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Hewlett Packard India Sales Pvt. Ltd. (Now HP India Sales Pvt. Ltd.) Vs. Commissioner of Customs (Import), Nhava Sheva - (Supreme Court) (17 Jan 2023)

When customs authorities wanted to classify the goods differently, the burden of proof to showcase the same is on them



The Appellants imported certain units of the Concerned Goods and classified them under 'Tariff Item 8471 50 00' as per the prevalent self-assessment procedure. During subsequent examination by the Custom Authorities, the Concerned Goods were classified under 'Tariff Item 8471 30 10', which was later confirmed by the Assistant Commissioner of Customs and Commissioner of Customs (Appeal). These findings were further affirmed by the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal ('CESTAT'), vide the impugned judgments.

Both sides have not disputed the findings of the adjudicating authorities except in respect of the aspect of portability of Concerned Goods. Hence, the only limited question that falls for consideration before us in these proceedings is whether the Concerned Goods are 'portable' or not under 'Tariff Item 8471 30 10'.

The Concerned Goods are not portable for the reasons that- Firstly, the diagonal dimension of the Concerned Goods being minimum of the length of 18.5 inches and the same needs to be transported along with the power cable as well as the applicable stand in most cases if it is to be mounted and; secondly there being no protective case designed by the markets for daily transport for these Concerned Goods. Such requirements make the Concerned Goods unable to be carried around easily during daily transit. The Concerned Goods are not 'portable'.

Since the customs authorities wanted to classify the goods differently, the burden of proof to showcase the same was on them, which they failed to discharge. Hence, under the prevalent self-assessment procedure, the classification submitted by the Appellants must be accepted. The impugned orders which classified the Concerned Goods under 'Tariff Item 8471 30 10' is set aside. It is directed that valuation of the Concerned Goods for levy of the duty be determined under the initially declared 'Tariff Item 8471 50 00'. Appeal allowed.


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