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State Of Maharashtra vs Mayer Hans George Case Summary

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In the case of State of Maharashtra vs. MH George, the respondent, Mayer Hans George, a German national, was charged with bringing gold into India without the permission of the Reserve Bank of India, as per Section 23(1A)(a) of the Foreign Exchange Regulations Act of 1947, and was sentenced to a year in prison for doing so with the intent to defraud the government. The High Court acquitted him, but the state appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court looked into the subject of whether, aside from circumstances where any arrangement in that regard is in place, (a) a subordinate enactment might be deemed to have been passed, and (b) when it occurs.


In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 8 of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947, the Government of India issued a notification on August 25, 1948, stating that gold and gold articles, among other things, should not be brought into or sent to India unless the Reserve Bank of India grants general or special permission. On the same day, the Reserve Bank of India issued a notification granting broad authorization to bring or transport such gold if it was in route to a location outside India. The respondent, a German trader, flew out of Zurich on November 27, 1962, with 34 kilos of gold-covered cargo to be delivered in Manila.The plane arrived in Bombay on the 28th, but the responder did not disembark. The Customs Authorities analyzed the manifest of the airplane to see if any gold was dispatched by any traveler, and when no entry was found, they entered the plane, searched the respondent, recovered the gold, and charged him with an offense under Sections 8(1) and 23(1-A) of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (7 of 1947) and Section 167(8)(i) of the Sea Customs Act. read with a Reserve Bank of India notification of November 8, 1962, which was published in the Indian Gazette on November 24th.

The defendant was condemned by the Magistrate, but was later acquitted by the High Court. The state filed a new appeal at the Supreme Court to have the conviction overturned.


Is mens rea required in order to commit an offense under Section 23(1A) of the Act?

Is the respondent accountable for importing gold into India in violation of sections 8(1) and 23(1-A) of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (7 of 1947), which was published in the Indian Gazette on November 24, 1962?

What was the extent of the restriction imposed by the Central Government and the Central Board of Revenue in execution of the authority conferred under Section 8 of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act of 1947 against anyone moving illegal items over India’s borders?


The entire accommodation on this piece of the case was based on the meaning of the word ‘cargo,’ with the point appearing to be made that what a traveler conveyed with himself or with the rest of his personal effects couldn’t be ‘cargo,’ and that payload was what was given over to the transporter for carriage. Currently, reliance was placed on the definition of the term “cargo” in word references, where it is claimed to relate to “the product or items contained or passed on in a boat.”If all the merchandise or articles held by a traveler in his own authority or conveyed by him with the rest of his personal effects were outside the subsequent stipulation, and the act was drawn in just to situations where the article was given over to the transporter’s guardianship, it would have no incentive at all as a state of exception. The items dependent on a corner would be entered in the display, and if they weren’t, it had to be due to a transporter difficulty, and it couldn’t be that the traveler was being punished for the bearer’s failure. If the carrying of the merchandise on the individual or in the guardianship of the traveler was exempt, there would be no degree for the action of the second requirement.

Following that, the court considers that the right evolution of the term ‘cargo’ when it appears in the Reserve Bank’s notice is that it is used as contra-recognized from individual equipment in the legislation relating to the carrying of the item. It was, then, “freight” that had to be shown, and its worth was more than likely contained in a detectable all-around transfer note.


Some pointed out that if the subsequent stipulation were applied to the case of gold or gold articles carried on the individual, a tie-pin or a wellspring pen with a gold nib brought by a through traveler may draw in the prohibition of sec. 8(1) read with the exception by the Reserve Bank as it currently stands, and that the Indian law would be excessively cruel and nonsensical.

This is not deemed correct, because an evident and strong distinction exists between what is close to home and what isn’t, and the latter is ‘cargo’ and must be included in the manifest. If a person chooses to carry with the rest of his personal effects what isn’t close to home things or gear comprehended in the legitimate sense yet what ought to be appropriately announced and entered in the show of the airplane, there can be no objection of the absurdity of Indian law on the subject.As a result, we believe that the High Court Judges failed to clear the respondent. As a result, the intrigue must be authorized, and the respondent’s conviction must be reinstated. In these circumstances, we agreed that if the intrigue was approved, the penalty would be reduced to the time previously served, which was only a specialized impedance with the sentence pronounced by the Presidency Magistrate; nevertheless, this was most emphatically not the case. The appeal was granted.

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