1. These appeals are directed against the order-in-appeal dated 5.9.2003 wherein it was held that the appellants are liable to pay the duty and penalty imposed on them are correct.
2. The relevant facts that arise for consideration are that the preventive officers of the Central excise Department intercepted a vehicle and on verification of the documents found that the serial no.
of the invoice was rewritten on a reasonable belief that the vehicle was brought back to the appellants factory for further investigation.
On investigation, the authorities found discrepancy in the stock and also a identically serial numbered invoice in the factory of the appellants. A show cause notice was issued to the appellants for confiscation of the seized goods and for demand of the duty on the goods intercepted and also for imposition of the penalty. The adjudicating authority confirmed the demand of duty and imposed the penalty and also confiscated the goods with an option to redeem the goods on payment of redemption fine. Appellants preferred an appeal to the Commissioner (Appeals), who upheld the order in original. Hence this appeal.
3. Learned Advocate for the appellants submits that the invoices having the serial number rewritten were an error and this was due to the absentism of the staff doing the excise work. He also submits that the authorities did not find any parallel invoice book but for a single instance of the invoice in question. In respect of the discrepancy in stock, he submits that the said discrepancy in excess stock was due to the reason that these finished goods were still to be tested and hence lying unaccounted. He further submits, that, he had taken all the above reasonsings before the Commissioner (Appeals) but the appellate authority has not even bothered to consider the same.
4. The learned JDR, on the other hand, submits that the appellants have not paid the duty on the goods cleared and there is unaccounted stock of finished goods to show that the appellants had every intention to remove Page 0186 the goods clandestinely. He also further submits that the order-in-appeal deals with every submission of the appellants.
5. Considered the submissions made by both the sides and perused the records. The Commissioner (Appeals) in his order-in-appeal records all the submissions made by the appellants in their appeal and during the course of personal hearing.
6. The Commissioner (Appeals) after carefully recalling the submissions, does not deal with them as is required to be by an appellate authority. The appellate authority in the order has simply stated that "I agree with the findings of the adjudicating authority" and reproduces the findings of the adjudicating authority to dismiss the appeal. It is a settled law that the appellate authority should deal with the grounds of appeal as raised by the appellants before him in the order. The appellate authority simply cannot say that he agrees with the adjudicating authority and dismiss the appeal.
7. In my view, the order-in-appeal without dealing the grounds of appeal of the appellants is improper and patently incorrect.
8. Under the circumstances, I have no option, but to set aside the order-in-appeal dated 5.9.2003 and allow the appeal by way of remand to the appellate authority for passing an order by dealing with all the grounds taken up by the appellants in their grounds of appeal after grating them an opportunity of hearing.