1. The issue arising for decision in the captioned 5 appeals being the same, the appeals are disposed of by this common order. These appeals were initially filed as a Revision Application to the Central Government and have now come to this Tribunal as transferred proceedings under Section 131-B of the Customs Act, 1962 for disposal as if it were an appeal before it.
2. The issue involved in these appeals is whether the PVC/PU leather cloth imported by the appellants was entitled to the benefit of Customs Notification No. 29/79. The appellants' claim was that the goods were imported as embellishment for footwear. The lower authorities did not accept this contention and hence these appeals.
3. The appeals were heard on 1-9-1983. Shri Balani, Counsel for the appellants, drew our attention to the Tribunal's order in Appeal No.221/81-D in the case of Allibhey Mohamed, Bombay, wherein it was held that stamping coils in running length were eligible for the concession contained in the aforesaid Notification. He also drew our attention to the Tribunal's decision in Appeal No. 350/82-C wherein PVC leather cloth was held to be covered by the Notification and to the decision in Appeal No. 86/83-D reported in 1983 ECR 89 3 (CEGAT) wherein PU leather cloth was held to be covered by the Notification.
4. Appearing on behalf of the Respondent Shri A.S. Sundar Rajan, JDR, vehemently stressed that the appeals should not be allowed because the Asstt. Collector had rejected the claim on the footing that the appellants had not stated the precise grounds for claiming the refund.
The onus was on the appellants to make and establish their claim.
Further, Shri Sundar Raj an submitted that it was necessary to examine the status of the goods vis-a-vis the Import Trade Control Licence produced to the Customs authorities for their clearance because there appears to. be some indication that the licence was not accepted by the Customs authorities.
5. We have considered the submissions of both sides. In our considered view, the objections taken by the learned Departmental Representative are devoid of substance. Even if it is accepted that the appellants had not stated the precise grounds for claiming relief, the Appellate Collector had not turned down the appeal on this ground, but had proceeded to consider the appeal on merits and it is this order that is under challenge before us. Also, the status of the goods with reference to the-Import Trade Control Licence produced by the appellants for Clearance of the goods has, in our opinion, no relevance to the issue before us which is simply whether the goods conform to the requirements of Customs Notification No. 29/79. This issue already stands resolved in the Tribunal's orders cited by the Counsel for the appellants and we do not see any reason to differ from them. Accepting those decisions as the basis, we allow these appeals and direct that the concerned Customs authorities shall grant consequential relief to the appellants within three months from the date of communication of this order.
7. It is extremely difficult to conceive of PVC/PU leather cloth as an embellishment in a footwear. At the hearing the appellant said that the PVC/PU leather cloth could be used for shoe uppers. From its nature and its strength a PVC/PU leather cloth can have much more substantial uses in a footwear than as mere embellishment because in some ways it is as strong as leather itself, and stronger than moulded PVC shoes, because of the cotton fabric in its place. This is not to say that PVC/PU leather cannot be used as an embellishment; it can be so used and, perhaps, is used in that manner; but it cannot be claimed that PVC/PU leather cloth has its main use as an embellishment in footwear. I think it would not be correct to give PVC/PU leather cloth the concession of an embellishment for shoes as claimed by the appellant, as might be given to, say, stamping foil, an article that because of its fragility cannot withstand stress and can at best be used only in the decoration of a shoe to add to its beauty but not to its utility and strength.
From the nature of its employment, stamping foil cannot add to the essentials of a shoe but only to its eye appeal. In view of this I am afraid that I have to differ from the other honourable Members and to say that these appeals have to be rejected.