The CESTAT Ahmedabad has rejected the contention of the Revenue department that by accepting the assessable value and not asking for the speaking order, the value assessed by the assessing officer attains finality and the assessee-importer is precluded from contesting the same.
The Commissioner (Appeals) had dismissed the appeals earlier on grounds that since the assessee had accepted the value before payment of duty, it had no locus standi to contest the same subsequently.
Allowing assessee’s appeal, the Tribunal in Bhuria Overseas v. Commissioner observed that re-assessment under Section 17 of the Customs Act, 1962 has necessarily to follow the statutory provisions under Section 14 and the Valuation Rules, and that mere acceptance of price cannot justify the re-determined value which is unlawful ab-initio.
It may be noted that the Tribunal also stated that mere acceptance to pay the redetermined value in a letter or Bill of Entry has no statutory force and cannot act as estoppel against the importer for further legal proceedings.
The Tribunal however noted that there would be difference however in case of acceptance of undervaluation which is part of any investigation and has been recorded in a statement under Section 108.
Relying on Delhi High Court decision in the case of Cisco Systems, the Tribunal also noted that the very act of filing appeal is a protest against the duty as assessed.