1. The Appellate Collector of Customs and Central Excise, Bombay dismissed the appellant's appeal filed against the Order No.IV/16-21/MP/75 dated 30th June, 1975 passed by the Deputy Collector of Central Excise, Ahmedabad as time-barred by observing that the order of adjudication was dated 30th of June, 1975 and received by the appellant on 3rd of July, 1975 while the appeal was received on 7th of November, 1975 which was much after the three months period of limitation.
2. For the appellant, Shri S.N. Mathur appeared before us and Revenue was represented by Shri K.D. Tayal, Senior Departmental Representative.
The primary question which arises for our consideration is whether any order was passed by the Deputy Collector of Central Excise, Ahmedabad on 30th of June, 1975 as mentioned by the Appellate Collector. Shri Mathur submitted that on 30th June, 1975, Deputy Collector, Central Excise, Ahmedabad did address a l,6tter with reference to the assessee's earlier communication of 6th of June, 1975, but that the letter could not be considered as an order. The argument was that after the said letter from the Deputy Collector, the appellant addressed more than one communication like on 12th and 25th of August, 1975 and though for the Revenue, it was suggested that with respect to letter dated 30th June, 1975, recourse to appeal could be taken but such clarification or communication (from the Revenue) was of 9th September, 1975.
3. A copy of the assessee's letter dated 12th August, 1975 addressed to the Collector of Central Excise, Ahmedabad, which is a very detailed letter, has been placed before us, from which we find that the assessee made a very serious grievance before the Collector that the letter of 30th June, 1975 was sought to be treated as an order.
4. For the Revenue, it was not controverted that the assessee was agitating before the excise authorities that there should have been a proper adjudication with regard to the dispute of classification. On the facts before us, we are of the considered view that a proper and speaking order should be passed by the Appellate Collector. We are accepting the appellant's plea that letter of 30th June, 1975 addressed by the Deputy Collector cannot be considered as an order of adjudication. We could understand if the Appellate Collector has referred to the assessee's communications filed before the Collector of Central Excise and had come to the conclusion that representations were not correct, but the type of orders which has been passed and which was made the subject matter of revision application before the Government and is, therefore, before us under appeal, cannot be said to be proper.
5. We, therefore, direct the Appellate Collector to pass a fresh speaking order, adjudicating the dispute of classification. His decision that the assessee's appeal was barred by limitation is accordingly vacated. Since we are restoring the matter back to the first appellate authority, i.e., Appellate Collector, which has the effect of vacating the Order; for purpose of statistics : Appeal should be treated as allowed.