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2016 (5) TMI 225

Head Note:
Proper officer - Juridiction to issue Show Cause Notice - Constitutional validity and effect of Section 28(11) of the Customs Act, 1962 - inserted by the Customs (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2011 (“Validation Act, 2011”) with effect from 16th September 2011 - In terms of Section 28(11) of the Act, all persons appointed as Customs Officers under Section 4(1) of the Act prior to 6th July 2011 “shall be deemed to have and always had the power of assessment under Section 17 and shall be deemed to have been and always had been the proper officers - Whether Section 28(11) cures the defects pointed out by the Supreme Court in the case of Commissioner of Customs v. Sayed Ali [2011 (2) TMI 5 - Supreme Court] - Held that:- the Department cannot seek to rely upon Section 28(11) of the Act as authorising the officers of the Customs, DRI, the DGCEI etc. to exercise powers in relation to non-levy, short-levy or erroneous refund for a period prior to 8th April 2011 if, in fact, there was no proper assigning of the functions of reassessment or assessment in favour of such officers who issued such SCNs since they were not “proper officers” for the purposes of Section 2(34) of the Act and further because Explanation 2 to Section 28 as presently enacted makes it explicit that such non-levy, short-levy or erroneous refund prior to 8th April 2011 would continue to be governed only by Section 28 as it stood prior to that date and not the newly re-cast Section 28 of the Act.

Section 28(11) interpreted in the above terms would not suffer the vice of unconstitutionality. Else, it would grant wide powers of assessment and enforcement to a wide range of officers, not limited to customs officers, without any limits as to territorial and subject matter jurisdiction and in such event the provision would be vulnerable to being declared unconstitutional. As regards the period subsequent to 8th April 2011, it is evident that if the administrative chaos as envisaged by the Supreme Court in Sayed Ali (supra) should not come about, there cannot be any duplicating and/or overlapping of jurisdiction of the officers. It would have to be ensured through proper co-ordination and administrative instructions issued by the CBEC that once a SCN is issued specifying the adjudicating officer to whom it is answerable, then that adjudication officer, subject to such officer being a 'proper officer' to whom the function of assessment has been assigned in terms of Section 2(34) of the Act, will alone proceed to adjudicate the SCN to the exclusion of all other officers who may have the power in relation to that subject matter.

Validity of SCN issued on 12th and 15th April 2013 by the Additional Director General, DRI, Bangalore - alleged non-levy, short-levy or erroneous refund for period beginning with 1st April 2008 - Held that:- insofar as any of the above SCNs relate to the period prior to 8th April 2011 they are clearly without jurisdiction since the ADG, DRI could not have exercised such power for a period prior to 8th April 2011. Further in terms of Explanation 2 to Section 28 as has presently been enacted with effect from 8th April 2011, for the period prior to 8th April 2011, Section 28 of the Act as it stood prior to that date will apply and not the new Section 28 of the Act. That being the position, the proceedings pursuant to the above SCNs issued by the ADG, DRI regarding non-levy, short-levy or erroneous refund prior to 8th April 2011, cannot be legally sustained and are hereby quashed. All proceedings consequent thereto are also hereby quashed. However, insofar as the SCNs cover the period subsequent to 8th April 2011, the adjudication proceedings shall go on in accordance with law.

Validity of SCN issued on 31st October 2003 under Section 28/124 of the Act by the Assistant Commissioner, SIIB - not empowered or assigned the function of a “proper officer” under Section 2(34) of the Act at the time he issued the SCN Held that:- the Department cannot seek to rely on Section 28(11) of the Act to validate the SCN issued by the Assistant Commissioner of Customs, SIIB to the Petitioner on 31st October 2003. As has already been held by the Court, Section 28(11) of the Act cannot validate SCNs or proceedings pursuant thereto in relation to non-levy, short-levy or erroneous refund for a period prior to 8th April 2011 if such SCNs have been issued or proceedings conducted by officers of the Customs, DRI or DGCEI or as in the present case by the SIIB, who are not 'proper officers' within the meaning of Section 2(34) of the Act. Therefore, the SCN issued to the petitioner on 31st October 2003 and all proceedings pursuant thereto are hereby quashed.

Validity of SCN dated 30th April 2010 issued by the ADG, DRI, Delhi - Search conducted at the residential premises of Petitioner No.4 - Challenge is on the ground that Respondent No. 3 was not authorised to issue such SCN as he was not a “proper officer” within the meaning of Section 2(34) of the Act. Counter affidavit filed where it is denied that at the time when the SCN was issued i.e. 30th April 2010, the ADG, DRI was not assigned the function of assessment under Section 17 and reassessment under Section 28 of the Act and was, therefore, not a “proper officer” for the purposes of Section 2(34) of the Act - Held that:- the recourse to Section 28(11) of the Act as introduced with effect from 8th July 2011 cannot be had to validate the impugned SCN particularly in view of Explanation 2 to Section 28 as it presently stands. Consequently, the Court quashes the impugned SCN dated 18th April 2010, and SCN dated 12th February 2013 and all proceedings consequent thereto. Writ Petition (C) No. 1185/2013 and the pending application, if any, are disposed of.

Validity of SCN dated 9th March 2011 issued by the Commissioner of Customs (Preventive) and Circular dated 29th September 2011 issued pursuant to the insertion of sub-section 11 to Section 28 - pursuant to the putting on hold various consignments of woollen carpets sought to be exported by the Petitioner - Held that:- it is clear that in relation to the events that took place prior to 8th April 2011 no SCN could have been issued to the Petitioner by the Commissioner of Customs (Preventive) who admittedly is not a “proper officer” in terms of the Section 2(34) of the Act. Section 28(11) of the Act cannot be resorted to for validating the said SCN and proceedings pursuant thereto. Therefore, the impugned SCN dated 9th March 2011 and the subsequent Circular dated 23rd September 2011 issued by the Department consequent upon the enactment of Section 28 (11) of the Act is quashed.

Validity of SCN dated 3rd April 2013 issued by the DRI, Delhi to BSNL as well as an order dated 23rd May 2013 passed by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) under Section 4 of the Act - assigned several cases including the case on hand to the Commissioner of Customs (Import & General) for the purposes of adjudication under Section 4 of the Act and consequent order dated 16th December 2013 passed by the Commissioner of Customs (Import & General) - At the time when the SCN was issued to the Petitioner by the DRI there was no assignment of the functions of assessment or reassessment under the Act in favour of the DRI in so far as it pertains to events that occurred prior to 8th April 2011 - Held that:- Section 28(11) of the Act cannot be relied upon to validate the SCN issued in relation to non-levy, short-levy or erroneous refund for a period prior to 8th April 2011 by officers of the DRI even subsequent to the deeming fiction brought about by Section 28(11) of the Act. Therefore, the impugned SCN dated 3rd April 2013 and all proceedings consequent thereto including the impugned orders dated 23rd May 2013 and 16th December 2013 are quashed.

Validity of SCN dated 24th December 2011 issued by the ADG, DRI - Short levy of customs duty for the period 28th January 2011 to 28th February 2013 - Held that:- for the reasons already mentioned, the said SCN and all the proceedings consequent thereto for the period from 28th January 2011 up to 8th April 2011 cannot be sustained in law and are hereby quashed. The adjudication proceedings as regards further period beyond 8th April 2011 will proceed in accordance with law.

Validity of SCN dated 31st October 2008 issued by the ADG, DRI, Delhi and Circular No. 44/2011-Cus dated 23rd September 2011 issued consequent upon the insertion of Section 28(11) of the Act - Reassessment of imported goods during the period prior to 8th April 2011 - Admittedly, the case pertains to a period prior to 8th April 2011. Further it is not in dispute that at the time when the SCN was issued, the ADG, DRI was not assigned the functions of reassessment under Section 28 of the Act and, therefore, was not a “proper officer” for the purposes of Section 2(34) of the Act - Held that:- for the reasons already discussed, the impugned SCN dated 31st October 2008 and the Circular dated 23rd September 2011 are hereby quashed.

Validity of SCN dated 14th March 2011 issued by the ADG, DRI - alleged imports made through the ICD, Tughlakabad during the period prior thereto - Held that:- in light of the above discussion, with the ADG, DRI not being the “proper officer” under Section 2(34) of the Act at the time when the SCN was issued, Section 28(11) of the Act cannot be referred to for validating the acts and the SCN issued by the ADG, DRI. Since it pertains to a period prior to 8th April 2011 it is governed entirely by Section 28 as it originally stood, i.e., prior to 8th April 2011. Therefore, the impugned SCN dated 14th March 2011 issued by the ADG, DRI and all proceedings pursuant thereto are quashed.

Validity of SCN dated 29th May 2014 - alleged short levy during the period 27th May 2009 to July 2013 - Held that:- as far as the period involved covers the period 27th May 2009 to 8th April 2011, it cannot be sustained in law since during the said period the ADG, DRI had no power of assessment or reassessment. To that extent the impugned SCN and all proceedings pursuant thereto for the period prior to 8th April 2011 are hereby quashed. However, for the period subsequent to 8th April 2011 the proceedings may go on in accordance with law.

Validity of SCN dated 2nd April 2009 issued by the DRI and for declaring Section 28(11) of the Act to be constitutionally invalid - Held that:- it is not in dispute that at the time the SCN was issued, the DG, DRI or any other officer of the DRI was not specifically assigned the task of reassessment and, therefore, was not a “proper officer” under Section 2(24) of the Act. Accordingly, the impugned SCN and all proceedings consequent thereto are hereby quashed.

Validity of SCN dated 2nd December 2013 issued by the ADG, DRI - in relation to 190 bills of entry for the period prior to 8th April 2011 - Held that:- the ADG, DRI who issued the SCN was admittedly not a “proper officer” for the purposes of Section 2(34) of the Act. Therefore, the impugned SCN dated 2nd December 2013 and all proceedings consequent thereto to the extent they pertain to the period prior to 8th April 2011 are hereby quashed. The proceedings for the subsequent period may go on in accordance with law.

Validity of SCN dated 2nd December 2013 issued by the ADG, DRI - Held that:- the impugned SCN are hereby quashed to the extent they pertain to the period prior to 8th April 2011. The proceedings for the subsequent period may go on in accordance with law.

Validity of SCN dated 12th March 2014 issued by the ADG, DRI - imports made for the period 24th June 2009 to 8th April 2011 - 8 bills of entry pertain to ICD, Tughlakabad, 6 pertain to Mumbai Port and 2 pertain to ICD, Mulund in Bombay - held that:- for the reasons already explained, the said SCN is unsustainable in law and the said SCN and all proceedings pursuant thereto are hereby quashed.

Validity of SCN dated 7th November 2013 issued by the ADG, DRI - Imports of “Narrow Woven Fabrics” from China during the period 8th November 2008 to 30th November 2010, i.e., a period prior to 8th April 2011 - Held that:- for the reasons already discussed, the said SCN dated 7th November 2013 and all proceedings consequent thereto are hereby quashed.

Validity of SCN dated 9th June 2014 issued by the ADG, DRI - Invokation of Section 124 of the Act and Section 28 read with Section 9A of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975 - Imports of Color Picture Tubes made through the ICD, Tughlakabad as well as ICD, Dadri for the period May 2009 to January 2011 - Held that:- for the reasons already mentioned, the said impugned SCN and all proceedings pursuant thereto are unsustainable in law and are hereby quashed.

Validity of SCN dated 10th September 2004 issued by the ADG, DRI - alleged mis-declaration of value of export of Alloy Steel Forgings (Machined) from ICD, Tughlakabad and CFS, Patparganj - availing higher DEPB credit for the period prior to 8th April 2011 - Held that:- for the reasons already mentioned, the impugned SCN and all proceedings consequent thereto stand hereby quashed.

Validity of SCN dated 20th November 2014 issued by the ADG, DRI - Section 124 of the Customs Act read with Section 9A of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975 - Import of Color Picture Tubes in the year 2010 - Held that:- for the reasons already mentioned, the impugned SCN and all proceedings consequent thereto are unsustainable in law and hereby set aside.

Validity of SCN dated 23rd September 2014 issued by the ADG, DRI - Color Picture Tubes imported from January 2009 to February 2011 - Held that:- for the reasons already mentioned, the impugned SCN and all proceedings consequent thereto are unsustainable in law and hereby set aside.

Validity of SCN issued on 17th December 2007 by the DRI to be adjudicated by the Commissioner of Customs - Searches were conducted in the residential premises of the Petitioner - allegedly mis-declaring and undervaluing the import in connivance with the various Registrars of Newspapers in India - Demand of duty - appeal filed before the CESTAT against the said order is still pending and the CESTAT has required the Petitioner to deposit the 10% duty amount as a pre-deposit - Held that:- the SCN was issued by the ADG, DRI who at the time of issuance of the said SCN had not been assigned functions by the CBEC of assessment or reassessment and, therefore, is not a “proper officer” under Section 2(34) of the Act. The impugned SCN and all proceedings consequent thereto are hereby stand quashed. - Petitions disposed of
  1. 2016 (10) TMI 562

  2. 2016 (8) TMI 1181

  3. 2018 (4) TMI 1052

  4. 2018 (3) TMI 723

  5. 2017 (12) TMI 984

  6. 2017 (11) TMI 1412

  7. 2017 (10) TMI 989

  8. 2017 (9) TMI 1457

  9. 2017 (6) TMI 688

  10. 2017 (5) TMI 743

  11. 2016 (11) TMI 557

  12. 2016 (7) TMI 123

  13. 2016 (6) TMI 1210

  14. 2016 (10) TMI 19

  15. 2018 (5) TMI 1143

  16. 2018 (4) TMI 422

  17. 2018 (2) TMI 1242

  18. 2018 (2) TMI 31

  19. 2017 (12) TMI 381

  20. 2017 (12) TMI 1110

  21. 2018 (5) TMI 88

  22. 2018 (1) TMI 382

  23. 2018 (1) TMI 497

  24. 2017 (12) TMI 244

  25. 2017 (12) TMI 978

  26. 2017 (11) TMI 664

  27. 2017 (11) TMI 51

  28. 2017 (11) TMI 359

  29. 2017 (9) TMI 762

  30. 2017 (9) TMI 684

  31. 2017 (9) TMI 329

  32. 2017 (10) TMI 1270

  33. 2017 (9) TMI 441

  34. 2017 (9) TMI 296

  35. 2017 (9) TMI 440

  36. 2017 (9) TMI 595

  37. 2017 (9) TMI 930

  38. 2017 (9) TMI 328

  39. 2017 (8) TMI 984

  40. 2017 (8) TMI 1087

  41. 2017 (8) TMI 1088

  42. 2017 (9) TMI 327

  43. 2017 (8) TMI 1321

  44. 2017 (8) TMI 816

  45. 2017 (8) TMI 815

  46. 2017 (8) TMI 1149

  47. 2017 (8) TMI 1085

  48. 2017 (8) TMI 502

  49. 2017 (8) TMI 345

  50. 2017 (9) TMI 1086

  51. 2017 (9) TMI 1085

  52. 2018 (4) TMI 4

  53. 2017 (9) TMI 1084

  54. 2017 (11) TMI 488

  55. 2017 (9) TMI 1012

  56. 2017 (9) TMI 276

  57. 2017 (8) TMI 56

  58. 2017 (9) TMI 1083

  59. 2017 (9) TMI 1082

  60. 2017 (9) TMI 899

  61. 2017 (7) TMI 704

  62. 2017 (8) TMI 10

  63. 2017 (7) TMI 509

  64. 2017 (9) TMI 1079

  65. 2017 (7) TMI 234

  66. 2017 (6) TMI 1092

  67. 2017 (6) TMI 1058

  68. 2017 (9) TMI 898

  69. 2017 (6) TMI 1132

  70. 2017 (6) TMI 963

  71. 2017 (7) TMI 47

  72. 2017 (9) TMI 897

  73. 2017 (6) TMI 794

  74. 2017 (7) TMI 4

  75. 2017 (6) TMI 662

  76. 2017 (6) TMI 746

  77. 2017 (6) TMI 695

  78. 2017 (6) TMI 1131

  79. 2017 (7) TMI 46

  80. 2017 (6) TMI 566

  81. 2017 (7) TMI 44

  82. 2017 (7) TMI 43

  83. 2017 (6) TMI 1163

  84. 2017 (6) TMI 1057

  85. 2017 (7) TMI 747

  86. 2017 (6) TMI 31

  87. 2017 (6) TMI 30

  88. 2017 (5) TMI 1232

  89. 2017 (5) TMI 1231

  90. 2017 (4) TMI 1235

  91. 2017 (5) TMI 1436

  92. 2017 (4) TMI 372

  93. 2017 (3) TMI 1024

  94. 2017 (4) TMI 980

  95. 2017 (5) TMI 1278

  96. 2017 (4) TMI 542

  97. 2016 (9) TMI 928

  98. 2016 (7) TMI 980

 


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