THE CENTRAL EXCISE ACT, 1944
[Act No. 1 of 1944]
An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to Central Duties of Excise
[24th February, 1944]
CHAPTER III A
SECTION 23A. Definitions. — In this Chapter, unless the context otherwise requires, -
(a) ”activity” means production or manufacture of goods;
(b) “advance ruling” means the determination, by the authority of a question of law or fact specified in the application regarding the liability to pay duty in relation to an activity proposed to be undertaken, by the applicant;
(c) “applicant” means -
(i) (a) a non-resident setting up a joint venture in India in collaboration with a non-resident or a resident; or
(b) a resident setting up a joint venture in India in collaboration with a non-resident; or
(c) a wholly owned subsidiary Indian company, of which the holding company is a foreign company, or which, as the case may be, proposes to undertake any business activity in India;
(ii) a joint venture in India; or
(iii) a resident falling within any such class or category of persons, as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf, and which or who, as the case may be, makes application for advance ruling under sub-section (1) of section 23C;
Explanation. — For the purposes of this clause, “joint venture in India” means a contractual arrangement whereby two or more persons undertake an economic activity which is subject to joint control and one or more of the participants or partners or equity holders is a non-resident having substantial interest in such arrangement.
(d) “application” means an application made to the Authority under sub-section (1) of section 23C;
(e) “Authority” means the Authority for Advance Rulings, constituted under sub-section (1), or authorised by the Central Government under sub-section (2A), of section 28F of the Customs Act, 1962 (52 of 1962)];
(f) “non-resident”, “Indian company” and “foreign company” shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in clauses (30), (26) and (23A) of section 2 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (43 of 1961).
SECTION 23B. Vacancies, etc., not to invalidate proceedings - No proceeding before, or pronouncement of advance ruling by, the Authority under this Chapter shall be questioned or shall be invalid on the ground merely of the existence of any vacancy or defect in the constitution of the Authority.
SECTION 23C. Application for advance ruling. - (1) An applicant desirous of obtaining an advance ruling under this Chapter may make an application in such form and in such manner as may be prescribed, stating the question on which the advance ruling is sought.
(2) The question on which the advance ruling is sought shall be in respect of, -
(a) classification of any goods under the Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985 (5 of 1986);
(b) applicability of a notification issued under sub-section (1) of section 5A having a bearing on the rate of duty;
(c) the principles to be adopted for the purposes of determination of value of the goods under the provisions of this Act;
(d) notifications issued, in respect of duties of excise under this Act, the Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985 (5 of 1986) and any duty chargeable under any other law for the time being in force in the same manner as duty of excise leviable under this Act;
(e) admissibility of credit of excise duty paid or deemed to have been paid on the goods used in or in relation to the manufacture of the excisable goods.
(f) determination of the liability to pay duties of excise on any goods under this Act.
(3) The application shall be made in quadruplicate and be accompanied by a fee of two thousand five hundred rupees.
(4) An applicant may withdraw an application within thirty days from the date of the application.
SECTION 23D. Procedure on receipt of application. — (1) On receipt of an application, the Authority shall cause a copy thereof to be forwarded to the Commissioner of Central Excise and, if necessary, call upon him to furnish the relevant records :
Provided that where any records have been called for by the Authority in any case, such records shall, as soon as possible, be returned to the Commissioner of Central Excise.
(2) The Authority may, after examining the application and the records called for, by order, either allow or reject the application :
Provided that the Authority shall not allow the application where the question raised in the application is, -
(a) already pending in the applicant’s case before any Central Excise Officer, the Appellate Tribunal or any Court;
(b) the same as in a matter already decided by the Appellate Tribunal or any Court :
Provided further that no application shall be rejected under this sub-section unless an opportunity has been given to the applicant of being heard:
Provided also that where the application is rejected, reasons for such rejection shall be given in the order.
(3) A copy of every order made under sub-section (2) shall be sent to the applicant and to the Commissioner of Central Excise.
(4) Where an application is allowed under sub-section (2), the Authority shall, after examining such further material as may be placed before it by the applicant or obtained by the Authority, pronounce its advance ruling on the question specified in the application.
(5) On a request received from the applicant, the Authority shall, before pronouncing its advance ruling, provide an opportunity to the applicant of being heard, either in person or through a duly authorised representative.
Explanation. - For the purposes of this sub-section, “authorised representative” shall have the meaning assigned to it in sub-section (2) of section 35Q.
(6) The Authority shall pronounce its advance ruling in writing within ninety days of the receipt of application.
(7) A copy of the advance ruling pronounced by the Authority, duly signed by the Members and certified in the prescribed manner shall be sent to the applicant and to the Commissioner of Central Excise, as soon as may be, after such pronouncement.
SECTION 23E. Applicability of advance ruling. - (1) The advance ruling pronounced by the Authority under section 23D shall be binding only -
(a) on the applicant who had sought it;
(b) in respect of any matter referred to in sub-section (2) of section 23C;
(c) on the Commissioner of Central Excise, and the Central Excise authorities subordinate to him, in respect of the applicant.
(2) The advance ruling referred to in sub-section (1) shall be binding as aforesaid unless there is a change in law or facts on the basis of which the advance ruling has been pronounced.
SECTION 23F. Advance ruling to be void in certain circumstances. — (1) Where the Authority finds, on a representation made to it by the Commissioner of Central Excise or otherwise, that an advance ruling pronounced by it under sub-section (6) of section 28-I has been obtained by the applicant by fraud or misrepresentation of facts, it may, by order, declare such ruling to be void ab initio and thereupon all the provisions of this Act shall apply (after excluding the period beginning with the date of such advance ruling and ending with the date of order under this sub-section) to the applicant as if such advance ruling had never been made.
(2) A copy of the order made under sub-section (1) shall be sent to the applicant and the Commissioner of Central Excise.
SECTION 23G. Powers of Authority. — (1) The Authority shall, for the purpose of exercising its powers regarding discovery and inspection, enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath, issuing commissions and compelling production of books of account and other records, have all the powers of a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908).
(2) The Authority shall be deemed to be a civil court for the purposes of section 195, but not for the purposes of Chapter XXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), and every proceeding before the Authority shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228, and for the purpose of section 196, of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).
SECTION 23H. Procedure of Authority. — The Authority shall, subject to the provisions of this Chapter, have power to regulate its own procedure in all matters arising out of the exercise of its powers under this Act.
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