High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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Dr. Rajinder Kumar & Anr. v. Shri Arun Goel, IAS & Anr. - COCP-585-2006  RD-P&H 10210 (9 November 2006)
C.C.E.C. No.1 of 2006
Date of decision: November 17, 2006
The Commissioner of Customs.
M/s Shiraj International, Amritsar & another.
CORAM:- HON'BLE MR JUSTICE ADARSH KUMAR GOEL
HON'BLE MR JUSTICE RAJESH BINDAL
Present: Mr. M.S. Guglani, Advocate
for the petitioner.
This petition has been filed by the revenue against the order dated 24.01.2002 passed by the Customs, Excise & Gold (Control) Appellate Tribunal (for short, "the Tribunal"), seeking reference of following question of law:- "Whether CEGAT can reduce the mandatory penalty imposed under section 114A of the Customs Act, which is equal to duty demanded?" The assessee claimed the benefit of Special Additional Duty of customs in respect of its import. The said claim was disallowed and apart from demand of duty, interest was charged and penalty of Rs.82,235/- was imposed.
Before the Tribunal, the assessee offered to deposit the duty and interest and prayed for setting aside of the penalty.
The Tribunal noticed that the benefit which had been taken by the assessee was not attracted, but having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, the amount of penalty was reduced to Rs.40,000/-. Section 114-A of The Customs Act, 1962 is as under:-
"[114-A. Penalty for short-levy or non-levy of duty in certain cases.- Where the duty has not been levied or has been short-levied or the interest has not been charged or paid or has been part paid or the duty or interest has been erroneously refunded by reason of C.C.E.A. No.1 of 2006
collusion or any willful mis-statement or suppression of facts, the person who is liable to pay the duty or interest, as the case may be, as determined under sub-section (2) of section 28 shall also be liable to pay a penalty equal to the duty or interest so determined:] We have already gone into this question while interpreting Section 11AC of the Central Excise Act in our judgment dated 21.7.2006 in Commissioner of Central Excise, Delhi-IV v. M/s Illpea Paramount Pvt. Limited C.E.A. No.56 of 2006 and held that the penalty is provided for a willful evasion and the same could be equal to the duty or interest, as provided in the statute.
In the present case, in the order of the Tribunal, the finding of willful evasion has not been recorded. The difference of amount involved is not significant.
Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, we are unable to hold that the question of law, sought by the revenue, requires reference to this Court for opinion.
Accordingly, this petition is dismissed.
( ADARSH KUMAR GOEL )
November 17, 2006 ( RAJESH BINDAL )
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