1. This is an appeal filed by the appellants against the Order-in-Appeal No. C-408/B1I-86/83 dated 4.3.83 passed by the Collector of Central Excise (Appeals), Bombay.
2. Two issues are involved in this case. One is whether the order of the Assistant Collector demanding duty on 'Chromic Acid1 manufactured by the appellants on job work basis is time-barred or not. The second issue is whether a duty can be levied on chromic acid manufactured by the appellants on job work basis; 3. Shri Habbu, on behalf of the appellants, stated that the demand for duty was clearly time-barred under Section 11A of the Central Excises and Salt Act, 1944, which provides that the demand for duty alleged to have been short-levied can only relate to six months prior to\the date of demand and such a period can be extended to five years only where the assessee was guilty of collusion, fraud or suppression or mis-statement of facts. In this connection, Shri Habbu brought to our notice that there was no question of collusion or fraud on the part of the appellants nor suppression or mis-statement of facts, since they had been regularly submitting R.T. 12 returns accompanied by challans and invoices clearly showing that they were collecting from their customers only conversion charges for the job work done by them.
4. Smt. Vijay Zutshi, on behalf of the respondent, stated that she has no evidence to show there was suppression of facts on the part of the appellants.
5. It is evident from the records that the period of the demand made for payment of duty is beyond the time limit prescribed under Section 11A of the Central Excises and Salt Act, 1944. Smt. Vijay Zutshi also stated that the department is not in a position to adduce any evidence to show that there was suppression of facts on the part of the appellants. As such we hold that the demand is time-barred and, therefore, the appeal succeeds on that ground itself. Though Shri Habbu cited certain judgments of the High Court and the Supreme Court in favour of the appellants even oh merits of the case and Smt. Vijay Zutshi tried to counter his arguments, we feel that we need not go into the merits when once the case fell on the very ground of time bar. The order of the Appellate Collector is hereby set aside and the appeal is allowed.