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Hindustan Unilever Ltd vs. Commissioner of Customs (Export) - (Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal) (01 May 2024)

When the goods are liable for confiscation, imposition of redemption fine and penalty under Sections 125 and 112(a) of Customs Act are automatic



The Appellant had filed the Bill of Entry before the Customs authorities for clearance of the imported goods namely, "Dove AP Original Whitening, Dove AP Silk Dry Whitening, Dove AP GF Cucumber and Dove AP Grapefruit Anti-perspirants". The appellant had claimed the classification of these goods under Tariff Item 3307 20 00.

On the basis of change in the Retail Sale Price (RSP), the Department concluded that the Appellant had mis-declared the RSP in order to evade payment of Additional Duty of Customs (CVD). After due process of law, the Additional Commissioner of Customs had adjudicated the matter, holding that CVD amount shall be charged on the MRP pasted on the package of goods i.e. Rs.185 per Pcs; confiscated the imported goods under Section 111(m) of the Customs Act, 1962 with the option to the Appellant to redeem the same on payment of redemption fine of Rs.5,00,000 under Section 125 and also imposed penalty of Rs.1,00,000on the appellant under Section 112(a) of Act. Appeal filed by the Appellant against the adjudication order was upheld confirming the demand.

It is an admitted fact on record that, the Appellant had declared the RSP in the B/E at Rs. 170 for the imported goods and on pointing out such defect by the Department that the RSP should have been Rs.185, they had paid the differential amount of CVD along with interest and fine and penalty and thereafter, the subject goods were cleared for home consumption. The Appellant, in this case had paid for the entire liability towards duty interest and penalties suo motto, which is evident from the records that such payments were not made under protest. Though, the Appellant's submission is convincing that there was un- intentional mistake in declaring the lower RSP in the B/E, but the statutory provisions have been designed in the way that there is no escape route to avoid confiscation of goods, which do not correspond in respect of the value declared in the Bill of Entry.

When the goods are liable for confiscation, imposition of redemption fine and penalty under Section 125 and Section 112(a) respectively are automatic and thus, present Tribunal do not find any infirmity in the orders passed by the lower authorities in ordering for confirmation of the redemption fine and penalties on the appellant. The Hon'ble Supreme Court, in the case of Pine Chemical Suppliers, by upholding the order passed by the Tribunal, has held that mis-declaration of the goods imported by the appellants rendered the same liable to confiscation under Section 111(m) and attracted Section 112 for imposition of penalty for improper importation thereof. There are no merits in the appeal filed by the Appellant. Appeal dismissed.


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