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2023 (9) TMI 287 - CESTAT CHENNAI
SSI exemption - value of clearances crossing the threshold limit - Delay in adjudication - department has not been able to explain the delay of about 18 years in completing the de novo adjudication - non-availability of documents especially the show cause notice - violation of principles of natural justice - HELD THAT:- It is seen from the impugned order that de novo adjudication was done only in 2013. The impugned order or the records do not show why the show cause notice dt. 05.05.1989 was not taken up for de novo adjudication by the Department. Though the date of show cause notice has been mentioned in the impugned order it was not available before the adjudicating authority while passing the order and is not available - thus, it can be seen that the show cause notice was not available before the officer while passing this impugned order. So also, the documents were not available.
SSI Exemption - HELD THAT:- The discussions have been quoted and extracted in para 10 of the impugned order. In such discussion, it is held that value of goods of Galaxy Rubber has to be included in the value of clearances of the appellant to determine that the value of clearances of appellant and thus has exceeded the SSI exemption limit. It is very much evident that there was no evidence available before the adjudicating authority to conclude that M/s.Galaxy Rubber was a benami of the appellant - Revenue has drawn attention to para 11 of the impugned order wherein it is stated that a report from the Government Examiner of Questioned Documents was obtained to show that hand writing and signatures found on invoices pertaining to both Galaxy Rubber Industries and Galaxy Rubber were the same - there are no such report being made part of the records.
Inordinate delay in passing adjudication order - delay of 18 years - Allegation of Collection of excess amount from the buyers in the guise of sales tax - non-payment of the amount to the sales tax department - HELD THAT:- The department has not given any explanation as to what has caused this unreasonable delay - there is delay in passing the adjudication order and also that the impugned order has been passed without perusing any documents and even the show cause notice. It is indeed violation of the principles of natural justice.
The Hon’ble High Court of Punjab & Haryana in M/S MENTHA & ALLIED PRODUCTS LTD THROUGH ITS AUTHORISED REPRESENTATIVE SATYA NARAIAN VERSUS COMMISSIONER, CENTRAL GOODS & SERVICE TAX, CHANDIGARH AND M/S ARORA AROMATICS PVT. LTD. VERSUS UNION OF INDIA AND OTHERS [2020 (12) TMI 1230 - PUNJAB AND HARYANA HIGH COURT] had occasion to analyse the issue with regard to the delay of 10 years in passing the adjudication order. The Hon’ble High Court considered the decision in M/S GPI TEXTILES LIMITED VERSUS UNION OF INDIA AND OTHERS [2018 (9) TMI 25 - PUNJAB & HARYANA HIGH COURT] wherein there was unreasonable delay in passing the order after issuing the show cause notice and held that the order passed with unreasonable delay to be unsustainable.
In the present case, it is not a situation of the show cause notice transferred to call book. It is a case in which there is delay in taking up the matter for de novo adjudication after the remand by the Tribunal (earlier known as CEGAT). The department has not been able to explain the delay of about 18 years in completing the de novo adjudication. The matter was remanded by the Tribunal on 31.08.95 and the remand order of de novo adjudication has been passed only on 29.09.2013. The delay is humongous and unexplained. The documents were also not available for perusal by the adjudicating authority who has been fair enough to record the same in the order - there is complete violation of principles of natural justice.
The impugned order cannot sustain - appeal allowed.