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Union of India And Others Versus Uttam Steel Ltd.

2015 (5) TMI 214 - SUPREME COURT

Denial of rebate claim - Bar of limitation - Claim filed beyond period of 6 months / i year - delay of only few days - Held that:- From the law laid down by the decision [Mafatlal Industries (1996 (12) TMI 50 - SUPREME COURT OF INDIA)] it is clear that all claims for rebate/refund have to be made only under Section 11B with one exception - where a statute is struck down as unconstitutional. Further, the limitation period of six months has to be strictly applied.

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Section 11B. Equally, the argument that on a bond being provided under Rule 13, the goods would have been exported without any problem of limitation would not hold as the exporter in the present case chose the route under Rule 12 which, as has been stated above, is something that can only be done if the application for rebate had been made within six months. - Decided in favour of Revenue. - Civil Appeal No. 7449 of 2004 - Dated:- 5-5-2015 - A. K. Sikri And R. F. Nariman,JJ. For the Petitioner : .....

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ctively. However, claims for rebate on both counts were filed only on 28.12.1999 beyond the period of six months under Section 11B of the Central Excise Act, 1944 as it stood at the relevant time. 2. On these facts, a show cause notice dated 7.3.2001 was issued and by an order dated 4.10.2001, the Deputy Commissioner (Rebate) rejected the claim for rebate on the ground that they were time barred. 3. Section 11B was amended on 12.5.2000 where the period of six months was substituted by a period o .....

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6.8.2002 allowed the revision applications of the Union holding that the extended period of limitation of one year was not available to the assessee. 6. The assessee s writ petition being Writ No.557 of 2003 was allowed by the impugned judgment dated 12.8.2003 stating: "41. As stated hereinabove, right to rebate of duty accrues under Rule 12 on export of goods. That right is not obliterated if the application for rebate of duty is not filed within the period of limitation prescribed under S .....

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g Rule 12 with Section 11B of the Act it becomes abundantly clear that the limitation prescribed under Section 11B is only procedural and does not affect the substantive right to claim rebate of duty under Rule 12. Moreover, there are no consequences set out in the statute, if the application for rebate of duty is not made within the period of limitation. Thus the right to rebate of duty which flows from Rule 12 is not destroyed by failure to apply for rebate of duty within six months time presc .....

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e date when the amended provisions came into force. Accordingly, we hold that the limitation of one year provided by amendment to Section 11B with effect from 12th May 2000 would apply retrospectively and would cover exports made one year prior to 12th May 2000. To put it differently the amended limitation of one year with effect from 12th May, 2000 would apply to all exports made after 12th May 1999. In the present case, the exports were effected on 20th May 1999 and 10th June 1999 i.e. within .....

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trospective effect, it would nevertheless have retroactive effect and in that view of the matter, the case of the petitioners would be covered within the amended period of limitation and thus the petitioners would be entitled to rebate of duty. In the light of the view taken, for the reasons recorded, we do not think it necessary to dwell upon other contentions raised by the petitioners." 7. Ms. Pinky Anand, learned Additional Solicitor General, argued that Section 11B was squarely attracte .....

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m Shri Bagaria. 9. The learned Amicus Curiae argued before us that a rebate claim can only be made under Rule 12 of the Central Excise Rules which in turn referred such claims to a notification dated 22.9.1994. The said notification allowed rebate of duty on certain conditions, one of them being that a rebate claim must be made within the time limit specified in Section 11B of the Central Excise Act. Shri Bagaria then argued that Rule 12 proviso allowed the Commissioner of Central Excise for rea .....

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ted under Rule 13 in which case no question of any period of limitation would arise. This being the case, it is clear that the present is a case where there is a small delay beyond six months which could easily be overlooked. 10. We have heard learned counsel for the parties and Shri Bagaria, the learned Amicus Curiae at some length. There is no doubt whatsoever that a period of limitation being procedural or adjectival law would ordinarily be retrospective in nature. This, however, is with one .....

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ee as an agent of a non-resident party under the Income Tax Act before it was amended, ended on March 31, 1956. It is true that under the amending Act by Section 18 of the Finance Act, 1956, authority was conferred upon the Income Tax Officer to assess a person as an agent of a foreign party under Section 43 within two years from the end of the year of assessment. But authority of the Income Tax Officer under the Act before it was amended by the Finance Act of 1956 having already come to an end, .....

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y. That provision must be read subject to the rule that in the absence of an express provision or clear implication, the legislature does not intend to attribute to the amending provision a greater retrospectivity than is expressly mentioned, nor to authorise the Income Tax Officer to commence proceedings which before the new Act came into force had by the expiry of the period provided, become barred." To similar effect is the judgment in J.P. Jani, Income Tax Officer v. Induprasad Devshank .....

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d 13-11-1963 and 9-1-1964 issued by the Income Tax Officer, Ahmedabad were illegal and ultra vires and were rightly quashed by the Gujarat High Court by the grant of a writ." In New India Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Shanti Misra, (1975) 2 SCC 840, this Court said: "The new law of limitation providing a longer period cannot revive a dead remedy. Nor can it suddenly extinguish vested right of action by providing for a shorter period of limitation." Similarly in T. Kaliamurthi v. Five Gori .....

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proceedings pending at the time of the enactment as also to proceedings commenced thereafter, notwithstanding that the cause of action may have arisen before the new provisions came into force. However, it must be noted that there is an important exception to this rule also. Where the right of suit is barred under the law of limitation in force before the new provision came into operation and a vested right has accrued to another, the new provision cannot revive the barred right or take away th .....

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e present case, since the claims for rebate were made beyond the original period of six months, the respondents cannot avail of the extended period of one year on the subsequent amendment to Section 11B. The effect of Section 11B, and in particular, applications for rebate being made within time, has been laid down in Mafatlal Industries Ltd. v. Union of India, (1997) 5 SCC 536, thus: "108. The discussion in the judgment yields the following propositions. We may forewarn that these proposit .....

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g the provisions of the Central Excises and Salt Act, 1944 read with Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985 or Customs Act, 1962 read with Customs Tariff Act or by misinterpreting or misapplying any of the rules, regulations or notifications issued under the said enactments, such a claim has necessarily to be preferred under and in accordance with the provisions of the respective enactments before the authorities specified thereunder and within the period of limitation prescribed therein. No suit is ma .....

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-B. This is for the reason that the power under Article 226 has to be exercised to effectuate the rule of law and not for abrogating it. The said enactments including Section 11-B of the Central Excises and Salt Act and Section 27 of the Customs Act do constitute "law" within the meaning of Article 265 of the Constitution of India and hence, any tax collected, retained or not refunded in accordance with the said provisions must be held to be collected, retained or not refunded, as the .....

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r a writ petition. All refund claims except those mentioned under Proposition (ii) below have to be and must be filed and adjudicated under the provisions of the Central Excises and Salt Act or the Customs Act, as the case may be. It is necessary to emphasise in this behalf that Act provides a complete mechanism for correcting any errors whether of fact or law and that not only an appeal is provided to a Tribunal - which is not a departmental organ - but to this Court, which is a civil court.&qu .....

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al Government may, from time to time, by notification in the Official Gazette, grant rebate of- (a) duty paid on the excisable goods; (b) duty paid on materials used in the manufacture of goods; if such goods are exported outside India or shipped as provision or stores for use on board a ship proceeding to a foreign port or supplied to a foreign going aircraft, to such extent and subject to such safeguards, conditions and limitations as regards the class or description of goods, class or descrip .....

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nder this rule have not been complied with. (2) Where the Central Government does not grant under clause (a) of sub-rule (1) either wholly or partially any rebate of duty paid on goods exported to a country outside India, it may, in order to promote exports or fulfil obligations arising out of any treaty entered into between India and the Government of that country, provide, by notification in the Official Gazette, for payment to the Government of that country an amount not exceeding the duty pa .....

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nufacture" includes the process of blending of any goods or making alterations or any other operation thereon; (ii) "materials" includes raw materials, consuamables (other than fuel) components, semi-finished goods, assemblies, sub-assemblies, intermediate goods, accessories, parts and packaging materials required for manufacture of export goods but does not include capital goods used in the factory in or in relation to manufacture of export goods. (iii) Omitted. (4) The provision .....

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rehouse or any other premises as may be approved by the Commissioner of Central Excise; (b) specify materials, removal of which without payment of duty from the place of manufacture or storage for use in the manufacture in bond of export goods, may be permitted by the Commissioner of Central Excise; (c) allow removal of excisable material without payment of duty for the manufacture of export goods, as may be specified, to be exported in execution of one or more export orders; or for replenishmen .....

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ent security, and under such conditions as the Commissioner approves. (2) The Central Government may, from time to time, by notification in the Official Gazette, permit export of specified excisable goods in bond, without payment of duty from a factory of manufacture or warehouse, to Nepal or Bhutan, subject to such conditions or limitations as regards the class of goods, destination, mode of transport and other matters as may be specified therein. Explanation I. - In this rule, the expression & .....

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export goods." "Notifications and Procedures under Rule 12 [l] Rebate of duty on export of all excisable goods except ship's stores and mineral oil products exported as stores for consumption on board an aircraft on foreign run. - In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (a) of sub-rule (1) of rule 12 of the Central Excise Rules, 1944, the Central Government hereby directs that rebate of duty paid on the excisable goods as specified in the Table annexed hereto, shall on their .....

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excisable goods shall be exported within six months from the date on which they were cleared for export from the factory of manufacture or warehouse or within such extended period as the Commissioner of Central Excise may in any particular case allow; (iv) the claim or, as the case may be, supplementary claims, for rebate of duty is lodged with the Maritime Commissioner of Central Excise or the Commissioner of Central Excise having jurisdiction over the factory of manufacture or warehouse, as m .....

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roneously paid, to the Commissioner of Central Excise sanctioning such rebate in accordance with provisions of section 11A of the Central Excise Act, 1944(1 of 1944); (viii) if the excisable goods are not exported or the proof of export thereof is not furnished to the satisfaction of the Commissioner of Central Excise or, as the case may be, the Maritime Commissioner of Central Excise in the manner and within the prescribed time limit, the said officer on an application being made by the exporte .....

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