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Customs - Acts 1962, Chapter- XIVA, Settlement of Cases.


CHAPTER XIVA - SETTLEMENT OF CASES

127A. Definitions
127B. Application for settlement of cases
127C. Procedure on receipt of application under section 127B
127D. Power of Settlement Commission to order provisional attachment to protect revenue. -
127E. Power of Settlement Commission to reopen completed proceedings.
127F. Power and procedure of Settlement Commission
127G. Inspection, etc., of reports
127H. Power of Settlement Commission to grant immunity from prosecution and penalty
127-I. Power of Settlement Commission to send a case back to the proper officer.
127 J. Order of settlement to be conclusive. -
127K. Recovery of sums due under order of settlement.
127L. Bar on subsequent application for settlement in certain cases
127M. Porceedings before Settlement Commission to be judicial proceedings
127MA. Certain persons who have filed appeals to the Appellate Tribunal entitled to make applications to the Settlement Commission.
127N. Applications of certain provisions of Central Excise Act

CHAPTER XIVA - SETTLEMENT OF CASES

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

  1. "Bench" means a Bench of the Settlement Commission;
  2. "case" means any proceeding under this Act or any other Act for the levy, assessment and collection of customs duty, or any proceeding by way of appeal or revision in connection with such levy, assessment or collection, which may be pending before a proper officer or the Central Government on the date on which an application under sub-section (1) of section 127B is made :

    Provided that where any appeal or application for revision has been preferred after the expiry of the period specified for the filing of such appeal or application for revision under this Act and which has not been admitted, such appeal or revision shall not be deemed to be a proceeding pending within the meaning of this clause;
  3. "Chairman" means the Chairman of the Settlement Commission;
  4. "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;
  5. "Member" means a Member of the Settlement Commission and includes the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman;
  6. "Settlement Commission" means the Customs and Central Excise Settlement Commission constituted under section 32 of the Central Excise Act, 1944 (1 of 1944); and
  7. "Vice-Chairman" means a Vice-Chairman of the Settlement Commission.

127B. Application for settlement of cases. -

  1. Any importer, exporter or any other person (hereinafter referred to as the applicant in this Chapter) may, at any stage of a case relating to him make an application 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 or otherwise of goods, to the Settlement Commission to have the case settled and such application shall be disposed of in the manner hereinafter provided :

    Provided that no such application shall be made unless -
    1. the applicant has filed a bill of entry, or a shipping bill, in respect of import or export of 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;
    2. the additional amount of duty accepted by the applicant in his application exceeds two lakh rupees :

      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).
  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.

127C.    Procedure on receipt of application under section 127B. -

  1. On receipt of an application under section 127B, the Settlement Commission shall call for a report from the Commissioner of Customs having jurisdiction and on the basis of the materials contained in such report and having regard to the nature and circumstances of the case or the complexity of the investigation involved therein, the Settlement Commission may, by order, allow the application to be proceeded with or reject the application :

    Provided that an application shall not be rejected under this sub-section, unless an opportunity has been given to the applicant of being heard :

    Provided further that the Commissioner of Customs shall furnish such report within a period of one month of the receipt of the communication from the Settlement Commission, failing which it shall be presumed that the Commissioner of Customs has no objection to such application; but he may raise objections at the time of hearing fixed by the Settlement Commission for admission of the application and the date of such hearing shall be communicated by the Settlement Commission to the applicant and the Commissioner of Customs within a period not exceeding two months from the date of receipt of such application, unless the presiding officer of the Bench extends the said period of two months, after recording the reasons in writing.
  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. Subject to the provisions of sub-section (4), the applicant shall, within thirty days of the receipt of a copy of the order under sub-section (1) allowing the application to be proceeded with, pay the amount of additional duty admitted by him as payable and shall furnish proof of such payment to the Settlement Commission.
  4. If the Settlement Commission is satisfied, on an application made under sub-section (1) that the applicant is unable for good and sufficient reasons to pay the amount referred to in sub-section (3), within the time specified in that sub-section, it may extend the time for payment of the amount which remains unpaid or allow payment thereof by instalments, if the applicant furnishes adequate security for the payment thereof.
  5. Where the additional amount of customs duty referred to in sub-section (3) is not paid by the applicant within the time specified or extended period, as the case may be, the Settlement Commission may direct that the amount which remains unpaid, together with simple interest at the rate of eighteen per cent. per annum or at the rate notified by the Board from time to time on the amount remaining unpaid, be recovered as the sum due to the Central Government by the proper officer having jurisdiction over the applicant in accordance with the provisions of section 142.
  6. Where an application is allowed to be proceeded with under sub-section (1), the Settlement Commission may call for the relevant records from the Commissioner of Customs having jurisdiction and after examination of such records, if the Settlement Commission is of the opinion that any further enquiry or investigation in the matter is necessary, it may direct the Commissioner (Investigation) to make or cause to be made such further enquiry or investigation and furnish a report on the matters covered by the application and any other matter relating to the case.
  7. After examination of the records and the report of the Commissioner of Customs received under sub-section (1), and the report, if any, of the Commissioner (Investigation) of the Settlement Commission under sub-section (6), 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 or the Commissioner (Investigation) under sub-section (1) or sub-section (6).
  8. 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 (7) 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.
  9. Every order passed under sub-section (7) shall provide for the terms of settlement including any demand by way of duty, penalty or interest, the manner in which any sum due under the settlement shall be paid and all other matters to make the settlement effective and 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.
  10. Where any duty payable in pursuance of an order under sub-section (7) is not paid by the applicant within thirty days of the receipt of a copy of the order by him, then, whether or not the Settlement Commission has extended the time for payment of such duty or has allowed payment thereof by instalments, the applicant shall be liable to pay simple interest at the rate of eighteen per cent. per annum or at such other rate as notified by the Board on the amount remaining unpaid from the date of expiry of the period of thirty days aforesaid.
  11. Where a settlement becomes void as provided under sub-section (9) 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 proper officer 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.

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.

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.

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 (7) of section 127C, have, subject to the provisions of sub-section (6) 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.

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.

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 or under the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) or under any other Central Act for the time being in force and also either wholly or in part from the imposition of any penalty, fine and interest 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.
  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 (7) of section 127C within the time specified in such order or within such further time as may be allowed by the Settlement Commission, 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.

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 cooperated 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.

127J.    Order of settlement to be conclusive. - Every order of settlement passed under sub-section (7) 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.

127K.    Recovery of sums due under order of settlement. - Any sum specified in an order of settlement passed under sub-section (7) 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.

127L.    Bar on subsequent application for settlement in certain cases. - Where, -

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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.

127M.    Proceedings 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).

127MA.    Certain persons who have filed appeals to the Appellate Tribunal entitled to make applications to the Settlement Commission. -

  1. Notwithstanding anything contained in this Chapter, any person who has filed an appeal to the Appellate Tribunal under this Act, on or before the 29th day of February, 2000 and which is pending, shall, on withdrawal of such appeal from the Appellate Tribunal, be entitled to make an application to the Settlement Commission to have his case settled under this Chapter:

    Provided that no such person shall be entitled to make an application under this section in a case where the Commissioner of Customs or any officer on his behalf has, on or before the date on which the Finance Act, 2000 receives the assent of the President, applied to the Appellate Tribunal for the determination of such points arising out of the decision or order specified by the Board in its order under sub-section (1) of section 129D or filed an appeal under sub-section (2) of section 129A, as the case may be.
  2. Any person referred to in sub-section (1) may make an application to the Appellate Tribunal for permission to withdraw the appeal.
  3. On receipt of an application under sub-section (2), the Appellate Tribunal shall grant permission to withdraw the appeal.
  4. Upon withdrawal of the appeal, the proceedings in appeal immediately before such withdrawal shall, for the purposes of this Chapter, be deemed to be a proceeding pending before a proper officer.
  5. An application to the Settlement Commission under this section shall be made within a period of thirty days from the date on which the order of the Appellate Tribunal permitting the withdrawal of the appeal is communicated to the person.
  6. An application made to the Settlement Commission under this section shall be deemed to be an application made under sub-section (1) of section 127B and the provisions of this Chapter, except sub-section (11) of section 127C and sub-section (1) of Section 127-I, shall apply accordingly.
  7. Where an application made to the Settlement Commission under this section is not entertained by the Settlement Commission, then, the appeal shall be deemed to have been revived before the Appellate tribunal and the provisions contained in section 129A, section 129B and section 129C shall, so far as may be, apply accordingly.
  8. The Settlement Commission may, if it is of the opinion that any person who made an application under sub-section (5) has not cooperated with proceeding before it, send the case back to the Appellate Tribunal and provisions containing in section 129A, section 129B and section 129C shall, so far as may be, apply accordingly.

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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