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The Associated Cement Co. Ltd Vs. Director of Inspection - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCustoms
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Appeal No. 1207 of 1967
Judge
Reported inILR1971Delhi556; [1972]84ITR822(Delhi)
ActsIncome tax Act, 1961 - Sections 280ZD(1); Finance Act, 1965 - Sections 80B
AppellantThe Associated Cement Co. Ltd
RespondentDirector of Inspection
Advocates: R.J. Kohla,; R.R. Narain,; J.N. Aggarwal,;
Cases ReferredChhotabhai Sethabhai Patel and Co. v. Union of India
Excerpt:
.....280-zd(1) & finance act (1965), section 80 --respective scope of--'duty of excise'---special duty levied by section 80 of the finance act 1965 not within the expression--delay in filing supplementary application for tax credit certificate--if could be condoned by central authority. ; that perusal of section 80 of the finance act, 1965 makes it clear that special excise duty equal to twenty per cent of the duty of excise under the excise act has been levied by that section. the duty levied by section 80 cannot be considered to be a duty under the excise act but is a duty levied under section 80 of the finance act. it has also been described as special duty of excise by that section. the tax credit certificates in relation to increased production of certain goods are granted under..........for the purpose of granting the tax credit certificate at twenty-five per cent of the basic excise duty levied under the excise act only (rs. 23.60 paise per tonne) and not twenty-five per cent of the entire amount of duty of excise paid by the petitioner. the petitioner went up in appeal but the same was rejected by the director of inspection. it was observed that the tax credit is to be given only in respect of the central excise duty levied under the excise act and any other excise duty levied under a different enactment was not entitled to the concession. (4) the petitioner has accordingly filed these petitions to assail the above view of the director of inspection. the petitions have been resisted by the respondent. (5) we have heard mr. kolah on behalf of the petitioner and mr. b......
Judgment:

H.R. Khanna, C.J.

(1) This judgment would dispose of three Civil writ petition Nos. 1207 of 1967, 425 of 1968 and 16 of 1970 which have been filed by the Associated Cement Companies Ltd., against the Director of Inspection, Customs & Central Excise, New Delhi. Arguments have been addressed in petition No. 1207 of 1967 and it is H stated that the decision in that petition would govern the other two petitions also. So far as petition No. 425 of 1968 in which the Central Authority and Deputy Director of Inspection too have been imp leaded as respondent is concerned, an additional ground, to which reference would be made hereafter, is also taken.

(2) The petitioner is a company which owns about 16 cement factories in various parts of India. Tax Credit Certificate (Excise Duty on Excess Clearance) Scheme, 1965 (hereinafter called 'the Scheme') was made applicable to the cement industry in 1965 to provide an incentive for increased production. The above Scheme was made by the Central Government in exercise of the powers conferred by section 280-ZE read with section 280-ZD of the Income-tax Act, 1961 which had been inserted by the Finance Act, 1965, For the year 1965-66, with which we are concerned, the excise duty for cement levied under the Central Excises and Salt Act, 1944 (hereinafter, for the sake of brevity, referred to as 'the Excise Act') was Rs. 23.60 Paise per tonne. As per section 80 of the Finance Act of 1965, a special duty of excise equal to twenty per cent of the total amount of excise charge able under the Excise Act on various articles including cement was levied. According to section 280-ZD, a person shall be entitled to a tax credit certificate for an amount calculated at a rate not exceeding twenty-five per cent of the amount of the duty of excise payable by him on that quantum of the goods cleared by him during the relevant financial year which exceeds the quantum of the goods cleared by him during the base year.

(3) The authority concerned in these cases calculated the rate for the purpose of granting the tax credit certificate at twenty-five per cent of the basic excise duty levied under the Excise Act only (Rs. 23.60 Paise per tonne) and not twenty-five per cent of the entire amount of duty of excise paid by the petitioner. The petitioner went up in appeal but the same was rejected by the Director of Inspection. It was observed that the tax credit is to be given only in respect of the Central excise duty levied under the Excise Act and any other excise duty levied under a different enactment was not entitled to the concession.

(4) The petitioner has accordingly filed these petitions to assail the above view of the Director of Inspection. The petitions have been resisted by the respondent.

(5) We have heard Mr. Kolah on behalf of the petitioner and Mr. B. Kishore on behalf of the respondent and are of the opinion that there is no merit in the petitions.

(6) Before proceeding further in the matter, it would be pertinent to reproduce the relevant provisions of law. According to section 3 of the Excise Act, there shall be levied and collected in such manner as may be prescribed duties of excise on all excisable goods other than salt which are produced or manufactured in India, and a duty on salt manufactured in, or imported by land into, any part of India as, and at the rates, set forth in the First Schedule. Cement is one of the commodities mentioned at entry No. 23 in the First Schedule to the Excise Act, and the duty payable at the relevant time was mentioned to be Rs. 23.60 Paise per tonne. A .special duty of excise on certain goods including cement was levied by section 80 of the Finance Act, 1965 (Act No. 10 of 1965), which reads as under :- 80 (1) When goods of the description mentioned in this section, chargeable with a duty of excise under the Cent Excises Act (as amended by this Act or any subsequent Act of Parliament) read with any notification turn the time being in force issued by the Central Government in relation to the duty so chargeable, are assessed to duty, there shall be levied and collected-

(A)as respects goods comprised in items Nos. 6, 8, 9, 14D, 22A, 23A except sub-item (1) there of, 233, 28, 29, sub-items (2) .and (3) of item No. 31 and item No. 32 of the First Schedule to the Central Excises Act, a special duty of excise equal to 10 per cent of the total amount so chargeable on such goods; (b) as respects goods comprised in Items Nos. 2,3(1), sub-items 1, 11(2) and 11(3) of Item No. 4, Items Nos. 13, 14, 14F, 15, 15A, 15B, 16, 16A, 17, 18A(2), 21, 22, 23,.23A(1), 27, 30, 31(1), 33, sub-items (1), 3(a) and 4 of Item No. 34 and Item No. 37 of that Schedule, a special duty of excise equal to 20 per cent of the total amount so chargeable on such goods; and (c) as respects goods comprised in Items Nos. 411(1), 18, 18A(1), 18B, 20, 29A, 33A, sub-items (2) and (3) of Item No. 34 and radiograms comprised in Item No. 37Aof that Schedule, a special duty of excise equal to 33.1/3 per cent of the total amount so chargeable on such goods. (2) Sub-section (1) shall cease to have effect after the 31st day of March, 1966, except as respects things done or omitted to. be done before such cesser; and section 6 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 (10 of 1897) shall apply upon such cesser as if the said sub-section had then been repealed by a Central Act. (3) The duties of excise referred to in sub-section (1) in respect of the goods specified therein shall be in addition to the duties of excise chargeable on such goods under the Central Excise Act or any other law for the time being in force and such special duties shall be levied for purposes of the Union and the proceeds thereof shall not be distributed among the States. (4) The provisions of the Central Excises Act and the rules made there under, including those relating to refunds and exemptions from duties, shall as far as may be, apply in relation to the levy and collection of the duty of excise livable under this section in respect of any goods as they apply in relation to the levy and collection of the duties of excise on such goods under that Act or those rules.' Now Chapter Xxi 'B entitled 'Tax Credit Certificates' covering sections 280Y to 280ZE was introduced in the Income-tax Act by section 62 of the said Finance Act, 1965 sub-sections (1) and (2) and (6) of section 280Zd, which deals with tax credit certificates in relation to the increased production of certain goods, read as under: 28071 (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a person, who during any financial year commencing on the 1st day of April, 1965 or any subsequent financial year (not being a year commencing on the 1st day of April, 1970 or any financial year thereafter manufactures or produces any goods, shall be granted a tax credit certificate for an amount calculated at a rate not exceeding twenty-five per cent of the amount of the duty of excise payable by him on that quantum of the goods cleared by him during the relevant financial year which exceeds the quantum of the goods cleared by him during the base year, whether the clearance in either case is for home consumption or export. (2) The goods in respect of which tax credit certificate shall be granted under sub-section (1) and the rate at which the amount of such certificate shall be calculated shall be such as may be specified in the scheme : Provided that different rates may be specified in respect of different goods. X X X Xx X (6) In this section- '(a) 'base year', in relation to an existing undertaking which manufactures or produces the goods referred to in sub-section (1), means the financial year commencing on the 1st day of April, 1964 and in relation to any other undertaking the financial year in which such undertaking begins to manufacture or produce such goods; (b) 'duty of excise' means the duty of excise livable under the Central Excises Act and Salt Act, 1944 (1 of 1944).'

(7) Section 280Ze empowers the Central Government by notification in the official Gazette to frame one or more scheme or schemes to be called tax credit certificate scheme or schemes in relation to tax credit certificates to be granted under the Chapter XXIIB.

(8) Tax Credit Certificate (Excise Duty on Excess Clearance) Scheme, 1965 made by the Central Government was issued as per notification No. G.S.R. 1636 dated November 5, 1965. Paragraph 5 of the Scheme deals with application for issue of tax credit certificate. Clauses (2) and (3) of that paragraph deal with the limitation for the making of an application for grant of certificate and the condensation of delay in the making of such application. They are reproduced as under:--

'(2)Every application in Form A for a certificate for any financial year shall be presented to the Central Authority on or before the thirtieth of June following the last day of that financial year. '(3) The Central Authority may, if satisfied that the applicant had sufficient cause for not presenting the application in Form A in time, condone any delay in presenting the application for a period not exceeding sixty days.

(9) Mr Kolah on behalf of the petitioner submits that the petitioner com- pany is entitled to the grant of tax credit certificate to the extent of twenty-five per cent of the total excise duty levied on it. For this purpose, it is urged, the special excise duty levied under section 80 of the Finance Act, 1965 should also be taken into account and not merely the duty levied under the Excise Act. This contention has been controverter by Mr. B. Kishore and we are of the opinion that it is not well-founded. Perusal of section 80 of the Finance Act, 1966 reproduced above, makes it clear that special excise duty equal to twenty per cent of the duty of excise under the Excise Act has been levied by that section. The duty levied by section 80 cannot be considered to be a duty under the Excise Act but is a duty levied under section 80 of the Finance Act. It has also been described as special duty of excise by that section. The tax credit certificates in relation to increased production of certain goods are granted under sub-section (1) of section 280Zd of the Income-tax Act. Such a tax credit certificate has to be for an amount calculated at a rate not exceeding twentyfive per cent of the amount of excise duty payable on the quantum of goods cleared during the relevant financial year which exceeds the quantum of goods cleared by the assessed during the base year. The expression 'Duty of excise' in section 280-ZD has been defined to mean the duty of excise livable under the Excise Act. In view of the meaning assigned to the expression 'duty of excise' by clause (b) of subsection (6) of section 280-ZD, it is, in our opinion, not permissible to include the special duty levied by section 80 of the Finance Act of 1965 within the expression 'duty of excise' for the purpose of grant of tax credit certificate. To hold otherwise, would have the effect of making a dead letter of clause (b) of sub-section (6) of section 280ZD which defines the expression 'duty of excise' for the purpose of that section.

(10) Reference has been made on behalf of the petitioner to the case of Chhotabhai Sethabhai Patel and Co. v. Union of India : AIR1962SC1006 , wherein the Court, while dealing with section 64A of ' the Sale of Goods Act, observed that the term 'duties of excise' has to be read as part and parcel of every legislation imposing a duty of excise. Section 64A provides that in contracts of sale amount of increased or decreased taxes should be added or deducted. Sub-section (2) of that section makes it clear that its provisions apply to 'any duty of customs or excise on goods'. The words 'any duty of customs or excise' are of wide amplitude and any observations in that context can obviously be of not much help while dealing with a case under section 280-ZD of the Income-tax Act, 1961 which provides a special definition of duty of excise.

(11) An additional question arises in petition No. 425 of 1968. It has arisen in the following circumstances: Application for a tax credit certificate was received from the petitioner by the Central Authority on June 24, 1966. Orders thereon were passed and tax credit certificate for the amount determined was issued in December, 1966. A supplementary application was received from the petitioner by the Central Authority on August 26, 1967. The supplementary application received on August 26, 1967 was held to be time barred as, according to Paragraph 5(2) of the Scheme an application for a certificate for any financial year should be presented to the Central Government on or before the thirtieth of June following the last day of the financial year, i.e. June 30, 1966 in the present case. It was observed that Paragraph 5(3) allows, in exceptional cases, condensation by the Central Authority of any delay for presenting the application for a period not exceeding sixty days. The Central

(12) Authority was held to have no power to entertain any claim pertaining to a particular financial year, whether in its original form or supplementary entitlement beyond the time limit fixed in clauses (2) and (3) of Paragraph 5 of the Scheme. According to Mr. Kolah, the delay in filing the supplementary application should have been condoned because the supplementary application was made after a clarification in a trade notice dated June 29, 1967 issued by the Collector of Central excise. In this connection we find that according to Paragraph 5 (3) of the Scheme, the Central Authority may, if satisfied that the applicant had sufficient cause for not presenting the application in time, condone a delay for a period not exceeding sixty days. It is. thereforee, manifest that the delay in filing the supplementary application of more than sixty days could not be condoned by the Central Authority. We, thereforee, find no infirmity in the order of the Central Authority refusing to condone the delay.

(13) As a result of the above,we dismiss the petitions, but in the circumstances without costs.


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