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Case Law Details

Case Name : Commissioner of Customs Vs Sri Venkateshwara Paper Boards (Madras High Court, Madurai bench)
Appeal Number : W.A.(MD) No. 688 of 2021
Date of Judgement/Order : 26/07/2021
Related Assessment Year :
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Commissioner of Customs Custom House Vs Venkateshwara Paper Boards (Madras High Court)

the request for mutilation was much after seizure of the goods. On and after 31.01.2020, stock lot goods are prohibited. Therefore, the issue would be if there are three varieties of paper bundled into one, whether it would fall within the definition of stock lot. This matter needs to be adjudicated by the Authorities in the show-cause notice, which has now been issued to the Importer. The allegation is one of concealing the prohibited item with the items, which are freely imported. Therefore, the alternate request made by the Importer for mutilation cannot be treated to be a bona fide claim. It is too early to come to a conclusion whether there is a positive evidence of mis-declaration, because the show-cause notice is yet to be adjudicated. Therefore, as on date, the Revenue is of the prima facie view that it is a clear case of mis-declaration and the import has to be treated as a stock lot and if it is so, the import is prohibited. Therefore, the Revenue has rightly construed the prayer sought for by the Importer and passed the order dated 29.12.2020 permitting provisional release of the cargo subject to certain conditions. Therefore, no error can be attributed to the manner in which the Revenue construed the Letter dated 23.12.2020 as we are of the clear view that the Letter was for release of the goods and the request for mutilation was only an alternate submission, if the Department is not convinced for release of the goods. The Revenue agreed for release of the goods by way of provisional release subject to certain conditions. Therefore, the Importer cannot state that the order impugned in the writ petition, dated 29.12.2020 was not based on the recommendation given by the Importer.

The decisions referred to by the learned counsel for the Importer, more particularly, those decisions of the Tribunal have been rendered after the adjudication process has been completed and final orders were passed by the Adjudicating Authority or the First Appellate Authority and the correctness of the order was questioned before the Tribunal and those decisions are not arising out of the writ petitions. Therefore, those decisions of the Tribunal are distinguishable on facts and taking note of the factual position in each of those cases, the request for mutilation was granted.

In the case of Patiala Castings Private Limited (supra), the Court specifically found that there was no mis-description of the goods and hence, issued directions. Whereas, the case on hand is factually different as there is an allegation of mis-declaration.

In the case of Sri Renga Steel Corporation (supra), which is a decision rendered by the Tribunal, it was held that the Adjudicating Authority did not record a finding of mis-declaration on the basis of a statement and in the said case, the only evidence of mis-declaration was the report of the Commissioner, who physically examined the cargo. This was held to be not sustainable by the Tribunal and therefore, relief was granted. This decision is entirely distinguishable on facts and does not render any assistance to the case of the Importer. Thus, for the above reasons, we are of the view that the Revenue is entitled to succeed in the appeal.

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July 2024