UNION OF INDIA & ANR. Vs. M/S MEGHMANI ORGANICS LTD. & ORS.
LAWS(SC)-2016-10-15
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on October 07,2016

Union of India and Anr. Appellant
VERSUS
M/S Meghmani Organics Ltd. And Ors. Respondents

JUDGEMENT

SHIVA KIRTI SINGH,J. - (1.) While hearing special leave petition against a judgment of the Delhi High Court, the Division Bench on January 27, 2009 in the case of Designated Authority, Ministry of Commerce and Industry & Anr. v. Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys Limited (2009) 2 SCC 510 noticed that in the context of interpretation of anti-dumping provisions of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975 (in short "the Act") and the Customs Tariff (Identification, Assessment and Collection of Anti-Dumping Duty on Dumped Articles and for Determination of Injury) Rules, 1995 (for brevity "the Rules"), the Delhi High Court had allowed the writ petition mainly by following the judgment of this Court in the case of Reliance Industries Ltd. v. Designated Authority & Others (2006) 10 SCC 368 and also by following interpretation of Section 9-A(5) given in Rishiroop Polymers (P) Ltd. v. Designated Authority & Additional Secretary.(2006) 4 SCC 303 At the instance of counsel for the petitioners in that case, in paragraph 5 of that judgment, the Division Bench recorded its views that Reliance Industries case needed a fresh look and two questions needed to be dealt with by a larger Bench. Since the first question, as per submissions of all the parties is no longer relevant on account of subsequent amendment of the Act, we take note of only the other relevant question requiring answer by this Bench. The question reads thus: "Whether the interpretation placed upon Rule 7 of the Rules is correct insofar as it diminishes the rule of confidentiality statutorily provided for under Rule 7."
(2.) Learned counsels for the rival parties have advanced submissions only in relation to the aforesaid question of law and not on the merits of the matters on an understanding that the matters shall be disposed of by competent Benches in the light of our answer to the aforesaid question/issue of law.
(3.) At the outset we record that it is the Union of India and the Designated Authority who have sought for a relook in respect of interpretation of Rule 7 of the Rules as flowing from the case of Reliance Industries Ltd. (supra). Mr. Yashank Adhyaru, learned senior advocate appearing for the appellants in Civil Appeal No. 1679 of 2010 has argued that appeal as the lead matter. According to him the view taken in the Reliance Industries case whittles down the effect of Rule 7 and unless we re-state the law differently, the Designated Authority (hereinafter referred to as "the DA") will be forced to disclose materials which are otherwise protected by the confidentiality provisions in Rule 7. According to learned senior counsel, the Division Bench in Reliance Industries case noticed and extracted a passage from the earlier judgment of a co-ordinate Bench in the case of Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd. v. Designated Authority, M/o Commerce & Others(2006) 10 SCC 386 decided on November 25, 2003 but erred in taking a somewhat different view by a misplaced reliance upon the view taken by the Constitution Bench in S.N. Mukherjee v. Union of India.(1990) 4 SCC 594;


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