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Ramson Graphics Vs. Commissioner of Customs (Seaport-Imports), Chennai - (Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal) (19 Jun 2017)

Opinion of one expert cannot be rejected on basis of opinion of another expert unless there is sufficient independent reason for such rejection



Appellant imported one set of used offset printing machine along with standard accessories from Benelux International Trading BVBA, Belgium and declared transaction value of GBP 7500 (CIF) (equivalent to Rs. 5,67,375) and filed necessary Bill of Entry. Along with Bill of Entry, importer enclosed an overseas Chartered Engineer certificate issued by Graphic Consult, Belgium. Docks Intelligence Unit, Custom House, Chennai took up consignment for investigation on receipt of intelligence regarding alleged under valuation. Suspecting value, goods were got examined by a local Chartered Engineer, who vide report assessed value of the goods at GBP 11,900.00 (CIF) (equivalent to Rs. 21,40,895/-). Goods were also got examined by another Chartered Engineer who assessed the value at GBP 29000.00 (CIF). Since, goods were more than 10 years old, a show cause notice was issued proposing re-assessment of value of imported goods as well as confiscation thereof for violation of ITC regulations. Commissioner ordered for enhancement of value of imported goods in terms of local Chartered Engineer opinion and demanded differential duty of Rs. 8,07,341/-. Goods were confiscated and allowed to be redeemed on payment of fine of Rs. 2 lakhs and penalty of Rs. 1 lakh. Aggrieved by impugned order, present appeal has been filed.

Tribunal in case of Anish Kumar Spinning Mills Vs. CC Tuticorin, held that opinion of one expert cannot be rejected on basis of another expert unless there is sufficient independent reason for such rejection Bill of Entry has been filed for clearance of imported used goods along with a Chartered Engineer certificate from load port, dated 20th January, 2003. Same has been disregarded by customs authorities and value has been got certified by a local Chartered Engineer who has assessed value of goods to be much higher than declared value. Grievance of Appellant is that, custom authorities have disregarded load port Chartered Engineer certificate without valid reasons to reject the same. There is nothing on record to doubt or disapprove load port Chartered Engineer. Main reason for disregarding such certificate as indicated by adjudicating authority is that, year of manufacture has been certified. However, neither accompanying invoices nor any other documents submitted by importer evidences such year of manufacture of machines.

On perusal of certificate given by local Chartered Engineer as well as from load port, it is noted that, local Chartered Engineer was not in possession of any additional information to decide valuation. He has not given any reference to technical manual or information based on which value of machines have been reassessed. In fact, local Chartered Engineer has indicated the year of manufacture as 1984 as against 1975 by Chartered Engineer at load port. Customs authorities have rejected opinion of one expert simply on basis of opinion by another expert. There is no other sufficient independent reason for such rejection. Such rejection has been held as not a valid basis for rejection of Chartered Engineer certificate in case of Anish Kumar Spinning Mills. Said decision has also been approved by Supreme Court, hence is binding on this Bench. By following said decision, it is to be held that, re-assessment value on basis of local Chartered Engineer certificate is not valid. Consequently, declared value backed by Chartered Engineer certificate from originator is to be accepted.

Admittedly, imported goods are more than 10 years old in terms of Import Trade Control Regulations in EXIM 2002-07 read with para 3.3 of Handbook of Procedures of Vol-I. Importers have violated provisions of Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992. Goods are therefore, liable for confiscation under Section 111 (d) of Customs Act, 1962. Consequently, importers are liable for imposition of penalty also under Section 112(a) of Act. In view facts and circumstances of this case, redemption fine reduced to Rs. 60,000/- and penalty imposed to Rs. 30,000/-. Appeal is partially allowed.

Relevant : Anish Kumar Spinning Mills vs. Commissioner of Customs MANU/CC/0141/2004


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