Custom – Cestat Mumbai: Issue of misdeclaration of qty and value of goods – Held that it is the settled legal position that it is the importer who is liable to pay the duty not even its director or proprietor as the case may be – As the appellant is not the importer but alleged to be the claimant of the goods hence levy of penalty is without authority of law – Appeal allowed [Order attached]
Order Date – 20 January 2023
Vinesh Naresh Chheda Vs Commissioner of Customs (Import-I), Mumbai
- The appellant, Vinesh Naresh Chheda is engaged with import of the goods as ceiling lamps, chandeliers, wall lamps, hanging lamps, pole lights, drawer slider telescopic, decorative show pieces, hair accessories, cutting plotter, glass door accessories, glass fittings, spectacle frames, watch accessories garment accessories through CHA M/s. The India Mercantile Agency.
- The importer had declared total CIF value as Rs.7,38,636/- for the declared goods and the customs duty amounting to Rs.2,00,997/- was assessed by them as payable.
- The show cause notice was adjudicated and the Adjudicating Authority vide Order-in-Original dated 31.7.2013 held that the importer had mis-declared the quality, quantity and value before the assessing officer and therefore a total differential duty of customs amounting to Rs.16,87,347/-
- The appellant has been penalized only on the basis of speculation without there being any evidence.
- Whether a penalty under section 114A, Customs Act, 1962 can be imposed on the appellant, who is not the importer?
- The Tribunal observed that section 114A contemplates penalty for short-levy or non-levy of duty on the person who is liable to pay the duty or interest as determined u/s.28 ibid. It is the settled legal position that it is the importer who is liable to pay the duty not even its director or proprietor as the case may be.
- No written agreement between the importer and the appellant herein has been placed on record as there was no such agreement as admitted by the importer i.e. Mr. Ganesh Shankar Nirulkar, proprietor of M/s. Sun Impex. The appellant herein is not the importer but alleged to be the claimant of the goods. The importer & the IEC holder is M/s. Sun Impex.
- Therefore the imposition of penalty on the appellant herein under Section 114A ibid is without authority of law.
- In view of the observations made in the preceding paragraphs, the appeal filed by the appellant is allowed with consequential relief, if any, as per law.