1. This is an appeal to the Gold Control Administrator aganst an order-in-original dated 7th June, 1982 passed by the Additional Collector of Central Excise, Meerut, which has been transferred to the Tribunal for disposal.
2. The case could not be heard on 15th February, 1982 as the records had not been received by the Department. At the adjourned hearing on 2nd March, 1982, Shri K.R. Mehta, Consultant explained the facts of the case and his arguments against the order appealed against. Before he could complete, however, the Tribunal raised the question as to the appropriate authority to decide this appeal in view of old Section 80 of the Gold (Control) Act and the revised Sections 80 and 81, whereby appeals against a decision or order made by a Collector of Central Excise or Customs are to be preferred to the Administrator or the Appellate Tribunal respectively, and appeals against an order made by any officer below the rank of Collector are to be preferred to the Collector/Appellate Collector or the Collector (Appeals) respectively.
3. Shri Mehta and the Senior Departmental Representative, Shri Yuvraj Gupta, were both heard in this regard.
4. It could be seen that that the term 'Collector' has not been defined in Section 2 or elsewhere in the Act. "Gold Control Officer" is appointed under Section 4, Under Sub-section (4), the Administrator can delegate powers other than in (i) Clause (6) (exercise of functions and powers conferred on officers lower in rank to the Administrator); (ii) Clause (a) of Sub-section (1) of Section 80; and (iii) under Section 81. Under Section 80(1)(a), any person aggrieved by any decision by a Collector of Central Excise or Customs, can appeal to the Administrator; and under Section 81, the Administrator has power of revision.
5. Sections 80, 81 and 82 have been substantially amended by Section 50 of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1980. According to Section 80(1), an appeal from an order passed by a Gold Control Officer lower in rank than a Collector lies to the Collector (Appeals). According to Section 81(1), appeals to the Appellate Tribunal lie against (a) an order passed by a Collector as an adjudicating authority; (b) an order passed by a Collector (Appeals); (c) an order passed by the Administrator, Collector or Appellate Collector under Section 80 as it stood immediately before the appointed day; and (d) an order by the Administrator, either before or after the appointed day, under Section 81, as it stood immediately before that day. From this it is clear that an appeal against an order passed by an officer lower in rank than a Collector does not lie to the Tribunal but to the Appellate Collector or Collector (Appeals). The question that then arises is whether an Additional Collector is an officer lower in rank to a Collector for purposes of the Gold (Control) Act.
6. Under Section 78(a), a Gold Control Officer not below the rank of a Collector of Central Excise or of Customs has power to adjudge confiscation or impose penalty without limit. Under Clause (b), the Central Government can specify the limits regarding confiscation and penalty for other Gold Control Officers not below the rank of Superintendent of Central Excise. In exercise of powers conferred by Clause (b) of Section 78 read with Sub-section (e) of Section 116, the Central Government has limited the powers of Additional Collector of Central Excise or Customs to gold involving a value not exceeding Rs. 10 lakhs Notification No. 3/81--GC, dated 1.8.81.
7. From this it is clear that an Additional Collector is not a Collector, within the meaning of Section 78(a). In view of what has been stated in para 5 above, on appeal against an order passed by him does not lie to the Appellate Tribunal but to the Collector (Appeals).
8. The Tribunal orders that the appeal be remitted to the Appellate Collector, Delhi for disposal according to law.