whom it purports to have been so executed or attested;
(ii) admit the document in evidence notwithstanding that it is not duly stamped, if such document is otherwise admissible in evidence.
(4) The authorized person, may, if he has reason to suspect that any conveyance or animal is being or is about to be used for the transportation of any imported goods or material which are liable to confiscation under the Act, and that by such transportation any provision of the Act has been, is being or is about to be contravened at any time, stop such conveyance or animal or in the case of aircraft, compel it to land, and-
(a) rummage and search the conveyance or any part thereof;
(b) examine and search any goods or material in the conveyance or on the animal;
(c) if it becomes necessary to stop any conveyance or animal, he may use all lawful means for stopping it and where such means fail, the conveyance or animal may be fired upon, and where he is satisfied that it is necessary so to do to prevent the contravention of any provision of the Act or of the rules and orders made thereunder or the policy or condition of any license, he may seize such conveyance or animal.
Explanation: Any reference in this rule to a conveyance shall, unless the context otherwise requires, be construed as including a reference to an aircraft, vehicle or vessel.