Decided on May 03,1991



T.P.Nambiar, - (1.) THIS is an appeal filed by the appellants being aggrieved by the orders passed by the learned Collector of Customs (Appeals), Calcutta in Order No. Cal.-Cus-2020/88 dated 24-11-1988. In terms of that order the learned Collector (Appeals) confirmed the orders passed by the Assistant Collector in rejecting the Petition made by the appellants for their refund claim. The brief facts of the case are that the appellants sent the petition for refund claim by registered post under letter No. Import/OGL/18/86 dated 12-2-1986 for refund of certain duty in connection with the import of Propylene Glycol USP. The relevant facts found for decision in this case may be stated briefly as follows :-
(2.) The appellants paid the duty with respect to the above imported goods on 14-8-1985. But in fact, the vessel carrying the goods reached the port only on 21-11-1985. Thereafter, the appellants made an application for survey of the goods in question on 2-1-1986. The survey accordingly was held on 3-1-1986. After survey a shortage of 510 Kgs. of goods was detected. After detection of this shortage the appellants claimed refund for the above shortage by virtue of an application dated 12-2-1986. Further, the result of the survey was also recorded on the reverse of the Bill of Entry by the concerned appraisers of the Customs Department. The application for refund which was made by the appellants dated 12-2-1986 according to the Department was received by them on 7-3-1986. The above claim of the appellants was rejected by the learned Assistant Collector on the ground that the same was presented beyond the period of six months from the date of payment of duty as prescribed under Section 27(1) of the Customs Act, 1962. Being aggrieved by the same the appellants approached the Collector (Appeals) who confirmed the above-said decision. The learned Consultant, Shri P.R. Biswas made four submissions in this regard. Shri Biswas contended that the date of payment of duty should be taken as 21-11-1985 on the facts and circumstances of this case. In order to justify his arguments he relied on Section 15 of the Customs Act, 1962. Shri Biswas pointed out that the proviso to Section 15 clearly lays down that if a bill of entry has been presented on the date of entry inwards of the vessel by which the goods are imported, the bill of entry shall be deemed to have been presented on the date of such entry inwards. It was, therefore, contended that the goods which were imported by the appellants were of such nature that they should be cleared within 24 hours. Therefore, as an abundant caution the appellants had filed the bill of entry at a very early date. But in fact, the vessel arrived on 21-11-1985 and in view of the proviso to Section 15 of the Customs Act, 1962 the bill of entry shall be deemed to have been presented on the date of such entry inwards and therefore, it was his contention that the time-limit will run from 21-11-1985.
(3.) THE second limb of argument of Shri Biswas is to the effect that the wording of Section 27(1) is very important in this case. Shri Biswas pointed out that under Section 27(1) it is clearly stated that any person claiming refund of any duty paid by him in pursuance of an order of assessment may make an application for refund of such duty to the Assistant Collector of Customs. Shri Biswas emphasised the words - "may make an application" and contended before me that what has been expected to do was to make an application and they could make an application on 12-2-1986. Shri Biswas further contended that in view of the clear wordings of Section 27(1) what the applicant is supposed to do is to make an application and it is not necessary that the application should reach the concerned authorities also on the same day. THE period of limitation, therefore, according to him, will run from 12-2-1986 which was the date on which the appellants made such an application.;

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