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JSW Steel Ltd succeeds as the Appeal by The Principal Commissioner of Customs does not raise any substantial question of law: Bombay High Court.

On Tuesday, the 26th of July, in the year 2022 The Bombay high court passed a judgement in favour of JSW Steel Ltd upholding the decision of the Customs, Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal, Mumbai (CESTAT) which held that the late fees charged in the adjudication order is unwarranted. This decision was made in the case of The Principal Commissioner of Customs Pune Commissionerate vs. JSW Steel Ltd. (Custom Appeal No. 4 Of 2021) and the case was presided over by The Honourable Mr. Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur and by The Honourable Mr. Justice Abhay Ahuja.

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The Respondent Company JSW Steel Ltd., and its subsidiary Amba River Coke Ltd. (ARCL) both imported a total 1,10,000 metric tons Coking Coal from JSW International Pty Ltd, Singapore through the same vessel, MV Cape Ioanna. An Import General Manifest was filed on 6th April of 2017. ARCL imported 11,550 metric tons of Peak Down North Coking Coal and it was unloaded at Jaigad Port and was assessed provisionally. JSW Steel Ltd., imported 98,450 metric tons of Goonyella C Coking Coal for discharge at Marmagao Port which arrived on 14th April of 2017 and Bill of Entry was filed at Marmagao Port for clearance, which was provisionally assessed and allowed clearance on payment of duty of Rs.9,32,79,393.  At the time of clearance of import at Marmago Port, goods of a quantity of 1,341 metric tons was found short. The Respondent Company came to know of this fact from ARCL and ascertained that the excess cargo that was unloaded at Jaigad Port was in fact Goonyella C Coking Coal and not Peak Down North Coking Coal. The Respondent Company informed the Customs Authorities and said that 1,341 metric tons of Goonyella C Coking Coal had been wrongly discharged at Jaigad Port for which the Respondent Company had paid full duty at Marmagao Customs. The Company also requested to file a Bill of Entry for a different quantity and that the said cargo may be allowed clearance. The Customs House Agent and Shipping Agent were instructed for processing of filing of Bill of Entry after necessary re-amendment to the IGM. The Customs Authority after considering the request made by the Shipping Agent changed the IGM from Peak Down North Coking Coal to Goonyella C Coking Coal, but the same was kept in the name of ARCL. After the amendments to the IGM were approved by the Customs Authorities on 14th March of 2018, the Respondent Company filed the Bill of Entry to clear the goods, on the same day. The Electronic Data of filing the Bill of Entry calculated the total amount payable as Rs.50,46,182 which included Customs duty as well as the charges for late filing of Bill of Entry amounting to Rs.33,45,000. The Respondent Company made a request in March-2018 to waive off this late fee charge calculated by the EDI stating that the delay in filing the Bill of Entry to clear the differential quantity at Jaigad was not on account of their fault. The Customs Authorities rejected the request of the Respondent-Company.

Aggrieved by the same, the Respondent-Company filed an Appeal before the Commissioner (Appeals-II), Central Tax, Pune, urging that the delay in filing the Bill of Entry was in genuine and bona fide circumstances.

On 17th September 2019 the Customs, Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal, Mumbai held that the late fees charged in the adjudication order is unwarranted. The Principal Commissioner of Customs, Pune, impugning the final order filed an appeal in the Bombay High Court.

JUDGEMENT:

The court said that after it was found out that 1,341 metric tons was landed in Jaigad, the Respondent Company made efforts to get the IGM amended and no sooner the IGM was amended, the Bill of Entry in respect to the same was filed on the same day within time. This shows the Respondent Company’s eagerness to be on the right side of the law.

The court said it does not find any fault with the order of the Appellate Authority or the Tribunal and also said the Appeal does not raise any substantial question of law and is therefore accordingly dismissed

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY TANAV ZACHARIAH.

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