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Bombay High CourtIndian Cases

Keshari Steels vs Collector Of Customs Bombay on 2 September 1996

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Bombay High Court
Keshari Steels vs Collector Of Customs, Bombay on 2 September, 1996
Equivalent citations: 2000(68)ECC233, 2000(115)ELT320(BOM)
Author: M.B. Shah
Bench: M.B. Shah

M.B. Shah, C.J.

1. The Petitioners imported Copper Moulds Tubes for steel casting machines and paid Customs Duty on the Bill of Entry dated 11th January, 1985. In the month of July, 1985, the Petitioners received from the Assistant Collector of Customs, Group H, letter dated 1st July, 1985, stating that there was excess recovery of Rs. 25,136.10 by the Department and that, therefore, the Petitioners should approach the Customs Authorities within the prescribed time limit as mentioned in the Customs Act, 1962 (here-inafter referred to as the “Act”).

2. Subsequently, the Petitioners filed Refund Application on 29th July, 1985. That application was rejected by Order dated 8th August, 1985, on the ground that it was beyond the period of time as prescribed under Section 27 of the Act. The Appeal filed before the Collector of Customs (Appeals) Bombay, was also dismissed on 13th March, 1986 (Exhibit ‘D’ to the Petition). Against that Order, the Petitioners preferred Appeal before the Customs, Excise and Cold (Control) Appellate Tribunal. That Appeal was also dismissed on the ground that it was beyond the period of 6 months, as prescribed under Section 27 of the Act.

3. The learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the Petitioners vehemently submitted that the Order passed by the Authorities below is, on the face of it, illegal and erroneous, because the Petitioners have not asked for any refund on the ground that the Petitioners had illegally or wrongfully paid the Custom Duty. The Petitioners had made an application for recovery of Rs. 25,136.10 as pointed out by the Audit Department on the ground of error in calculation. That application was filed within 17 days from the receipt of the letter dated 1st July, 1985. Learned Counsel, therefore, submitted that the Competent Authority ought to have referred to Section 154 of the Act, which empowers it to correct arithmetical error arising in the order or omission made by the officer.

4. In our view, in the present case, there was no question at all of applying the provisions of Section 27 of the Act. The Assistant Collector of Customs pointed out that there was a mistake in recovering Rs. 25,136.10 from the Petitioners. For that purpose, the Petitioner made an application for refund. Section 154 specifically provides for correction of clerical or arithmetical mistake in any decision or order passed by an officer of Customs under the Act. Once that is corrected, the Petitioners are entitled to have refund of the said amount which is paid due to an arithmetical mistake.

5. In this view of the matter, this Petition is allowed. The impugned Order passed by the Assistant Collector of Customs and confirmed in Appeal by the Collector of Customs (Appeals), Bombay, and CEGAT is quashed and set aside. The Respondents are directed to refund the amount of Rs. 25,136.10 to the Petitioners on or before 30th November, 1996. Rule made absolute in the above terms.