A Supreme Court bench recently agreed to consider whether the product `Nimbooz’ can be classified under item `Lemonade’ and/or as `fruit pulp or fruit juice based drinks’ for the purpose of determining the excise duty on the drink.
Justice MR Shah and Jusitice BV Nagarathna led the bench and the case was filed by a company named Aradhana Foods that wanted the drink to be categorised as ‘lemonade’ instead of its current status of ‘fruit pulp or fruit juice based drink’.
A bench of Justices Dilip Gupta And P. Venkata Subba Rao had earlier categorised Nimbooz as a fruit juice based drink, because of which it came under tarrif Item 2202 90 20 of the Central Excise Tariff.
“The product ‘Minute Maid Nimbu Fresh’ (hereinafter referred to as MMNF) manufactured by Brindavan Beverages Private Limited, and 7UP ‘Nimbooz Masala Soda’ or 7 UP ‘Nimbooz’ manufactured by PepsiCo India Holdings Private Limited are classified under 2022 90 20 of the Central Excise Tariff Schedule under the category of fruit pulp or fruit juice based drink,” the bench had said.
M/S Aradhana Food had preferred the appeal for setting aside the impugned order wherein the demand of differential duty on ‘Nimbooz’ for the normal period of limitation from April 2013 to December 2013 was confirmed. The Department had preferred appeal for setting aside that part of the order passed by the Commissioner that has dropped the demand of differential duty for the extended period of limitation.
According to the appellant, Nimbooz merited classification under CETH 2022 10 20 of the First Schedule to the Central Excise Tariff Act 1985 but according to the Department, it deserved classification under CETH 2022 90 20 under the category of “fruit pulp or fruit juice based drinks.”