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2022 (9) TMI 486 - Central Excise
Area Based Exemption - North-East region - rejection of exemption claim under the Notification 33/99-CE, dated 08.07.1999 barred by the Principle of res judicata - Whether the Ld. Respondent Authorities have committed judicial indiscipline, while continuing revenue litigation, without taking recourse of judicial appeal against the Order of this Hon'ble Court, dated 26.04.2013, if were aggrieved? - entitlement to get interest for delayed refund under the exemption scheme in terms of Section11B of the Central Excise Act, 1944 - Time Limitation.
HELD THAT:- A perusal of the pleadings including the reply dated 08.01.2009 filed by the appellant before the authority concerned reveals that such a procedure as prescribed in the Notification No. 33/99-CE dated 08.07.1999, had not been followed by the appellant/assessee. What instead has been urged is that since the provisions of Section 11B of the Central Excise Act, 1944 are not applicable, no limitation is applicable and therefore, the claims made by the appellant cannot be debarred on the ground of limitation. While there is no quarrel with the proposition that in view of the several clarificatory notifications issued by the Custom and Central Excise Board, that limitation provided under Section 11B of the Central Excise Act, 1944 are not applicable in case of exemptions allowable under the Notification No. 33/99-CE dated 08.07.1999, however unless suitably amended by the Central Government, the procedure prescribed thereunder including the requirement of filing statement of duty paid by the manufacturer by the 7th of next month as prescribed under Notification cannot be waived at the instance of the manufacturers/assessee unilaterally.
The appellant even before this Court has not been able to substantiate its contentions that the increased installed capacity of their factory, in terms of the Notification No. 33/99-C.E. dated 08.07.1999 was brought to the notice of the Range Officer as had been claimed by the assessee before the Adjudicating Authority. Such statements of fact which could not be supported by the appellant before the adjudicating authority as well as the Appellate Authority and the CESTAT cannot give rise to any “question of law” let alone “substantial question of law”. It is well settled that the Tribunal is the final authority of facts. Where there is a finding of fact recorded by the Tribunal on the basis of records available, the High Court should be slow in interfering or upsetting such finding of fact arrived at by the CESTAT unless it can be shown that such findings of fact by the CESTAT are not supported by materials on record or the Tribunal has erroneously interpreted the materials which were available on record. Such is not the case in the present proceedings.
There is no averment that the appellant had complied with the twin requirements prescribed under Notification No. 33/99-C.E. dated 08.07.1999 to make them eligible for the refunds claimed. Mere statement that they had undertaken substantial expansion would not make them eligible for the claims of refund. The twin condition prescribed under Notification 33/99-C.E. must be strictly complied with - A mere perusal of the Notification No. 33/99-C.E. dated 08.07.1999 reveals that the conditions prescribed for claiming any exemption are clear and specific and there is no ambiguity. The conditions required to be fulfilled by an assessee who seek to claim the benefit under the said notification will have to satisfy the conditions prescribed.
The fact that no limitation prescribed under the said notification No. 33/99-C.E. will not make the answer eligible for the exemption/refund claim, unless they satisfy the procedure prescribed under the said notification. Merely because no limitation is prescribed and/or applicable cannot be a ground to consider their claims for exemption when they satisfy the prescriptions under the said notification. The assessee has failed to furnish adequate evidences in support of their claims that they had complied with the prescriptions under Notification No. 33/99-C.E. - the substantial question of law is answered against the appellant and in favour of the respondents.
Appeal disposed off.