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G.R. Sharma, Member (T)
1. Vide the impugned order, the Commissioner disallowed abatement for the period 01.09.1997 to 19.09.1997 claimed by the appellants. Being aggrieved by this order, the appellants filed an appeal.
2. The facts of the case, briefly stated, are that the appellants are engaged in the manufacture of ingots falling under Heading 72.06 of the Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985. In the financial year 1997-98 compounding scheme was introduced for induction furnaces for the purpose of levy of excise duty under Section 3A of the Central Excise Act, 1944 and Rules were framed under Section 3A of the Act ibid. Under Sub-rule (2), it was provided that where a manufacturer does not produce the ingots and billets of non-alloy steel during any continuous period of not less than 7 days and wishes to claim abatement under Sub-section (3) of Section 3A, the abatement shall be allowed by the Commissioner subject to fulfilment of conditions prescribed therein. One of the conditions was that the meter reading on the day of breakdown or closure of the unit shall be notified to the Asstt. Commissioner. In the instant case, the appellants furnished data about the stock of finished goods and raw material but did not indicate the electric meter reading on the date of breakdown or closure of their furnace.
3. Shri Rajesh Chhibber, learned Counsel appearing for the appellants submits that the appellants had informed the concerned authority on 31.08.1997 itself regarding breakdown of the furnace and stoppage of production. He submits that pursuant to this, Superintendent had visited their factory on 02.09.1997 and had verified the stock physically available in the unit’s premises. He also submitted-that during the material period, the factory did not produce any excisable goods. He submits that the breakdown of the factory and its repair is supported by another letter submitted by the appellants from the experts who rectified the defects. Learned Counsel, therefore, submits that since the factory was closed during the material period and since the notice for closure of the factory was given and also the fact that the furnace was repaired and made useable only on or after 22.09.1997, he submits that the abatement claimed by them has wrongly been rejected by the authorities below and, therefore, prays that abatement may be allowed.
4. Shri Mewa Singh, learned SDR submits that stoppage of the factory is normally supported by the electric meter reading. He submits that for the purpose of determining that a particular unit manufacturing excisable goods was closed during a particular period, electric meter reading becomes very relevant and important. He submits that there is no indication to show that the factory actually remained closed during the period claimed by the appellants and is not supported by any evidence whatsoever. He submits that no doubt, the Superintendent visited their factory, but he only verified the stocks physically available there. There is no indication that on the date of the visit of Superintendent, the factory was actually closed and, there was no production. He, therefore, submits that in the absence of this particular information that the factory actually remained closed during the relevant period, no case is made out and, therefore, prays that the appeal may be rejected.
5. We have heard the submissions of both sides. On careful consideration of the submissions made, we note that the electric meter reading is very relevant and important for the purpose of determining whether a particular unit is producing excisable goods or not. In the instant case, not only the meter reading has not been furnished, but no document has been produced by the appellants to indicate that during the relevant period for claiming abatement, the factory was actually closed. In the absence of any supporting documents, we find that the claim is unsubstantiated. In this view of the matter, we reject the appeal.