Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Revenue could recover excise dues of lessor by detaining excisable goods belonging to lessee

Section 11 of Central Excise Act read with section 142 of Customs Act empower authorities to attach/detain excisable goods belonging to defaulting-assessee including transferee/lessee/buyer of its business.


a)The assessee (lessor), engaged in manufacture of tea, had failed to pay certain excise dues. The assessee leased out tea garden/factory to two petitioners (lessees). Department attached and detained goods (tea) to recover excise dues from lessor.

b)The lessees argued that duty was already on tea owned by them and, therefore, such tea could not be detained for recovery of dues of lessor.

c)The assessee further argued that only Commissioner could issue order of attachment/detention and not Deputy Commissioner.

The High Court held in favour of revenue as under:

1)Officers who signed attachment/detention orders were 'Central Excise Officer' under section 2(b) ibid and were empowered to issue impugned orders.

2)Moreover, once provisions relating to detention/attachment contained in Customs Act were made applicable for recovery of dues under Central Excise Act, all provisions of Central Excise Act including section 2(b) would apply for recovery.

3)Furthermore, section 11 read with section 142 empower authorities to raise demand and also to issue attachment/detention orders to detain goods belonging to defaulting assessee including his transferee who stepped into his shoes to carry on business either by purchasing said business or otherwise. Hence, impugned demands/orders were valid. – BOGIDHOLA TEA & TRADING CO. (P.) LTD. V. UOI [2014] 47 taxmann.com 221 (Gauhati)