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Customs: Direct appeal to SC under Customs Act maintainable only on limited issues.

Supreme Court of India

Justice B R Gavai, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice M R Shah

The SC {COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS, BANGALORE-1 v. M/S MOTOROLA INDIA LTD.} holds that that the Legislature has carved out only following categories of cases to which it has intended to give a special treatment of providing an appeal directly to the SC, that is, as follows:

“(i) determination of a question relating to a rate of duty;

(ii) determination of a question relating to the valuation of goods for the purpose of assessment;

(iii) determination of a question relating to the classification of goods under the Tariff and whether or not they are covered by an exemption notification;

(iv) whether the value of goods for purposes of assessment should be enhanced or reduced having regard to certain matters that the said Act provides for.“

Otherwise, the appeal shall lie to the High Court.

Reverting to the present case, it was held that the only question that is involved is whether the assessee had violated the conditions of the exemption notification by not utilizing the imported materials for manufacturing of the declared final product and was, therefore, liable for payment of duty, interest and penalty. Neither any question with regard to determination of rate of duty arises nor a question relating to valuation of goods for the purposes of assessment arises in the present case. The appeals also do not involve determination of any question relating to the classification of goods, nor do they involve the question as to whether they are covered by the exemption notification or not. Undisputedly, the goods are covered by the said notification. The only question is as to whether the assessee has breached the conditions which are imposed by the notification for getting exemption from payment of the customs duty or not. The appeals do not involve any question of law of general public importance which would be applicable to a class or category of assessees as a whole. The question is purely inter-se between the parties and is required to be adjudicated upon the facts available. Therefore, it was held that the appeal would lie to the High Court under Sec 130 of Customs Act. Accordingly, the appeal was allowed and the matter was remitted back to the HC for deciding the same on merits.

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