New Delhi, Jan 29: The Delhi High Court has now made a clear definition of what is sandal and what is chappal. Distinguishing between the chappal and sandal, the Court says Woman's footwear without the back strap is a sandal. The judgment came after a Chennai-based footwear manufacturer, Wishall International, challenged the woman’s footwear without a back strap is a chappal and not a sandal.The issue assumed significance as the export of sandals attracts a 10 per cent customs duty drawback, while that of 'chappals' attracted only five per cent duty. The government had withdrawn a 10 per cent duty drawback given to a footwear manufacturer saying the footwear exported by it were 'chappals' as these did not have back strap.
Disagreeing with the government's view, a bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and Najmi Waziri ruled, "The respondents (Centre and the Revenue Department), in our opinion, acted upon prejudice and a preconceived notion that ladies sandals cannot be without a back strap.
The court said that an expert body, Council of Leather Exports which routinely dealt with such issues in the context of export, had based on evidence and instructions of the government, furnished an opinion that goods were sandals and not chappals. It also said there was no evidence to hold that the Council's opinion was insufficient.
Wishall International, challenging the government's position that a woman's footwear without a back strap was a chappal and not a sandal. The firm in May 2003 had filed a shipping bill to export the consignment declared as "ladies leather sandals" claiming 10 per cent customs duty drawback.