CESTAT | For passing a valid adjudication order, valid service of show cause notice is essential; Tribunal allows appeal  

Customs, Excise and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT): Anil Choudhary (Judicial Member) allowed an appeal in which the issue before the Tribunal was that whether the show cause notice was validly served on the appellant which is a condition precedent for giving jurisdiction to the Adjudicating Authority to pass an order.

Appellant was neither an importer nor engaged in the business of import and export. Further, he does not have any Import Export Code (IEC). The Revenue had seized post parcels imported from China not bearing the name of consignor, at foreign post office, New Delhi. The parcels were examined by the officers of DRI under panchnama. Summons were issued in the name of the appellant dated 11-02-2016, 02-03-2016 and 15-03-2016. Thereafter, nobody appeared before the DRI. An officer personally visited the premises at D-164, Punjabi Basti, Baljeet Nagar, New Delhi-110008, but the person – Shri Baljeet Singh was not found. Thereafter, without ascertaining or identifying the main person – Shri Baljeet Singh, show cause notice dated 20-07-2016 was issued by speed post and also marked to notice board of DRI.

Counsel for the appellant, Mr. Akhil Krishan Maggu submitted that neither the aforementioned show-cause notice nor any communication like summons or notice, nothing was served on him thus the ex-parte was wholly without jurisdiction and a nullity.

Authorised Representative for the Revenue, Mr. Pradeep Gupta submitted that the address given by the appellant in the memo of appeal was same on which the show cause notice etc. was issued through speed post, and accordingly stated that there was sufficient service of show cause notice.

The Tribunal noticed that inspite of opportunity given, Revenue failed to produce the proof of delivery of the show cause notice and from the perusal of records it was observed that Adjudicating Authority had not recorded satisfaction of service of show cause notice and have proceeded to pass the ex-parte order-in-original, which is held to be a nullity in the eyes of law.

The Tribunal while allowing the appeal held that for passing a valid adjudication order, valid service of show cause notice is essential.[Baldeep Singh v. Commr. of Customs, 2021 SCC OnLine CESTAT 176, decided on 07-04-2021]


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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