Interim Relief to Vivo Mobile: CESTAT directs Customs Dept to consider Refund Claim filed in 2015 [Read Order]

Vivo Mobile - CESTAT - Customs Department - Refund Claim - Taxscan

The Customs, Excise, and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT), Delhi bench has directed the customs department to consider the refund claims filed in the year 2015.

The Company, Vivo Mobile is engaged in the import and distribution of mobile phones and its accessories in India. It paid the Additional Duty of Customs at the rate of 6% up to February 2015 and thereafter, at the rate of 12.5% under section 3(1) of the Customs Tariff Act 19756 on the 12 bills of entry. In the meantime, the Supreme Court delivered a ruling in favour of SRF Ltdwherein it was held that refund shall be allowed to them since for the purpose of attracting Additional Duty under section 3 of the Customs Tariff Act on the import of a manufactured or produced article, the actual manufacture or production of a like article in India was not necessary and that for quantification of Additional Duty in such a case, it has to be imagined that the article imported was manufactured or produced in India and then to see what amount of excise duty was leviable thereon. Based on the above ruling, the Company requested for refund of duty paid. However, the same was rejected by the authorities.

The Tribunal bench comprising President Justice Dilip Gupta and Technical Member C J Mathew observed that the Telangana High Court in Sony India also examined almost a similar controversy as has been raised in these two appeals.

“The appellant therein had imported mobile phones in India for trading purposes during the period 04.08.2014 to 29.01.2015. At the time of import of the mobile phones, the petitioner had not claimed any exemption under serial no. 263A (ii) of the Exemption Notification which allowed payment of Additional Duty at the rate of 1% only in the Bills of Entry in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in SRF Limited. The petitioner, in view of the decision in the Supreme Court in ITC, made an application for amendment of the Bills of Entries under section 149 of the Customs Act so that after that the duty could be refunded. The application filed by the petitioner was, however, rejected,” the Tribunal said.

The Tribunal, while concluding, held that “it is expected that if such applications are now filed by Vivo Mobile, the same would be adjudicated expeditiously as the refund applications were filed in 2015. It is, therefore, ordered that in the event applications are now filed by Vivo Mobile, they shall be decided expeditiously and preferably within a period of three months from the date of filing of the applications. The refund applications, if any filed after the decision is taken on such applications, shall also be decided expeditiously.”

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