Deputy Commissioner Not Empowered To Reassess After The Goods Were Cleared For Home Consumption: CESTAT
The Delhi Bench of the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) has held that the Deputy Commissioner had the power to reassess the goods under Section 17(5) of the Customs Act, 1962, after the goods had been cleared for home consumption.
The two-member bench of Binu Tamta (Judicial Member) and P.V. Subba Rao (Technical Member) has observed that the customs EDI system does not permit re-assessment of the bills of entry once an order permitting clearance of goods for home consumption is given for the bill of entry.
The appellant/assessee imported canned pineapple slices and filed a Bill of Entry classifying them under Customs Tariff Heading 20082000. The Customs Electronic Data Interchange System facilitated the Bill of Entry, i.e., cleared the Bill of Entry without reassessment by the officer or examination.
As per its self-assessment, the appellant paid duties, and an order permitting clearance of goods for home consumption under Section 47 of the Customs Act, 1962, was given on the same date.
The appellant submitted a letter to the Deputy Commissioner requesting him to re-assess the bill of entry under CTH 08119010. The Deputy Commissioner passed an assessment order more than 8 months after the goods were cleared for home consumption under Section 17(5), rejecting the self-assessment by the importer of the imported goods.
The assessment order was reviewed by the Principal Commissioner of Customs, and the department filed an appeal, which was allowed by the order, and the assessment order was set aside. The Commissioner (Appeals) held in the order that the assessment order was not legal in terms of Section 17(5) because the goods had already been given out of charge by the officer. Therefore, a re-assessment order by the Deputy Commissioner under Section 17(5) could not have been issued after the goods had already been cleared for home consumption.
The issue raised was whether the Deputy Commissioner had the power to re-assess the goods under Section 17(5) after the goods had been cleared for home consumption.
The tribunal held that the Deputy Commissioner clearly erred in issuing an assessment order under Section 17(5) after the goods were already cleared for home consumption. He had no authority to issue such an order because he could assess a bill of entry only if the goods were still imported and dutiable. Once an order permitting clearance of goods for home consumption is given, they cease to be imported goods under Section 2(25) and cease to be dutiable goods under Section 2(14). If an error is noticed in the assessment, including the self-assessment, the option available to the importer is to file an appeal before the Commissioner (Appeals). The Deputy Commissioner has clearly issued the assessment order without any authority, and, therefore, the Commissioner (Appeals) was correct in setting aside the assessment order.
Case Title: M/s Holy Land Marketing Private Limited Versus Commissioner of Customs
Citation: Customs Appeal No. 51055 of 2020
Counsel For Appellant: Advocates Rupender Sinhmar, Rhea Chawla
Counsel For Respondent: Authorized Representative Rakesh Kumar