1. The petitioner is a Private Limited Company and is carrying on business of manufacturing of aluminium rods, aluminium wires, aluminium conductors etc. The factory of petitioner No. 1 consists of two Divisions : (1) manufacturing aluminium rods which are excisable goods falling under Tariff Item No. 27 and (2) manufacturing aluminium cables excisable under Tariff Item No. 33B.
2. The petitioners addressed a letter dated November 24, 1971 to the Assistant Collector of Central Excise claiming advantage of proforma credit of the duty paid paid under Rule 56-A of the Central Excise Rules. The petitioners claimed that the scrap obtained from the processing of aluminium rods into conductors of cables will be re-used in the manufacture of aluminium rods and as duty has already been paid under Item No. 27-A(2), the advantage of Rule 56-A is available.
3. The Assistant Collector, by his order dated November 13, 1972 turned down the claim of the petitioners and that order was confirmed in appeal by the appellate Collector of Central Excise by order dated September 3, 1973. The petitioners carried revision before the Central Government, Ministry of Finance, but that ended in dismissal by an order dated July 15, 1974. The petitioners have, thereafter, filed this petition in this Court on August 12, 1975.
4. Shri Dhanuka, the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondents, has raised a preliminary objection to the maintainability of the petition on the ground that the petitioners have committed serious laches in approaching this Court and prosecuting this petition. Shri Dhanuka urges that the revisional authority passed the order on July 15, 1974, while the petitioners filed the present petition one year thereafter on August 12, 1975 and there is no explanation as to why the petitioners did not approach this Court earlier. Shri Dhanuka also complains that though the petition was lodged in this Court in August 1975, the petitioners took no steps to get it placed before the Court for admission till June 30, 1980. The learned counsel is right in his submission that the petitioners were not serious in prosecuting the petition because not only it was lodged one year after the orders, but it was taken for admission five years thereafter. It is now well-settled that the remedy under Article 226 of the Constitution is available provided the litigant takes steps expeditiously and is not guilty of laches. In the present case, it is obvious that the petitioners were not serious about prosecuting this remedy probably because the factory itself was closed down from the year 1977 onwards. In these circumstances, in my judgment, the preliminary objection of Shri Dhanuka that no relief should be granted under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is required to be upheld. As I am disposing of the petition on the preliminary objection, it is not necessary to consider the submission of Shri Dhanuka that even on merits, the impugned order is correct.
5. Accordingly, the petition fails and the rule is discharged but as the factory of the petitioners is already closed in the year 1977, there will be no order as to costs.