1. As common questions of fact and law are involved in Appeal Nos.
CD(SB) A. No. 379/84-A, 357/84-A, 2176/83-A & 52/84-A, they will be disposed of by this common order.
2. In each of the appeals, the appellants imported a car of the make and model Toyota Corona 1600 DLX Sedan and presented a manufacturer's invoice at the time of assessment. The manufacturer's invoice was accepted and valuation was done after adding the freight and insurance to the FOB value stated in the invoice. The appellants challenged the valuation and claimed that 15% discount on the manufacturer's invoice should have been allowed to them. This was rejected by the Assistant Collector.
3. They filed appeals before the Collector and argued that the Customs should either allow 15% discount on manufacturer's invoice or valuation should be done on the basis of price list after allowing 15% trade discount and not on the basis of invoice price plus freight etc. They also claimed that Section 14(1)(a) of the Customs Act, 1962 and Rule 3(d) of Valuation Rules under the Customs Act entitled the appellants to such an assessment.
4. The Collector (Appeals) rejected the appeals. He noted that the manufacturer's invoice indicated the amount at which the car had been sold to the appellants and that therefore, there could not be any justification for claiming that 15% discount be allowed from the invoice value. He also noted that none of the appellants claimed that they had paid less than the value shown in the manufacturer's invoice.
He held that in terms of Section 14(1)(a) the assessable value was correctly taken as per the manufacturer's invoice. He also dismissed the claim for relief under Valuation Rules holding that recourse to Valuation Rules under Section 14(1)(b) of the Customs Act, 1962 can be had only when value cannot be ascertained under Section 14(1)(a) of the Act. Since the price paid by the appellants was not in dispute there was no scope to rely on 3(d) of the Valuation Rules. He also held the addition of freight and insurance and landing charges to the FOB value as correct since Section 14(1)(a) of the Customs Act defined value to be the price at which imported goods are sold or offered for sale for delivery at the time and place of importation. He further held that under Section 19(b) of the Customs Act, the assessment of car, air-conditioner and car radio on merits was correct.
5. In the memorandum of appeal and before us it was argued on behalf of each of the appellants that the valuation of the cars should be done at the list price published in the World Car Price Book less trade discount of 15% under Section 14(1)(a) of the Customs Act read with Section 14(1)(b) thereof and Sections 2(30) and 2(22) of the Customs Act and rules framed thereunder. They also requested that air-conditioner and radio-stereo built in the car as a single unit should be deemed assessable at the same rate as the car and not on merits under other headings. Further, freight, insurance and landing charges should not be included in the value under Section 14(1)(a) and depreciation must be allowed from the date of shipping till the date of delivery.
6. During the course of arguments it was added that Section 4 of the Central Excises and Salt Act refers to price at place of removal as assessable value and that in this case the car having been removed in Tokyo Japan, the insurance, freight and landing charges could not be added to it.
7. The learned SDR opposed the arguments submitting that when manufacturer's invoice price is available there is no question of adopting any other value. He referred to the Collector's orders and submitted that this order has correctly explained the scope of Section 14 and the valuation done on the basis of the manufacturer's invoice was correct. As this invoice did not indicate the grant of any trade discount, there should be no question of allowing such a discount. He opposed the reference to Central Excises and Salt Act.
8. We have considered the arguments of both sides. We would like to dispose the argument that Section 4 of the Central Excises and Salt Act should be applied to the valuation of the imported goods. The invalidity of such an argument is very clear and we need not expand on it. Imported goods are valued under Customs Act. Section 14 of the Customs and the Valuation Rules, 1963 govern valuation. Therefore a reference to the provisions of Section 4 of the Central Excises and Salt Act is totally irrelevant.
9. We cannot accept the argument that inasmuch as the sale took place in Tokyo and the freight was pre-paid there, such freight together with insurance and landing charges should not be added. Section 14 of the Customs Act refers to value as the price at which imported goods are sold or offered for sale for delivery at the time and place of importation. [Emphasis supplied]. Therefore, it is the price at which the goods were delivered at the point of landing in India that is relevant and not the price at which the transaction took place in Tokyo.
Adding the freight, insurance and landing charges was, therefore, correctly done.
10. The next question to be decided is whether the claimed discount of 15% has been correctly rejected by the authorities below. The assessment has been done on the basis of manufacturer's invoice. This invoice does not indicate the grant of any discount. It is from the manufacturer and there is a certificate incorporating therein that "the value of merchandise declared in the invoice is true and correct." It is produced by the appellant himself. Therefore, reliance has to be placed on this document for purposes of valuation as has been correctly done by the authorities below. When an unimpeachable document like the invoice issued by the manufacturer himself is available there cannot arise the question of any other documents on the basis of which assessable value has to be computed in respect of imported goods. There is no need to go to the catalogue price or any other price or imported car price book to ascertain the value when a document produced by the importer himself is available and this document represents the true amount paid by him. We therefore reject the pleas for revising the value of the car.
11. We have also considered the request for assessment of air-conditioner and radio stereo along with the car and not on merits under separate headings of the Customs Tariff. The Collector declined to allow the request as under Section 19(b) of the Customs Act read with proviso (b) of the same Section wherever goods consist of a set of articles and separate values are available, the articles shall be charged to different rates of duty. This is applicable in this case.
The invoice dated 1-9-1962 gives values of the various items separately. Therefore, the assessment of these items on merits was correct.
12. The appellants have also raised the question of depreciation which they claimed from 2-9-1982 to 10-12-1982. The argument is that each three months of the year beginning from January should be taken as one quarter and as the period under reference covers two quarters the appellants should be given depreciation as if the car has been used for two quarters of a year, that is to say, six months. No law or any rule under which the appellants are entitled to such depreciation has been cited before us. Also, we are of the opinion that the period during which the car was in transit on a ship cannot be taken as the period during which the car was in use. In the absence of any proof of entitlement to such reduction in value on account of depreciation, we reject this ground also.
13. In the result all the four appeals fail and are accordingly dismissed.