Packing and affixing brand names amount to manufacturing; appellants held liable to pay duty

Customs Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT): This appeal was filed before V. Padmanabhan, Member (Technical) against the decision of Commissioner of Customs who upheld the order of Adjudicating Authority imposing duty on the appellants.

Facts of the case are such that a search was conducted during which Departmental Officer found and seized goods i.e. automobile parts as specified in the 3rd Schedule of the Central Excise Act with brand name ‘VIKING’ and “VIZA’ from both appellant’s premise. Show cause notices were issued by the adjudicating Authority to the appellants after the investigation were concluded. They were alleged with manufacture of goods which did not belong to them and thus were not entitled to the benefit of the Small Scale Exemption. It was stated that they were supposed to pay duty along with interests and penalties. Adjudicating officer’s order was challenged before the Commissioner where it was upheld and hence this appeal before the Tribunal was filed.

Appellants showed their respective trademark registration document that ‘VIKING’ and ‘VIZA’ were registered trademarks of the appellants hence they were entitled to SSI benefit. Appellants contended that respondent seized both the appellants’ goods in a consolidated way which was later denied by respondent. Respondent while negating the contentions of appellants stated that appellant were liable to pay duty as they were involved in activity of packing and affixing brand name which amounts to manufacture of a good and thus they cannot seek the benefit of SSI. They submitted that appellants need to pay duty for goods belonging to other appellant which was found on their premises.

 Tribunal was of the view that appellants were liable to pay duty for those goods labeled with other appellant’s trademark. Both the appellants were given benefit of SSI with respect to the goods under their respective brand names and for goods having brand names of the other appellant they were liable to pay duty. Tribunal ordered Adjudicating authority to requantify the duty demanded. [Vee Kay Enterprises v. Comrr. of Excise, 2018 SCC OnLine CESTAT 870, decided on 24-09-2018]


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