COMMISSIONER OF CENTRAL EXCISE COCHIN Vs. TATA TEA LIMITED
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
COMMISSIONER OF CENTRAL EXCISE,COCHIN
TATA TEA LIMITED
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Shivaraj V. Patil, J. -
(1.)The short question that arises for consideration is whether 'instant tea' manufactured and exported by the respondent is liable for levy of cess under Section 25 of the Tea Act, 1953.
(2.)The respondent is engaged in the manufacture of 'instant tea'. Show cause notices were issued to the respondent as to why on 'instant tea' cleared by them during the given period, cess should not be levied under Section 25 of the Tea Act, 1953 (for short 'the Act'). The reply of the respondent was that 'instant tea' was not 'tea' falling within the definition of Section 3(n) of the Act and that the show cause notices issued were patently illegal. The Assistant Commissioner confirmed the demand. The respondent filed appeal to the Commissioner (Appeals), Cochin, who upheld the order of the Assistant Commissioner. The respondent took up the matter before the CEGAT which set aside the order of the Commissioner (Appeals) taking a view that 'instant tea' cannot be considered as 'tea' within the meaning of Section 3(n) of the Act. Hence, these appeals by the Revenue.
(3.)The learned Attorney General urged on behalf of the appellant that the term 'tea' for levy of cess has to be interpreted on the basis of the definition of 'tea' given in the Act and not on the basis of definitions given in the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955 and the Tea Waste (Control) Order, 1959; 'instant tea' is a variety of tea and it is commercially known and sold in the market as 'instant tea'; there was no further need to go into the manner of manufacture and preparation of 'instant tea'; the Tribunal misdirected itself in concluding that 'instant tea' is not 'tea' by referring to other enactments. According to him, manner of preparing tea and whether it is consumed in hot or cold form, is immaterial in deciding whether 'instant tea' attracted cess under the Act.
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