1. The captioned appeal was initially filed by the appellants before the Central Government as a Revision Application and has come on transfer to this Tribunal under the provisions of Section 35-P(2) of the Central Excises and Salt Act, 1944 for disposal as if it were an appeal presented before it.
2. The goods forming the subject matter of the dispute in the present proceedings are what are known as Cord Repair Fabrics, Pre-shaped Cord Patches and Criss-Cross Patches, the latter two products being made out of the first product. The appellants' contention is that these do not fall for classification under Item No. 16A(2) of the First Schedule to the Central Excises and Salt Act (hereinafter referred to as CET), under which Item the Central Excise authorities have classified the products for assessment to duty. The appellants' contentions were rejected by the lower authorities and they went in revision before the Central Government which has now come to us on transfer under the provisions of Section 35-P(2) of the Central Excises and Salt Act to be disposed of as if it were an appeal presented before us.
3. The appeal was heard on 15-4-1983 when Shri S. Ignatius appearing on behalf of the appellants, reiterated the submissions contained in the Memorandum of Appeal. Shri Hem Prakash, stated on behalf of the Revenue, that in view of the terminology used in Item 16A(2) of the CET, plates, sheets and strips of rubber, unhardened, whether combined with any textile material or otherwise, would fall within its scope.
The present goods are rubber sheets combined with textile material. In view of this, the particular terminology used in the CET, the Explanatory Notes under the CCCN were not relevant to interpret the scope of the CET Item.
4. The main contention of the appellants is that the terminology of Item 16A(2) of the CET has been borrowed from the corresponding headings of the Customs Cooperation Council Nomenclature, particularly 40.05 and 40.08. In the Explanatory Notes pertaining to these headings of the CCCN there is a provision to the effect that plates, sheets and strips consisting of parallel textile yarn agglomerated by gumming and/or calendering with rubber, whatever their weight per sq. metre, would not fall within these headings. Such plates, sheets and strips are classified under Heading No. 59.11 of the CCCN which covers "Rubberized textile fabric other than rubberized knitted or crocheted goods". On this reasoning, the contention is that the subject goods which consist of parallel rayon warp yarn agglomerated with rubber with only thin cotton weft to support the weight would fall outside the scope of plates, sheets and strips within the meaning of Item No.16A(2) of the CET. (ii) Plates, sheets and strips, unhardened, whether vulcanised or not, and whether combined with any textile material or otherwise.
The headings of the CCCN referred to by the appellant no doubt, mention plates, sheets and strips, but there is mention in the headings of a combination of plates, sheets and strips with any textile material or otherwise, as in case of the CET Item. In the scheme of the CCCN, there is a specific Heading 59.11, namely, rubberized textile fabric to cover specifically plates, strips and sheets of rubber consisting of parallel textile yarn agglomerated with rubber. Since the CET Item specifically talks of plates, sheets and strips of rubber whether combined with any textile material or otherwise, the analogy sought to be drawn by the appellant with the headings of the CCCN is inappropriate. The CET will have to be interpreted-on the basis of its own nomenclature. Rayon or nylon yarn which is used as warp and agglomerated with rubber is certainly a textile material.
6. The appellants' other contention is that the Cord Repair Fabrics are manufactured by them in the form of rolls and are not manufactured in the form of sheets. Sheets have been defined under Item No. 16A, CET, and, therefore, one has to fall back on the ordinary meaning of the expression in Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary: "Sheet ... a large wide expanse or thin piece: a large broad piece of cloth, especially for a bed' sheet rubber ..." It is appellants' case that the product is cleared in the form of rolls and is marketed in rolls. The fact the goods are produced and marketed in rolls would not, in our view, detract from the position that these are basic sheets which, from the convenience point of view, are packed and marketed in the form of rolls. It is not as though the product would be a sheet only if it is cut into a square or rectangular shape. The appellants' further contention is that pre-shaped cord patches and criss-cross patches are made out of cord patches by processing of her latter. The cord repair fabric is stated to be cut to specific sizes of square shape and two or more such layers are assembled and pressed and a layer of rubber stock is applied at the base to form criss-cross patches. The cord patches are stated be cut from cord repair fabric to specific sizes of oval shape and more than two such layers are then assembled and pressed and a layer of rubber stock is applied at the base. The final product is cured and it is in oval shape and the edges are also shaped. Having regard to the process of manufacture, as stated by the appellants, which, has not be n disputed by the Department, these products would be more appropriately classifiable under Item 68 of the CET Schedule.
7. In the result, we hold that the classification made by the lower authorities of Cord Repair Fabric under Item No. 16A(2) is correct; the appeal against this- classification is rejected. Insofar as Criss-Cross Patches and Pre-shaped Cord Fabrics are concerned, we hold that the correct classification is under. Item No. 68 CET. These should be re-assessed to duty on this basis. The consequential relief should be granted to the appellants by the excise authorities within two months from the date of communication of this order.