UNION OF INDIA & ANR. Vs. M/S MEGHMANI ORGANICS LTD. & ORS.
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Union of India and Anr.
M/S Meghmani Organics Ltd. And Ors.
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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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