Amendments carried out through the Finance Bill, 2012 come into effect on the date of its enactment unless otherwise specified.
1) Clause (1) of section 2 is being amended to include air freight stations in the definition of “customs airport”. [Clause 114]
2) Clause (aa) of Section 7 is being amended to include “air-freight stations”. [Clause 115]
These amendments would empower the Central Board of Excise and Customs to appoint air freight stations for unloading of import cargo and loading of export cargo as in the case of Inland Container Depots.
3) The provisions of the Customs Act enable recovery of duty not-levied, or short-levied by reason of collusion, or willful mis-statement or suppression of facts by the importer or the exporter or the agent or employee of the importer or exporter. Certain cases have been detected relating to utilization of instruments, such as duty credit scrips, where the instrument was obtained by means of collusion or wilful mis-statement or suppression of facts by the person to whom the instrument was issued or his agent or employee and not by the importer who utilized it. A new section 28AAA is being inserted to provide for recovery of duties, from the person to whom the instrument was issued without prejudice to any action that may be taken against the importer. [Clause 116]
4) Section 28BA is being amended to make the provisions relating to provisional attachment of property applicable to the proposed Section 28AAA. [Clause 117]
5) Section 47 is being amended to insert a new proviso therein to provide that the Central Government may, by notification in the official gazette, specify the class or classes of importers who shall pay customs duty electronically. [Clause 118]
6) Sections 28AA and 28AB of the Customs Act were merged through the provisions of the Finance Act, 2011. Section 75A is being amended to substitute the reference to section 28AB with section 28AA. The amendment is also being given retrospective effect from 08.04.2011. [Clause119]
7) Section 104 is being amended to provide that notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, all offences under the Act (except an offence punishable with term of imprisonment of three years or more under section 135) shall be non-cognizable and bailable. It also provides that all offences punishable with a term of imprisonment of three years or more under section 135 shall be cognizable. [Clause 120]
8) Section 104A is being inserted to provide that bail in the case of offences punishable with a term of imprisonment of three years or more under section 135 shall not be granted by a Court or Magistrate without an opportunity being given to the Public Prosecutor to present his case. It also provides that in the case of minors, infirm and women, the Magistrate may grant bail. It also excludes the jurisdiction of police officers to initiate investigation of offences under the Customs Act, unless authorized in this behalf by the Central Government by a special or general order. [ Clause 121]
9) Section 122 is being amended to enhance the monetary limits for adjudication of cases involving confiscation of goods and imposition of penalty from Rupees two lakh to Rupees five lakh for Deputy/ Assistant Commissioners and from Rs.10,000 to Rs.50,000 for Gazetted officer lower in rank to Assistant/ Deputy Commissioner. [Clause 122]
10) Section 138 deals with summary trial of offences. This section is being amended to exclude offences punishable with term of imprisonment of three years or more under section 135 since it is being proposed that such offences shall be cognizable. [Clause 123]
11) Section 153 is being amended to bring ‘courier services’ within its ambit for the purpose of serving any order/decision/ summons/notice by the Commissioner. [Clause 124]
12) Exemption from additional duty is being provided retrospectively to “foreign going vessels” for the period from 1st March, 2011 to 16th March, 2012. [Clause 125]
AMENDMENTS IN CUSTOMS TARIFF ACT, 1975:
1) Section 8C empowers the Central Government to levy safeguard duty on imports from Peoples’ Republic of China. It is being amended to provide that such duty may continue if the Central Government is of the opinion that such articles or goods continue to be imported into India so as to cause or threaten to cause market disruption to domestic industry even though the latter has taken measures to adjust to such disruption. The amendment would align the provisions of the section with the Transitional Product Specific Safeguard Mechanism under Chinese Accession Protocol signed with WTO in 2001. [Clause 126]
2) The First schedule to the Customs Tariff Act is being amended to,—
(i) revise the length of the lowest slab of both filter and non-filter cigarettes of length not exceeding 60 millimetres or exceeding 60 millimetres to length exceeding 65 millimetres or not exceeding 65 millimetres respectively.
(ii) revise the description of tariff items 2601 11 10 to 2601 11 90 dealing with iron ore and concentrates based on Fe content.
(iii) insert Note 13 in Chapter 48 to provide that notwithstanding anything contained in Note 12, if the paper and paper products of heading 4811, 4816 or 4820 are printed with any character, name, logo, motif or format they shall remain classified under Chapter 48 as long as such products are intended to be used for further printing. This would prevent classification disputes.
(iv) align the entries relating to copper scrap, brass scrap, nickel scrap, aluminium scrap, lead scrap and zinc scrap with the revised ISRI classification.
(v) enhance the rate of basic customs duty on bicycles from 10% to 30% and on parts of bicycles from 10% to 20%. [Clause 127]
3) The Second Schedule to the Customs Tariff Act is being amended to enhance the rate of export duty on chromium ore from Rs. 3000 per tonne to 30% ad valorem. [Clause 128]
The changes at para 2)(v) and 3) will come into effect immediately owing to a declaration under the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act, 1931.
(a) “Customs Duty” means the customs duty levied under the Customs Act, 1962.
(b) “CVD” means the Additional Duty of Customs levied under sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975.
(c) “SAD” means the Special Additional Duty of Customs levied under sub-section (5) of section 3 of the Customs
Tariff Act, 1975.
(d) “Export duty” means duty of customs leviable on goods specified in the Second Schedule to the Customs Tariff Act,
(e) Clause nos. in square brackets [ ] indicate the relevant clause of the Finance Bill, 2012.