10 June 2024


Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal

Niligiris Mechanized Bakery Ltd. Vs. CCE, Bangalore




When the notification is very clear, there is no scope for entertaining any interpretation

The Appellant is engaged in the manufacture of cookies, biscuits, cakes, chocolates, sugar confectionaries; appellant was availing exemption under 8/2001 dated 1st March, 2001 amended from time to time as applicable to small-scale industries (SSI). The Appellants have availed the exemption on certain clearances of excisable goods chargeable to NIL rate of duty during the period 1st April, 2004 to 29th October, 2004 and claimed exemption as is applicable to clearance of non-excisable products in terms of Notification No. 08/2003. Department has denied the benefit and have issued a show cause notice which was confirmed by the lower authorities and was upheld by the impugned order.

The Appellants have been availing the exemption notification available for small-scale industries and have been filing intimations as required under Central Excise Rules. They have filed Intimations dated 1st April, 2003, 1st April, 2004 under Rule 11(6) and under Rule 173B of Central Excise Rules, 1944. They have filed a declaration effective from 1st March, 2001 indicating that they will be clearing bread, bun etc. falling under sub-heading 1985.90 of CETA chargeable to NIL rate of duty.

There is no ambiguity in the wordings of the Notification. The Appellant's submission that, they had a bona fide belief that goods attracted NIL rate of duty was same as non-excisable goods. There is no merit in the argument. As the notification is very clear, there is no scope for entertaining any interpretation as held by the Hon'ble Apex Court in the case of Dilip Kumar & Company.

As held by the Apex Court in the case of CCE Vs M/s. Alnoori Tobacco Products and Others, two cases cannot be compared unless they stand similar in all respects and that even a small fact can alter the circumstances. The Appellant is a regular manufacturer and has been availing the very same benefit for quite some time. In such circumstances, it is difficult to accept that, the Appellants had a bona fide belief. The Appellants have not given any declaration to the effect that, they manufacture excisable goods which are chargeable to NIL rate of duty and they consider the same to be non-excisable goods. The only declaration given by the Appellants that to with effect from 1st March, 2001 is to the effect that they are manufacturing bread, bun etc. falling under CETA 1985.90 and chargeable to NIL rate of duty.

It is not understood as to how the Department would be in the knowledge that the Appellants are manufacturing same goods in 2004 and would treat them as non-excisable goods. No clarification was obtained by the Appellants from the Department. It is not the case of the Appellants that, their unit has been subjected to audit in between. Under the circumstances, the Department had no way to be in the knowledge of the activities of the appellants. Therefore, it can only be concluded that, the Appellants have suppressed material facts from the Department. Extended period is rightly invokable. Appeal dismissed.

Tags : Demand Confirmation Legality

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