The appellant – a manufacturer of iron, steel and allied products – imported certain raw materials classified under Customs Tariff Heading 2701 19 10 that were exempt from customs duty under Notification 21/2002-Cus.
However, at the time of import, while provisionally assessing the goods, the superintendent of customs changed the classification of imported goods from 2701 19 10 to 2701 19 90, which resulted in an increase in duty liability by 5%. In order to clear the goods through Customs, the appellant paid the duty provisionally and under protest, and subsequently filed a refund claim. However, this claim was rejected by Customs, and the rejection upheld by the tribunal, on the grounds that an appeal had not been filed against the final assessment order for claiming the refund. The appellant appealed before the High Court.
The High Court disposed of the appeal(1) by ruling that the tribunal was right in stating that no refund could be claimed without filing an appeal against the final assessment order (based on the Supreme Court's decision in Priya Blue Industries Ltd v CC (Preventive)(2)). In the case at hand, no final assessment order or speaking order under Section 17 of the Customs Act had been passed and communicated to the appellant, which deprived it of its statutory right to file an appeal. Accordingly, the proper officer was directed to pass a speaking order in line with Section 17(2) of the act.
For further information on this topic please contact Ranjeet Mahtani or Divya Jeswant at Economic Laws Practice by telephone (+91 22 6636 7000), fax (+91 22 6636 7172) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com).