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2018 (1) TMI 1118

Head Note / Extract:
Demand of interest - scope of the order of the settlement commission - provisionally assessed Bills of Entry - power to issue clarifications u/s 127C(5) of the Customs Act, 1962 - revenue failed to raise the issue if Interest before the settlement commission - Held that: - It is clear from the provisions of the Act, and particularly Section 127H(1) of the Customs Act, 1962 that the Settlement Commission has power only to grant immunity from penalty and prosecution for any offence under the Customs Act, 1962. It has no power to grant immunity from payment of any duty or interest. Albeit, the Settlement Commission in regard to the case before it, can exercise all the powers of the Customs Officers and that is clear from the language of Section 127F(1) - From the record, it is apparent that the Settlement Commission did not agree with this stand of the Revenue for, on 19th June, 2017, it communicated that the provisions of the Customs Act, particularly in relation to the powers of the Commission, are clear and self explanatory. The Revenue was told to take appropriate action at its end.

We do not see how the Revenue, when being in receipt of such communication from the Commission, could have pursued the action in terms of the impugned letter dated 10th April, 2017. The Revenue knew where it stands and in the scheme of the law. If it has not raised the contentions in the affidavit­in­reply or in the communication to the Settlement Commission during the proceedings or post its final order dated 2nd March, 2017, then, in the facts and circumstances of this case, it is alone to be blamed. It must blame itself if it has not conducted the proceedings before the Commission in the manner demanded by the statute or its report or its conduct of the proceedings was deficient in any manner.

In the Petition challenging the impugned communication / letter dated 10th April, 2017 at the instance of the petitioner, the Revenue cannot call upon this Court to undertake an exercise which stands concluded by the final order of the Settlement Commission dated 2nd March, 2017. More so, when the said final order is not challenged by the Revenue in substantive proceedings.

Demand of interest set aside - Decided in favor of assessee.


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