Customs, New Delhi Vs. M/S. Siddhartha Polymers Ltd. & ANR.  INSC
1564 (16 September 2008)
SUPREME COURT OF
INDIA RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS CIVIL APPEAL NO(s). 1264-1265 OF 2008 COMMISSIONER
OF CUSTOMS, NEW DELHI Appellant (s) VERSUS M/S. SIDDHARTHA POLYMERS LTD. &
ANR. Respondent(s) (With appln(s) for stay)(FOR FINAL DISPOSAL) WITH
Civil Appeal Nos.3580-3581 of 2008 - With appln. for stay & O/Report Civil
Appeal Nos.4353-4355 of 2008 - With appln. for c/d in filing appeal, stay,
exemption from filing c/c of the impugned judgment & O/R Date: 16/09/2008
These Appeals were called on for hearing today.
HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE
S.H. KAPADIA HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE B. SUDERSHAN REDDY For Appellant(s) Mr. V.
Ms. Aruna Gupta, Adv.
Mr. B. Krishna
For Respondent(s) Mr.
S. Ganesh, Sr.Adv.
Mr. P.S. Sudheer, Adv.
Mr. Ragvesh Singh,
Mr. Rishi Maheshwari,
Mr. Anne Mathew, Adv.
Mr. Prem Ranjan
Mr. Nilotpal Sharma,
in CAs.3580-81 &
Mr. R. Venkataramani, Sr.Adv.
4353-55/08: Mr. Prem
Ranjan Kumar, Adv.
Mr. Awanish Sinha,
Mr. Nilotpal Sharma,
Mr. Himanshu Shekhar,
UPON hearing counsel
the Court made the following ORDER Appeals admitted.
The appeals are
allowed with no order as to costs.
(S. Thapar) (Madhu
Saxena) PS to Registrar Court Master The signed order is placed on the file.
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NOS.1264-1265 OF 2008
COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS, NEW DELHI ...APPELLANT (S) VERSUS WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 3580-3581 OF 2008 CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 4353-4355 OF 2008 ORDER
This batch of Civil
Appeals is filed by the Department against the decisions of CESTAT, New Delhi,
dated 19th June, 2007 and 14th August, 2007.
For the sake of
convenience we refer to the facts in the case of M/s Siddhartha Polymers Ltd.
A Show Cause Notice
was issued on 31st March, 2003 alleging that the imported consignments had been
mis-declared both in regard to description and value. In the Show Cause Notice
it was alleged that Prime Quality Goods (P.C. Sheets) were claimed as re-
generated/recycled which goods have been under valued at around US $ 1055 per
M.T. as against the normal value of over US $ 3500 per M.T. Accordingly, the
notice proposed to recover -2- short levied duty of around Rs. 10 crores under
Section 28 of the Customs Act, 1962 + penalty under Section 112. The Show Cause
Notice was contested by the assessees.
Suffice it to state
that the Commissioner (Adjudication), New Delhi, came to the conclusion that as
per Trade and Industry Practice only Prime Quality P.C. Sheets were used in the
advertising/signage Industry and the P.C. Sheets manufactured out of recycled/regenerated
polycarbonate did not find any use in the advertising/signage Industry because
the recycled/regenerated P.C. Sheets had spots and other impurities visible to
the naked eye in the said sheet. Adjudicating Authority analysed several
documents. The documents consisted of invoices, certificate of origin,
certificate issued by the manufacturer, documents submitted by the Indian
Consulate in Hongkong, samples manufactured by the foreign supplier etc. It is
after examining these documents at great length that the Commissioner
(Adjudication), New Delhi, came to the conclusion that the P.C. Sheets imported
by the noticee companies, which in turn were used in the advertising/signage
Industries were not made from recycled/regenerated material as claimed by the
noticee. Therefore, it was held that P.C. Sheets imported by the noticee
Companies were Prime Quality Sheets and that the noticee Companies had
mis-declared the same both in terms of description and value as
regenerated/recycled P.C. Sheets. On the question of valuation, the
Commissioner found that the lowest average -3- export price from Korea to India
of P.C. Sheets during the period 2000-2002 was US $ 3580per M.T. and,
therefore, that value constituted the correct assessable value for all the goods
imported during the period 1998 to September, 2001. Consequently, the demand
notices were confirmed.
Aggrieved by the said
decision the matter was carried in appeal by the respondents - assessees to the
Tribunal. By the impugned judgment the Tribunal has, after recording the
submissions of the counsel on both sides, held that on perusal of clearance
Bills of Entry and Invoice it cannot be said that the goods in question have
not been described in any of the documents. According to the Tribunal there was
no mis-declaration in terms of description as the documents described the Items
as P.C. Sheets or Rolls. According to the Tribunal, therefore, there was no
mis-declaration or mis-description of the goods as found by the Commissioner.
At this stage we may
state that in all these cases the point which arises for determination is that
whether P.C. Sheets imported by the noticees were made out of re- cycled or
re-generated polycarbonate? This point has not been discussed or analysed in
detail by the Tribunal which is the final fact finding authority. After
noticing the arguments advanced on both sides the Tribunal merely states that
there is no evidence either on the point of mis-description or value and it
straightaway comes to the conclusion that the findings given by the
Commissioner are unsustainable.
-4- In our view, the
impugned judgment of the Tribunal is perfunctory. It does not analyse the
evidence on record. Whether the Adjudicating Authority was right or wrong is
not being answered by us? Our objection is directed only to the way in which
the Tribunal has disposed of the appeals filed by the assessee before it.
Therefore, keeping all questions open and keeping all contentions on both sides
expressly open, we set aside the impugned judgments of the Tribunal dated 19th
June, 2007 and 14th August, 2007 and remit the matters to the Tribunal for de
novo consideration in accordance with law, both on the question of
mis-description as well as on the question of under valuation. We re- iterate
that we express no opinion on the merits of the case. Accordingly, the
Department's Civil Appeals are allowed with no order as to costs.
The Tribunal is
requested to hear and dispose of these appeals within a period of six months
from today. It is made clear that during the pendency of the matters before the
Tribunal, Department shall not take any coercive steps.