(1) This judgment will dispose of civil writ petitions Nos. 95-D of 1963, 143-D of 1963, 179-D of 1963, 560-D of 196, 561-D of 1963, 85-D of 1964 and 693-D of 1964. I am reciting the facts of civil writ No. 95-D 1963 as it is the common case of the parties that the toher writ petitions must abide the result of judgment rendered in this case.
(2) The petitioner imported 'tinplate waste waste' under a license granted by the Iron and Steel Controller Government of India dated 23rd December, 1959. The description of the goods allowed to be imported under the said license was-
'Tinplate waste 107 lbs. base weight and lighter up to 58 lbs. 18 inches x 24 inches and larger.
The Custom authorities charged duty under item 63(10) of the Indian Customs and Central Excise Tariff after rejecting the claim of the petitioner that the goods in question fell under item 69(1) of the said Tariff. The above mentioned entries read as under:-
63(10) 'Steel tinplates and tinned sheets, including tin taggers, and cuttings of such plates, sheets and taggers-
(i) of British manufacture;
(ii) nto of British manufacture.
69(1) 'Tin scrap and tinplate scrap.'
There is no dispute between the parties that on arrival the goods were allowed to be cleared as covered by the said license. Item 69(1) was at the relevant time free from duty and so was item 63(20), the relevant part of which reads as under:-
'Iron or steel sheets toher than high-silicon electrical steel sheets and stainless steel sheets'
(3) The petitioner applied for the refund of the duty charged but the Assistant Collector of Customs by order dated 14th December, 1960 rejected the claim of the petitioner and held-
'Tinplates waste are essentially; tinplates. Though they are plates of inferior quality, they are nto scraps contended by the importers. The goods have been correctly assessed to duty under item 63(10) Ii I.C.T.
No refund is due and the claim is accordingly rejected'.
The petitioner appealed against the said order but the Additional Collector of Customs, Bombay, rejected the same on 27th September, 1961. The Additional Collector observed:
'Scrap means unserviceable material fit for smelting and remaking. The goods under appeal although slightly defective and imperfect tinplates are serviceable for many purposes toher than smelting and remaking. They have, thereforee, been correctly assessed under item 63(10) ICT. Besides the Iron and Steel Controller's Schedule is nto relevant for the purpose of assessment under item 69(1). Ict
At the time of personal hearing, the appellants requested for re-assessment under item 63(19) Ict if item 69(1) Ict was inadmissible and promised to submit evidence to the effect that the goods under reference are only to be melted and rerolled straightway which they have failed to do. Since tinplates all types-are covered specifically under item 63(10) Ict, they cannto be assessed under item 63(19) ICT. In order to qualify for the above assessment the plates should be thicker that 1/8 inch. As the goods imported are much thinner than this, the original assessment is in order'
The petitioner's revision petition before the Central Government was rejected by a summary order dated 3rd September, 1962.
(4) Mr. Yogeshwar Dayal, the learned counsel for the petitioner, states that 'tinplate waste waste' cannto fall under any item except 69(1) because such waste is 100 per cent scrap. In the alternative he claims that the goods should be held to fall under items 63(19) and 63(20) of the said Tariff. In support of his argument he also relied on Indian Customs Tariff Guide Tenth Edition page 40, which contains some instructions by the Central Board of Revenue with respect to the items covered by Section Xv of the said Tariff. The relevant part reads Section XV-For the purposes of assessment under this section, all pieces of iron or steel of uniform thickness and width will be classified according to the following tables:-
Thickness Width Description. 1. Less than 1/8 in Nto greater than 5 in Hoop or strip. 2. Do Greater than Sheet 5 in 3. * * * * * * 4. Nto less than 1/8 in but less Greater than 5 in. than 3/16 in. * * * * * * Flat pieces of iron or steel of uniform thickness but nto of uniform width and discs and circles will be assessed as 'Plates' if the thickness is 1/8 inch or more; and as 'sheets' if less than 1/8 inch thick.'
Mr. Yogeshwar Dayal has also relied on the definition of 'scrap' given in Iron and Steel (Control) Order, 1956 (as amended up to the 1st January, 1959), to show that material suitable for re-rolling or re-melting or for toher purposes may still fall under the definition of 'scrap'.
(5) So far as the arguments of Mr. Yogeshwar Dayal based on the Indian Customs Tariff Guide are concerned, there is no material before me on the basis of which I can pronounce on the precise nature of the goods imported. It is significant that the petitioner made that claim before the Additional Collector but failed to produce any evidence to justify his claim for assessment under item 63(19) of the Tariff. No doubt, the Additional Collector does say that the goods imported are much thinner than 1/8 inch but that does nto help the petitioner. Under the said Indian Customs Tariff Guide pieces of iron or steel of less than 1/8 inch's thickness are also classified, under item 2 qutoed above, as sheets and item 63(10) also covers 'tinned sheets'. Moreover, I am nto impressed with the argument of the learned counsel for the petitioner that in constructing particular entry in the Indian Customs and Central Excise Tariff aid should be sought from administrative instructions issued by the Central Board of Revenue.
The principal argument of Mr. Shankar is that it is for the Customs authorities to decide, having regard to the nature of goods and the toher material, as to which entry in the Customs Tariff covers the goods in question and this Court will nto re-assess the material in proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution. He also seeks to support the findings of the Customs authorities on merits and says that the goods were rightly treated as covered by item 63(10). This is nto a case where one can say that the goods imported fall under one entry of the Customs Tariff alone. No doubt, the goods were 'tinplates waste waste' but such tinplates may be treated as 'waste' because of certain minor defects but basically they may still remain tinplates. Mr. Shankar seeks to illustrate his argument by saying that a tinplate with 5 holes may be treated for the purpose of import as 'tinplate waste waste' and yet such goods would essentially fall under item 63(10). I also agree with Mr. Shankar that the definition of scrap in the Iron and Steel (Control) Order, 1956, which regulates the disposal or export of iron and steel, cannto be decisive of the question requiring determination in this case. Even if that definition is taken into consideration it cannto mean that 'tinplate waste waste' must always essentially fall in the category of 'scrap'
(6) Having regard to the facts and circumstances mentioned above, I am unable to say that the impugned orders suffer from any patent error calling for interference under Article 226 of the Constitution. In my opinion, the view taken by the authorities concerned is a possible one. These petitions, thereforee, fail and are dismissed with no order as to costs.