1. The facts of this case, in brief, are that the appellants imported certain spare parts. One of the items imported, called Roll Neck for Blanket Cylinder was, on landing, found damaged by rust. The appellants made a note of the damage in the Bill of Entry and requested the Customs authorities to endorse the same in their examination report.
They' claimed that an endorsement as to the damage had been made by the Customs officer but the duty had still been collected from them on the full value of the spare parts. They applied for abatement of duty under Section 22 of the Customs Act, 1962. Their claim was rejected by the Assistant Collector on the ground that the examination report was not clear on the point and that no survey had been conducted. The Appellate Collector rejected the claim on the ground that the appellants had failed to follow the procedure laid down under Section 22. The appellants, thereupon, filed a revision application before the Central Government which, on transfer to this Tribunal, has been taken up as the present appeal.
2. We have heard both sides and considered the matter carefully. We observe that all that Section 22 of the Customs Act requires an importer to do is to show to the satisfaction of the Assistant Collector that the goods had been damaged. There is no other procedure laid down in the Section which is required to be followed by the importer. We asked the learned representative of the Department to show us whether any procedure had been prescribed by way of statutory regulations under the Section. His reply was in the negative. In the circumstances, we have not been made aware as to what procedure the Appellate Collector had in view which, according to him, the present appellants failed to follow. The learned Department's representative stated that the appellants had not specifically asked for abatement of value under Section 22. Again, we notice from the Section that there is no such requirement laid down therein that the importer must specifically ask for abatement in value. When an importer makes a report of damage to his goods to the Customs, the obvious purpose of such a note is to claim duty assessment on the reduced value of the damaged goods. Once an importer makes such a report, which the appellants in this case had done, Sub-section (1) of Section 22 requires that the damaged goods "shall" be chargeable to duty in accordance with the provisions of Sub-section (2). The Section leaves no option to the Customs except to assess the damaged goods on the basis of the reduced value arrived at according to Sub-sections (2) and (3). We hold that once the appellants had informed the Customs that their goods had suffered damage, it was incumbent on the Department to assess the value as per the provisions of Sub-section (3) of Section 22 and charge duty on such assessed value. If the procedure devised by the Department in this behalf required any survey to be conducted or the examination report to be recorded in some detail, it was the duty of the Department to have these things done. The appellants cannot be blamed for inaction on the part of the Department.
3. In the light of our above discussion, we set aside the impugned order and allow this appeal with consequential relief to the appellants.