P.C. Barooah, J.
1. The subject-matter of challenge in this rule is an order dated 8th June, 1980, passed by the Assistant Collector of Central Excise, Calcutta IV Division, confirming a demand made under Rule 10(1) of the Central Excise Rules, 1944. A copy of this order is annexure E to the writ petition. This order was passed pursuant to a show cause-cum-demand notice dated 1st February, 1980, served on the petitioner 'by Sri A.K. Majumder, Superintendent of Central Excise, Jayashree Range, Rishra. A copy of the show cause-cum-demand notice is ann.exure C to the petition.
2. I have heard Mr. Mallick for the petitioner and Mr. Shivaji Mitra for the excise authorities. I have gone through the impugned finding and order of the Assistant Collector dated 8th June, 1980. The order was passed ex parte inasmuch as the Assistant Collector did not give any adjournment to the petitioner on the ground that the petitioner's representative was unable to attend due to his being busy with some court case.
3. The impugned order is also rather cryptic and the Assistant Collector has not in particular considered the question as to whether the demand notice was served on the petitioner within the period of limitation provided under Rule 10 of the Central Excise Rules. In my view, Rule 9(1) and Rule 49(1) of the said Rules should also have been considered by the Assistant Collector before he came to a final decision. Under the circumstances I dispose of this rule on the following terms :
4. The order of the Assistant Collector dated 8th June, 1980, is set aside. The Assistant Collector will re-hear the matter on the basis of the show cause-cum-demand notice dated 1st February, 1980, after giving the representative of the petitioner an opportunity of being heard. The petitioner would be at liberty to urge all the points, including the question of refund, which have been raised in this writ petition before the Assistant Collector. I also make it clear that both the parties will be at liberty to adduce evidence or urge any fresh points which may be available to them.
5. The Assistant Collector will try to dispose of the matter preferably within a period of six months from date.
6. Till the matter is finally disposed of by the Assistant Collector the Excise authorities will permit the petitioner to clear all future goods on the petitioner's furnishing a bank guarantee to an amount equivalent to the disputed amount of duty to the satisfaction of the Collector of Central Excise, Calcutta.
7. The rule is thus disposed of without any order as to costs.
8. All parties including the excise authorities will act on a signed copy of the minutes of the operative part of this judgment.