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2023 (9) TMI 825 - CESTAT MUMBAI
Valuation of goods for the purpose of assessment of Customs Duty - inclusion of ‘royalty’ and ‘lumpsum fees’ in the assessable value of imports effected from a related person - calculation of invoice value - HELD THAT:- It is noticed that the order of acceptance of ‘invoice value’ as reliable enough guide to the ‘proper officer’ for assessing future imports under section 17 of the Customs Act, 1962 was disputed by reviewing authority. By setting aside that order, the first appellate authority has effectively exercised power of assessment and has confined the ‘proper officer’ to such assessment on goods that were yet to be imported. On a query, Learned Counsel admitted that the proceedings which culminated in the impugned order had been initiated without a show cause notice; apparently, the prevailing practice is for all transactions between related persons to be subjected to such scrutiny, evaluation and direction to assessing authority. Thus, it is the appeal before the lower authority that took on the appearances of show cause notice.
The internal procedures for providing expert consultation to the statutorily empowered assessing officers, even if of long standing existence, do not vest the institution, established by executive fiat for such purpose, with the same statutory empowerment; notwithstanding, the arrogation of direction, one way or the other, by the Deputy Commissioner, Special Valuation Branch (SVB), its recommendatory character cannot be elevated to that of an order in the absence of statutory support - Customs Act, 1962 is concerned with levy of duty, as well as the enforcement of prohibitions, under law, on import/export goods. Other consequences such as differential duty, refund, drawback, fines and penalties may arise but only in consequence. The possible detriment that may arise on a future date is not a grievance that should be entertained unless and until it does translate as one upon occurrence of import or export of goods.
The proceedings under section 18 of Customs Act, 1962 not interfered except if terms of such assessment is a cause of grievance. Even so, no incidence of provisional assessment is impugned.
Chapter XV of Customs Act, 1962 contains the design and hierarchy of appeals and that entrusted with Commissioner of Customs (Appeals) is one of the sources of appellate jurisdiction of the Tribunal. The same hesitancy that informs our jurisdictional dilemma attaches also to the first appellate authority - The first appellate authority should have dealt with the appeal, at the behest of jurisdictional Commissioner of Customs, within such circumscribing and passed such order as is legal and proper for disposal of appeal. Notwithstanding the lack of appellate recourse, that the jurisdictional Commissioner of Customs opted for review does not fall within empowerment, or that of Commissioner of Customs (Appeals), to prevent; but it is certainly within empowerment to render appropriate disposal in terms of our exposition on the true nature of Special Valuation Branch (SVB).
The appeal preferred is restored at the instance of the jurisdictional Commissioner of Customs before the first appellate authority for a fresh disposal - appeal allowed by way of remand.