The Delhi High Court today came down heavily on the customs department for not obeying judicial orders, including that of the Supreme Court, on the issue of duty payable on imported goods, saying that there was “no justification” for not complying with the directions.
A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Najmi Waziri said, “There was no legal ground for not obeying the orders” of the apex court and the high court and directed the department to pay costs of Rs 10,000 to Indian consumer electronics company, Yu Televentures.
The court also set aside the department’s June 7 order rejecting the refund claim of the firm, a joint venture of Cyanogen Inc and Micromax Informatics Ltd, which has claimed that it was charged a higher rate of additional customs duty despite being eligible for a concession.
The court said it saw “no reason why department should delay grant of refund” and directed that the Rs 2,10,96,725 amount claimed be refunded within two weeks.
The court also refused the oral plea on behalf of the department that it be allowed to consider other aspects before deciding the refund claim, saying the official concerned would not be allowed to add any new aspects as he had arrived at the conclusion to reject claim after examining all the documents.
The mobile phone company, in its plea filed through advocates Shashi Mathews and Tarun Gulati, had contended that it paid six per cent duty amounting to Rs 2,10,96,725 when it was eligible for the concessional rate of one per cent.
The company has said that the apex court had held that importer of goods would be entitled to exemption from payment of additional duty and alleged that the department ignored the ruling.
The firm also alleged that the department said it has not accepted the high court’s judgements in two similar matters, one involving Micromax, as an SLP is pending in one and in the other an SLP was going to be filed in the apex court.
“There is no excuse to not comply with the binding law only because appeal is pending,” the bench said and added that the apex court has not stayed the verdict in either of the two cases.
The bench ordered that a copy of the order be sent to the Commissioner of Customs, Air Cargo Export, for taking appropriate action in accordance with the law against the official concerned.