At, Customs Excise Service Tax Appellate Tribunal South Zonal Bench At Chennai
By, THE HONORABLE JUSTICE: SULEKHA BEEVI C.S.
By, MEMBER AND THE HONORABLE JUSTICE: MADHU MOHAN DAMODHAR
For Petitioner: Rabeem Jayaram, Advocate And For Respondents: R. Subramaniyan, AC (AR)
1. The facts of the case are that appellant filed claim dated 12-7-2013 of refund of SAD in terms of Notification No. 102/2007-Cus, dated 14-9-2007 in respect of 16 Bills of Entry of total amount of Rs. 48,11,154/-. The claims were filed with the Refunds Section in Chennai Sea Customs whereas the goods were cleared through Chennai Air Customs vide 16 Bills of Entry dated from 17-8-2011 to 28-5-2012 filed there. The Refunds Section in Chennai Sea on finding that the claims pertained to the Chennai Air Customs Commissionerate transferred the claims to them. The original authority held that the date on which the claim was received in Refunds Section in Chennai Air Commissionerate is the relevant date and going by that date the claim has exceeded the time limit allowed under Notification No. 102/2007-Cus, dated 14-9-2007. The claim was therefore rejected by the original authority. On appeal, Commissioner (Appeals) upheld the order of original authority. Hence the appellant is appeal before this forum. Today, when the matter came up for hearing, on behalf of appellant, Ld. Advocate Shri Rabeem Jayaram requested for early hearing and disposal of this appeal in view of the peculiar circumstances of the case. He submits that both Air Cargo Complex Commissionerate and Sea Customs Commissionerate of the Customs Department in Chennai have concurrent jurisdiction. He submits that although they had inadvertently filed the claim with Chennai Sea Customs instead of at Air Cargo Complex, nonetheless they have been issued a defect memo calling for certain documents like C.A certificate and Annexures required to be submitted along with the concerned Notification No. 102/2007-Cus He submits, in the circumstances, refund claim itself could have been considered since the claim was throughout with the Customs Department only.
2. On the other hand, Ld. AR Shri R. Subramaniyan supports the impugned order. He also submits that the appellant himself had filed the claim before the wrong jurisdictional authority and hence they cannot now seek redressal.
3. Heard both sides and have gone through the facts. No doubt, the appellant had filed the refund claim at Sea Customs instead of at Air Cargo Complex. Nonetheless, instead of issuing deficiency memo pointing out the jurisdictional discrepancy, Sea Customs Commissionerate started processing the claim and in fact issued a memo seeking further documents. In case, had the appellant been informed earlier about wrong filing of the claim, he could have very well withdrawn the claim and filed it with Air Cargo Complex. On the other hand, Sea Customs Commissionerate, in fact, transferred the claim to Air Cargo Complex. This being so, it is to be considered that the claim was all along with the Customs Department and the date of filing the claim will have to be reckoned as that of when the claim was filed in Sea Customs. There is also no dispute that when the claim was filed in Sea Customs it was not filed within time. For these reasons, we find that it is proper to set aside the impugned orde
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r and remand the matter back to the concerned original authority (refund sanctioning authority) in Air Cargo Complex to consider the claim of the appellant as if the same had been filed within time. Needless to say, the appellant will be given sufficient opportunity of supporting their claim. Appeal is allowed by remand. MA (EH) is disposed.