G.N. Srinivasan, Member (J)
1. This is an appeal filed by the assessee against the order of the Commissioner of Central Excise (Appeals), Mumbai reversing the Order-in-Original passed by the Asstt. Commissioner, Mumbai-II dropping the show cause notice. The Commissioner (Appeals) held that the assessee was not entitled to the benefit of Notification No. 1 /93. The assessee is a small scale industries manufacturing re-rollable products. They claimed exemption under Notification No. 1/93. Show cause notice was issued on the ground that the assessees have crossed the limit of Rs. 75,000/- resulting in adjudication proceedings by the Asstt. Commissioner. By the Order-in-original No. 156/97-98, dated 21-11-1997, the Asstt. Commissioner came to the conclusion that the case deserves acceptance of the assessee’s arguments. He dropped the proceedings against which the department filed an appeal. In the appeal, the ld. Commissioner of Central Excise (Appeals) vide the impugned order accepted the case of the department in the following manner :-
“The respondents support the impugned order, relying on their submissions before the lower authority.
I find that the deemed credit facilities were extended in terms of TRU’s letter dated 1-3-1994 to re-rollers who were availing of SSI exemption under Notification No. 1 /93. The question whether manufacturers having exceeded value of Rs. 75,00,000/- can be said to be availing of exemption under Notfn. No. 1 /93 must be answered in negative. Although, such manufacturer had availed of exemption under Notification No. 1/93 in respect of their clearances up to Rs. 75,00,000/- and although he may be eligible to like benefit in the subsequent years, it is obvious that in respect of his clearances in excess of Rs. 75,00,000/- he is not availing of benefits under Notification 1/93. I observe that Asstt. Commissioner has not interpreted legal position correctly and the department’s stand in this appeal is correct.
I, therefore, set aside the impugned order and hold that the deemed credit facilities were not available to the respondents after they had exceeded value of clearances of Rs. 75,00,000/-. I further hold that the deemed credit of Rs. 11,39,567/- availed by the respondents during September 1994 to November 1994 is not allowable and the respondents shall pay the said amount, forthwith.
The department’s appeal is, accordingly allowed.”
Hence the present appeal.
2. Shri M.V. Ravindran, ld. Advocate for the appellants and Shri Patwari, JDR appeared for the Revenue.
3. Shri Ravindran contends mainly two points; first, the impugned order is unsigned one and it has been only attested by the Supdt. It has neither been signed nor does the order indicate that it has been signed with an usual appellation Sd/-. Further Shri Ravindran contends that the proceedings had been decided by the Appellate Authority without giving any notice of hearing.
4. We have considered the submissions made by the ld. Counsel. We are disposing of the appeal itself after waiving the pre-deposit and with the consent of both the sides. When we consider the legality of the impugned order, it is very clear that the order has been attested only by the Supdt. It does not bear any signature of the Appellate Authority. It is fundamental and axonometric that the order which is proposed by any public authority should bear the signature of the authority which had passed that order. Here it does not exhibit that the order has been signed by the Appellate Authority. In the absence of the same, it has no legal effect in the eyes of law. The department cannot argue that since the order has no legal effect, no appeal could be filed because the department at their wisdom may take coercive steps to enforce the so called order passed by the Appellate Authority. We are, therefore, of the view that the impugned order suffers from legal infirmity and also violation of principles of natural justice. We, therefore, set aside the same. We remand the matter back to the Appellate Authority to follow the principles of natural justice giving adequate opportunity for the assessee to present their case. It is surprised that without giving a personal hearing, how the Appellate Authority can say that the respondents supported the impugned order, relying on their submissions before the lower authority. We, therefore, not only remand the matter to the Appellate Authority and also mark copy to the same to the Revenue Secretary as well as to the Chairman of the Central Board of Excise & Customs for taking necessary action, as they deem it fit.
In view thereof, the stay application also stand disposed of.