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2022 (9) TMI 397 - Customs
Absolute Confiscation - import of certain refrigerant gases in cylinders as well as empty cans used for packing such gases for re-filling purpose - prohibited goods or not - Imported goods are covered under the Gas Cylinders Rules or not - validity of confiscation for want of licence - HELD THAT:- The appellant, as could be seen from its reply to the Show Cause Notice as well as the arguments extracted in the orders of lower authorities, had taken technical contentions to plead that R134a gas stands excluded from the definition of “compressed gas”, which has not at all been considered by any of the lower authorities. When such technical arguments are being advanced, the concerned authority should examine the issue in the light of such technical arguments, but the same having not been done, both the orders of the lower authorities become non-speaking orders.
Further, to add to the agony of the appellant, both the appellant as well as the Revenue had approached the authority under the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO) seeking clarification, but surprisingly, the said authority has issued an incomplete communication, to refer to Rule 2(xxiii) of the Rules ibid., and much worse is the communication issued by the Public Information Officer/Assistant Commissioner of the Customs House, Chennai. Both the authority under PESO as well as the Public Information Officer/Assistant Commissioner of Customs have replied to the application under the RTI Act in a slipshod manner, which is not in accordance with the requirement of the RTI Act.
The order of confiscation / demand is one aspect, but before that, it is for the Adjudicating Authority to establish first that the goods in question were prohibited and hence, the order of absolute confiscation also lacks merit - matter remanded back to the file of the Adjudicating Authority, who shall pass a de novo Adjudication Order after hearing the appellant, after meeting the arguments of the appellant and after affording reasonable opportunities to the appellant.
Appeal allowed by way of remand.