Decided on February 20,2018

M K Jokai Agri Plantations P Ltd And Anr Appellant
Commissioner Central Excise And Service Tax, Dibru Respondents


Ajit Singh, C.J. - (1.) This common judgment shall decide C. Ex. Appeal Nos.8, 9 and 10, all of 2016, because they are admitted on the same substantial questions of law and were heard together. The substantial questions of law are as under:- "(1) Whether the order dated 29.02.2016 passed by the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal, East Zonal Bench, Kolkata ("CESTAT") is based on correct appreciation of the provisions of the Notification No.33/99-CE dated 8.07.1999 ? 2) Whether the CESTAT was legally justified in holding that the claim of refund of the appellant was barred by limitation in spite of the fact that there was no requirement of filing refund application under the provisions of Section 11 B of the Central Excise Act, 1944, in cases of exemption under Notification No. 33/99-CE dated 8.07.1999 and whether the assessee is not entitled to refund of Excise duty under Notification No.33/99-CE dated 8.07.1999 on payment of duty on specified goods and filing of RT 12 return in the manner prescribed under the Central Excise Rules ? 3) Whether merely on the ground of delay of filing of the statement under para 2(a) of the Notification No.33/99-CE dated 8.07.1999 showing duty payment particulars can result in denial of Excise refund benefit to the appellant under the aforesaid Notification where the RT 12 returns were regularly filed within the specified period showing Central Excise duty paid during the period in question ? 4) Whether the assessee can be denied the substantial benefit of refund available as per Notification No.33/99-CE dated 8.07.1999 merely on the ground of lapse in following procedural requirements ? 5) Whether the CESTAT was justified in not following the earlier decisions of the coordinate benches on the same issue wherein the coordinate benches of the Tribunal held in respect of same Notification No.33/99-CE dated 8.07.1999 that no formal application is required to be filed under Section 11 B of the Central Excise Act, 1944 for claim of refund and refund is to be allowed on the basis of monthly returns filed?"
(2.) Briefly stated the facts are that M/s Hattiali Tea Estate, M/s Muttuck Tea Estate and M/s Bokel Tea Estate were earlier owned by M.K.Shah Exports and they came under the ownership of appellant's company pursuant to demerger with effect from 1.4.2013. As the name suggests, the appellant is the manufacturer of Tea including Tea Waste under subheading No.0902.00 of the Central Excise Tariff Act.
(3.) The Union of India, vide Memorandum dated 24.12.1997, unveiled a New Industrial Policy for the North Eastern Region and in order to give stimulation to the development of Industrial Infrastructure to the North Eastern Region, the said Region was made tax free for a period of 10 years giving incentives to those who wanted to establish Industries in the Region. Pursuant thereto, Notification No.33/99-CE dated 8.7.1999 was issued granting all exemptions contained therein to New Industrial Units which commenced their commercial production on or after 24.12.1997 and Industrial Units existing before 24.12.1997 but had undertaken substantial expansion by way of increase in installed capacity by not less than 25% on or after 24.12.1997. The Notification also stated the manner in which the exemptions contained therein shall be given effect to.;

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