central excise rebate from re rolling mill

hans steel rolling mill v. commissioner of central excise, chandigarh . | supreme court of india | judgment | law | casemine

hans steel rolling mill v. commissioner of central excise, chandigarh . | supreme court of india | judgment | law | casemine

Balbir Singh, Rajesh Kumar, Sangeeta Chaudhary, Rupender Sinhmar, Deepak, Abhishek Singh Baghel, V. Shekhar S., H.R Rao, Arijit Prasad, Jatin Rajput, B.V Balaram Das and B. Krishna Prasad, Advocates, for the appearing parties.

Balbir Singh, Rajesh Kumar, Sangeeta Chaudhary, Rupender Sinhmar, Deepak, Abhishek Singh Baghel, V. Shekhar S., H.R Rao, Arijit Prasad, Jatin Rajput, B.V Balaram Das and B. Krishna Prasad, Advocates, for the appearing parties.

Dr. M.K Sharma, J. The issue that falls for consideration in these appeals is as to whether the provisions of time-limit that are contained in Section 11-A of the Central Excise Act, 1944 (in short the Act) are applicable to the recovery of amounts due under the compound levy scheme for hot re-rolling mills, under the Hot Re-rolling Steel Mills Annual Capacity Determination Rules, 1997 (the 1997 Rules) because otherwise, it is a separate scheme for the collection of Central excise duty for the goods manufactured in the country.

3. The appellants are engaged in the manufacture of iron and steel products falling under Chapters 72 and 73 of the Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985. During the period ranging from 1-9-1997 to 31-3-2000, the goods manufactured by the appellants were chargeable to Central excise duty in terms of Section 3-A of the Act. As per the Act, the duty was supposed to be paid on the annual production capacity of the plant, irrespective of the actual production. Under the scheme of Section 3-A, the payment of duty is to be under Rule 96-ZP of the Central Excise Rules.

4. The 1997 Rules were introduced by Notification No. 32/97-CE (NT) dated 1-8-1997, wherein the manner and procedure for determination of annual capacity of rolling mill was provided. On 27-4-1998, the Commissioner of Central Excise determined the annual capacity to be 3355 MT. Being aggrieved by the determination made, the appellants filed an appeal before the Customs, Excise and Gold (Control) Appellate Tribunal, New Delhi (in short the Tribunal) whereby and whereunder the Tribunal remanded the matter back to the Commissioner for the redetermination of the value.

5. A show-cause notice was issued to the appellants on 3-11-1998, contending that the demand of the duty has to be based on the capacity determination of 3355 MT, for which the recovery of duty under Section 11-A of the Act amounting to Rs. 2,19,750.00 was to be made.

6. On 11-12-1998, the appellants changed the parameters of their re-rolling mill and applied for the redetermination of the annual capacity for fresh declaration in terms of the 1997 Rules. On 31-5-1999, the Commissioner passed an order based on Rule 5 of the 1997 Rules stating the capacity as 1890 MT.

7. During the pendency of the final redetermination, the Central Excise Department issued a demand notice under Section 11 of the Act, for recovery of duty. Aggrieved by the same, the appellants filed a writ petition before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, whereby and whereunder the High Court set aside the demand notice and directed the Revenue to redetermine the annual capacity.

8. On 4-1-2001, the Commissioner of Central Excise readjudicated the matter and determined the annual capacity for the period 1-9-1997 to 31-3-2000 to be 1890 MT. The appellant filed an appeal before the Tribunal against the same. On 8-4-2002, the larger Bench of the Tribunal, held that in case of the manufacturer operating under the compound levy scheme in terms of Section 3-A of the Act, and Rule 96-ZP of the Central Excise Rules, recovery mechanism provided in terms of Section 11-A of the Act is not to be followed and hence the matter was to be remanded back to the Commissioner for redetermination.

9. Still aggrieved, the appellants filed the present appeals on which we heard the learned counsel appearing for the parties, who have taken us through various orders passed by the different authorities and also through other connected records. Having considered the same, we proceed to dispose of the present appeal by recording our reasons for our conclusion.

10. It was submitted by the counsel appearing for the appellants that the provisions of Section 11-A of the Act are mandatory for recovery of any duty short-levied and short-paid. The learned counsel for the petitioner further contended that Section 11-A of the Act stipulates the procedure to be followed invariably and without exception for recovery of any duty which has not been levied or not paid or short-paid or erroneously refunded. The counsel referred to sub-section (2) of Section 11-A of the Act which stipulated that the determination of the amount of duty short-levied, etc., from a person is to be made after considering his representation in the matter. In this case since the recovery proceedings have been initiated under Section 11 of the Act, the procedural requirements for issuing notice, determining the amount, etc., have not been satisfied at all. The counsel further submitted that there is no exception in the Central Excise Act or the Rules regarding the procedure of recovery.

11. The aforesaid submissions of the counsel appearing for the appellants were however refuted by the counsel appearing for the respondent. The learned counsel for the respondent has pointed out that under the compound levy scheme, the appellants opted for the payment of duty at compounded rates and filed declarations furnishing details about the annual capacity of production and duty payable on such capacity of production. Once the Commissioner approved such applications, payments are to be made in terms of Rule 96-ZP of the Central Excise Rules.

13. On going through the records it is clearly established that the appellants are availing the facilities under the compound levy scheme, which they themselves opted for and filed declarations furnishing details about the annual capacity of production and duty payable on such capacity of production. It has to be taken into consideration that the compounded levy scheme for collection of duty based on annual capacity of production under Section 3 of the Act and the 1997 Rules is a separate scheme from the normal scheme for collection of Central excise duty on goods manufactured in the country. Under the same, Rule 96-ZP of the Central Excise Rules stipulate the method of payment and Rule 96-ZP contains detailed provision regarding time and manner of payment and it also contains provisions relating to payment of interest and penalty in event of delay in payment or non-payment of dues. Thus, this is a comprehensive scheme in itself and general provisions in the act and the rules are excluded.

14. The judgments of this Court in CCE & Customs v. Venus Castings (P) Ltd. 2000 4 SCC 206 and Union of India v. Supreme Steels and General Mills 2001 9 SCC 645 have clearly laid down the principle that the compound levy scheme is a separate scheme altogether and an assessee opting for the scheme is bound by the terms of that particular scheme. It is settled matter now that Section 11-A of the Act has no application for recovery under different schemes.

15. In Collector Of Central Excise, Jaipur v. Raghuvar (India) Ltd. 2000 5 SCC 299 this Court has categorically stated that Section 11-A of the Act is not an omnibus provision which stipulates limitation for every kind of action to be taken under the Act or the Rules. An example can be drawn with the modvat Scheme, because even in that particular scheme, Section 11-A of the Act had no application with regard to time-limit in the administration of that scheme.

16. We are in agreement with the finding and decision arrived at by the Tribunal that the importing of elements of one scheme of tax administration to a different scheme of tax administration would be wholly inappropriate as it would disturb the smooth functioning of that unique scheme. The time-limit prescribed for one scheme could be completely unwarranted for another scheme and the time-limit prescribed under Section 11-A of the Act is no exception.

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