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2023 (2) TMI 370 - SC - Central Excise
Constitutional Validity of section 9-D of the Central Excise and Salt Act, 1944 - the case is that while deciding the writ petitions afresh on remand, the High Court could not have limited its decision only to the issue relating to vires of section 9-D - breach of essential pre-requisites of section 9-D by the department in the adjudication orders - effect of the principles and pre-requisites laid down by the High Court for invocation of section 9-D vis-à-vis the appellants’ case.
Vires of section 9-D of the Excise Act - HELD THAT:- The writ petitions were instituted before the High Court way back in 1992 before any adjudication order was passed praying, inter-alia, for cross-examination of the remaining witnesses whose cross-examination had already been permitted but who were not produced. Pursuant to the liberty given by the High Court, the appellants filed an application for amendment mentioning in detail as to how and for what reasons invocation of section 9-D by the Commissioner was illegal and also challenging the vires of section 9-D of the Excise Act - the appeals carried to this Court by the appellants from the orders of the Tribunal confirming the demands against the appellants also stand dismissed. We are, therefore, left to wonder in which proceedings would the principles and prerequisites and/or the parameters of the conditions precedent in section 9-D, laid down by the High Court, could at all be applied.
Even if section 9-D were intra vires, whether the parameters thereof were completely ignored by the excise authorities? - HELD THAT:- With the final decision on all the appeals arising from the orders of the Tribunal being rendered against the appellants, there is no pending lis where the principles and conditions precedent could be applied. The endeavour of the appellants to have these appeals argued before us is, therefore, of purely academic interest and would not serve any real purpose - While dismissing the civil appeals, we endorse the views of the High Court insofar as it spurned the challenge of the appellants to the constitutional validity of section 9-D of the Excise Act.
For unnecessarily protracting the proceedings before this Court, although no lis survived for resolution, we impose costs of Rs.5,00,000/- on the appellants. This amount is to be paid to any charitable organization involved in providing help, assistance and relief to children suffering from cancer. Such costs shall be paid within a month from date. Within two weeks thereof, proof of payment shall be produced before the Registrar who shall satisfy himself that the recipient organization is, in fact, providing care to children suffering from cancer. In default thereof, the amount of costs shall be recovered as arrears of land revenue.