The Delhi High Court has held that the delay in receiving Export Promotion (EP) copy of the Shipping Bills is not a ground for extension of time in rebate claims. The court further reaffirmed that any claim for rebate must be submitted within one year of export of the goods.
The Orient Micro Abrasives Limited company was challenging the order of the Revisionary Authority. The petitioner filed a claim, for rebate of central excise duty, paid on Chlorinated Paraffin Plasticisers, exported by the petitioner as a merchant-exporter, to USA. The claim, however, was filed after a year, which was the stipulated time. The rebate claim, filed by the petitioner, was rejected by the Assistant Commissioner of Customs (AC). Commissioner of Customs (Appeals) and Revisionary Authority rejected the petitioner‘s rebate claim, reiterating the finding of the AC.
The bench consisting of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice C.Hari Shankar heard the writ petition filed by the company in the above matter.
The petitioners raised two grounds to support the argument. The petitioners argued that the delay was caused as there was a delay in receiving Export Promotion (EP) copy of the Shipping Bills. The petitioners pointed that, owing to the technical fault at the end of the respondent, because of which the EP copies of the shipping bills could not be made available to the petitioner in time, the petitioner could not be made to suffer prejudice. The judgment of the High Court of Gujarat in Cosmonaut Chemicals vs. Union of India [2009 (233) ELT 46 (Guj)], as well as of the High Court of Rajasthan in Gravita India Ltd. vs. Union of India [2016 (334) ELT 321 (Raj)] was relied by the petitioners.
The second argument raised by the petitioners was that the date of submission of the ARE-1 form, to the customs authorities, should be regarded as the date of filing of the rebate claim.
The court, however, rejected both the contentions of the petitioners and concurred with the findings of the Revisionary Authority. The court ruled that “Section 11B of the Act is clear and categorical. The Explanation thereto states, in unambiguous terms, that Section 11B would also apply to rebate claims. Necessarily, therefore, the rebate claim of the petitioner was required to be filed within one year of the export of the goods”. The Court relied on the decision on Bombay High Court in the case of In Everest Flavours Ltd. v. Union of India to substantiate this.
The Court further recorded disagreement with the views expressed by the High Court of Gujarat in Cosmonaut Chemicals and the High Court of Rajasthan in Gravita India Ltd in so far as the delay in obtaining the EP copy of the Shipping Bill should be reckoned from the date when the EP copy of the Shipping Bill became available.
The Court further pointed out that ARE-1 stands for Application for Removal of Excisable Goods and, is an application which accompanies the removal of the excisable goods, and its submission is necessarily anterior, in point of time, to the export of the goods. The Court clarified that “the submission of the ARE-1 is anterior to the filing of the rebate claim and the date of submission of the said application cannot, therefore, be treated as the date of filing of the rebate claim”.
Advocates Shiva Laxmi, Amit Kr. Dogra, Amit Bansal, Aman Rewaria and Vipasha Mishra appeared for the Department.To Read the full text of the Judgment CLICK HERE