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Gee Pee Mica Enterprises vs. Commissioner Of Customs - (Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal) (17 May 2024)

Once the party admits, the same need not be proved by the department



The Appellant filed the Bill of Entry for clearance of the goods declared as "Copper Clad Laminates-AL grade" classified under CTH 7474102100. The goods were put under preventive check and on examination were found to be mis-declared in terms of the description of the classification as they appeared to be "Aluminium Paste Copper Clad Laminates" classifiable under CTH 76061200. Hence the goods were seized.

The goods were ordered to be confiscated being mis-declared under the provision of section 111(m) of the Customs Act, 1962 an option was given to the appellant to redeem the same on payment of redemption fine of Rs. 50,000 in terms of provisions of Section 125 of the Act. The adjudicating authority imposed the penalty of Rs. 2,03,701 under the provisions of section 114A of the Act. In appeal, the Commissioner (Appeals) upheld that the impugned consignment was mis-classified and were, therefore, liable for confiscation, modified the order of penalty by setting aside the penalty under section 114A and imposing penalty for a sum of Rs. 20,370 under Section 112 of the Act.

It is evident that the appellant has voluntarily accepted and admitted that the goods have been mis-classified due to mistake and, therefore, paid the differential customs duty. The principle settled by judicial pronouncements is clear that once the party admits, the same need not be proved by the department.

On the issue of retraction, that the statement was made on 25th March, 2021 and the retraction was made vide communication dated 16th April, 2021, which is nothing but afterthought and belated action and hence no reliance can be placed thereon. Mere fact of retraction of the confessional statement by itself is not sufficient and if on further examination nothing is found to hold the statement having been given under the exhortation or duress, the same can be made the basis for holding the appellant guilty.The statement that, Appellant paid the differential duty amount under protest is just an afterthought and has no evidential value and, therefore, the plea needs to be rejected.

The Commissioner (Appeals) travelled beyond the jurisdiction in the matter of imposing penalty under Section 112 of the Act and, therefore, the same is set aside. To the extent, the impugned order stands modified.In so far as the evidence on merits are concerned regarding the imposition of differential customs duty, confiscation and redemption fine is concerned, the same is confirmed, also for the reason that during the hearing the learned counsel for the appellant categorically stated that he does not dispute the same except the issue of penalty. Therefore, the imposition of penalty under Section 112 of the Act stands set aside. The appeal is, accordingly, partially allowed.


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