Case Law Details

Case Name : Union of India Vs Dharampal Satyapal Ltd. (Tripura High Court)
Appeal Number : Central Ex. App. No. 1 of 2020
Date of Judgement/Order : 06/09/2021
Related Assessment Year :

Union of India Vs Dharampal Satyapal Ltd. (Tripura High Court)

This appeal is filed by the department to challenge the judgment of Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT for short) dated 20.11.2019. Following substantial question of law is framed for our consideration:

“Whether the Tribunal was right in law in coming to the conclusion that the Sheds No.15 and 36D of the respondent assessee were part of the existing manufacturing unit and therefore, even though the manufacturing activities at such sheds commenced after 28.02.2001, the production at the said Sheds was eligible for exemption under notification No. 69/2003-CE dated 25.08.2003.”

[2] Brief facts are as under:

The respondent assessee had an existing manufacturing unit at shed no. 14, industrial estate A. D. Nagar, Agartala from where the assessee would manufacture chewing tobacco under the brand name ‘Toofani Zarda Silver’. This industrial unit fulfilled all the eligibility conditions for exemption under exemption notification dated 25.08.2003. In this notification, one of the conditions of eligibility was that the industrial unit should have commenced commercial production on or after 24.12.1997 but not later than 28.02.2001.

[3] The assessee acquired two more sheds in the same industrial estate, Sheds No.15 and 36D after the said date of 28.02.2001 and after completing necessary formalities with the Central Excise Department started manufacturing activity of the same product at the said sheds sometime thereafter. The assessee claimed exemption from payment of duty in respect of his entire manufacturing capacity i.e. from the pre-existing sheds as well as the manufacturing activity which was carried out at the newly added sheds No.15 and 36D. The department objected to the claim of exemption put forth by the assessee. After issuance of show cause notice, the Assessing Officer passed the order in original on 23.11.2007 and demanded unpaid duty with penalty and interest. In these proceedings, the assessee had contended that the new sheds are nothing but in the nature of expansion of the existing manufacturing activity of assessee and cannot be treated as new units for manufacturing the same product. The assessee contended that all the criteria for holding the additional sheds forming part of the existing unit are satisfied in the present case. Ignoring such pleas of the assessee, the Assessing Officer had passed the order in original.

[4] Aggrieved by the order in original, the assessee approached the Tribunal. The Tribunal by the impugned judgment allowed the appeal and deleted the demands. It was observed that undisputedly there was common registration for the industrial sheds granted by the department. It was thereafter not open to the department to argue that the new sheds do not form part of the existing unit. Against this judgment the department has preferred this appeal.

[5] Learned counsel, Sri Paramartha Datta submitted that the new units came into existence after the cut-off date of 28.02.2001. Any production of chewing tobacco from such units after the said date would not qualify for exemption.

[6] On the other hand, learned Sr. counsel Sri A.K. Saraf for the assessee opposed the appeal submitting that the Tribunal has come to factual findings. No question of law arises. All the requirements of the additional sheds forming part of the existing unit were satisfied. He drew our attention to the affidavit filed in this appeal, in which relevant facts have been highlighted. It is pointed out that there was inter linking of the manufacturing process, raw materials were commonly procured for all the sheds, there was common work force maintained by the assessee for all sheds, there was common sales tax registration and common income tax assessments for all industrial sheds.

[7] In the present case, the department is not in a position to dispute the factual assertions of the assessee that there was inter linking of a manufacturing process between all sheds, the raw material was procured commonly, that the labour and work force were also commonly maintained. All sheds were under the controlled of the same management and the sheds were under common registration of the factory. It is also pointed out that the sheds No.15 and 36D were adjacent to and inter connected with the existing manufacturing unit located at shed No.14.

[8] In view of such overwhelming evidence, in our opinion that Tribunal committed no error in coming to the conclusion that the addition of two sheds to the existing manufacturing unit was only in the nature of expansion of manufacturing capacity and cannot be seen as establishment of new industrial units coming into existence after 28.02.2001. It is not the case of the department that even if there is any expansion in the existing industrial unit after 28.02.2001, the production achieved through such augmented manufacturing capacity would not qualify for exemption under the said notification dated 25.08.2003.

[9] In the result, the question is answered in favour of the assessee against the Department. Appeal is dismissed. Pending application(s), if any, also stands disposed of.

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