1. The petitioner is a firm registered under the Indian Partnership Act, and are manufacturers of mustard oil. The firm consists of six partners. There is another oil mill named Tinkari Sadbukhan and Sons, also in the city of Calcutta. That firm is also a registered partnership, owned by all the six partners above mentioned, of the petitioner firm. Under the Finance Act, 1956 a duty of Central Excise was imposed upon mustard oil at the rate of Rs. 70/- per ton. On 1st March, 1956 a notification, being Notification No. CER/8(5)/56 dated 1st March, 1956 was issued by the Government of India, terms whereof are as follows:
'S.R.O. 498--In exercise of the powers conferred by rule 8 of the Central Excise Rules 1944, as in force in India, and as applied to the State of Pondicherry, the Central Government hereby exempts from the duty leviable thereon--
(i) the first 125 tons of Vegetable Non-Essential Oils cleared by any manufacturer for home consumption on or after the first day of April in any financial year;
(ii) Vegetable Non-Essential Oils cleared up to a maximum of 10 tons by any manufacturer for home consumption during the month of March 1956.
2. Para (i) of this notification shall take effect on and from the 1st April, 1956.'
2. The whole point on this application is as to whether the petitioners can clear 125 tons of oil from each of their two factories, without payment of duty. It is alleged on behalf of the petitioners that under the notification it is possible to clear 125 tons or 10 tons of vegetable non-essential oil, as the case may be, under the said notification, from each factory. The Excise Authorities, however, have held that the owners of the two factories being common and the subject of manufacture being also the same, the notification only confers exemption to one lot of 125 tons or 10 tons, as the case may be, and that an exemption could not be claimed in respect of each factory. Mr. De, on behalf of the petitioners, has taken me through the provisions of the Excise Act and the Rules, in order to establish that the payment of Excise duty is connected with the goods, and consequently the factory, and not the manufacturer. He says that in the notification concerned we must not lose sight of the words 'cleared by'. According to him, the emphasis is on the factory and the goods, and not on the manufacturer. He has also drawn my attention to certain notifications, one dated 1st September, 1956 and the other dated 3rd November, 1956. According to the last mentioned notification, if there are a number of manufacturers in one factory, still the total exemption would not exceed 125 tons.
3. In my opinion, no assistance can be derived by looking at the Act and the Rules, or at least no assistance can be derived from the sections in the Act or the Rules that have been referred to. The immediate task before me is to interpret the notification dated 1st March, 1956. It exempts the first 125 tons or 10 tons, as the case may be, cleared by any manufacturer for home consumption. In my opinion, the words 'any manufacturer' mean any one manufacturer. In other words, if the manufacturer is common then it does not matter how many factories he has got but the exemption is not per factory but is a consolidated one. If, of course, the factory manufactured different things that may be a ground for introducing other considerations. If the owners of the factories were not the same, that might also have introduced different considerations. In this case, however, it is admitted that the same persons owned two factories which carry on identical kind of manufacture and the manufacture is of the commodity stated in the notification. That being go, in my opinion, the authorities have rightly interpreted the notification and that the stand taken by the petitioners cannot be Justified. Consequently, the decisions complained of must stand and cannot be impugned in this application. The application is accordingly dismissed. Rule discharged. Interim order vacated. No order as to costs. The petitioner's solicitor will hand over the amount of Rs. 3,583-7-0 deposited under order dated 31st August, 1956 to the respondents and/or their solicitors.