1. This matter is directed against the order-in-appeal No. 490/80 dated 23.12.1980 passed by the Appellate Collector of Customs, Bombay in respect of order of the Asstt. Collector of Central Exercise, Anantapur Division No. V/68/18/59/80 MP 11, dated 7.7.1980 which rejected a refund claim for Rs. 11,550.27 made by M/s. Radhakrishna Vegetable Oil Products Company in their letter dated 30.1.1980.
2. The Asstt. Collector said that the claim was for the period 3.10.1977 to 17.2.1979 and so was time barred under Rule 11 Central Excise Rules.
3. The Asstt. Collector ignored a letter dated 23.6.1977 written by M/s. Sree Radha Krishna Vegetable Oil Products Company to the Inspector of Central Excise, Gooty wiling him that he was wrong to ask them to pay duty on the soap stock as it was exempted under notification No.115/75-CE dated 30.4.1975. The letter ended by saying: However, if you insist on us paying the duty on soap stock, we request you to treat all the payments as being paid Under Protest.
4. Neither the Asstt. Collector nor the Appellate Collector took this protest into account. They should do so now. The Asstt. Collector shall rehear the claim and determine if the protest letter dated 23.6.1977 protects the claim from the time bar under Rule 11 Central Excise Rules.
5. We set aside all the orders of the lower courts. The Asstt.
Collector shall retry the case and decide upon the claim in 3 months.