02 September 2020

Laws are deemed to apply prospectively unless expressly specified to apply retrospectively

Per contra, the respondent would urge that in the fact situation of the present case, the department has correctly levied the customs duty, as the DTA sales made were in contravention of the EXIM policy and the appellant had no permission from the Development Commissioner to clear the goods in DTA. The respondent further urged that the amendment seeks to bring about a substantive change, whilst pointing out that the CBEC Circular in its opening paragraph speaks about “carrying out” the amendment. Further, the amendment must be applied prospectively. Reliance is placed upon the decision of this Court in Union of India & Anr. vs. IndusInd Bank Limited & Anr. , wherein it has been held that if the provision is remedial in nature, it cannot be construed as clarificatory or declaratory and has to be applied prospectively.[Para No.8]

    The issues that arise for consideration in this appeal are: (i) Whether customs duty can be charged on the non­excisable goods produced in India and sold in DTA by an EOU?; and (ii) Whether the amendment in terms of Notification No. 56/01­Cus dated 18.05.2001, purporting to amend the criteria for determination of duty on inputs, is prospective or retrospective in its application?[Para No.10]

    Moving to the second question, the show cause notice was issued to the appellant prior to the issuance of the amendment notification. In this backdrop, let us now examine the contention of the appellant that the amendment notification being retrospective in its application. The relevant portion of the said notification is reproduced hereunder:
“NOTIFICATION NO. 56 /2001­CUS DATED 18.5.2001 In exercise of the powers conferred by sub­section (1) of section 25 of the Customs Act, 1962 (52 of 1962), the Central Government being satisfied that it is necessary in the public interest so to do, hereby directs that each of the notifications of the Government of India in the Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue), specified in column (2) of the Table hereto annexed shall be amended or further amended, as the case may be, in the manner specified in the corresponding entry in column (3) of the said Table.
TABLE Sr.No Notification No. Amendment and Date (1) (2) (3) xxx Xxx xxx
8. 126/94­Cus In the said notification,­ dated the 3rd June, 1994
(a) in the first paragraph, in condition (6), after clause (d), the following shall be inserted, namely:­ " (e) permit destruction of rejects and waste without payment of duty within the unit, or outside the said unit, where it is not possible or permissible to destroy the same within the said unit, in the presence of Customs or Central Excise officer.";
(b) in paragraph 2, in the proviso, for the words and figures "duty of 15% ad valorem", the words and figure "duty of 5% ad valorem" shall be substituted;
(c) in paragraph 3, in clause
(a), for the words "on payment of customs duty on the said goods used for the purpose of production, manufacture or packaging of such articles in an amount equal to the customs duty leviable on such articles as if imported as such.", the following shall be substituted, namely:­ "customs duty equal in amount to that leviable on inputs obtained under this notification and used for the purpose of production, manufacture or packaging of such articles, which would have been paid, but for the exemption under this notification, shall be payable at the time of clearance of such articles......
[Para No.23]

Laws are deemed to apply prospectively unless expressly specified to apply retrospectively
   As can be seen, the aforesaid notification posits of carrying out amendments and substituting the charging clause of the inputs used in case of non­excisable goods. The language employed in the notification does not offer any guidance on whether the amendments as made were to apply prospectively or retrospectively. It is a settled proposition of law that all laws are deemed to apply prospectively unless either expressly specified to apply retrospectively or intended to have been done so by the legislature. The latter would be a case of necessary implication and it cannot be inferred lightly.[Para No.24]

Supreme Court of India

M/S. L.R.Brothers
Comissioner Of Central Excise

Decided on 01/09/2020

Adv. Jainodin's Legal Blog