02.04.2022- Public Money Should Not Be Wasted For Paying Interest On Delayed Refunds: CESTAT Chennai

The Hon’ble CESTAT Chennai vide its order dated 14.03.2022 in the matter of M/s Ingram Micro India Limted Vs. The Commissioner of Customs (Exports) in Custom Appeal No. – 40071 of 2015 observing that the refund has been rejected in a cryptic manner held that the refund claims have to be processed in proper manner as the interest on such delayed refund is paid out of public money and remanded the matter back to the adjudicating authority to process the refund on the basis of documents produced by the Appellant.

The Appellant preferred the appeal being aggrieved of rejection of its refund claim submitted for SAD in terms of notification no. 102/2007 – Cus. dated 14.09.2007 as amended by Notification No.93/2008 dated 01.08.2008 read with Board’s Circular No.6/2008-Cus. dated 28.04.2008 and 16/2008-Cus. dated 13.10.2008.

Facts:

  • The Appellant in terms of notification 102/2007-cus. dated 14.09.2007 filed a refund claim of Rs. 22,57,529/- on 16.06.2009 which later on was revised to Rs. 18,84,710/- and all the supporting documents were submitted by the appellant.
  • The documents were submitted by the appellant through its letter dated 05.2010 and the same was acknowledged by the original authority on 18.05.2010 however after two years the original authority rejected the refund claim on the ground that the appellant did not provide the Chartered accountant certificate to substantiate that the burden of additional duty has not been passed to the buyer and to rule out the unjust enrichment. Hence the present appeal has been filed.

Appellant Plea:

  • The Appellant referring to the page 21 of the appeal filed contended that vide letter dated 05.2010 the Chartered Accountant Certificate was also submitted with other documents and the endorsement of the department shows the receipt of the documents by the department on 18.05.2010.
  • That despite the fact that all relevant document were submitted, the Ld. Commissioner appeals without providing a opportunity of hearing passed the impugned order rejecting the refund claim on the ground that the Appellant has not submitted the necessary documents. Hence prayed for allowing the appeal.

On the other hand, Learned Authorized representative appearing for revenue supported the findings of the impugned order.

Held:

  • After considering the submissions from the both sides and perusal of the fact, the Hon’ble Bench observed that the refund claim is rejected on the ground that the appellant has not submitted the Chartered Accountant Certificate to substantiate that the burden of the 4% Additional Duty has not been passed on to the buyer, however the appellant referred to page 21 of the appeal paper book to show that all the relevant documents were submitted vide their letter dated 05.2010 (Supra).
  • It is quite evident from the perusal of the orders passed that the refund claim has been rejected in a cryptic manner and the authorities did not care to peruse the documents submitted by the Appellant.
  • It was observed by the Hon’ble Bench that the interest on such delayed is paid out of public money, thus the refund claims have to be processed in proper manner after perusal of documents submitted.
  • The adjudicating authority before rejecting the refund claim on such technical grounds ought to have granted one more personal hearing to check whether all relevant documents have been submitted by the Appellant or not.
  • These types of unnecessary litigation have to avoided as both sides incur litigation expenses and the department expenses are borne by the public exchequer.

The Hon’ble CESTAT with above findings set aside the impugned order and remanded back the matter to the adjudicating authority to process the refund after considering the documents produced by the appellant, Further the appellant shall be granted an opportunity of personal hearing.

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