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Birla Jute Manufacturing Co. Ltd. Vs. Joint Secretary, Government of India and Others - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCustoms
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Petition No. 140 of 1980
Judge
Reported in1981(8)ELT559(Del)
Acts Customs Act, 1962 - Sections 27; Customs Tariff Act, 1975 - Sections XVI
AppellantBirla Jute Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
RespondentJoint Secretary, Government of India and Others
Excerpt:
the case discussed the view taken by the central government to levy duty on the reduction gears - it was held that all the type of gears are covered by heading 84.63 of the customs tariff act, 1975 - thus the view of the government was acceptable and the levy of duty on the reduction gears was affirmed - - limited, madras, two well-known indian manufacturers of heavy machinery......mr. chandrasekharan urges that the specific heading under which the goods have been classified are gear and gear rings. this is permissible under sub-clause (a) of clause 2. what was imported were components of a gear. thereforee, sub-clause (b) clause 2 of section xvi would get attracted and the components would have to be classified under the heading of the main machine, namely, the gear. it may be possible to contend that when the gear is imported as part and parcel of the plant imported as such, duty would be chargeable on the plant at 40 per cent and thus duty on the gear or its components would also be 40 per cent ad valorem, but when component of gears are imported to correlate or connect them with the plant as a whole it would be rather far-fetched. in our view, this approach of.....
Judgment:

Prakash Narain, C.J.

1. The petitioner-company is inter-alia engaged in the manufacture of cement under a valid industrial license. It obtained 'actual users import license' for import of maintenance spare parts for its cement plant under the category of 'Cement Industry'. In 1959 it imported a complete cement manufacturing plant from Messrs Krupp of West Germany. One of the integral parts of the said plant is what is called 'Rotary Kiln'. For effectual operation of the said rotary kiln, there is a device known as reduction gear. Two of the components of the said device are described as (a) tyre part 33, and (b) wheel body part 34. In September 1976, the petitioner wanted to import these two components of the device, reduction gear, viz. (a) one tyre part 33, and (b) one wheel body part 34. The Directorate General of Technical Development asked the petitioner that it should first contact manufacturers in India to supply the said two components. In consequences, the petitioner contacted Heavy Engineering Corporation, Ranchi, and Messrs K.C.P. Limited, Madras, two well-known Indian manufacturers of heavy machinery. Both these firms expressed their inability to supply the two components of the reduction gear. Accordingly, the petitioner imported these two components from West Germany under 'open general license' classifying them under 'Brussels Tariff Nomenclature. The plant as a whole carried an import duty of 40 per cent, but as far as these two components are concerned duty was charged at 60 per cent ad valorem. The petitioner's contention was that duty should have been charged under Tariff item 84.56(1) and has wrongly been realised under Tariff item 84.63. The petitioner then moved an application under section 27 of the Customs Act for refund of what it called 'excess realisation' amounting to Rs. 61,859.35. The application was dismissed by the Assistant Collector of Customs vide his order dated January 19, 1978. According to him duty had been correctly realised as the components imported by the petitioner were specially covered under heading 84.63. The petitioner filed an appeal but the same was also dismissed by the Appellate Collector of Customs on June 1, 1978. A revision was then addressed to the Central Government. Before the Central Government, apart from the contention aforesaid, it was also submitted that in another case of the petitioner duty had been assessed under item 84.56 and, thereforee, there was no jurisdiction for assessing duty this time under item 84.63. We find, the Central Government observed on this contention that the petitioner was unable to substantiate the same. On the other aspect the Central Government observed as under :-

'Heading 84.63, CTA' 75 covers all types of gears and on a reference to customs co-operation councils nomenclature heading 84.63, it will be seen that this heading covers conical gears, helical gears, worms, rack and pinion gears, differential gears etc. and assemblies of such gears. It also covers toothed wheel and similar wheels for transmission. The basic gear is the toothed wheel, cylinder, cone, rack or worm etc. Hence reduction gears and parts of the same would fall under heading 84.63, CTA' 75. The Government of India also observe that as regards assessment of parts notes 2(a) and 2(b) to section XVI of CTA' 75 are relevant only when section note 2(a) 'goods of a kind described in any of the headings of chapter 84.85 (other than Heading Nos. 84.65 and 84.28,) are in all cases to be classified in their respective heading'. In view of this, gears bearing more specific under heading 84.63, parts of the same are to be classified under this heading only'.

2. Learned counsel for the petitioner has urged that the opinions expressed by the departmental authorities are wholly untenable. According to him clause 2(a) of section XVI, above referred to, alone would be relevant. Read with the heading chapter 84, the only way to classify the aforesaid components was as part of the cement plant. It is a possible view which one could take, if sub-clauses (a) and (b) of clause 2 of Section XVI aforesaid are read in isolation. This is what the learned counsel contends. He further urges that the components imported were components of a gear which by itself cannot regarded as a machine end, thereforee, sub-clause (b) of clause 2 of section XVI would not be attracted. As against this, learned counsel for the respondents submits that the view expressed is a possible view to take and, thereforee, the High Court should not interfere in writ jurisdiction. Supporting the view taken to be not only a plausible view but a correct view, Mr. Chandrasekharan urges that the specific heading under which the goods have been classified are gear and gear rings. This is permissible under sub-clause (a) of clause 2. What was imported were components of a gear. thereforee, sub-clause (b) clause 2 of section XVI would get attracted and the components would have to be classified under the heading of the main machine, namely, the gear. It may be possible to contend that when the gear is imported as part and parcel of the plant imported as such, duty would be chargeable on the plant at 40 per cent and thus duty on the gear or its components would also be 40 per cent ad valorem, but when component of gears are imported to correlate or connect them with the plant as a whole it would be rather far-fetched. In our view, this approach of the Central Government could not be regarded as untenable and is certainly a view which can be taken of on a reading of the relevant provisions, adverted to earlier.

We, thereforee, find no force in this petition. The rule is discharged. In the circumstances of the case the parties are left to bear their own costs.


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