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Commnr. of Customs, Bangalore Versus M/s. Ge Be Ltd. & Anr.

2015 (8) TMI 490 - SUPREME COURT

Import of Ultrasound Systems, probes, and their parts and components. – Exemption on specific types – Commissioner apprehended that exemption under Notification of 2000 was restricted only to specific type of ultrasound system, namely, A scan and if it had additional feature, such as B scan and M scan, those were excluded by implication – Tribunal vide impugned order decided that systems having additional features would not be denied exemption – Held that:- if equipments can be used in multiple .....

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end what was "specified equipment" therein – Thus, Tribunal judgments set aside and order of Commissioner upheld – matter remanded back to tribunal to decide two other aspects - Decided in favour of Revenue. - CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1174 OF 2006, CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3202 OF 2006 - Dated:- 6-8-2015 - A.K. Sikri and Rohinton Fali Nariman, JJ. For the Petitioner : Mr. Yashank Adhyaru,Sr.Adv., Mr. Rajiv Nanda,Adv., Ms. Rashmi Malhotra,Adv., Mr. B. Krishna Prasad,Adv. For the Respondent : Mr. R.Venkataraman,S .....

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whether the exemption is available for Ultrasonic Equipments (A-scan/pacchy meters) to persons like the respondents who import various systems having not merely the feature of A scan, but the feature of B scan and M scan as well. By the order in original in both the cases, the Commissioner has referred to a history of various exemption Notifications dealing with the same systems. Ultimately, the exemption Notification of 2000 was held to be restricted only to a specific type of ultrasound system .....

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issioner's order in both appeals explained these modes and states that A mode is otherwise called an amplitude mode by which sound waves are transmitted through the probe into the body and different tissues and structures in the said body are either reflected or absorbed by these waves depending on their characteristics. The reflected waves are received by the transducer which generates an electrical signal depending on the intensity of the wave. B mode is also known as the brightness mode. .....

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exactly is the subject matter of exemption in the Notification dated 1.3.2000, a foray into the history of this Notification becomes a little important. All these Notifications are made under Chapter 90 of the Customs Tariff dealing with the import of medical equipments and their parts. The earliest Notification i.e. the Notification of 27.04.1988 made under Customs Tariff 90, describes the equipment covered by it as sight saving equipment. Item 4 of the table of this Notification is a little im .....

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d restriction has now been removed. Insofar as item 4 is concerned, it continues exactly as before. We were cited a tariff conference conclusion of 1996 which clarified the scope of the second Notification of 16.03.1995 as follows: "Conference Conclusion: The issue placed before the Conference related to exemption of duty to Ultra Sound Scanners under Notification No. 57/95-Cus (Sl. No.4). The doubt has arisen in view of the fact that the earlier notification had omitted the exemption to si .....

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as under: "(4) Ultrasonic Equipment (A scan/Pacchy meter)". On a reading of the aforesaid Notifications it becomes clear that the exemption granted earlier has been enlarged in one respect. It has been enlarged insofar as the equipment that is imported need not be sight saving equipment. It is, however, narrowed insofar as the particular equipment that is to be exempted is concerned - B scan and cleaners are now conspicuous by their absence in two Notifications of 1998 and 1999. This .....

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only to A scan and pacchy maters. We have also been referred to a subsequent Notification dated 01.03.2001, which Notification continues Entry 4 as it is but reintroduces the fact that the equipment should be sight saving equipment, which was contained in the first Notification of 1988. Shri Yashank Adhyaru, learned senior Advocate appearing on behalf of the Revenue has contended before us that the Commissioner is right in looking into the history of these Notifications and ultimately deciding t .....

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ses (14D, 20D, 90D), Endo lens. Per contra, learned counsel for the assessees has argued before us, supporting the judgment of the Tribunal in these appeals, that so long as the ultrasonic equipments imported contained the feature of A scan it is irrelevant whether they contained other features as well and would be liable to be included in the exemption Notification. He also made a specific argument based on a clarification made on 02.03.2001 so far as the later Notification of 2001 is concerned .....

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the parties. In our judgment we feel that the Commissioner in both the appeals was correct in referring to the history contained in the Notifications issued before the relevant Notification of 01.03.2000. This history unmistakably shows that when ultrasound equipment contained the feature or mode of B scan, it was specifically so stated and exempted. The dropping of this feature in the subsequent Notifications assumes some significance in these cases. Quite apart from this, we also feel there is .....

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