S. 111(m) of Customs Act can only be invoked if goods do not correspond in respect of value or any other particular with the Entry made under the Act

Madras High Court: The Court recently addressed a writ petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution wherein the petitioners asked for quashment of the impugned order and for waiver of the detention charges incurred on the subject goods on the basis of Regulation 6(1) of the Handling of Cargo in Customs Areas Regulations, 2009.

The facts of the case are that the petitioner had filed this petition challenging the original order which was passed by the respondent, in respect of an import made by the petitioner on a certain date for clearance of the imported goods under a certain Customs Tariff heading with a specific IGST rate assigned to it. The petitioner contended that after carrying out a self- assessment of the duty, as specified under Section 17(1) of the Customs Act, 1962, the assessable value came up to a different amount of money from the one that was pronounced by the petitioner. This was because the petitioner argued that to avail the concessional duty, the IGST rate needed to be calculated at 0% based on a previous notification. The respondent argued that the rate had to be calculated at a 5% rate on the basis of a different notification. The respondent thus was of the prima facie view that the exemption claimed by the petitioner for the imported goods did not appear to be correct.

The Court noticed that the respondent while passing the impugned order did not restrict himself only to the life consignment covered under Bill of Entry in question but also in respect of earlier import in Bill of Entry and proceeded to invoke his powers under Section 111(m) of the Customs Act, in the sense that the imported goods were liable to be confiscated.

The Bemch of T. S. Sivagnanam J., held that the respondent could not invoke Section 111(m) of the Customs Act as there appeared to be no allegation that the goods did not correspond in respect of the value or in any other particular with the entry made under the Act. In the impugned order, the respondent had accepted that there was no dispute in the classification of the goods. But the Court pointed out that no adjudication was needed on this matter since the petitioner only sought liberty to approach the appellate authority on this matter. Hence, along with granting liberty to file an appeal, the Court also directed the petitioner to pay the differential duty amount in respect of the earlier Bill of Entry and the duty on the Bill of Entry in question that the respondent had laid down following which the respondent would have to provisionally release the cargo within a period of seven days from the date of remittance for both Bills of Entry. [Priyanka Enterprises v. The Joint Commissioner of Customs; 2017 SCC OnLine Mad 9942, order dated 23.11.2017]

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