M/S Hotel Leela
Venture Ltd. Vs. Commr. of Customs (Gen) Mumbai  INSC 123 (22 January
SUPREME COURT OF
INDIA RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS CIVIL APPEAL NO(s). 4981 OF 2007 M/S HOTEL LEELA
VENTURE LTD. Appellant (s) VERSUS COMMR.OF CUSTOMS(GEN) MUMBAI Respondent(s)
(With appln(s) for stay and prayer for interim relief & office report)
Date: 22/01/2009 This Appeal was called on for hearing today.
HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE
S.H. KAPADIA HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE AFTAB ALAM For Appellant(s) Mr. S.K. Bagaria,
Mr. Tarun Gulati,
Mr. Rony John, Adv.
For Respondent(s) Mr.
K. Radhakrishnan, Sr.Adv.
Mr. H. Raghavendra
Mr. D.D. Kamath, Adv.
Ms. Anil Katiyar,
Mr. B. Krishna
UPON hearing counsel
the Court made the following ORDER The appeal is dismissed with no order as to
(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 NO.4981 OF 2007 M/S HOTEL
LEELA VENTURE LTD. ...APPELLANT (S) VERSUS ORDER Appellant is an importer.
Appellant claims exemption under Notification No. 30/88 dated Ist March, 1988
saying that items imported were "heat pumps" for space heating, water
heating and cooling applications. He placed reliance on the Table annexed to
the above Notification and claims exemption/concessional rate of duty on 160
At the very outset,
it may be stated that this Civil Appeal is against a concurrent findings. We
may also add that the matter is highly technical. In this Civil Appeal when we
went through the judgment of the Tribunal, which is impugned judgment herein,
we find that there is a categorical finding recorded to the effect "that
the Operational Manual of the manufacturer for the said 160 Items describe them
as air-conditioner and not heat pumps".
To be precise, the
words used in the Operational Manual were "it is a heat pump type air
conditioner". The Operational -Manual produced by the appellant is titled
as "Air Cooled Split System Air Conditioner".
What is important to
note is that in this case appellant is claiming the benefit of an Exemption
Notification. The burden was on the appellant to prove that the appellant
satisfies the terms and conditions of the Exemption Notification. It is well
settled that Exemption Notification have to be read in the strict sense. In
this case the appellant had led evidence of an expert, twice. It appears that
the Operational Manual was not placed before him. No questions were asked to
the expert on the terminology used in the Manual which described the imported
items as "Heat Pump Type Air Conditioner". Therefore, on the facts
and circumstances of the case, we do not see any reason to interfere with the
concurrent findings recorded by the authorities below.
However, we make it
clear that on principle this judgment does not settle the law and our reasoning
is based only on the facts and circumstances of this case, namely, that the
appellant had failed to discharge burden placed on it while claiming the
benefit of Exemption Notification.
Subject to what is
stated above, this Civil Appeal is dismissed with no order as to costs.