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2016 (5) TMI 197 - DELHI HIGH COURT

2016 (5) TMI 197 - DELHI HIGH COURT - 2016 (42) S.T.R. 420 (Del.) - Violation of principles of natural justice - Adjournment sought by the Petitioner on reasonable and valid grounds not granted - Deprived of an effective opportunity of participating in the adjudication proceedings and presenting its version - Evasion of Service tax - Demand of service tax, interest and penalty as proposed in the SCN confirmed.Adjudication pending for more than six years. - Held that:- with only one effective .....

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he passed the impugned order. He was perhaps anxious that the SCN should not be shown as pending for over six years. It is these extraordinary circumstances, that persuades the Court to exercise its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution.Therefore, the adjudication order is sets aside. Also it is directed that the adjudication proceedings arising out of the SCN issued against the petitioner will now resume before an AA, as may be designated by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC .....

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Kumar, Senior Standing counsel for Respondent Nos.1 and 3 accepts notice. 4. The point involved in this petition being a short one, the petition is taken up for final hearing. 5. The Petitioner received a Show Cause Notice ( SCN ) dated 21st October, 2009 with regard to alleged evasion of service tax. The SCN was issued by the Commissioner, Service Tax, New Delhi. Apparently, there were no proceedings pursuant to the said SCN for some years, thereafter. In the meanwhile, the Petitioner entered i .....

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25th May, 2015. An additional reply was submitted by the Petitioner during the course of the hearing and at further request was made for some documents. This was acceded to by the AA and a direction was issued to the Department to provide the Petitioner with the documents and information sought. What is significant as far as this hearing on 25th May 2015 was that the matter was adjourned without fixing the next date. 8. Thereafter, by a letter dated 27th May 2015, the Assistant Commissioner (Ad .....

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was in respect of the SCN issued more than six years earlier on 21st October, 2009. 10. The Petitioner addressed an application dated 14th November, 2015 to the AA seeking an adjournment on medical grounds. The application was accompanied by a medical certificate which showed that Mr L. N. Malik, Chartered Accountant of the Petitioner, who was to represent it at the hearing, was indisposed. According to the Petitioner, one Mr M. L. Vashist from Mr Malik s office and Mr Ashwani Kumar, Assistant .....

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ner of an effective opportunity of participating in the adjudication proceedings and presenting its version. It is further pointed out that Mr Harinder Bansi, the Principal Commissioner, Central Excise, Delhi - I, who was the AA who passed the impugned order retired on the date of pronouncement of the impugned order i.e. 30th November, 2015 and perhaps was in a hurry to conclude the adjudication proceedings in relation to the SCN issued more than six years earlier on 21st October, 2009. 13. Whil .....

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f the Constitution is called for. In other words this appears to be a case of violation of the principles of natural justice. 14. Without going into the question whether the letter dated 14th November 2015 seeking adjournment was in fact delivered to the Respondent No. 2, the Court observes that with only one effective hearing having taken place prior to 30th November, 2015 i.e. on 25th May 2015, it would have not caused any serious prejudice to the Department if the request for adjournment made .....

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