Decided on March 22,1977

Prema Metal Works Appellant
The Government Of India, Ministry Of Finance (Department Of Revenue And Insurance) And Anr. Respondents


A.D. Koshal, J. - (1.) M /s. Prema Metal Works, a firm carrying on business in Madras and hereinafter referred to as the firm, imported from Japan cold -rolled pieces of stainless steel having a thickness of 5 mm. and a width of more than 600 mm. each, which were supplied to it in coil form or in straight length as per an invoice, dated the 30th of April, 1969. The Customs authorities levied import duty on the goods under item 63 (20 -A) appearing in the First Schedule to the Indian Tariff Act (hereinafter referred to as the Schedule) and the same was paid by the firm on the 10th of June, 1969.
(2.) ON the 5th of July, 1972 the firm claimed a refund of 90% of the duty paid by it on the ground that the goods, imported by it had been exempted from import duty to that extent by notification No. 118, Customs, dated the 20th of August, 1965 issued by the Government of India and amended later from time to time (hereinafter referred to as the notification). The Assistant Collector of Customs rejected the claim for refunds on the ground that the application made by the firm was time -barred. The firms went up in appeal to the Collector of Customs, who held that the claim for refund had been rightly rejected as time -barred. The firm then filed a revision petition with the Government of India who expressed the opinion that no exemption in relation to the goods imported by the firm had been declared by the notification. The firm, therefore, has invoked the writ jurisdiction of this Court with a prayer that the order of the Government of India (which is dated the 12th of October, 1973) be quashed by a writ of certiorari. Item 63 (20 -A) above mentioned declared that "stainless steel plates and sheets" shall be liable to Customs duty at the rate of 100% ad valorem if imported from any country other than Burma. Item 63 (14) appearing in the schedule, on the other hand, states that the Customs duty leviable on "iron or steel hoops and strips, not otherwise specified" shall be liable to Customs duty at the rate of 40% ad valorem only. By the notification the rate of duty payable under item 63 (14) of the schedule in the case of "cold -rolled hoops and strips of stainless steel of 250 mm., width or more was reduced to 10% ad valorem.
(3.) ACCORDING to the firm, the goods imported by it were cold -rolled strips of stainless steel having a width of more than 600 mm that they were liable to customs duty at the rate of 10% ad valorem only under the notification and that the firm was entitled to the refund of the excess duty charged by the Customs authorities.;

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