CESTAT to decide merits of DRI’s ‘notice issuing’ powers, uninfluenced by SC proceedings

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HC sets aside CESTAT order which had quashed proceedings pursuant to show cause notice issued by Addl. Director General, DRI u/s 28 of Customs Act, without considering the matter on merits in view of SC’s awaited judgment in case of Mangali Impex Ltd.

HC Noted that CBEC had issued Notification No. 44/2011-Cus (NT) dated July 6, 2011 assigning functions to various officers including Addl. Director General, DRI for purposes of Section 28, and thereafter, Section 28(11) had been inserted w.e.f. September 16, 2011 assigning function of proper officers to various DRI officers with retrospective effect.

However, Division Bench in case of Mangali Impex Ltd. had held that such new provision would not empower officers of DRI / DGCEI to issue notice for the period prior to April 8, 2011 i.e. prior to date on which Finance Act 2011 received Presidential assent.

It further Observed that Bombay HC and Telangana & AP HC had taken contrary views in Sunil Gupta and Vuppalamritha Magnetic Components Ltd. respectively, HC opines that CESTAT was not justified in setting aside adjudication order and would have to decide the issue on merits including question of DRI’s jurisdiction without being influenced by HC decision or awaiting SC judgment thereof.

It Remarked, “Once an order-in-original is set aside, it would mean that the entire adjudication proceedings may have to be undergone again…This we think would cause harassment to the assessee as well as inconvenience to the department”

Citation: [TS-212-HC-2018(DEL)-CUST]