Court stays operation of excise recovery of disputed amounts order

S. Murlidharan | Updated on February 10, 2013

While staying the January 1, 2013 order of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) directing immediate recovery of tax dues where an assessee’s appeal against pre-deposit has not been heard within 30 days of the demand by the department, the Bombay High Court, however, gave liberty to the department to recover wherever the assessee’s stay application against pre-deposit of the disputed amount has been pending for more than a reasonable time due to his default.

The stay has been granted in response to an application made by Tata Steel, Larsen and Toubro among others.

The excise law requires pre-deposit of the disputed excise demand but arms the Tribunal with power to stay this requirement for full or part of the amount. The CBEC had issued the impugned order to its officers finding that the excise collections were dwindling. The Court’s stay of the order is only partial in the sense that it has left enough elbow room for the department where it finds the assessee guilty of dilly-dallying tactics though admittedly this could well introduce an element of uncertainty and lock the assessees and the department in disputes on this limited but significant issue — hether the hearing on the stay application against pre-deposit is becoming protracted due to the fault of the assessee.

(The author is a New Delhi-based chartered accountant)

Published on February 10, 2013

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