It is seen that the first appellate authority has interpreted the time limit in section 27A of Customs Act, 1962 according to the letter of the law which mandates liability of interest for any delay in sanction of refund beyond three months from date of claim. It is on record that there has been delay beyond the stipulated period of three months.
Accordingly, there is no reason for interfering with the impugned order and the appeal of Revenue is dismissed.
FULL TEXT OF THE CESTAT MUMBAI ORDER
Revenue is aggrieved by order-in-appeal no. 1250 (CRC-I)/2019 (JNCH)/Appeal II dated 5th September 2019 of Commissioner of Customs (Appeals), Mumbai II, JNCH, Nhava Sheva in which, in appeal of claimant against rejection of their entitlement for interest on delayed sanction of refund claim, M/s. Pidilite Industries Ltd was allowed the benefit of section 27A of Customs Act, 1962.
2. Briefly, the respondent herein had claimed refund of `42,46,426/- and `28,47,836/- on 22nd August 2013 and 18th November 2013 respectively, being the differential ‘additional duty’ discharged by them on assessment of eighteen bills of entry arising from resort of ‘retail sale price’ by assessing officer instead of ‘transaction value’ as claimed by them and confirmed by the first appellate authority but found to be contrary to law by the Tribunal in final order no. A/973-986/123/CSTB/C-I dated 2nd April 2013 and entitled to consequential relief arising thereof, which were finally allowed by two orders dated 9th March 2017. Their claim thereafter for appropriate interest, as provided for in section 27A of Customs Act, 1962, rejected initially by the original authority, was, on appeal, allowed in the order impugned by Revenue herein.
3. According to Learned Authorised Representative, the refund could be sanctioned only after re-assessment as ordered by the Tribunal and the time taken thereafter did not exceed the limit of three months prescribed therein.
4. Shri Shekhar Sawantdesai, representative of the respondent herein, drew attention to the records and pointed out the refund was not released suo motu but only on application of theirs preferred immediately after the Tribunal had approved the legality of assessment of additional duties of customs on ‘transaction value’ and the elapse of time brings the claim within the ambit of section 27A of Customs Act, 1962; it is his contention that the internal procedure for assessment/re-assessment are not envisaged in the statute as permissible for waiver of obligation to pay interest. On behalf of respondent, the decisions of the Hon’ble High Court of Madras in Global United Shipping India P. Ltd. vs. Asst. Commr. of Customs (Refund), Chennai [2019 (368) ELT 1041 (Mad.)], of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd vs. UOI [2011 (273) ELT 3 (SC)] and of the Tribunal in Astrazeneca India Pvt. Ltd. Vs. Commissioner of Central Tax, Bangalore North [2022 (58) GSTL 339 (Tri- Bang)] were cited.
5. It is seen that the first appellate authority has interpreted the time limit in section 27A of Customs Act, 1962 according to the letter of the law which mandates liability of interest for any delay in sanction of refund beyond three months from date of claim. It is on record that there has been delay beyond the stipulated period of three months.
6. Accordingly, there is no reason for interfering with the impugned order and the appeal of Revenue is dismissed. Cross-objection is also disposed off.
(Dictated and pronounced in open Court)