High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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Commissioner, Central Excise, Central Ex v. M/s National Steel Rolling Mills, Malerk - CEA-185-2005  RD-P&H 7526 (21 September 2006)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH
CEA No.185 of 2005
Date of decision: 7.9.2006
Commissioner, Central Excise, Central Excise House, F- Block, Rishi Nagar, Ludhiana (Punjab)
M/s National Steel Rolling Mills, Malerkotla Road, Khanna, District Ludhiana (Punjab).
CORAM: HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE ADARSH KUMAR GOEL
HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE RAJESH BINDAL
Present: Mr. Gurpreet Singh, Central Govt. counsel for the appellant.
On request, preponed to today.
This appeal has been preferred proposing following substantial questions of law:-
"i) Whether any discretion is left with the adjudicating authority/appellate authority to reduce the penalty prescribed under Rule 96ZP(3) of the Central Excise Rules, 1944?"
ii) Whether penalty imposed under Rule 96ZP(3) upon a manufacturer of hot rolled products falling under Chapter 72 of Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985 (5 of CEA No.185 of 2005 2
1986) and who had opted to pay under Section 3A of the Central Excise Rules, 1944 but failed to pay the whole of the amount payable for any month by the 10th of such
month, is mandatory or discretionary in nature? The Tribunal reduced the penalty to Rs.10,000/- having regard to facts and circumstances of the case.
In our judgment dated 2.8.2006 rendered in CEA No.77 of 2005 (Commissioner, Central Excise Commissionerate, Ludhiana v. M/s K.C.Alloys & Steel Castings, Ludhiana), we have held that penalty prescribed under Rule 96ZP(3) of the Central Excise Rules, 1944 is not the minimum but is at the discretion of the authorities. The discretion, having been exercised in a given fact situation, is not shown to be perverse.
Accordingly, we are unable to hold that any substantial question of law arises.
The appeal is dismissed.
(Adarsh Kumar Goel)
September 7, 2006 (Rajesh Bindal)
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