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Radient Industries Vs. the Union of India (Uoi) and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectExcise
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberD.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 466/1969
Judge
Reported in1980(6)ELT21(Raj)
ActsCustoms Act, 1962 - Sections 129; Central Excise Act, 1944 - Sections 12, 35 and 36; Central Excise Act, 1954 - Sections 6 and 9; Constitution of India - Articles 226 and 227; Central Excise Rules, 1954 - Rules 174 and 200A
AppellantRadient Industries
RespondentThe Union of India (Uoi) and ors.
Advocates: S.N. Parekh, Adv.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredSmt. Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India and Anr.
Excerpt:
.....aggrieved by the aforesaid order the petitioner filed an appeal before the collector of central excise, new delhi, on 4-5-1967. the collector central excise rejected the appeal on the ground that the petitioner's firm failed to deposit the government dues before the appealt could be considered and dismissed the same for noncompliance of the provisions of section 129 of the customs act, 1962 read with notification no. 862 :in this case it has been observed that 'though the rules do not require that a personal hearing should be given to a revision petitioner under section 36, if in appropriate cases where complex and difficult questions requiring familiarity with technical problems are raised, personal hearing is given, it would conduce to better administration and more..........operating without a license. the petitioner took the stand that he did tot know whether central excise license was required for operating the industry for manufacturing the bare copper wire. the inspector central excise, ajmer by his two letters dated 1-11-1966 asked the petitioner's firm to apply for the license and explain the reasons for delay in applying for the license. it is alleged by the petitioner that on 1-10-1966 it submitted a reply and furnished the required information by its letter dated 3-10-1966. the petitioner also appiled on 2-11-1966 for issuing of the license. the superintendent central excise, ajmer issued the license to the petitioner's firm with restrospective effect on 8-111-966. the assistant collector, central excise on the request of the petitioner's firm.....
Judgment:
ORDER

N.M. Kasliwal, J.

1. The petitioner M/s. Radfent Industries of India at Arya Nagar, Ajmer carries, on business of manufacturing of Bare Copper Wire io a small scale factory which was set up from 11-4-1964 at Ajmer. The petitioner manufacture Bare Copper Wire up to 14 S.W.G. (Standard Wire Guage). On 5-10-1965 the Central Excise Inspector visited the factory and found that it was operating without a license. The petitioner took the stand that he did tot know whether Central Excise license was required for operating the industry for manufacturing the Bare Copper Wire. The Inspector Central Excise, Ajmer by his two letters dated 1-11-1966 asked the petitioner's Firm to apply for the license and explain the reasons for delay in applying for the license. It is alleged by the petitioner that on 1-10-1966 it submitted a reply and furnished the required information by its letter dated 3-10-1966. The petitioner also appiled on 2-11-1966 for issuing of the license. The Superintendent Central Excise, Ajmer issued the license to the petitioner's Firm with restrospective effect on 8-111-966. The Assistant Collector, Central Excise on the request of the petitioner's Firm compounded the case for Rs. 500/- on account of the petitioner not having obtained the license for manufacturing the Bare Copper Wire and clearing the same without the license. As the petitioner deposited `Rs. 500/- in lieu of the prosecuton the matter was dropped,

2. The Inspector Central Excise, Ajmer by his letter dated 24-11-1966 sent a notice of demand for payment of duty from the petitioner for Rs. 5,274.04 NP. on account of manufacture of Bare Copper Wire between the period 10-4-1964 to 30-9-1966 The petitioner in reply to the demand notice submitted that the duty was not calculated in terms of the Government Notification No. 164/65, dated 6-10-1965 and it was submitted that the amount of duty as per account maintained by the petitioner's Firm was to the extent of Rs. 1157.39 NP only. The Assistant Collector, Central Excise, Ajmer rejected the contentions of the petitioner by his letter dated 26.-4-1967. Aggrieved by the aforesaid Order the petitioner filed an appeal before the Collector of Central Excise, New Delhi, on 4-5-1967. The Collector Central Excise rejected the appeal on the ground that the petitioner's Firm failed to deposit the Government dues before the appealt could be considered and dismissed the same for noncompliance of the provisions of Section 129 of the Customs Act, 1962 read with Notification No. 68/63, dated 4-5-1963 of the Government of India, Ministry of Finance (Deptt. of Revenue), New Delhi. The petitioner then filed a revision before the Central Government with a prayer that a personal hearing may be granted to the petitioner. The Under Secretary to the Government of India by his letter dated 30-8-1967 informed the petitioner that the Government of India did not consider it necessary to grant a personal hearing at the revision stage and in case it wanted to make any further submissions the same could be done by sending in writing within 15 days. The petitioner vide Annexure U dated 14-9-1967 sent further submissions in writing by registered post. The Central Government Vide its letter dated 17-4-1969 Annexure v. dismissed the revision application filed by the pettioner. The reason given in the Order was that since the wires were manufactured without a license and cleared without payment of duty already, the question of any relief did not arise.

3. Aggrieved against me aioresaid Orders of the Central Government and the Collector, Central Excise, the petitioner has filed the present writ petition under Articles 226 & 227 of the Constitution of India. Mr. S.N. Parekh, learned counsel for the petitioner, has contended that the Collector,Central Excise was wrong in not disposing of the appeal on merits and dismissing the same merely on the ground that the petitioner had not deposited the Government dues. Reliance is placed on Collector of Customs and Excise, Cochin and Ors. v. A.S. Bava : [A.I.R. 1968. S.C. page 13 in which it has been observed as under : -

'Under Section 35 of the Central Excises and Salt Act, 1944, a person aggrieved by any decision or order has an unfettered right to appeal, Section 129 of the Customs Act, 1962 which is made applicable to duties imposed under the Central Excises and Salt Act by notification under Section 12 of the Act requires the appellant to deposit the duty or penalty pending an appeal, Section129 thus whittles down the substantive right of appeal under Section 35 and accordingly it cannot be regarded as 'procedure relating to appeal' within Section 12 of the Central Excises and Salt Act. The notification, dated 4-5-1963 applying Section 129 of the Customs Act is, therefore, not valid.'

4. It is, no doubt, true that the appeal was wrongly rejected by the' Collector of Central Excises, but in the present case the petitioner had filed a revision before the Central Government and the same was considered on merits and as such no prejudice has been caused to the petitioner as the revision has been heard by a Higher Authority and the case has been decided on merits by the Central Government. The next contention raised by the learned counsel for the petitioner is that the Central Government even while considering the revision filed by the petitioner, did not give any chance of personal hearing to the petitioner, even though the same was specifically asked by the petitioner. Reliance is placed on Travancore Rayons Ltd. v. The Union of India and Ors.- A.I.R. 1971 S.C. 862 : In this case it has been observed that 'though the rules do not require that a personal hearing should be given to a revision petitioner under Section 36, if in appropriate cases where complex and difficult questions requiring familiarity with technical problems are raised, personal hearing is given, it would conduce to better administration and more satisfactory disposal of the grievances of citizens'. Reliance has also been placed on Smt. Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India and Anr. : A.I.R. 1978 S C. Page 597 in which it has been held as under :

'Although there are no positive words in the statute requiring that the party shall be heard, yet the justice of the common law will supply the omission of the legislature. The principle of audi alteram partem, which mandates that no one shall be condemned unheard, is part of the rules of natural justice.

Natural justice is a great humanising principle intended to invest law with fairness and to secure justice and over the years it has grown into a widely pervasive rule affecting large areas of administrative action. The inquiry must, always be : does fairness in action demand that an opportunity to be heard should be given to the person affected.'

5. It has been clearly observed in M/s. Travancore Rayons case (Supra) that in appropriate cases where complex and difficult questions requiring familiarity with technical problems are raised, personal hearing is given, it would conduce to better administratioa and more satisfactoiy disposal of the grievances of citizens. In the case before us there were no complex and difficult questions requiring any technical problems to be cleared by personal hearing. The only contention raised by the petitioner was that he had been granted a license with retrospective effect, and so it was entitled to an exemption for the rebate under the Central Government notification in this regard. This in our opinion, did not require any personal hearing to be given to the petitioner. The petitioner in these grounds of revision and also vide Annexure U dated 14-9-1967 by making further submissions in writing had clearly raised its contention and it was for the Central Government to consider whether the petitioner was entitled to be given any relief in duty under the Notification No. 164/65 dated 6-10-1965. Thus we find that in the facts and circumstances of the present case there is no violation of .any principle of natural justice if no opportunity of personal hearing was given to the petitioner.

6. The learned counsel for the petitioner lastly contended that when the petitioner was granted a license with retrospective effect on 8-11-1966 it also athorised the petitioner with, retrospective effect the right of manufacture of Copper Wire for the relevant period. It is thus contended that having granted the license with retrospective effect the petitioner should have also been granted a relief in the duty to the extent of 50 P per kg. of Copper content at the time of clearance of wires under the Notification No. 164/65. dated 6-10-1965. We see no force in this contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner inasmuch as the wires in fact were manufactured by the petitioner without a license and had'cleared the same without the payment of duty. The petitioner was thus not entitled to relief in any duty under the Notification dated 6-10-1965.' The grant of license with retrospective effect did not give any right to the petitioner ta claim any relief in the duty under the Notification dated 6-10-1965. The petitioner had made a contravention of Section 6 read with Section 9 of the Central Excises and' Salt Act, 1954 read with Rule 174 of the Central Excises Rules, 1954 in having been found to have engaged in the manufacture of Bare Copper Wire without a license. The petitioner was liable to prosecution for having contravened the above provisions of law for which the case was compounded by accepting a sum of Rs. 500/- under the provisions of Rule 200-A of the Central Excises Rules, 1954 and the petitioner having paid Rs. 500/- further proceedings for prosecution were dropped. A license was also granted with retrospective effect, but it does not make the petitioner entitled to claim, a relief in duty also under the Notification dated 6-10-1965 when in fact he had manufactured the wires without a license and cleared the same without payment of duty.

7. In this view of the matter we don't see any error of jurisdiction or an error apparent on the fact of record committed by the Government of India in passing the order vide Annexure V dated 17-4-1969. No other point was pressed by the learned counsel for the petitioner.

8 In the result this revisionpetition fails and is hereby dismissed with no order as to costs.


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