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I am directed to say that certain doubts have been expressed regarding the correct classification of Photo Identity Cards and Holograms - whether these should be classified under Chapter 39 as articles of plastics or under 49 as products to printing industry.
2. The production of photo-identity cards involves videography of the person, computerised capture of the videographed image, merging of the image with the data of the person already entered in the computer and the computerised printing out of the merged data and the image through a laser printer. This print out is verified, validated and pasted with the Holograms of the State emblem and then cut, folded and laminated before issue to the person.
3. The Board has carefully considered the matter. It is felt that Photo-Identity cards get their distinctive character and identity because of the data imprinted on them and not because of the material they are made of or because of their shape and size. Thus, Photo-Identity cards are a distinct product as compared to other identifiable articles of plastic.
4. Section note (2) of Section VII of Central Excise Tariff also clearly excludes Photo-identity cards from the purview of Chapter 39 and places them squarely under Chapter 49.
5. On the other hand, Chapter note (2) of Chapter 49 states that printed also means reproduced by means of a duplicating machine, produced under the control of a computer, embossed, photographed, photo-copied, thermocopied or typewritten. Further, as per general explanatory notes to HSN- page 691, with the few exceptions as referred to in these notes, Chapter 49 covers all printed matter of which the essential nature and use is determined by the fact of its being printed with motifs, characters or pictorial representations.
6. Keeping in view the distinctive character, process of manufacture, relevant tariff headings Section notes, Chapter noted and HSN notes, the Board is of the view that Photo-Identity Cards and Holograms merit classification under Sub-Heading 4901.90 of the Schedule to the Central Excise & Tariff Act, 1985.
7. All pending disputes may be finalized in view of the above guidelines. Field formations and trade may be informed accordingly.