Believe it, 90 per cent of the appeals filed by the Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax Department of our nation against assessees, who had received a favourable order at the lower level, have been dismissed by the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT), South Zonal Bench, Bangalore during the year 2008. Out of the 260 appeals disposed of during the year, 235 appeals were thrown out by the Bench.
Please do not be under the impression that this was an accidental occurrence. The percentage of dismissals during 2007, 2006 and 2005 are 88, 90 and 89 respectively.
It may be recalled that we had reported on March 11, 2009 that the percentage of dismissals of Revenue’s appeals before the Chennai Bench of the Tribunal was 82 during the year 2008 and 85.4, 73 and 72 respectively during 2007, 2006 and 2005. The percentage of frustrated appeals filed by Commissioners of Customs, Central Excise and Service Tax before other Benches were comparatively less, the least among them being those before the Kolkata Bench where 60 per cent of the Department’s appeals could get either full or partial favourable disposal.
The Chennai and Bangalore Benches put together cater to the appeal requirement under indirect taxes of the Union Government of the four Southern States and the UT of Puducherry. It is clear that the Commissioners and Chief Commissioners of the Department are responsible for initiating frivolous appeals in large quantity, thus causing criminal wastage of the nation’s resources just for the reason that they have no time, or may be no wisdom, to judge whether the cases appealed require application of mind by officers of the rank of Additional Secretary to the Government of India – the Members of the Tribunal. It is relevant to remember here that the Chief Commissioners who review the orders of the Commissioner are themselves of the rank of Additional Secretary to the Government of India and hence it should worry the citizens of this great nation as to why the Chief Commissioners fail in their assignment. It may also call for reviewing the need for maintaining the expensive office of Chief Commissioners as they have exposed their hollowness in discharging the assigned duties and responsibilities.
We have already called for an enquiry into the conduct of the officers who decide to disturb the Tribunal with the outcome of their unthoughtful and poor quality decisions.