1. This is a revision application filed by M/s. Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., (hereinafter referred to as the appellants) before the Central Government against the order-in-appeal No. 28/QU/1979 dated 30-1-79 passed by the Appellate Collector of Central Excise, Calcutta. It has come to this Tribunal as a transferred proceeding in terms of Section 35P (2) of the Central Excises and Salt Act for disposal as if it was an appeal filed before the Tribunal.
2. Having regard to the view we propose to take in the present appeal, it is not necessary to set out the facts leading to the present dispute. Suffice it to say that the appellants filed before the Appellate Collector of Central Excise, Calcutta an appeal against five assessment orders passed by the Superintendent of Central Excise, Haldia on the R.T. 12 Returns filed by the appellants in respect of motor spirit for the months of December 1977 to February 1978 and Kerosene for the months of October 1977 to November 1977. The Appellate Collector, without going into the merits of the case, dismissed the appeal holding that the appeal against five separate orders was liable to be dismissed as nullity. In the appeal before us, it has been urged that there is no legal bar in filing a single appeal against several similar assessment orders just as there is no legal bar in passing a single order-in-appeal in relation to several appeals.
3. In this background of the matter, we consider that the action of the Appellate Collector in rejecting the appeal as a nullity, was not proper. While the contention of the appellants that there is no legal bar to filing of a single appeal against several assessment orders, is not correct, the Appellate Collector should have, in our view, given option to the appellants to either file five separate appeals against the five assessment orders with the requisite court fee stamp etc. or restricting the scope of the single appeal filed before him to one of the assessment orders in dispute. We are, therefore, inclined to remit the matter back to the Appellate Collector for taking appropriate action in the light of this observation. Shri Basu on behalf of the appellants and Shri Saha on behalf of the Department have no objection to this course. We, therefore, direct that the matter be remitted back to the Appellate Collector who shall dispose of the appeal in the light of the observation contained hereinbefore and after giving the appellants an option to file five separate appeals or to restrict the single appeal to one assessment order in dispute, and thereafter, dispose of the appeal in accordance with law. The Appellate Collector shall dispose of the matter on merits without reference to the question of time limit in view of our directions as above.