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2004 (116)ECR 362 (S.C.)
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Civil Appeal No.5244 of 2004 with C.A. No.5245 of 2004
Before:The Hon’ble Mr. Justice B.N.Agrawal
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice H.K. Sema
Paul Industries (India)
For the Appellant(s) : Shri Harish Salve, Shri Joseph Valiapally,Sr.
Advocates Mrs.Ruby singh and Shri Tarun Gulati, Advocates
For the Respondent(s) : Shri T.L.V.Lyer, Sr. Advocates, Shri A.Subha Rao
and Shri P.Parmeswaran,Advocates
HELD: Settlement –Valuation (Customs) —Point of law—Earlier Writ Petition filed in High Court was withdrawn so as to file the rectification petitions before settlement Commission—Which was rejected as no error apparent on face of record- Challening this order writ petition filed in High Court—Which was dismissed — High Court was obliged to go into the question as to whether the original order passed by Settlement Commissioner was in accordance to law or not —The matter is remitted to that court for disposing of writ petitions on merits after examining correctness or otherwise of order passed by Settlement Commissioner, Rule 5(3) Customs Valuation rules, 1988 (para4 & 5)
So far as first ground is concerned, we are clearly of the view that withdrawal of the earlier writ petitions to enable the appellants to file rectification petitions would not show that the High Court on the earlier occasion had confirmed the original order passed by Settlement Commissioner, As a matter of fact in the writ petitions which have been disposed of by the impugned order, the High Court was obliged to go into the question as to whether the original order dated 2.8.2001 passed by the Settlement Commission was in accordance with law or not, but it has refrained itself from going into the said question. In this regard, learned Senior Counsel appearing on behalf of the appellants has placed reliance upon Rule 5(3) of the Customs Valuation Rules, 1988 which lays down that, “In applying this rule, if more than one transaction value of identical goods is found , the lowest such value shall be used to determine the value of imported goods”. It has been submitted that while passing the original order and fixing the duty, the Settlement Commission has not taken into consideration value of lowest transaction value of the identical goods out of several transaction values of the identical goods produced before it. Learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the Union of India produced before it, Learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the India submitted that from the impugned order, it does not appear that this point was raised before the High Court, Be that as it may, the point raised being a pure question of law, we are of the view that the High Court was not justified in refusing to go into the merits of the original order passed by the Settlement Commission.
For foregoing reasons, appeals are allowed, impugned order rendered by the High Court is set aside and the matter is remitted to that court for disposing of the writ petitions on merits after examining correctness or otherwise of order dated 2.8.2001 passed by the Settlement Commission and after giving opportunity of hearing to the parties in accordance with law. Needless to say, that we should not be misunderstood to have expressed any opinion, one way or the other on merits of the original order passed by the Settlement Commission as the same is the matter to be examined by the High Court in the writ petitions, upon remand. No costs.