The Madras High Court has asked domestic project developer Shapoorji Pallonji and the Office of the Director General (DG) of Safeguards to submit written statements on the ongoing safeguard duty case.
The request comes after Shapoorji Pallonji asked the court to intervene in the matter after the DG of Safeguards recommended imposing a 70 percent safeguard duty on solar cells imported from China and Malaysia for a period of 200 days.
The Madras High Court’s order came after an oral hearing held on March 2, 2018. This was the fifth hearing on the safeguard duty case. The first hearing took place on January 19, followed by another on February 2. The third hearing was held on February 13, followed by another on February 23.
A source at Jupiter Solar told Mercom, “The DG Safeguards imposed an interim duty of 70 percent on January 5, 2018 and this duty was to be imposed for a period of 200 days parallel to the investigation. If the investigation later found that the duty should be less than 70 percent or not to be imposed at all, then the importers would get a refund.”
“So, in essence, there was no basis for why Shapoorji Pallonji had to file for a stay order in the first place stating that they were not given enough time because they will be heard during the investigation anyway. But that said, they still managed to get a stay order and after a few postponements, the oral hearing at the Madras High Court from the parties – Shapoorji Pallonji and DG – took place on March 2, 2018 and the judge asked for the written submission of the oral hearing to be presented by March 9, 2018. The safeguard duty petitioners expect the judge to present his findings in a week or two, after which the investigation will proceed parallel to the imposition of safeguard duty,” the Jupiter Solar source added.
When contacted, neither Shapoorji Pallonji nor Madras High Court officials were willing to comment on the current status of the case.
Quick recap of the ongoing case
On January 22, 2018, the Madras High Court put a temporary stay on the recommendation to levy a 70 percent safeguard duty on solar components imported to India.
The court arrived at the decision after listening to a petition filed by project developer Shapoorji Pallonji that requested the court intervene in the matter.
In a preliminary finding issued in January, the Directorate General of Safeguards Customs and Central Excise had recommended a 70 percent safeguard duty be imposed on solar cells imported from China and Malaysia for a period of 200 days.
The recommendation came after the Indian Solar Manufacturers Association (ISMA) filed a petition with the Directorate General of Safeguards Customs and Central Excise in December 2017, that sought the imposition of a safeguard duty on imported solar cells from China, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan.
Image credit: By Milei.vencel (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons