1. As the issue involved is common in both the appeals, we are disposing them by a single order.
2. The appellants had filed claim for refund of duty paid under what is generally referred to as the excess production scheme in terms of Notification No. 198/76. According to this notification when the production in the year of claim exceeds the production in a base year as fixed by that notification, the quantum of duty leviable on Welding Electrodes is reduced by 25%. The appellants have factories both in Madras and Calcutta and in terms of a Trade Notice issued by practically all the Collectorates, the Assistant Collector nearest to the headquarters of the company for whose factory the benefit is claimed, is nominated as a co-ordinating Assistant Collector who is authorised to verify the data regarding base period, base production and the like and "fix" the same. In these two cases, declarations have been made to that Assistant Collector and refund claims were also filed with him for the excess payment. However, after fixing the base period and base production, that Assistant Collector directed the appellants to file regular claims with the Assistant Collector, Madras, in whose jurisdiction the factory about which the appeals have arisen lies.
These applications when made to the Assistant Collector at Madras were found to have been made after a period of six months as set out in Section 11B of the Central Excises and Salt Act, 1944 and hence the claims were rejected. On appeal, the Collector of Central Excise (Appeals), Madras, confirmed this decision.
(a) that by nominating the Assistant. Collector at Calcutta as the co-ordinating Assistant Collector, the proper officer or the Assistant Collector for purposes of Rule 11 or Section 11B respectively would (b) in any case the date of declaration to the Department -the Assistant Collector at Calcutta in terms of the direction of the Department itself by way of trade notice-should be treated as the date of claim.
4. It has been held by a Special Bench of the Tribunal in the case of 'Neelamalai TeajCoffee Estates and Enterprises Ltd., Nilgiris v.Collector of Central Excise, Madras'- 1983 E. L.T. 2426 (Cegat)-that the date of filing of declaration with the Assistant Collector should be the relevant date for purposes of claim for refund. Again this Bench consisting of the President and Brother Rao has held that a decision of a three-Member Bench should be followed by other Benches of the Tribunal-C. Appeal No. 162 of 1983 dated 30-4-85 in the case of "5.
Raman, Paramakudi v. Collector of Central Excise, Madurai'. Following these decisions, we allow both the appeals with consequential relief to the appellants.
5. In view of the manner in which the appeals have been disposed of, we are not advisedly dealing with point (a) raised by the appellants.