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 Customs Tariff 2009-10 - PART-II - Chapter 88 - Aircraft, spacecraft, and parts thereof

Customs Act, 1962 - Chapter XIV A - Settlement of cases
October, 13th 2010

Customs Act, 1962 (52 of 1962)

CHAPTER XIV A

SETTLEMENT OF CASES


SECTION 127A.    Definitions.
In this Chapter, unless the context otherwise requires, -

(a) Bench means a Bench of the Settlement Commission;

[(b) case means any proceeding under this Act or any other Act for the levy, assessment and collection of customs duty, pending before an adjudicating authority on the date on which an application under sub-section (1) of section 127B is made :

Provided that when any proceeding is referred back in any appeal or revision, as the case may be, by any court, Appellate Tribunal or any other authority, to the adjudicating authority for a fresh adjudication or decision, as the case may be, then such proceeding shall not be deemed to be a proceeding pending within the meaning of this clause;]

(c)Chairman means the Chairman of the Settlement Commission;

(d)Commissioner (Investigation) means an officer of the customs or a Central Excise Officer appointed as such Commissioner to conduct inquiry or investigation for the purposes of this Chapter;

(e)Member means a Member of the Settlement Commission and includes the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman;

(f)Settlement Commission means the Customs and Central Excise Settlement Commission constituted under section 32 of the Central Excise Act, 1944 (1 of 1944); and

(g)Vice-Chairman means a Vice-Chairman of the Settlement Commission.

SECTION 127B.Application for settlement of cases. - [(1) Any importer, exporter or any other person (hereinafter referred to as the applicant in this Chapter) may, in respect of a case, relating to him make an application, before adjudication to the Settlement Commission to have the case settled, in such form and in such manner as may be specified by rules, and containing a full and true disclosure of his duty liability which has not been disclosed before the proper officer, the manner in which such liability has been incurred, the additional amount of customs duty accepted to be payable by him and such other particulars as may be specified by rules including the particulars of such dutiable goods in respect of which he admits short levy on account of misclassification, under-valuation or inapplicability of exemption notification but excluding the goods not included in the entry made under this Act and such application shall be disposed of in the manner hereinafter provided :

Provided that no such application shall be made unless,

           (a)   the applicant has filed a bill of entry, or a shipping bill, in respect of import or export of such goods, as the case may be, and in relation to such bill of entry or shipping bill, a show cause notice has been issued to him by the proper officer;

           (b)   the additional amount of duty accepted by the applicant in his application exceeds three lakh rupees; and

           (c)   the applicant has paid the additional amount of customs duty accepted by him along with interest due under section 28AB :

Provided further that no application shall be entertained by the Settlement Commission under this sub-section in cases which are pending in the Appellate Tribunal or any court :

Provided also that no application under this sub-section shall be made in relation to goods to which section 123 applies or to goods in relation to which any offence under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (61 of 1985) has been committed :

Provided also that no application under this sub-section shall be made for the interpretation of the classification of the goods under the Customs Tariff Act, 1975 (51 of 1975).

(1A) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an application was made under sub-section (1) before the 1st day of June, 2007 but an order under sub-section (1) of section 127C has not been made before the said date, the applicant shall within a period of thirty days from the 1st day of June, 2007 pay the accepted duty liability failing which his application shall be liable to be rejected.].

(2)Where any dutiable goods, books of account, other documents or any sale proceeds of the goods have been seized under section 110, the applicant shall not be entitled to make an application under sub-section (1) before the expiry of one hundred and eighty days from the date of the seizure.

(3)Every application made under sub-section (1) shall be accompanied by such fees as may be specified by rules.

(4)An application made under sub-section (1) shall not be allowed to be withdrawn by the applicant.

SECTION 127C.   Procedure on receipt of an application under Section 127B. - (1)On receipt of an application under section 127B, the Settlement Commission shall, within seven days from the date of receipt of the application, issue a notice to the applicant to explain in writing as to why the application made by him should be allowed to be proceeded with and after taking into consideration the explanation provided by the applicant, the Settlement Commission, shall, within a period of fourteen days from the date of the notice, by an order, allow the application to be proceeded with or reject the application, as the case may be, and the proceedings before the Settlement Commission shall abate on the date of rejection :

Provided that where no notice has been issued or no order has been passed within the aforesaid period by the Settlement Commission, the application shall be deemed to have been allowed to be proceeded with.

(2)A copy of every order under sub-section (1) shall be sent to the applicant and to the Commissioner of Customs having jurisdiction.

(3)Where an application is allowed or deemed to have been allowed to be proceeded with under sub-section (1), the Settlement Commission shall, within seven days from the date of order under sub-section (1), call for a report along with the relevant records from the Commissioner of Customs having jurisdiction and the Commissioner shall furnish the report within a period of thirty days of the receipt of communication from the Settlement Commission :

Provided that where the Commissioner does not furnish the report within the aforesaid period of thirty days, the Settlement Commission shall proceed further in the matter without the report of the Commissioner.

(4)Where a report of the Commissioner called for  under sub-section (3) has been furnished within the period specified in that sub-section, the Settlement Commission may, after examination of such report, if it is of the opinion that any further enquiry or investigation in the matter is necessary, direct, for reasons to be recorded in writing, the Commissioner (Investigation) within fifteen days of the receipt of the report, to make or cause to be made such further enquiry or investigation and furnish a report within a period of ninety days of the receipt of the communication from the Settlement Commission, on the matters covered by the application and any other matter relating to the case :

Provided that where the Commissioner (Investigation) does not furnish the report within the aforesaid period, the Settlement Commission shall proceed to pass an order under sub-section (5) without such report.

(5)After examination of the records and the report of the Commissioner of Customs received under sub-section (3), and the report, if any, of the Commissioner (Investigation) of the Settlement Commission under sub-section (4), and after giving an opportunity to the applicant and to the Commissioner of Customs having jurisdiction to be heard, either in person or through a representative duly authorised in this behalf, and after examining such further evidence as may be placed before it or obtained by it, the Settlement Commission may, in accordance with the provisions of this Act, pass such order as it thinks fit on the matters covered by the application and any other matter relating to the case not covered by the application, but referred to in the report of the Commissioner of Customs and Commissioner (Investigation) under sub-section (3) or sub-section (4).

(6)An order under sub-section (5) shall not be passed in respect of an application filed on or before the 31st day of May, 2007, later than the 29th February, 2008 and in respect of an application made on or after the 1st day of June, 2007, after nine months from the last day of the month in which the application was made, failing which the settlement proceedings shall abate, and the adjudicating authority before whom the proceeding at the time of making the application was pending, shall dispose of the case in accordance with the provisions of this Act as if no application under section 127B had been made.

(7)Subject to the provisions of section 32A of the Central Excise Act, 1944 (1 of 1944), the materials brought on record before the Settlement Commission shall be considered by the Members of the concerned Bench before passing any order under sub-section (5) and, in relation to the passing of such order, the provisions of section 32D of the Central Excise Act, 1944 (1 of 1944) shall apply.

(8)The order passed under sub-section (5) shall provide for the terms of settlement including any demand by way of duty, penalty or interest, the manner in which any sums due under the settlement shall be paid and all other matters to make the settlement effective and in case of rejection contain the reasons therefor and it shall also provide that the settlement shall be void if it is subsequently found by the Settlement Commission that it has been obtained by fraud or misrepresentation of facts :

Provided that the amount of settlement ordered by the Settlement Commission, shall not be less than the duty liability admitted by the applicant under section 127B.

(9)Where any duty, interest, fine and penalty payable in pursuance of an order under sub-section (5) is not paid by the applicant within thirty days of receipt of a copy of the order by him, the amount which remains unpaid, shall be recovered along with interest due thereon, as the sums due to the Central Government by the proper officer having jurisdiction over the applicant in accordance with the provisions of section 142.

(10)Where a settlement becomes void as provided under sub-section (8), the proceedings with respect to the matters covered by the settlement shall be deemed to have been revived from the stage at which the application was allowed to be proceeded with by the Settlement Commission and the proper officer having jurisdiction may, notwithstanding anything contained in any other provision of this Act, complete such proceedings at any time before the expiry of two years from the date of the receipt of communication that the settlement became void.].

SECTION 127D. Power of Settlement Commission to order provisional attachment to protect revenue. - (1)Where, during the pendency of any proceeding before it, the Settlement Commission is of the opinion that for the purpose of protecting the interests of the revenue it is necessary so to do, it may, by order, attach provisionally any property belonging to the applicant in such manner as may be specified by rules.

(2)Every provisional attachment made by the Settlement Commission under sub-section (1) shall cease to have effect from the date the sums due to the Central Government for which such attachment is made are discharged by the applicant and evidence to that effect is submitted to the Settlement Commission.

SECTION 127E.Power of Settlement Commission to reopen completed proceedings. - If the Settlement Commission is of the opinion (the reasons for such opinion to be recorded by it in writing) that, for the proper disposal of the case pending before it, it is necessary or expedient to reopen any proceeding connected with the case but which has been completed under this Act before application for settlement under section 127B was made, it may, with the concurrence of the applicant, reopen such proceeding and pass such order thereon as it thinks fit, as if the case in relation to which the application for settlement had been made by the applicant under that section covered such proceeding also :

Provided that no proceeding shall be reopened by the Settlement Commission under this section after the expiry of five years from the date of application under sub-section (1) of section 127B.

[Provided further that no proceeding shall be reopened by the Settlement Commission under this section in a case where an application under section 127B is made on or after the 1st day of June, 2007.].

SECTION 127F.Power and procedure of Settlement Commission. (1)In addition to the powers conferred on the Settlement Commission under Chapter V of the Central Excise Act, 1944 (1 of 1944), it shall have all the powers which are vested in an officer of the customs under this Act or the rules made thereunder.

(2)Where an application made under section 127B has been allowed to be proceeded with under section 127C, the Settlement Commission shall, until an order is passed under sub-section [(5)] of section 127C, have, subject to the provisions of sub-section [(4)] of that section, exclusive jurisdiction to exercise the powers and perform the functions of any officer of customs or Central Excise Officer as the case may be, under this Act or in the Central Excise Act, 1944 ( 1 of 1944), as the case may be, in relation to the case.

(3)In the absence of any express direction by the Settlement Commission to the contrary, nothing in this Chapter shall affect the operation of the provisions of this Act in so far as they relate to any matter other than those before the Settlement Commission.

(4)The Settlement Commission shall, subject to the provisions of Chapter V of the Central Excise Act, 1944 (1 of 1944) and this Chapter, have power to regulate its own procedure and the procedure of Benches thereof in all matters arising out of the exercise of its powers, or of the discharge of its functions, including the places at which the Benches shall hold their sittings.

 

SECTION 127G.Inspection, etc., of reports. - No person shall be entitled to inspect, or obtain copies of, any report made by any officer of the Customs to the Settlement Commission; but the Settlement Commission may, in its discretion, furnish copies thereof to any such person on an application made to it in this behalf and on payment of such fee as may be specified by rules :

Provided that, for the purpose of enabling any person whose case is under consideration to rebut any evidence brought on record against him in any such report, the Settlement Commission shall, on an application made in this behalf, and on payment by such person of such fee as may be specified by rules, furnish him with a certified copy of any such report or part thereof relevant for the purpose.

SECTION 127H.Power of Settlement Commission to grant immunity from prosecution and penalty.   - (1)The Settlement Commission may, if it is satisfied that any person who made the application for settlement under section 127B has co-operated with the Settlement Commission in the proceedings before it and has made a full and true disclosure of his duty liability, grant to such person, subject to such conditions as it may think fit to impose, immunity from prosecution for any offence under this Act [and also either wholly or in part from the imposition of any penalty and fine] under this Act, with respect to the case covered by the settlement :

Provided that no such immunity shall be granted by the Settlement Commission in cases where the proceedings for the prosecution for any such offence have been instituted before the date of receipt of the application under section 127B.

[Explanation. For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that the application filed before the Settlement Commission on or before the 31st day of May, 2007 shall be disposed of as if the amendment in this section had not come into force.]

(2)An immunity granted to a person under sub-section (1) shall stand withdrawn if such person fails to pay any sum specified in the order of the settlement passed under [sub-section (5) of section 127C within the time specified in such order] or fails to comply with any other condition subject to which the immunity was granted and thereupon the provisions of this Act shall apply as if such immunity had not been granted.

(3)An immunity granted to a person under sub-section (1) may, at any time, be withdrawn by the Settlement Commission, if it is satisfied that such person had, in the course of the settlement proceedings, concealed any particulars, material to the settlement or had given false evidence, and thereupon such person may be tried for the offence with respect to which the immunity was granted or for any other offence of which he appears to have been guilty in connection with the settlement and shall also become liable to the imposition of any penalty under this Act to which such person would have been liable, had no such immunity been granted.

SECTION 127-I.Power of Settlement Commission to send a case back to the proper officer.  - (1)The Settlement Commission may, if it is of opinion that any person who made an application for settlement under section 127B has not co-operated with the Settlement Commission in the proceedings before it, send the case back to the proper officer who shall thereupon dispose of the case in accordance with the provisions of this Act as if no application under section 127B had been made.

(2)For the purpose of sub-section (1), the proper officer shall be entitled to use all the materials and other information produced by the assessee before the Settlement Commission or the results of the inquiry held or evidence recorded by the Settlement Commission in the course of the proceedings before it as if such materials, information, inquiry and evidence had been produced before such proper officer or held or recorded by him in the course of the proceedings before him.

(3)For the purposes of the time limit under section 28 and for the purposes of interest under section 28AA, in a case referred to in sub-section (1), the period commencing on and from the date of the application to the Settlement Commission under section 127B and ending with the date of receipt by the officer of customs of the order of the Settlement Commission sending the case back to the officer of customs shall be excluded.

SECTION 127J.Order of settlement to be conclusive. - Every order of settlement passed under sub-section [(5)] of section 127C shall be conclusive as to the matters stated therein and no matter covered by such order shall, save as otherwise provided in this Chapter, be reopened in any proceeding under this Act or under any other law for the time being in force.

SECTION 127K.Recovery of sums due under order of settlement. - Any sum specified in an order of settlement passed under sub-section [(5)] of section 127C may, subject to such conditions, if any, as may be specified therein, be recovered, and any penalty for default in making payment of such sum may be imposed and recovered as sums due to the Central Government in accordance with the provisions of section 142, by the proper officer having jurisdiction over the applicant.

SECTION 127L.Bar on subsequent application for settlement in certain cases. -  [(1)] [where, before the 1st day of June, 2007] -

(i)an order of settlement passed under sub-section (7) of section 127C provides for the imposition of a penalty on the applicant under section 127B for settlement, on the ground of concealment of particulars of his duty liability; or

(ii)after the passing of an order of settlement under said sub-section (7) in relation to a case, such person is convicted of any offence under this Act in relation to that case; or

(iii)the case of such person is sent back to the proper officer by the Settlement Commission under section 127-I,

then such person shall not be entitled to apply for settlement under section 127B in relation to any other matter.

[(2) Where an applicant has made an application under sub-section (1) of section 127B, on or after the 1st day of June, 2007 and if such application has been allowed to be proceeded with under sub-section (1) of section 127C, such applicant shall not be entitled to apply for settlement under section 127B in relation to any other matter :

Provided that such applicant shall not be prevented from filing an application for settlement if the issue in the subsequent application is,  but for the period of dispute and amount, identical to the issue in respect of which the earlier application is pending before the Settlement Commission.].

SECTION 127M.Porceedings before Settlement Commission to be judicial proceedings. - Any proceedings under this Chapter before the Settlement Commission shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228, and for the purposes of section 196, of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).

SECTION [127MA.   [ Omitted by Section 109 of Finance Act 2007 (22 of 2007) ]

SECTION 127N.Applications of certain provisions of Central Excise Act. - The provisions of Chapter V of the Central Excise Act, 1944 (1 of 1944) in so far as it is not inconsistent with the provisions of this Chapter shall apply in relation to proceedings before the Settlement Commission under this Chapter.]
 

 
 
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