UNION OF INDIA Vs. ASSOCIATED CONTAINER TERMINAL LTD.
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
UNION OF INDIA
Associated Container Terminal Ltd.
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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
(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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