Customs, Excise and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal

Customs, Excise and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT): The Coram of Sulekha Beevi, C.S. (Judicial Member) and P. Anjani Kumar (Technical Member) decided on an appeal which was filed in the matter of non-compliance with the pre-deposit.

It was alleged that M/s. Sri Vasavi Gold and Bullion Pvt. Ltd. (the main appellant) in the course of its business had imported articles of jewellery from Thailand as per Notification No. 85/2004-Cus dated 31.8.2004. During the investigation, the DRI unearthed incriminating documents relating to the import by which it appeared that the M/s. Sri Vasavi Gold and Bullion Pvt. Ltd. had been wrongly availing the benefit of exemption under the said Customs Notification No. 85/2004 dated 31.8.2004 r/w Notification No. 101/2004-Cus. (NT) dated 31.8.2004.

The notice proposed to deny the exemption benefit in respect of 48 bills of entry and also raised differential duty of Rs.19,03,19,798/- along with interest. The appellant herein was also issued a Show Cause Notice as to why penalty should not be imposed upon him under Sections 112(a) and 114AA of the Customs Act, 1962.

The Tribunal perused Section 129E of the Customs Act, 1962 and analyzed that unless the appellant has deposited 7.5% of the penalty when the penalty is in dispute, the appeal cannot be entertained by the Tribunal. The Tribunal has no power to waive the mandatory requirement of predeposit. On perusal of the impugned order, separate penalty has been imposed upon the business entity and the appellant herein.

Tribunal further clarified that there was no document produced by the business entity that the pre-deposit made by them can be stretched and applied for compliance of mandatory pre-deposit of the appeal filed by the appellant therein and in these circumstances, the request made by the counsel for appellant to waive the mandatory pre-deposit was not considered.[P. Seetharam v. Commr. Of Customs, 2022 SCC OnLine CESTAT 30, decided on 04-02-2022]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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