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Thursday, May 7, 2015

As per the appellant, since the LCDs were classifiable under Chapter Heading 9013.80, in view of Notification No. 16/2000, and particularly Entry/S.No. 304 of the table of the said Notification, the goods classified under Heading 9013.80 attracted Nil rate of basic custom duty. That was the reason for claiming assessment at Nil rate insofar as basic duty is concerned. However, the case of the respondent/custom authorities is that on verification it was found that the goods were not simple liquid crystal. On the contrary, these were LCD Modules and Elastomeric LCD Displays and were part of Energy Meter. The relevant invoices also described the goods as “electronic part for energy meter”. The drawing and literature which were provided did not specify the purpose.= In accordance with Chapter Note 5, measuring or checking optical appliances, instruments and machines are excluded from this heading and fall in heading 90.31. Chapter Note 4, however, classifies certain refracting telescopes in this heading and not in heading 90.05. It should, moreover, be noted that optical instruments and appliances can fall not only in headings 90.01 to 90.12 but also in other headings of this Chapter (in particular, heading 90.15, 90.18 or 90.27). This heading includes: (1) Liquid crystal devices consisting of a liquid crystal layer sandwiched between two sheets or plates of glass or plastics, whether or not fitted with electrical connections, presented in the piece or cut to special shapes and not constituting articles described more specifically in other headings of the Nomenclature. xx xx xx” As per this, LCD would be covered by 'other devices' mentioned in 9013.80. That is precisely the case of the appellant. The upshot of the aforesaid discussion leads to the conclusion that the view taken by the Tribunal in the impugned judgment is unsustainable in law. We, thus, allow the appeal, set aside the orders of the authorities below and hold that LCDs imported by the appellant were classifiable under Chapter Heading 9013.80.

                                                                  REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO. 7526 OF 2004


|M/S. SECURE METERS LTD.                    |.....APPELLANT(S)            |
|VERSUS                                     |                             |
|COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS                    |                             |
|NEW DELHI                                  |.....RESPONDENT(S)           |


                               J U D G M E N T


A.K. SIKRI, J.
                 The appellant is engaged in the manufacture of  electricity
meters. In September 2000, the appellant imported a  consignment  consisting
of LCD Modules (Printed Circuit Boards) and  Liquid  Crystal  Display  (LCD)
from Hong Kong.  The classification of the LCD Module  is  not  in  dispute.
The dispute in the instant case relates  to  classification  of  LCDs.   The
appellant sought  clearance  of  LCDs  under  Chapter  Heading  9013.80  and
claimed assessment at Nil rate (basic duty),  16%  additional  duty  and  4%
SAD.  As per the appellant, since the LCDs were classifiable  under  Chapter
Heading 9013.80, in view  of  Notification  No.  16/2000,  and  particularly
Entry/S.No. 304 of the table of the said Notification, the goods  classified
under Heading 9013.80 attracted Nil rate of basic  custom  duty.   That  was
the reason for claiming assessment at Nil rate  insofar  as  basic  duty  is
concerned.  However, the case of the respondent/custom authorities  is  that
on verification it was found that the goods were not simple liquid  crystal.
 On the contrary, these were LCD Modules and Elastomeric  LCD  Displays  and
were part of Energy Meter.  The relevant invoices also described  the  goods
as “electronic part for energy meter”.  The  drawing  and  literature  which
were provided did not specify the purpose.

The Deputy Commissioner,  Customs  (Adjudicating  Authority),  thus,  passed
orders dated 31.08.2001 holding that LCDs were  classifiable  under  Chapter
Heading 9028.90 and not under 9013.80 as  claimed  by  the  appellant.   For
classifying the goods under the aforesaid category, recourse  to  Rule  3(c)
of the General Rules for the Interpretation of the First Schedule  –  Import
Tariff was taken by the  Adjudicating  Authority.  The  Deputy  Commissioner
observed that even if he considered the  goods  to  be  devices,  then  only
those LCD devices/displays which do not  constitute  articles  provided  for
more specifically in other heading would cover in Chapter Heading 9013  and,
accordingly, he took the view that  the  goods  are  specific  part  of  the
electricity meter and, thus,  classified  the  same  under  Chapter  Heading
9028.90 as parts of electricity meter.

The aforesaid order of the Adjudicating Authority has been affirmed  by  the
Commissioner as well as CESTAT resulting into dismissal of appeals filed  by
the appellant herein.  The decision of CESTAT reveals that appellant  relied
upon  its  earlier  decision  in  the  case  of  CCE,  Bombay  v.  Universal
Information Commn. Equipment Ltd.[1] However, the  Tribunal  has  held  that
the aforesaid decision is not applicable to the facts of the  present  case.
The Tribunal has accepted the contention of the Revenue  that  the  invoices
issued by the supplier of the goods specifically mentioned that  these  were
parts of electronic energy meters and even the appellant had  admitted  that
these goods had to be issued as parts of energy meter.

Since the appellant claims that the LCDs fall under Chapter Heading  9013.80
and the argument of the Revenue is that these are rightly  classified  under
Heading 9028.90, we may first take note of these Chapter Headings:
|Tariff Item      |  |Description of Goods                   |
|(1)              |  |(2)                                    |
|                 |  |                                       |
|9013             |  |Liquid Crystal Devices not constituting|
|                 |  |articles provided for more specifically|
|                 |  |in other headings; lasers, other than  |
|                 |  |laser diodes; other optical appliances |
|                 |  |and instruments, not specified or      |
|                 |  |included elsewhere in this Chapter     |
|                 |  |                                       |
|9013.80          |  |Other devices, appliances and          |
|                 |  |instruments;                           |
|                 |  |                                       |
|901380.10        |  |Liquid Crystal Devices (LCD)           |
|                 |  |                                       |
|9028             |  |Gas, Liquid or electricity supply or   |
|                 |  |production meters, including           |
|                 |  |calibrating meters therefor            |
|                 |  |                                       |
|9028.90          |  |Parts and accessories                  |
|                 |  |                                       |
|9028.90.10       |  |For electricity meters                 |


One thing is clear.  Both the tariff items  under  which  classification  is
sought by the appellant as well as the authorities, fall under  Chapter  90.
Therefore, it would be advisable to refer  to  the  relevant  provisions  of
Note 2 to Chapter 90 as these notes are inserted to guide how the goods  are
to be classified under this Chapter.  Heading of Chapter 90 is as follows:
“Optical, photographic,  cinematographic,  measuring,  checking,  precision,
medical  or  surgical  instruments  and  apparatus;  parts  and  accessories
thereof”


Note 1 of this Chapter stipulates certain items which are not covered  under
this Chapter.  Obviously, this Note does  not  concern  us  in  the  present
appeal.  Note 2, which is material for  the  purposes  of  this  appeal,  is
reproduced below:
“  2.  Subject  to  Note  1  above,  parts  and  accessories  for  machines,
apparatus, instruments or articles of this  Chapter  are  to  be  classified
according to the following rules:

(a)  Parts and accessories which are goods included in any of  the  headings
of this Chapter or of Chapter 84, 85 or 91 (other than  heading  No.84,  85,
85.48 or 90.33) are in all  cases  to  be  classified  in  their  respective
headings;

(b)  other parts and accessories, if suitable for use solely or  principally
with a particular kind of  machine,  instrument  or  apparatus,  or  with  a
number of machines, instruments or apparatus of the same heading  (including
a machine, instrument or apparatus of heading No.  90.10,  90.13  or  90.31)
are to be classified with the machines, instruments  or  apparatus  of  that
kind;

(c) all other parts and accessories are to  be  classified  in  heading  No.
90.33.”

It is not in dispute that the goods in question which are  imported  by  the
appellant are LCDs.  It is also not in dispute that these devices  are  used
in electricity supply meters.   Since  the  LCDs  are  used  for  electronic
supply meters by the appellant, the Revenue  has  taken  the  view  that  it
would fall in tariff item No. 9028.90 as that entry  specifically  includes,
amongst others, electricity supply meters.  As LCDs are used as part of  the
electricity supply meters, they are held to  be  covered  under  sub-heading
9028.90 by the Revenue.  It  may  be  emphasised  that  in  coming  to  this
conclusion, the authorities below have been influenced by the fact that  the
goods imported are actually used as parts of electronic  energy  meters  and
the appellant has even admitted the same.

Challenging the  aforesaid  view  of  the  authorities,  submission  of  Mr.
Lakshmikumaran, learned counsel appearing for the appellant,  is  that  when
the specific  description  of  the  goods  in  question,  namely,  LCDs,  is
distinctly covered by another tariff item  which  is  9013,  it  has  to  be
classified in that entry and the factum of its use as part or  accessory  in
the electronic energy meters would be of no consequence and,  therefore,  it
cannot be held to  be  covered  by  tariff  item  9028.90.  The  submission,
precisely, was that whenever a particular item of goods falls in a  specific
tariff item, it has to be classified under the said tariff item and  not  in
other item where it can be used as part thereof.

Mr. Lakshmikumaran has also placed heavy reliance upon Note  2  attached  to
Chapter 90 and argued that as per Note 2(a), parts  and  accessories,  which
has goods included in any of the headings of said Chapter 90 (or of  Chapter
84, 85 or 91), are to be classified in their respective headings.

Ms.   Kiran   Suri,   learned   senior    counsel    appearing    for    the
respondent/department, argued, per contra, that in the  present  case  goods
were specifically meant for use as parts in electric meters, which  is  even
accepted by the appellant.  Therefore, Note 2 would not apply in this  case.
 She submitted that under these circumstances it  is  the  General  Rule  of
Interpretation that would apply and referred to Rule 3  of  the  said  Rules
and contended  that  if  the  goods  are  classifiable  under  two  or  more
headings,  on  the  application  of  Rule  2(b)  of  the  General  Rules  of
Interpretation, then the classification has to be in the  manner  stipulated
in Rule 3 of the General Rules.  Rules 2 and 3 are as under:
“2. (a) Any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken  to  include
a reference to that article incomplete  or  unfinished,  provided  that,  as
presented, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential  character
of the complete or finished article.  It shall also be taken  to  include  a
reference to that article complete or finished (or falling to be  classified
as complete or finished by virtue of this  rule)  presented  unassembled  or
dis-assembled.

(b)  Any reference in a heading to a material or substance  shall  be  taken
to include a reference to mixtures  or  combinations  of  that  material  or
substance with other materials or substances.  Any reference to goods  of  a
given material or substance shall be taken to include a reference  to  goods
consisting  wholly  or  partly  of  such   material   or   substance.    The
classification of goods consisting of more than one  material  or  substance
shall be according to the principles of rule 3.

3.  When by application of rule 2(b) or for any  other  reason,  goods  are,
prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings,  classification  shall
be effected as follows:

(a) The heading which  provides  the  most  specific  description  shall  be
preferred to headings providing a more general description.   However,  when
two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or  substances
contained in mixed or composite goods or to part only of the items in a  set
put up for retail sale,  those  headings  are  to  be  regarded  as  equally
specific in relation to those gods,  even  if  one  of  them  gives  a  more
complete or precise description of the goods.

(b)  Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made  up
of different components, and goods put up in sets  for  retail  sale,  which
cannot be classified by reference to (a), shall be  classified  as  if  they
consisted of the material or component  which  gives  them  their  essential
character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

(c)  When goods cannot be classified by reference to (a) or (b), they  shall
be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical  order  among
those which equally merit consideration.”

She argued that as per Rule 3(a) of the Rules, it was incumbent to  classify
the goods in that heading which provides 'the most specific description'  in
contrast with the heading providing for a  more  general  description.   She
also referred to the following portion of the assessment order made  by  the
Commissioner of Customs to buttress her aforesaid submission:
“Even if we ignore the above definition of device and consider the  imported
parts i.e. Liquid Crystal  Displays  to  be  “devices”,  only  those  liquid
crystal devices/displays which do not constitute article provided  for  more
specifically in other headings will be  covered  in  CTH  90.13.   In  other
words, liquid crystal devices/displays which do not specifically  form  part
of a specific type of equipment will be classified  here.   General  purpose
LCD, for example the one displaying only 0-9 numbers, which can be  attached
to several devices/equipments and cannot be specifically covered in any  one
heading as parts are to  be  classified  here  if  they  are  considered  as
devices.   Had  the   intention   been   to   cover   all   Liquid   Crystal
Devices/displays in CTH 90.13 there was no need for the description -

“Liquid  Crystal  Devices  not  constituting  articles  provided  for   more
specifically in other headings.”

And “Liquid Crystal Device” would have been sufficient  instead.   The  only
way to make Liquid  Crystal  Device/display  more  specifically  covered  in
other heading is to make it a part of a  specific  articles  as  in  present
case.

There can be an argument whether being part of a  specific  goods  can  make
LCD more specifically covered in that  heading  as  part  of  the  specified
equipment as compared to CTH 90.13, but there can  be  no  doubt  that  such
situation certainly  makes  it  classifiable  in  other  heading  (e.g.  CTH
9029.90 in present case).  And when any good is classifiable in two or  more
headings, then as per Rule 3(c) of General  Rules  for  Interpretation,  the
heading which occurs last in numeric order is to be preferred.”

We have given  due  consideration  to  the  aforesaid  submissions  made  by
learned counsel for the parties.

We may point out at the outset that Rule 3 of the General  Rules,  which  is
sought to be invoked by the Department, would be seen and  examined  if  the
classification cannot be determined according to the terms of  the  headings
and relevant Section and Chapter Notes thereof.  It is clearly  provided  in
Rule 1 of the General Rules itself, which reads as under:
“Classification  of  goods  in  this  Schedule  shall  be  governed  by  the
following principles:

1.  The titles of Sections, Chapters and sub-Chapters are provided for  ease
of reference only; for legal purposes, classification  shall  be  determined
according to the terms of the headings and any relative Section  or  Chapter
Notes and, provided  such  headings  or  Notes  do  not  otherwise  require,
according to the following provisions:

                         xx          xx         xx”

                 It is manifest from the reading of this Rule that  we  will
have to first undertake the exercise of finding out as to whether the  goods
in question can be classified, taking aid of  the  Chapter  Notes  on  which
reliance is placed.  This position is  made  amplified  in  Commissioner  of
Central Excise, Nagpur v. Simplex Mills Co. Ltd.[2], this  Court  held  that
the Rules for the Interpretation of  the  Schedule  to  the  Central  Excise
Tariff Act, 1985 have been framed pursuant to the powers under Section 2  of
that Act.  The relevant para is reproduced below:

“11. The Rules for the Interpretation of the Schedule to the Central  Excise
Tariff Act, 1985 have been framed pursuant to the powers under Section 2  of
that Act.  According to Rule 1  titles  of  sections  and  chapters  in  the
Schedule are provided for ease of reference only.  But for  legal  purposes,
classification “shall be determined according to the terms of  the  headings
and any relevant section or chapter notes”.  If neither the heading nor  the
notes suffice to clarify the scope of a heading, then it must  be  construed
according to the other following provisions contained in the Rules.  Rule  1
gives primacy to the section and chapter  notes  along  with  terms  of  the
headings.  They should be first applied.  If no clear picture  emerges  then
only can one resort to the subsequent rules.   The  appellants  have  relied
upon Rule 3.  Rule 3 must be understood only in the context of sub-rule  (b)
of Rule 2 which says inter alia that the classification of goods  consisting
of more than one material or substance shall be according to the  principles
contained in Rule 3.  Therefore when goods  are  prima  facie,  classifiable
under two or more headings, classification shall be  effected  according  to
sub-rules (a), (b) and (c) of Rule 3 and in that order.  The  sub-rules  are
quoted:

“3. (a)  The heading which provides the most specific description  shall  be
preferred to heading providing a more general  description.   However,  when
two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or  substances
contained in mixed or composite goods or to part only  of  the  items  in  a
set, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific  in  relation  to
those goods,  even  if  one  of  them  gives  a  more  complete  or  precise
description of the goods.

(b)  Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made  up
of different  components,  and  goods  put  up  in  sets,  which  cannot  be
classified by reference to (a), shall be classified as if they consisted  of
the material or  component  which  gives  them  their  essential  character,
insofar as this criterion is applicable.

(c)  When goods cannot be classified by reference to (a) or (b), they  shall
be classified under the heading which occurs last  in  the  numerical  order
among those which equally merit consideration.”

            Before we advert to this core  issue,  let  us  understand  what
constitutes LCDs and its functions, with adequate clarity.

In Bloomsbury Dictionary of 'Science  for  Everyone',  LCD  and  LED  (light
emitting diode) are described in the following manner:
“LCD AND LED

The two principal methods of forming  number  sand  letters  on  instruments
such as calculators and digital watches.  A basic pattern of seven  bars  is
used to form the digits 0 to 9 and several letters.  To form  other  letters
and symbols, more than seven bars are required.

In the LED (light-emitting diode), the bars are made  of  a  substance  that
permits an electric current to  flow  through  in  one  direction  only.   A
substance used in this way is called a diode.  As  the  current  flows,  the
diode gives off red, blue, yellow, or other  coloured  light,  depending  on
the compound of which it is made.   For  example,  gallium  phosphide  (GaP)
emits a green glow.  Electric circuits in the  instrument  selectively  turn
on the current to the bars to form the various numbers and letters.

In the LCD (liquid crystal display), the bars are made of  liquid  crystals.
These are a kind of hybrid material, not quite a  liquid  and  not  quite  a
solid.  They can't be  poured  readily,  as  with  liquids,  nor  are  their
molecules locked in place, as with true solids.  But the  molecules  can  be
rotated slightly by an electric current.  When no current  flows,  the  bars
are not noticeable, because they reflect light to the  same  extent  as  the
rest of the display surface.  But when a current flows through  a  bar,  its
molecules rotate and its ability to reflect  light  is  reduced.   That  bar
appears darker than the area around  it  and  forms  part  of  a  number  or
letter.

You can produce  a  similar  darkening  effect,  called  polarization,  with
Polaroid sunglasses.  Hold the glasses several centimeters from one eye  and
look through one lens at a shiny,  sunlit  surface.   Rotate  the  lens  and
observe the darkening.

Liquid crystals can be made to order to do a particular job.   For  example,
one kind of crystal is sensitive to slight temperature changes.  It is  used
in thermometers where the number representing the temperature appears,  then
disappears, to be succeeded by a higher or lower number as  the  temperature
changes.”

                 The basic pattern of digits or letters which is  formed  in
these LCDs is as follows:
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
a c e f h I j l p u

            As is clear from the above, in the LCD  the  bars  are  made  of
liquid crystals which are neither liquid nor solid entirely,  but  a  hybrid
material of the  two.   The  molecules  are  rotated  slightly  by  electric
current making a particular bar darker  than  the  area  around  it  thereby
forming part of a number or letter.

Keeping in mind the aforesaid nature of product in question,  we  revert  to
the tariff entries.  It  cannot  be  disputed  that  LCDs  are  specifically
provided in tariff item 9013.  The only condition is that such  LCDs  should
not constitute 'articles' provided more specifically in other headings.   In
the present case, it is also not  in  dispute  that  LCDs  imported  by  the
appellant did not constitute any such 'article' which is  more  specifically
provided in other headings.  On the contrary, the Revenue wants  to  include
in the same Chapter, i.e. Chapter  90,  though  under  Entry  9028.90.10  as
“parts and accessories”.  The only reason  for  including  the  goods  under
Chapter Heading 9028 is that the LCDs were to be  used  in  the  electricity
supply meters.  However, Entry 9028  does  not  pertain  to  LCDs  but  gas,
liquid, etc.  and  includes  electricity  supply  meters  as  well.   Merely
because these LCDs are to be used as parts in the  said  electricity  supply
meters, can it be said that they are to be included in  Entry  9028?   Here,
Note 2 of this Chapter Notes becomes important since LCDs are  used  in  the
electricity supply meters only as parts thereof.
            Note 2(a) stipulates that parts and accessories which are  goods
included in the heading of the said Chapter, i.e.  Chapter  90,  are  to  be
classified in their respective headings.  Going  by  the  plain  reading  of
Note 2(a) it is clear that LCDs, which are goods and are used  as  parts  in
the final product  mentioned  in  Chapter  90,  namely,  electricity  supply
meters, are to be classified in its respective heading. Respective  heading,
which is specifically provided, is 9013.

It was sought to be argued by Ms. Kiran Suri that as  per  Note  2(b),  when
these LCDs are used solely for particular  instrument,  namely,  electricity
supply meter, it has to be classified with the said  meter  and,  therefore,
Chapter Entry 9028 would get attracted.  However, this argument loses  sight
of the fact that  Note  2(b)  relates  to  'other  parts  and  accessories',
namely, it would apply to those parts and accessories for  which  Note  2(a)
is inapplicable.  Once we find that in the present case Note  2(a)  squarely
applies, the irresistible conclusion is that the goods  will  be  classified
in tariff item 9013, which is the specific heading for these goods.

In Collector of Central Excise v. Delton Cables Ltd. & Anr.[3],  this  Court
has held, while interpreting Notes 2(a) and  2(b)  of  Chapter  Heading  85,
which is virtually to the same effect, that Note 2(b) would  apply  only  if
the items  in  question  were  not  specifically  classifiable  under  their
respective headings.  Para 4 of the said judgment, to this effect, reads  as
under:
“4.  It is clear from a reading of the two clauses to the section note  that
clause (b) would only apply once it was found that  the  items  in  question
were not specifically classifiable under their respective headings.  As  has
been clearly said by the Collector (Appeals)

“from the sequence of the paragraphs given under Section Note 2 it is  clear
that the question of switching over to Section  Note  2(b)  can  arise  only
after ensuring that the parts are not covered  by  Section  Note  2(b)  [sic
Section Note 2(a)] which begins with the expression  “other  parts”  meaning
thereby that the parts which are not covered by Section Note 2(a)  would  be
considered  for  coverage  by  Section  Note  2(b).   One  cannot  therefore
directly jump over to Section Note 2(b) without exhausting  the  possibility
of Section Note 2(a).”


The aforesaid view of ours gets strengthened from Part-III of Chapter  Notes
to Chapter 90.  We may mention here that after studying the  Chapter  Notes,
Note 2 whereof is reproduced above, there are  certain  guidelines  provided
under the caption 'General'.  Part-I thereof deals with General Content  and
Arrangement of the Chapter; Part-II  deals  with  Incomplete  or  Unfinished
Machines, Apparatus, etc.; and Part-III deals with  Parts  and  Accessories.
We are reproducing here this portion in order to show how  it  supports  the
view which we have proposed to take as indicated above:
                        “(III) PARTS AND ACCESSORIES

Subject to Chapter Note 1, parts or  accessories  identifiable  as  suitable
for use solely or principally with the machines, appliances, instruments  or
apparatus of this Chapter are classified with  those  machines,  appliances,
etc.

This general rule does not, however, apply to:

(1)  Parts or accessories which in themselves  constitute  articles  falling
in any particular heading of this Chapter or of Chapter 84, 85 or 91  (other
than the  residual  heading  84,  85,  85.48  heading  84.14;  transformers,
electro-magnets, capacitors,  resistors,  relays,  lamps  or  valves,  etc.,
remain classified in Chapter 85; the optical elements of  heading  90.01  or
90.02 remain  in  the  headings  cited  regardless  of  the  instruments  or
apparatus to which they are to be fitted;  a  clock  or  watch  movement  is
always classified in Chapter 91; a  photographic  camera  falls  in  heading
90.06 even if it is of a kind  designed  for  use  with  another  instrument
(microscope, stroboscope, etc.)

(2)  Parts or accessories  suitable  for  use  with  several  categories  of
machines,  appliances,  instruments  or  apparatus  falling   in   different
headings of this Chapter are classified in heading 90.33,  unless  they  are
in themselves complete instruments, etc., specified in another heading  (see
paragraph (1) above).”

This contains a general explanation to Chapter  Note  2  and  mentions  that
where parts or accessories  identifiable  as  suitable  for  use  solely  or
principally with the machines, appliances, etc., they are to  be  classified
with  those  machines/appliances.  However,  what  is  important   is   that
immediately thereafter it is clarified that  this  general  rule  would  not
apply in certain circumstances.  Sub-para of the above takes  things  beyond
the pale of any doubt by making  it  crystal  clear  that  those  parts  and
accessories  which  in  themselves  constitute  'article'  falling  in   any
particular heading of this Chapter, the general  rule  will  not  apply  and
said article would fall in that particular heading.   To  demonstrate  this,
examples which are given, eminently fit into the case at hand.

The  aforesaid  view  of  ours  gets  further  cemented  on  going   through
Explanatory Notes issued by the World Customs  Organization.   Volume  4  of
the  Second  Edition  (1996),  which   covers   Chapters   85-97,   contains
explanatory note in respect of item mentioned at 90.13, with  which  we  are
directly concerned herein.  Relevant portion thereof reads as under:
“90.13 – LIQUID CRYSTAL DEVICES NOT CONSTITUTING ARTICLES PROVIDED FOR  MORE
SPECIFICALLY IN OTHER HEADINGS:  LASERS,  OTHER  THAN  LASER  DIODES;  OTHER
OPTICAL APPLIANCES AND INSTRUMENTS, NOT SPECIFIED OR INCLUDED  ELSEWHERE  IN
THIS CHAPTER.

|9013.10  |- |Telescopic sights for fitting to    |
|         |  |arms; periscopes; telescopes        |
|         |  |designed to form parts of machines, |
|         |  |appliances, instruments or apparatus|
|         |  |of this Chapter or Section XVI      |
|         |  |                                    |
|9013.20  |- |Lasers, other than laser diodes     |
|         |  |                                    |
|9013.80  |- |Other devices, appliances and       |
|         |  |instruments                         |
|         |  |                                    |
|9013.90  |- |Parts and accessories               |

In  accordance  with  Chapter  Note  5,  measuring   or   checking   optical
appliances, instruments and machines are  excluded  from  this  heading  and
fall  in  heading  90.31.   Chapter  Note  4,  however,  classifies  certain
refracting telescopes in this heading and not in heading 90.05.  It  should,
moreover, be noted that optical instruments  and  appliances  can  fall  not
only in headings 90.01 to 90.12 but also in other headings of  this  Chapter
(in particular, heading 90.15, 90.18 or 90.27).  This heading includes:

(1) Liquid crystal devices consisting of a liquid crystal  layer  sandwiched
between two sheets or plates of glass or plastics,  whether  or  not  fitted
with electrical connections, presented  in  the  piece  or  cut  to  special
shapes and not constituting articles described more  specifically  in  other
headings of the Nomenclature.

                         xx          xx         xx”

                 As per this,  LCD  would  be  covered  by  'other  devices'
mentioned in 9013.80.  That is precisely the case of the appellant.


The upshot of the aforesaid discussion leads  to  the  conclusion  that  the
view taken by the Tribunal in the  impugned  judgment  is  unsustainable  in
law.  We, thus, allow the appeal, set aside the orders  of  the  authorities
below and hold that LCDs imported by the appellant were  classifiable  under
Chapter Heading 9013.80.


                             .............................................J.
                                                                (A.K. SIKRI)



                             .............................................J.
                                                     (ROHINTON FALI NARIMAN)

NEW DELHI;
MAY 05, 2015.
-----------------------
[1]

      1997 (94) ELT 543
[2]   (2005) 3 SCC 51
[3]   (2005) 12 SCC 284

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