Tuesday, 24 April 2018

HC : Quashes challenge to preliminary recommendation for safeguard duty imposition on solar cells

HC dismisses challenge to preliminary findings of DG Safeguards recommending 70% ad valorem safeguard duty on import of Solar Cells whether or not assembled in modules or panels, pursuant to an investigation in this regard; Concurs with Revenue that Govt. has not imposed any provisional duty and therefore, there is no cause of action for filing writ petition and that there cannot be any investigation within an investigation for if such process is adopted, entire purpose of Section 8B(2) of Customs Tariff Act would be defeated; Observes, on a reading of Section 8B(1) & (2), it is clear that said provision does not contemplate taking views from any party and is based on subjective satisfaction of Central Govt., preliminary findings given by DG Safeguards will only constitute a material based on which provisional duty shall be imposed; Though DG Safeguards can be treated as a quasi-judicial authority for main adjudication, while recording provisional recommendation, it is not required to hear any party and the fact that Govt. may have to act reasonably / fairly does not mean that in every case, principles of natural justice must be followed; Noting that no prejudice would be caused to assessee inasmuch as public hearing will be held in due course before making a final determination, HC remarks, “actions instituted in courts….have portents of derailing decisions, which could have a cascading impact and inflict resultant damage, not only on the Domestic Industry in issue, but even on industries, which are vertically integrated to the Domestic Industry, as also on their employees and industrial labour, which perhaps at times courts cannot monetarily quantify”  : Madras HC