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The Century Spinning and Manufacturing Co. Ltd. Vs. Union of India (Uoi) - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCustoms
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ No. 1150 of 1972
Judge
Reported in1980CENCUS459D
AppellantThe Century Spinning and Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
RespondentUnion of India (Uoi)
DispositionPetition allowed
Cases ReferredMadras v. K. Ganga Setty
Excerpt:
.....on like articles if produced or manufactured in india and where such duty is livable at different rates, the highest duty, if such artic-les are produced or required in india. since it is also an admitted case that such or like articles are not manufactured in india entry 72 (21) is not applicable. 7. we are well aware of the scope of judicial review by us of a decision of the government of india in a matter of assessment where entries involving technical description have to be construed......in india. since it is also an admitted case that such or like articles are not manufactured in india entry 72 (21) is not applicable. it applied a strange result would follow because no duty would be chargeable at all on pot motors under entry 72 (21) which would be a result which certainly would not be contemplated by the customs authorities,6. the contention of the petitioner is further borne out by the decision of the supreme court in the siemens engineering and manufacturing co. of india v. the union of india : air1976sc1785 . in the present case one of the certificates given to describe the nature of pot motors is by the same siemens engineering and manufacturing company of india. this decision, thereforee, covers the facts of the case completely.7. we are well aware of the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

V.S. Deshpande, C.J.

1. The petitioner manufacturers cloth and rayon yarn, etc. Each rayon spinning machine has got 132 individual positions. Each position is fitted with a pot motor and a pot in which the yarn is collected and given the required twist. A rayon pot spinning machine cannot function without pot motors. Pot motors have been given a special shape and design for the purpose of collecting yarn and giving a twist to it on the spinning machine. Pot motors have been given a very special shape for accommodating 132 such pot motors on each spinning frame in between Coagulation Trough and Spray Collection Troughs. Spindle of these pot motors is specially constructed to give positive movement of 7600 r.p.m. Such or like pot motors are not produced or manufactured in India. These pot motors are essential integral component parts of the spinning machines and these pot motors cannot be used outside and rayon spinning machines.

2. The petitioner imported these pot motors during the years 1961 and 1964. The petitioner contended that the customs duly chargeable on these pot motors would be under Entry 73(3) of the Indian Customs Tariff (49th Issue), 1960. which is as below:

Item. Name of Article Nature of duty Standard rateNo of duty73(3) Component parts of machinery Revenue 10 per cent72(1) and 72(2) and not other- ad valoremwise specified, namely suchparts only as are essential forthe working of the machine orapparatus and have been givenfor that purpose some specialshape or quality which wouldnot be essential for their usefor any other purpose butexcluding small tools like twist,drills and reamers, dies andtaps, gear counters and hack-saw blades :Provided that articles whichdo not satisfy this conditionshall also be deemed to becomponent parts of themachine to which they belongif they are essential to itsoperation and are importedwith it in such quantities asmay appear to the Collector ofCustoms to be reasonable.

Customs authorities, on the other hand, were of the view that the customs duty chargeable on these items would be under Article 73(21), which is as below:

Item Name of Nature of Standard rate of dutyNo Article duty The excise duty for the time73(2) Electric Revenue being livable on like articlesmotors, if produced or manufactured inall sorts India & where such duty isand parts livable at different rates, thethereof highest duty ; and the duty solivable shall be in addition tothe duty livable on the articleunder any of the other items inthis Schedule.

Since these pot motors were not manufactured in India at all, the customs authorities charged countervailing duty on these pot motors under Section 2A of the Indian Tariff Act.

3. The petitioner challenged the Customs Authorities' view by writ petitions which resulted in the remand of the case by this court for a decision by the Government of India. Accordingly the matter was decided by the Government of India by the written order, dated 9/15th March, 1972. Though it is a long and apparently well considered order, the crucial point is dealt with at page 70 of the paper book at the end of paragraph 13 of the impugned order, in the following words:

It is not anybody's case that these motors have any use outside the rayon spinning machines. But the question is whether by being a component part of a spinning machine it ceases to be an electric motor for purposes either of the Customs or Central Excise Tariff.

On this issue the Government took the view that pot motors were nevertheless electric motors. The validity of this order has been challenged by the present writ petition.

4. Mr. Bhatt, learned Counsel for the petitioner, points out that if the pot motors are component parts of the spinning machines, then they are covered by Entry 72 (3) and cannot be covered by Entry 73 (21). It is quite clear to us that the nature of these pot motors are to be decided by the dominant nature of these machines. Either they are a component part of a machine or they are an independent electric motor. Since it is admitted that they are not independent electric motors and cannot be used except as component parts of the spinning machines, it follows that the dominating character of these pot motors is a component part of the spinning machine apart from which they cannot be used at all. Obviously, an item like electric motors separately listed could not have been meant to refer to something which is not independently useable at all. This is specially so when Entry 72 (3) particularly deals with component part of machines specially designed as are essential for the working of the machine or apparatus and have been given some special shape or quality which would not be essential for their use for any other purpose.

5. There is another reason why the pot motors fell under Entry 72 (3) and not Entry 72 (21). The latter entry applied only when the excise duty for the time being livable on like articles if produced or manufactured in India and where such duty is livable at different rates, the highest duty, if such artic-les are produced or required in India. Since it is also an admitted case that such or like articles are not manufactured in India Entry 72 (21) is not applicable. It applied a strange result would follow because no duty would be chargeable at all on pot motors under Entry 72 (21) which would be a result which certainly would not be contemplated by the Customs Authorities,

6. The contention of the petitioner is further borne out by the decision of the Supreme Court in The Siemens Engineering and Manufacturing Co. of India v. The Union of India : AIR1976SC1785 . In the present case one of the certificates given to describe the nature of pot motors is by the same Siemens Engineering and Manufacturing Company of India. This decision, thereforee, covers the facts of the case completely.

7. We are well aware of the scope of judicial review by us of a decision of the Government of India in a matter of assessment where entries involving technical description have to be construed. In Collector of Customs, Madras v. K. Ganga Setty : [1963]2SCR277 at 1321, the Supreme Court has laid down that it is primarily for the Import Control authorities (For the Customs Authorities in this case) to deter-mine the head or entry under which any particular commodity fell; but that if in doing so, these authorities adopted a construction which no reasonable person could adopt, i.e. if the construction was perverse then it was a case in which the court was competent to interfere.

8. We are of the view that the reason given by the Government of India was such as no reasonable person could adopt and was perverse. This compels us to interfere with the decision. The impugned order is, there-fore quashed and the writ petition is allowed. We further quash the other impugned orders; dated 30th December, 1961, 10th September, 1962, 1st February, 1965 and 7th May, 1965 and direct the respondent to refund to the petitioner the aggregate sum of Rs. 1,98,116.84 collected from the petitioner as countervailing duty on pot motors imported by the petitioner. The petitioner has stated on page 9 of the writ petition that the duty under Entry 72 (3) has already been paid by it. No order as to costs.


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