1. The captioned appeal was originally filed as a revision application before the Central Government which, under the provisions of Section 35-P of the Central Excises and Salt Act, 1944, has come as transferred proceedings to this Tribunal for disposal as if it were an appeal filed before it.
2. The Appellate Collector of Central Excise, New Delhi, by his impugned order dated 29-1-1979 dismissed the appeal before him as time-barred under Section 35 of the Central Excises and Salt Act. The order states that the Assistant Collector's order dated 18-8-1978, appealed against, was received by the appellants on 22-8-1978. The appeal against the said order was received in the Appellate Collector's office on 22-11-1978. The Appellate Collector concluded that the appeal was received after the expiry of the statutory limitation of three months.
3. Before us Shri S.P. Bhatnagar, learned Counsel for the appellants drew our attention to the provisions of Section 12 of the Limitation Act, 1968 and to the order of East Regional Bench at Calcutta, 1984 ECR 1650 and contended that the date of receipt of the order appealed against, should be excluded from the computation of the time-limit. In such an event, the appeal was in time.
5. We have considered the matter. Section 35 of the Central Excises and Salt Act as it stood at the material time, provided for filing of appeals within three months from the date of the decision or order appealed against. Applying the principle enunciated in Section 12 of the Limitation Act which provides that in computing the period of limitation for any suit, appeal or application, the date from which such period is to be reckoned shall be excluded, the date of receipt of the Assistant Collector's order, namely, 22-8-1978 should have been excluded from the computation. In 1984 ECR 1650 the East Regional Bench had considered this matter and held that the date of receipt of the order appealed against was to be excluded for the purpose of computation of limitation.
6. In the above view of the matter, the Appellate Collector's finding that the appeal was barred by limitation is not correct since the appeal was received in his office on 22-11-1978 i.e., within the stipulated period of 3 months. As such, we set aside the impugned order and direct the Collector of Central Excise (Appeals), New Delhi to consider the appeal on merits, after affording the appellants an opportunity to put-forth their case. This shall be completed within 3 months from the date of communication of this order.