1. Appeals under Section 35B of the Central Excises and Salt Act, 1944 pricing that in the circumstances stated therein, the Tribunal will be pleased to set aside the order of the lower authority and order grant of rebate of duty on unblended tea exported by the appellants.
2. These appeals coming up for orders upon perusing the records and upon hearing the arguments of the representative/advocate for the appellants and upon hearing the arguments of Shri S.K. Choudhury, Senior Departmental Representative for the respondent, the Tribunal makes the following: 3. As the issue involved in each of these appeals is identical, we deal with these cases together. In each case the appellants had exported a certain quantity of unblended tea through the Port of Cochin and claimed rebate at. the date of forty paise per kilogram in terms of Notification No. 171/81-CE dated 17.10.81. This notification prescribed a procedure, set out as an Appendix, under proviso (2) of the notification. Para 1 of the Appendix requires that the exporter of the tea "shall apply in Form A for registration for export to the Collector of Central Excise in whose jurisdiction he carries on his business". In each case an application for registration was made after the date of export of the tea. The Maritime Collector of Central Excise, Cochin rejected the claim observing that according to para 1 of the Appendix, registration with the Collector should be prior to undertaking export.
The Appellate Collector of Central Excise, Madras has rejected an appeal against the order of the Maritime Collector of Central Excise.
Details of the orders of the Maritime Collector and of the Appellate Collector are as in the Schedule to this Order.
4. At the time of hearing before us it was urged on behalf of the appellants that Notification No. 171/81 is one issued under Rule 12 of the Central Excise Rules, 1944. In terms of proviso to Sub-clause (1) of that rule "if the Collector is satisfied that goods have in fact been exported, he may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, allow the whole or any part of the claim for such rebate even if all or any of the conditions, laid down in any notification issued under this rule, have not been complied with." We therefore, enquired of the Senior Departmental Representative whether this condition has been satisfied in each of these eases and directed the appellants to produce such documents, as may be in their possession, to the Collector to enable him to arrive at a finding in this regard. The Senior Departmental Representative has stated that in the nature of things the Department is accepting that the tea in these cases has suffered Central Excise duty at the appropriate rate and there is no dispute about the fact of the export in each of these cases.
5. The notification seeks to relieve exports of unblended tea from the levy of Central Excise duty, obviously with a view to make it competitive in the international market. Relieving export goods of excise levy, as is seen from various notifications issued by the Government, seems to be an accepted policy of the Government. This objective will be better served if in these cases we exercise the power to relax non-observance of any of the procedural requirements, as contemplated in the proviso to Rule 12(1). Accordingly we condone the non-registration prior to export of the tea in each of these cases and order payment of rebate admissible under Notification No. 171/81.
6. In view of the nature of the above decision we have not gone into the issue as to whether the registration contemplated in the Appendix to the notification should be prior to export or could be at any time during the course of the year, 1981.