Decided on March 06,2018

Union Of India And 3 Ors Respondents


Ajit Singh, C.J. - (1.) By this petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution, the petitioner has prayed for quashing of Notice dated 26.6.2015 issued by the Assistant Commissioner, Central Excise Division, Guwahati-II directing it to pay outstanding interest amount of Rs.11,27,03,669/- pursuant to judgment dated 14.5.2015 of the Supreme Court in Civil Appeal Nos.4458-4459 of 2015.
(2.) Although detailed facts are narrated in a decision of the Supreme Court rendered in Dharampal Satyapal Limited vs. Deputy Commissioner of Central Excise, Gauhati, 2015 8 SCC 519, we, for the sake of convenience, deem it proper to briefly mention some relevant facts here also. A new industrial policy vide Memorandum dated 24.12.1997 was introduced by the Union of India for North Eastern Region. The purpose of policy was to give stimulation to the development of industrial infrastructure in the Region. Pursuant to the policy, the Region was made tax free zone for a period of 10 years with incentives to those who wanted to establish industries. And in conformity with the policy, Notification dated 8.7.1999 was issued granting new industrial units that had commercial production on or after 24.12.1997 and certain types of industrial units that increased their installed capacity after that date, exemption on goods cleared from units located in growth centres and integrated industrial centres. This Notification was issued under the provisions of the Central Excise Act, 1944.
(3.) But soon thereafter, on 31.12.1999, another Notification was issued whereby exemption of Central Excise was withdrawn in respect of goods - pan masala, tobacco and tobacco substitutes, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco etc. The withdrawal Notification dated 31.12.1999 was challenged by the petitioner in WP(C) No.1525/2001 which was dismissed by a learned Single Judge of this High Court vide order dated 11.4.2002. Aggrieved, the petitioner challenged that order in WA No.220/2002 and the Division Bench allowed the same vide order dated 3.12.2002 essentially on the ground of 'doctrine of promissory estoppel'. The Division Bench held that once a promise was made by the Union of India assuring that no excise duty would be charged for a period of 10 years, it was not open for the Union of India to withdraw the same. The Union of India then filed petitions for special leave before the Supreme Court against the order dated 3.12.2002 which were granted and the petitions were registered as Civil Appeal Nos.8841-44 of 2003.;

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