UNION OF INDIA Vs. ASSOCIATED CONTAINER TERMINAL LTD.
LAWS(SC)-2020-2-51
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on February 14,2020

UNION OF INDIA Appellant
VERSUS
Associated Container Terminal Ltd. Respondents




JUDGEMENT

HEMANT GUPTA,J. - (1.)The order dated 28th November, 2007 passed by the High Court of Delhi is the subject matter of challenge in the present appeal. Vide the aforesaid order, the writ petition filed by the respondent was allowed and the demand raised by the appellants vide letters dated 17th February, 2005 and 19th April, 2005 were found to be without authority of law and, thus, the appellant was directed to refund a sum of Rs.27,47,146/- together with interest @12% per annum.
(2.)One M/s. Kushang Apparel Ltd. had imported CTV kits and filed six Bills of Entries, all dated 9th February, 2001. Such goods were permitted by the Custom Department to be kept in warehouse for one year in terms of Section 59 of the Customs Act, 1962, for short, 'Act' at ICD, Faridabad. The Bond period expired on 28 th February, 2002 but the importer did not clear the imported goods and also did not pay the rent for the warehouse. The warehouse issued notices for the recovery of its dues failing which it will be constrained to sell the imported goods by public auction/tender sale. With the approval of custom authorities, the imported goods were put for sale through auction under Section 63(2) of the Act with a valuation of imported goods at Rs.1,52,04,176/-. However, the goods could not be successfully sold. The valuation was reduced for the second auction held on 4th September, 2002 to Rs.1,36,83,759/- and further reduced in the third auction held on 7th May, 2003 to Rs.54,44,650/-. The highest bid of Rs.35 lakhs alone was received. The auction was not confirmed.
(3.)Thereafter, tender sale was resorted to dispose of the goods in the warehouse. The valuation of the imported goods in the warehouse was fixed at Rs.33 lakhs for which tenders were invited upto 3 rd December, 2003. Later, the valuation was reduced to Rs.30 lakhs in the second tender sale up to 31 st August, 2004. In this sale process, the highest bid received was of Rs.41,44,555/-. The Assistant Commissioner passed an order on 12 th October, 2004 that the goods will not be cleared on ex-bond Bill of Entry as it is not a case of clearance under Section 68 of the Act but on realization of charges under Section 72 of the Act in terms of the judgment of this Court in Kesoram Rayon v. Collector of Customs, Calcutta, (1996) 5 SCC 576. The sale proceeds will be appropriated as per Section 105 of the Act.
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