Legislation UpdatesNotifications

G.S.R. 124(E)—WHEREAS, the Central Government is satisfied that the import duty leviable on all goods originating in or exported from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, falling under the First Schedule to the Customs Tariff Act, 1975 (51 of 1975) (hereinafter referred to as the Customs Tariff Act), should be increased and that circumstances exist which render it necessary to take immediate action.

Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of Section 8A of the Customs Tariff Act, the Central Government, hereby directs that the First Schedule to the Customs Tariff Act, shall be amended in the following manner, namely:—

In the First Schedule to the Customs Tariff Act, in Section XXI, in Chapter 98, after tariff item 9805 90 00 and the entries relating thereto, the following tariff item and entries shall be inserted, namely:—

(1)

(2) (3) (4)

(5)

“9806 00 00

All goods originating in or exported from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 200%

-“.

[F. No. 354/40/2019-TRU]

Ministry of Finance

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court:The culprit is finning, and the result is the species thinning, to the extent of disappearing – almost”, said Dama Seshadri Naidu, J., speaking for himself and Antony Dominic, CJ. while dismissing an appeal filed challenging the notification passed by the Central Government vide which the Government imposed ban on export of shark fins. It is noteworthy that internationally too, ‘shark finning’ is a detestable fishing activity, leading to environmental and ecological calamities.

The appellant was a marine produce exporter, dealing exclusively in shark fins. He assailed the notification banning the export of sharks as ultra vires the Government power under relevant statutes. Earlier, too, in 2001, the Union of India banned catching all species of shark in India, treating them as endangered animal under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. However, due to widespread protest, the ban was constricted to only 9 out of 99 shark and ray species. Subsequently, in 2015, the Government exercised its powers under Section 5 of the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992, and ordered the impugned notification, wherein export of all shark fins, of whatever species, was banned. The appellant sought striking down of the notification as void. The notification was also challenged for violating Article 14 of the Constitution.

After a lengthy discussion on law relating to the subject, the High Court inter alia observed that the said notification was piece of subordinate legislation. Placing reliance on the decision of Supreme Court in Indian Express Newspaper (Bombay) (P) Ltd. v. Union of India, (1985) 1 SCC 641, the High Court observed that a piece of subordinate legislation does not carry the same immunity as enjoyed by a statute passed by competent legislature. Subordinate legislation may be questioned on all grounds as are available against the plenary legislation including ignorance of the parent statute; contravention of some other statute; and unreasonableness in the sense of being manifestly arbitrary. On perusal of the notification and the policy behind it, the Court held that, the ban was introduced to protect the wildlife in general and sharks in particular, which are regarded by the Government as an endangered animal. The re-introduction of the ban after a gap of over 13 years was also plausible as on the high seas it was impossible for the fishermen to identify and differentiate one species of shark from the other. Further, challenge to the notification on ground of violating Article 14 was also dismissed by the Court. True that the notification did not prohibit hunting of shark for domestic consumption, though it bans export of shark fins. However, such distinction seems to be based on an intelligible differentia as shark meat is not a staple food for Indians. To cater the needs of miniscule number of consumers, no danger of wholesale killing of sharks arise. Thus, the Court did not find any infirmity in the impugned notification; the writ appeal was dismissed. [Marine Fins v. Union of India,  2018 SCC OnLine Ker 1950, order dated 29-5-2018]

NewsTreaties/Conventions/International Agreements

The Union Cabinet has approved the renewal of Long Term Agreements (LTAs) for supply of iron ore (lumps and fines) of grade +64% Fe content to Japanese Steel Mills (JSMs) and POSCO, South Korea for another 5 years (i.e. 1.4.2018 up to 31.3.2023) through MMTC Limited.

Benefits: Export of iron ore under the LTAs would help to strengthen India’s bilateral ties with longstanding partner countries, Japan and South Korea secure an export market and result in inflow of foreign exchange. The agreement will enable India to secure international market for its ores and ensure stable economic ecosystem which provides direct and indirect employment in mining, logistics and related sectors.

[Press Release no. 1530134]

Ministry of Commerce & Industry

Business NewsNews

S.O.(E)- In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Foreign Trade (Development & Regulation) Act, 1992 (No.22 of 1992) (as amended from time to time) read with paragraph 2.01 of the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2015-2020, the Central Government hereby makes amendments to the Sl. No. 92, Chapter 15 of Schedule 2 of ITC (HS) Classification of Export & Import Items 2018 on Export Policy of edible oils.

2. In supersession of Notification No. 85 dated 17.03.2008, Notification No. 24(RE-2012)/2009-14 dated 19thOctober 2012, Notification No 22(RE-2013)/2009-14 dated 18.06.2013, Notification No 108(RE-2013)/2009-14 dated 06.02.2015, Notification No. 17/2015-20 dated 06.08.2015 and Notification No. 43/2015-20 dated 27.03.2017 relating to 51. No. 92 of Schedule 2 of ITC(HS) Classification of Export & Import Items 2018, the following amendments are made, with immediate effect :

SI. No. Tariff Item HS Code Unit Item Description Amended Policy
92

All ITC(HS) Codes pertaining to the edible oils under Chapter 15 of Schedule 1 (Import Policy) of ITC(HS) Classification of Export & Import Items 2017

Kg.

All varieties of edible oils, except mustard oil

Free

3. Export of mustard oil in branded consumer packs of up to 5 kgs will continue to be permitted with a Minimum Export Price (MEP) of USD 900 per MT.

4. Effect of this Notification: All varieties of edible oils, except mustard oil, have been made ‘free’ for export without any quantitative ceilings, pack size etc., till further orders.

[Notification No. 01/2015-202]

Ministry of Commerce & Industry

Business NewsNews

The government has decided to speed up the input tax refund to exporters. As per Rule 91 of CGST Rules, 2017, 90 % of the refund amount claimed shall be granted on a provisional basis within a period not exceeding 7 days from the date of acknowledgement of the refund claim. Further, as per Section 54(7) of the CGST Act, 2017, the final order for granting refund shall be issued within 60 days from the date of receipt of the complete application. Out of total taxpayers under GST, 64% who were already registered under the previous tax regime have transitioned to GST as on 02-03-2018. However, no specific study has been undertaken on the impact of the said transition. The Minister of State for Finance further has stated that, the processing of the refund claim is being done after the claimant has filed the GST return and the grant of the refund shall be within 60 days from the date of receipt of the complete application.

[Source: Press Information Bureau]

MINISTRY OF FINANCE