Orissa HC isssued the date for the next hearing on the ongoing safeguard duty case. A look at what has happened in the case so far. This case has already led to the centre postponing the duty collection for the period of the case.
The Orissa High Court yesterday heard the petition filed against the levy of safeguard duty, and the court has fixed the next hearing on the case for August 27th, 2018.
On 24th July, the Orissa High Court had issued a stay order to ACME Solar in response to its petition, in which the court had directed the government not to issue any notification regarding Safeguard Duty until August 20, 2018 after the recommendations for the same were made by the Director-General of Trade Remedies (DGTR). After the release of the findings of the DGTR, the Solar Power Developers Association (SPDA) had written to the commerce ministry seeking complete exemption of the duty for projects currently under development.
However, the Department of Revenue working under the Ministry of Finance officially levied a 25 percent safeguard duty on imported solar panels from China and Malaysia based on the final recommendations proposed by the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) on 30th July, 2018 against the orders of the Orissa High Court.
Court filings from the very next day show that Hero Future Energies, ACME Solar and Vikram Solar have filed petitions against Director General (Safeguards) DG of Trade Remedies in the same high court. Noting that the safeguard duty notification was issued by the ministry despite the court’s stay order on any further notifications until August 20, the bench directed it to withdraw the notification until the proceedings of the case were completed.
Then, adhering to the recent stay order put in force by the Orissa HC on the safeguard duty notification, the Ministry of Finance announced that the government will, for the time being, not insist on the payment of safeguard duty on solar imports. The ministry clarified that imported solar cells and modules will be assessed provisionally on furnishing a simple letter of undertaking or bond, and will need to be cleared by the Court itself. In effect, simply deferring the collection of duty, not the duty itself.