The Safeguard duty, though technically applicable from July 30, had been stuck till legal challenges to it, including its implementation were sorted at the Orissa HC. With this move, the duty will come into formal effect very soon.
The government finally has a clear road to impose the safeguard duty it had announced back in early August, that had been stuck in litigation at the Orissa HC. Clearing the air , the Supreme Court of India has allowed safeguard duty to be levied effective July 30, 2018. With this interim order, the apex court of the country has superceded the Orissa High Court’s stay order on levy of safeguard duty solar cells and modules imported from China, Malaysia, and developed countries..
According to a lawyer who attended the hearing at the Supreme Court, “The Ministry of Finance, had moved the apex court seeking relief from the stay order put on the levy of safeguard duty on solar cells and modules by the Orissa High Court. The court has given an interim order and the next hearing is scheduled for October. That means duty can be levied now, even as the court hears the case”.
The safeguard duty had been recommended by the DGTR at 25 percent safeguard duty on solar cell imports in the first year, followed by a phased down approach for a second year. In the first six months of the second year, a safeguard duty of 20 percent will be payable by exporters to India and in the latter half of the second year, exporters will pay a safeguard duty of 15 percent.
According to an industry source, the decision was expected, as the government or executive in this case, had taken subsequent steps to clarify the applicability, removing any confusion, and in any case, imposing such duties remains the ambit of the executive.