1. The question for decision in this appeal, originally filed as revision application Government of India against No. S/49-640/79 Air dt. 27-11-1979, passed by the Collector of Customs (Appeals), Bombay is whether Rolled Steel Rings weighing 2.360 metric tonne imported by the appellants should be classified under heading 84.62 (1) as Ball Bearings as claimed by the appellants or under heading 73.33/40 as done by the lower authorities.
2. A consignment of Rolled Steel Rings weighing 2.360 m. t. was imported by the Appellants by Bill of Entry No. Cash-801 dated 14-6-78.
The Customs authorities assessed the goods under heading 73.33/40 and realised the appropriate duty. The appellants applied for refund claiming re-assessment under heading 84.62 (1) as Ball bearings in terms of Rule-2A of Rule of Interpretation of Customs Tariff Act, 1975.
The Assistant Collector of Customs by his order dated 24-3-79 held that the goods are steel casting in form of rough finished rings without any taper surface or groove and not identifiable part of specific machine or instruments. Accordingly, he rejected the claim. The order was upheld in appeal by the Collector of Customs (Appeal), Bombay by order dated 27-11-1979. Hence the present appeal.
3. In the ground of appeal, the appellants have urged that the goods are rolled steel rings imported for the manufacture of ball bearing races having its internal diameter of 711 mm. They challenge the Appellate Collector's findings that goods are made of steel castings.
It is urged that rings are for thrust ball bearing, which do not require any tapering or inner grooving. The rings have been imported to the nearest size required for the manufacture of bearing races of ball bearing leaving limited margin for machining to be done locally. They have also relied on Rule-2A of the Interpretation Rules and submitted that the goods incomplete or unfinished, which have acquired the essential character of finished product, should be classified as such.
On these grounds, they claimed assessment under heading 84.62 (1) of Customs Tariff Act, 1975 at 40%+5%.
4. At the heading none represented the appellants. A communication was received from the appellants that they regret their inability to appear for personal hearing and submit that their written explanation be considered in lieu of non-attendance for the personal hearing.
5. On behalf of the Department, Sh. K.V. Kuhnikrishnan, D.R. strongly defended the orders passed by the lower authorities. He submitted that the rings had not acquired the essential character of bearing races and therefore, they could not be treated as un-finished or incomplete races. Rule-2A of the Interpretation Rules was therefore, not applicable in the case.
6. We have carefully considered the material on record and arguments advanced by Sh. Kunhikrishnan, learned Departmental representative.
Even the appellants admit, that goods were imported for manufacture of ball bearings. This would mean that they are not ball bearings. The lower authorities, after examining the goods came to the conclusion that goods are steel castings in the form of rough finished rings without any taper surface or groove and are not identifiable part of specific machine or instrument. Thus according to the lower authorities, the imported goods did not have the essential character of bearing. These are primarily questions of fact and in the absence of a very strong material or cogent reasons, we would be slow to interfere with concurrent findings of fact recorded by two lower authorities.
Besides, the appellants have not placed any material before us to displace these findings.
7. In the circumstances, we do not think that any interference in the orders passed by the lower authorities is called for or that the appellants have been able to substantiate their claim for classification of the goods under heading 84.62 (1), we would, therefore, dismiss the appeal.
8. The Revision Application dated 9-5-80 against order No.S/49-640/79AIR dated 27-11-79 passed by the Appellate Collector of Customs, Bombay has been transferred by the Government of India to the Tribunal for disposal in terms of Section 131B (2) of the Customs Act, 1962.
9. A consignment of rolled steel rings weighing 2.360 MTs was imported and assessed to duty under heading 73.33/40 vide Bill of Entry 801 dated 14th June, 1978. A claim for refund on account of re-assessment under heading 84.62(1) as ball bearings n.e.s. in terms of interpretative rule 2(a) of the Customs Tariff Act, having the essential characteristics of a finished product, was rejected by the Assistant Collector, Air Cargo Complex, Bombay. He stated that on scrutiny it is seen that the goods are steel castings in the form of rough finished rings without any taper surface or groove, not identifiable as part of any specific machine or instrument and were correctly assessed. Repeating this finding, the Appellate Collector rejected the appeal.
10. In the present application it is contended that the goods are rolled steel rings imported for the manufacture of ball bearings having an internal dia. of 711 mm and they are not steel casting as held by the lower authority. These rings are for thrust ball bearings which do not require any tapering or inner groving. They are imported to the nearest size required for the manufacture of bearing races of ball bearing leaving limited margin for machining to be done locally.
Castings normally break and cannot be used for making bearings. Rolling is the only process for the manufacture of bearing races and that brings the semi-finished article nearest to the finished product. The claim has been lodged under Rule 2(a) which provides for assessment at the rate applicable to the finished product when goods in unfinished condition have acquired the characteristics of that product. The rings have definitely acquired characteristics of the finished ball bearing races having bore dia. of over 6 mm and assessment under CTA Heading 84.62 has been claimed. Copies of the Customs attested Invoice and Drawings of the rings and of the complete bearing have also been furnished.
11. The appeal was posted for hearing on 6-7-83 but the appellants sent a letter requesting for a hearing at Bombay. Though the departmental representative was present, it was decided to fix another date in case the appellants would like to be heard. The case came up on 2-9-83 but the appellants regretted their inability to be present and sent a written explanation instead. They have merely repeated what has been stated earlier. We heard Shri Kunikrishnan who raised a preliminary objection that the appeal has been filed by the clearing agent who has no locus-stqndi. Since this objection was not taken. at the earlier hearing it was over-ruled and he was asked to argue the case on merits.
He contended that these rings are not finished parts bearings. Section note 2(b) to Chapter 16 would exclude classification under heading 84.62(1). Interpretative rule 2(a) refers to an incomplete or unfinished article which has the essential character of the complete or finished article. Since the goods are not a finished component of a ball bearing classifiable under heading 84.62 and there is no reference to part of ball bearings, the order of the Appellate Collector should be upheld.12. I have carefully considered this matter and am unable to agree with my learned Brothers. 1 have before me an order-in-appeal No. S/49-1439 & 1440/79R dated 23-10-79 passed by the late Shri M.S. Vaidya, Collector (Appeals) dealing with a similar case. I agree with the reasoning in that case and hold that "rings" are to be accepted as "parts of ball bearings" in view of notes on page 1380/81 of the Explanatory Notes to the CCN and that the subject goods are identifiable as "parts of bearings classifiable under Heading 84.62(1), rather than as "other articles of iron or steel" falling within heading 73.40. I would also refer to my earlier dissenting order No. 571/82 dated 30-9-83 in the case of Collector, Central Excise, Bombay v.Antifriction Bearing Co. Ltd. and would agree with the appellant and set aside the order of the Appellate Collector.