CESTAT directs Customs Authority to Release Confiscated Consignments, return Penalty amount as no copy of order served on Importer [Read Order]

CESTAT - Custom Authority - confiscated consignments - return penalty amount - Importer - Taxscan

The Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) directed the  Customs Authority to release confiscated consignments, return a penalty amount as no copy of order served on Importer.

Advocate Manu Tom Cheruvally on behalf of the appellant K.J. Associates submitted that both the authorities have failed to note the specific version of the appellant that the confiscated goods i.e Potassium Humate is not an insecticide in the Insecticides Act 1968 and hence the same is not covered as an insecticide. He further submitted that even the laboratory test report at the instance of the Customs Department also did not conclusively classify it as an insecticide but the finding is that “it may find use as a plant growth regulator”.

Mr. Cheruvally added that both the authorities have not given any reason or explanation for ignoring the entire documents which were produced by the appellant along with his reply and subsequently obtained from Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee which clearly shows that the impugned goods does not fall in the category of insecticides and hence is not included in the Schedule of Insecticides Act, 1968.

The counsel further submitted that the Assistant Commissioner (Customs) passed the order but the same was not made available to the appellant in spite of the best efforts made by the appellant and finally the said order was issued by the Assistant Commissioner only and in the meantime, the appellant was compelled to deposit a penalty amount of Rs.25,000 and the appellant deposited the same under the impression that the goods are going to release but when the appellant got the original order, he was surprised to find that the goods were confiscated.

The coram of Judicial Member S.S.Garg and Technical Member P.Anjani Kumar found no justification for issuing the order by the Assistant Commissioner after the expiry of more than one month when there is a live consignment involved in this case.

The tribunal also did not find any reason why the appellant was compelled to deposit the penalty even without the issuance of the order by the Assistant Commissioner of Customs. “We do not appreciate the conduct of the original authority in dealing with this present case and withholding the order for more than one month in case of live consignment. We are constrained to observe the conduct of the Assistant Commissioner in dealing with this case and warn the Assistant Commissioner of Customs to be careful in future while dealing with live consignment,” the CESTAT said.

Therefore, the Tribunal set aside the impugned order and directed the Assistant Commissioner to release the confiscated consignments immediately and also return the penalty amount of Rs.25,000/- deposited by the appellant prior to the issuance of the Order-in-Original in view of the letter issued by the Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee, Faridabad informing that the impugned items is not included in the Schedule under the Insecticide Act, 1968 and hence it is not required registration.

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