1. The Applicants are a Government Company of Government of Andhra Pradesh having its factory at Santnagar, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.
2. The Collector of Central Excise in his adjudication order No.106/73, dated 21.8.1973 (Annexure A) demanded under Rule 9(2) of the Central Excise Rules, 1944 duty in respect of goods which were held in the same order to have been removed from the factory clandestinely and/or without payment of duty. He directed that the Assistant Collector should calculate the amount of duty for the said goods and issue the demand and that the assessee should pay up the duty within one month of the receipt of the demand. In pursuance of the above order of the Collector, the Superintendent quantified the duty amount and issued the demand dated 5.9.1973. Against the above demand, the Applicants filed an appeal to the Central Board of Excise and Customs on 30.11.1973. The Central Board of Excise and Customs in their order No. 128/78, dated 28.4.1978 (Annexure B) observed that the applicants had received the order of the Collector on 23.8.1973 whereas their appeal dated 28.11.1973 was received in the Board's office on 30.11.1973 i.e. after a period of 3 months as against the provisions of Section 35 of the Central Excises and Salt Act, 1944 [as it stood before amendment by Finance Act (No. 2) of 1980]. The Board dismissed the appeal on the ground that it had no powers to entertain an appeal received after 3 months from the date of receipt of the order appealed against. The Applicants preferred a Revision Application against the above order under Section 36 of the Central Excises and Salt Act 1944, ibid, which was transferred to this Tribunal for being dealt with as an appeal under Section 35P of the Central Excises and Salt Act, 1944. The Tribunal dismissed the appeal vide its order No. ED(T) (MAS) 12/78 dated 1st October, 1983 (Annexure C).
3. The applicants have requested under Section 35G of the Central Excises and Salt Act, 1944 that the following question of law arising from the order of the Tribunal may be referred to the High Court. The following point of law is referred to the Hon'ble High Court of Judicature at Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad.
"Whether on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the period of limitation of 3 months for the purpose of preferring the appeal to the Central Board of Excise & Customs should commence from the date of receipt of the order of the Collector of Central Excise, Hyderabad or from the date when the demand was issued by the Assistant Collector of Central Excise in pursuance of the order of the Collector of Central Excise."