Heading 7610 Covers Aluminium Structures, Panels bearing the trade name Alpolic is composed of metal skins, a core and surface finish preparing and using in structures not classified in Heading 7606

IN THE CESTAT, SOUTH ZONAL BENCH, CHENNAI

Ms. Archana Wadhwa, Member (J) and Dr. Chittaranjan Satapathy, Member (T)

COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS (IMPORT), CHENNAI

Versus

ICP INDIA LTD.

Stay Order No. 246/2012, dated 2-5-2012 in Application No. C/Stay/287/2011 in Appeal No. C/393/2011

REPRESENTED BY:   Shri V.V. Hariharan, JCDR, for the Appellant.

                            None, for the Respondent.

[Order per: Chittaranjan Satapathy, Member (T)]. - Heard the learned JCDR. The respondents are not represented. However, the written submissions filed on behalf of the respondents are taken on record.

2.  The respondents have imported the impugned goods describing the same as `aluminum composite panels' seeking classification under CTH 7606 and claiming concessional rate of duty under Notification No. 21/2002. The original authority held the impugned goods to be classifiable under CTH 7610. On an appeal from the respondents, the lower appellate authority has, however, classified the impugned goods under CTH 7606 leading to the present appeal by the Department.

3.   CTH 7606 covers aluminum plates, sheets and strip, of a thickness exceeding 0.2 mm. On the other hand, CTH 7610 includes aluminum structures and parts thereof, and aluminum plates, profiles, rods, tubes and the like prepared for use in structures. The impugned goods are not aluminum plates, sheets and strip simplicitor and hence prima facie their classification under CTH 7606 appears to be ruled out. On the other hand, the impugned aluminum composite panels bearing the trade name Alpolic is composed of metal skins, a core and surface finish. Prima facie, such panels under import are processed and prepared material meant for use in structures and not mere aluminum plates, sheets or strip. Though normally use of a material by itself is not a determinant for classifying a product, CTH 7610 particularly refers to materials "processed for use in structures". Hence, the impugned goods which are prepared and used for cladding in structures, prima facie appear to be classifiable under CTH 7610. Further, we find that similar goods have been classified under Heading 7610 in the case of Rana Enterprises v. Commissioner of Customs, Mumbai - 2011 (267) E.L.T. 546, though in that case the competing entries considered were CTH 7610 and CTH 3920, out of which CTH 7610 was preferred by the Tribunal.

4.   In view of our findings as above, the impugned goods, prima facie, appear to merit classification under CTH 7610 and hence the balance of convenience lies in allowing the stay petition filed by the Department. We order accordingly and stay the operation of the impugned order of the lower appellate authority during the pendency of this appeal.

(Operative portion of the order was pronounced in open court today i.e. 2-5-2012)