O N G C LTD Vs. COMMNR OF CUSTOMS
LAWS(SC)-2006-8-101
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on August 24,2006

O.N.G.C. LTD. Appellant
VERSUS
COMMR. OF CUSTOMS, MUMBAI Respondents





Cited Judgements :-

GOKALDAS IMAGES PVT. LTD. VS. COMMISSIONER OF SERVICE TAX [LAWS(CE)-2012-10-37] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

S.B. Sinha, J. - (1.)The Appellant before us is an undertaking wholly owned and controlled by the Central Government. It obtained the services of M/s. SEDCO Forex Int. Drilling Inc. for exploitation of oil and gas on shore and off shore. A contract was awarded by it to a company known as M/s. SEDCO Forex Int. Drilling Inc specializing in finding out the possibility of oil or gas by carrying out seismic surveys. The information gathered by reason of such survey was recorded in 3-D Seismic Tapes.
(2.)A question arose as to whether the same would attract the exemptions from payment of custom duty in terms of the entries contained in Sl. Nos. 182, 184 and 231 of the notification dated 28.2.1999.
For the aforementioned purpose, indisputably, an essentiality certificate was required to be issued by the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons. Pre-requisites for grant of such certificate also was a valid Petroleum Exploration licence.

(3.)The licence granted by the Central Government in favour of the Appellant in that behalf was initially valid upto 14.11.1997. The Appellant applied for renewal thereof on 7.10.1997. An application for grant of Essentiality Certificate was filed on 5.4.1999. The same was returned to the Appellant on 12.04.1999. By an order dated 18.08.2000, the said licence was renewed with retrospective effect from 14.11.1997 by the Central Government. Immediately, thereafter i.e. on 20th August, 2000, the Appellant filed an application for grant of essentiality certificate in continuation of its earlier application dated 5.04.1999. It also sent reminders therefore on 26.03.2001, 13.04.2001, 27.12.2001 and 8.07.2003. The Appellant was asked to resubmit the application in a new format which requirement was also complied with by it on 25.03.2004. In the said application also, the Appellant categorically stated that the same was in continuation of its earlier application dated 5.04.1999 whereafter the essentiality certificate was granted on 26.03.2004. Admittedly, the said 3-D Seismic Tapes were treated to be the goods within the meaning of the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962. The said goods were cleared provisionally but in view the fact that the Appellant had failed to produce the essentiality certificate, a notice to show cause was issued as to why the said data tapes should not be classified under CTH8524.99 and charged to duty on the basis of the amount paid by the Appellant to the said SEDCO.


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