1. By her order C.No. V/68/30/16/83 CX. Pol, dated 7-12-1984 the Collector of Customs and Central Excise, Tiruchirapalli had decided that Rule 56B procedure is not applicable to the despatch of cold drawn rods in coils and in lengths, passed on for use in the preparation of welded mesh and sent by the appellant's firm to M/s. Pondy Welded Mesh for this purpose. She had also repelled the contention of the appellant that they having been allowed to follow the procedure for a long time in the past would not make any difference to the position in law.
2. Before us the representative of the appellant explained that hot drawn wire rods of a diameter of 6 mm/8 mm are cold drawn into wires of diameters of 3.25 mm, 3 mm, 2.64 mm and 2.5 mm; they are cut into small lengths for 'line wires' and kept in the coil form for 'cross wires'.
Both are in exact lengths for the making of a welded fabric. After the welding is done in M/s. Pondy Welded Mesh, they are received back in the appellant's firm, the projected edges are trimmed and oil is sprayed. The article is now ready for marketing. The procedure under Rule 56B had been permitted from 26-4-81 onwards for six months in the initial stages and thereafter, one year at a time on two occasions. The last extension was granted for six months from 25-4-1984 upto 25-10-1984. The application dated 25-10-1984 for continuation of the procedure had been rejected by the Collector. He referred to para 2.1 of IS-4948 : 1974; to show that the drawn wires are raw materials in the manufacture of welded fabrics. He claimed that the articles, because of their being cut to correct length and in proper diameter are in the nature of semi-finished excisable goods and hence entitled to the procedure set out in Rule 56B of the Central Excise Rules, 1944.
3. The S.D.R., on the other hand, (pointed out that according to the present definition in the amended Tariff, what is received by the appellant as well as what is produced by them by way of cold drawing are wires, being of less than 13 mm diameter vide Explanation to Item 25(14) of the Central Excise Tariff ; cold drawn material is a finished wire which is ready for marketing as such. The mere cutting of the wires into particular lengths do not make them semi-finished material for welded fabrics. The representative of the appellant contested the view that cross wires can be sold as such.
4. We had the opportunity of seeing the articles under consideration- the rods as obtained by the appellant, the cold drawn wires made by them as well as the finished product. As rightly pointed out by the Senior Departmental Representative, Item 25(14) of Central Excise Tariff encompasses all wires which are referrable to a cross-sectional dimension of 13 mm or less. So, what is initially made in the factory of the appellant is a thinner wire from a thicker wire. Such wire is obviously a marketable product in its own right and cannot be considered as a semi-finished article for the purpose of making steel mesh. It is in the nature of a raw material. As a raw material, it will not be entitled to the facilities under Rule 56B of the Central Excise Rules, 1944. The Collector's order is, thus, maintainable on the facts of the case. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.