The Supreme Court in a case of Canon India Private limited, has explained the word “The”. Explaining the section 28(4) of the Custom act, the Supreme Court explained that in the english language ,there are two articles – “a(an)” and “The”. A (an) is an indefinite article which refers to a particular person of things whereas “The” is a definite article which refers a particular person or things. SC further clarified that “The proper officer” need not be the very officer who has cleared the goods but may be his successor in the groups.
The SC further stated that where the power has been so conferred to specially to the “The proper officer”, which must be the officer who in the first instance has cleared the goods. Indeed it must be so because no fiscal statute has been shown to us where the power to reopen the assessment has been conferred to the officer other than the officer of the rank of officer who has initially took the decision. There are other issues in this case.
The SC has classically discussed the difference of meaning the word “A(An)” and “The” and consequently the importer has got the heavy relief from the impugned order of CESTAT which was against the importer.